Friday Hitters: ATP Betting Value in Montpellier, Quito, and Sofia
© Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
Unfortunate finish for us on Thursday. Our hitter Marty Klizan didn’t want to work that hard for a win. For a third consecutive time, he went down in the final set to Stan. All mental. But hopefully, I persuaded some of you to back Baggy at a nice underdog price as yesterday’s “almost” hitter. At the end of the day, I can’t get too upset about backing Klizan at that price. With that said, let’s look ahead to the quarterfinal matches on Friday.
I don’t like too much here tomorrow, especially now Gerald Melzer finally took down the ‘King of Quito’, Vic Estrella Burgos.
As I write this, the only match with a posted line is Tuesday’s hitter: Nicolas Jarry (-118). He’s almost to a pick ’em against Roberto Carballes Baena, who appears to favor these conditions well. However, the same could be said for the reigning Quito Challenger champ, Jarry. I think the Chilean (Jarry) ultimately has more weapons. The price indicates a close encounter, and I agree.
Elsewhere, big-hitting (and at times thrashing) Thiago Monteiro might be tempting against Monfils, depending on the odds (I’d want him at least +250). Gael labored toward the end of his match against Ruud in true ‘La Monf’ style.
Not much value on the card here. Stan, yet again, is priced under -200 ahead of his match against Troicki. While we tried our luck against the Swiss today, I’m certainly not looking to double down with the unreliable Troicki tomorrow.
The only match I have my eyes on (caution as it’s ugly) is Mirza Basic vs. Maxi Marterer (-182) for a spot in the semis. I liked what I saw from Marterer in last round, but he is simply overpriced. While Basic spends most of his time on the Challenger circuit, he does still have more experience than the 22-year-old Marterer. At the end of last seaon, Basic actually made a Tour-level semifinal in Moscow on similar indoor conditions. I make this a coin flip, which means +140 certainly presents value with the Bosnian.
A mouth-wathering card from a fan perspective, but tricky to cap. Of all the favorites, I think Lucas Pouille (-175) holds the most value against Benoit Paire, who just struggled with a tight back injury against Millman. He also showed his typical deliberate … Paire …theatrics … early on in that match. Don’t be surprised if he has an early flight home on his mind in predictable Paire fashion.
Despite being hampered by the back, and a variety of poor shot choices, Paire played at a stunning level as the match went on. His backhand fired like a rocket and he served big when needed. That said, I’m not sure I see a repeat performance from him against compatriot Pouille, who smoked Taberner in his first match in Montpellier. Pouille has a more capable game than Millman does to inflict damage against Paire. The head to head favors Pouille, as well, as he won both of their previous meetings.
As for Richard Gasquet (-357), he has actually never faced Damir Dzumhur. Something tells me Dzumhur’s defensive ability will give Gasquet fits, but the Frenchman has had a lot of success in this tourney. Gasquet absorbs a lot of pace from his opponent to create angles, but Dmzumhur’s spontaneous brand of attack could frustrate him.
Not before 1:00 pm EST tomorrow, local favorite Jo-Willy Tsonga (-152) will take on Next Gen star Andrey Rublev. As much as I want to back Rublev, I don’t see enough value in that line to slap on the title of “hitter”. Lest we forget, Jo Tsonga is still the resident indoor hard GOAT on Tour, and playing at home. Rublev does have the game to give Jo major issues if he is a little off his game. Heavy lean Rublev.
Karen Khachanov +1.5 sets
Opponent: David Goffin
Location: Montpellier, France
Time: 8 a.m. EST
As I said Monday, I wanted to observe the Khachanov-Ferrer match to see where Khachanov’s game this year from the baseline on a hard court. Well, I came away impressed. He moved great against Ferrer’s ball-machine defense. And Ferru looked like the Ferru of old. He had as much energy as I’ve seen from in a while.
If Khachanov plays at that level tomorrow, he will win this match against Goffin — and not just take a set. Goffin is a great defender in his own right — but I’m not sure he’ll make Khachanov work as gruellingly as Ferrer did. Nevertheless, that match will prepare Khachanov well for Goffin, who takes so much time away from his opponents with how early he takes the ball.
I watched some of Goffin’s 2R match against Simon, and wasn’t that impressed. Goffin looked very vulnerable on his serve (Gillou broke him three times in the first set) and only won just 33% of his second serve points. Against a player who can actually hold his serve, that will cost the Belgian. Especially considering how venomous Khachanov’s strokes are from the backhand side.
I think Khachanov can pull off the upset here at +220, but I’ll back the +1.5 sets at even money. The two have played three times over the years and Khachanov has taken a set in two. Goffin did straight-set Khachanov before, but the young Russian squandered three set points to force a decider that match. Too much value with Khachanov to push Goffin the distance, but feel free to hit the ML if you’re feeling frisky on a Friday morning.