2018 French Open Saturday Betting: Picking Parlays, Favorites
Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Fabio Fognini
We’ve got eight third-round matches on the schedule Saturday as Day 7 unwinds at the French Open. Favorites dominated the tournament over the first few days, but we did finally see some life from underdogs on Friday with plus-money wins from Fernando Verdasco, Marco Cecchinato and most likely Karen Khachanov, who won the first two sets over Lucas Pouille before play was halted.
After looking at Saturday’s card, it seems to me that favorites should have another strong showing — with not many tempting underdogs to choose from. Among the bigger-priced dogs, I suppose Stevie Johnson looks to have the most juice, as Marin Cilic has advanced to the quarterfinal only once in his career at Roland-Garros. He also has a history of shaky losses on clay, including a loss in the first round against Marco Trungelliti in 2016. So I’d err on the side of caution before throwing him into any parlays as a “lock” — but I’m also not rushing to back Stevie Johnson.
You could also possibly make a case for Albert Ramos, as Juan Martin del Potro still has injury questions. And maybe Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who should find his way into a few tiebreaks with John Isner. But other than that, Max Marterer, Kevin Anderson and Rafael Nadal should all get through with ease.
Let’s take a look at the two ATP plays I bet for Saturday before closing with a quick look at the WTA card.
Day 7 Parlay Potential
- Borna Coric (-154) vs. Diego Schwartzman
- Max Marterer (-400) vs. Jurgen Zopp
- Kevin Anderson (-833) vs. Mischa Zverev
I’m high on Borna Coric ahead of his match against Diego Schwartzman, although Coric’s price has jumped from -133 all the way up to -154 over the past 24 hours. At that price, there’s slightly less value with the Croat, but he’s never dropped a set to Schwartzman in two meetings, and I fancy Borna to go another round here given his form over the past few months.
Schwartzman is a good player, but he tends to get overpowered by players with bigger games. Coric, who’s improved greatly over the past year, has developed a much bigger game — hitting deep strokes and going for lines — and should be able to put out points on his own terms. Schwartzman is a classic counter puncher, but Coric is no slouch at turning defense into offense in his own right, and I give him the edge from the baseline.
- Kiki Bertens (-154) vs. Angelique Kerber
- Elise Mertens (-278) vs. Daria Gavrilova
Both players are just in a different class than their opponent on the clay. In fact, Elise Mertens took out Daria Gavrilova last year at the French and Bertens did the same to Kerber in 2016.
Both should be too good tomorrow — and make for a nice double when you parlay them together (pays out +124). — Stuckey
ATP DAILY HITTERS
Fabio Fognini (-106) vs. Kyle Edmund
Saturday, 5 a.m. ET
When the draw came out, I circled Kyle Edmund as a potential “dark horse” to advance deep in this tournament. And the Brit has looked good thus far, dropping just the one set last round against Marton Fucsovics — a recent clay titlist — and should come into this match feeling good.
You could say the same for Fognini, though, and the price reflects that — with the Italian listed as a slight favorite. Fognini has yet to drop a set and has handled his business in orderly fashion.
He’ll have a tough match against Edmund, but I think his peak level can match the Brit’s — and even surpass it. Edmund tends to struggle against guys who can inject pace into balls, which Fognini does with his big forehand. Additionally, Fognini is a tough defender from the baseline — and should force Edmund to hit a lot of extra shots. If this match goes deep, I think Fognini can grow as the match progresses, whereas Edmund’s game will most likely decline.
For me, however, this one comes down to Fognini’s ability on the big stage. When he gets rolling and the crowd is behind him, he can make life really tough for his opponent. They will play this match at Suzanne Lenglen Court, where Fognini should have most of the fan support. When Fognini’s playing with swagger, his game has a lot more flair than Edmund, who likes to sink into his comfort zone behind the baseline and club the ball around.
Statistically, the Brit has a slight edge — evident by the pair’s 2018 clay-court numbers at the Tour level. So far this year, Fognini has an impressive 15-8 (65%) record, with a 105.4% combined hold/break percentage. Edmund, on the other hand, owns a slightly better 11-5 (69%) record, with a 109.9% combined metric.
This match could go the distance, which makes the over a strong consideration. Both players should enjoy stretches where they’re delivering the blows, but I fancy Fognini to find a way through — and to give the crowd a show, at that.
- Camila Giorgi (+140) vs. Sloane Stephens
- Anett Kontaveit (+210) vs. Petra Kvitova
- Lesia Tsurenko (-111) vs. Magdalena Rybarikova
I think there’s some underdog value with Camila Giorgi (+140) against Sloane Stephens and Anett Kontaveit (+210) against Petra Kvitova. Both matches should be tight, and I expect the Kontaveit-Kvitova match to play out just like both of the previous times they’ve met — which both went the distance.
Giorgi and Stephens could be an error-fest, but this line is simply too high. The Italian has actually won the last two head-to-head as well. Giorgi has looked solid thus far in Paris, coming through both of her first two matches in straight sets (against Grace Min and Mariana Duque-Marino).
I also like the looks of Lesia Tsurenko against Magdalena Rybarikova. Rybarikova has no business being a favorite on clay. I’m also not impressed by either of her two first wins. She beat a 40-year-old Luksika Khumkhum and a crippled Belinda Bencic. — Stuckey