BNP Paribas Open Tennis Picks: 2 Underdogs With Value at Indian Wells
Credit: Matthew Stockman, Getty. Ernesto Escobedo hits a backhand at the BNP Paribas Open.
After a hectic first day of the BNP Paribas Open, we have another jam-packed day of action in Indian Wells on Friday.
Let’s get right into how I’m playing the action.
Match times are subject to change.
Denis Kudla (-160) vs. Alejandro Tabilo (+130)
2:00 p.m. ET
Though hard courts aren’t typically the surface you expect Tabilo to thrive on, he’s been playing his best tennis this week. Dominant wins over Michael Mmoh and Evgeny Donskoy in qualifying aren’t necessarily wins to write home about, but he looked incredibly consistent in both, hitting with depth and power to push both players off the court.
In typical circumstances, Kudla would be expected to thrive in this match, but these are not typical circumstances. The American is coming off of a tournament in San Diego where he fell to both Andy Murray and Federico Gaio in straight sets, and he isn’t playing at a high level.
There is a reason that the world number 184 isn’t a bigger underdog in this matchup, and it’s with good reason. If he comes out at the same level that he showed in qualifiers, he will quickly turn into the favorite and be a real threat to earn an upset.
A player like Kudla needs comfortability to excel, and Tabilo will offer him none of that, mixing in all different types of shots in a quest to ensure Kudla is as off-balance as possible. The way he’s playing, I’ll back him to do that successfully.
Pick: Alejandro Tabilo +130 via PointsBet
Holger Rune (-265) vs. Ernesto Escobedo (+220)
3:15 p.m. ET
The surging Danish teenager is certainly right to be favored in this one, but as such a heavy favorite? I’m not convinced he deserves that just yet.
A new crowd is falling in love with Rune, and it’s making him juiced in a majority of the matches he plays. I’m not necessarily expecting Escobedo to win this match, but reasonable judgement would place the American around +120-+140, rather than the monstrous number he’s getting.
Escobedo is 14-9 on hard courts in 2021, came through qualifiers without dropping a set, and is used to the conditions he’ll be playing in having grown up in Los Angeles.
Rune has shown an ability to compete with tour-level players on hard courts, but he’s also shown a vulnerability, as we saw against Henri Laaksonen last week. The US Open is the only outdoor hard court event he’s played at the tour level, and the conditions in New York are not particularly similar to the ones in Indian Wells.
The context behind the match points to one that could be competitive, but the odds don’t really reflect that. Play the percentages and go with Escobedo.
Pick: Ernesto Escobedo +220 via DraftKings