Finding ATP Betting Value in Miami on Thursday, Plus Three WTA Plays
© Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Joao “Psycho” Sousa got our week off to a winning start, taking out “All-American Journeyman” Ryan Harrison in two tiebreakers. It looked grim early for Sousa, who went down a break, but ultimately turned the match around after saving multiple breakpoints to avoid a love-four deficit. Time to look ahead to another day of round one action from Miami and see if we can find some more value.
Action kicks off at 11 a.m. ET, so — at the very least — that should help you pass the time until the Sweet 16 tips off. Without further ado, let’s dive into the two ATP hitters for today. The first starts at approximately 1:30 p.m. ET, while the other should begin around 4:10 p.m. ET. If you are looking for any WTA action, Stuck has you covered at the end of this story with three Thursday plays.
Thursday Daily Hitter No. 1
Match: Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Daniil Medvedev (-135)
Where: Miami Open
When: 1:35 p.m. ET
Two young players set to duel it out in what should be a tightly-contested affair. I personally have Tsitsipas, who I think has the more complete (and consistent) game between the two. Specifically, with his big first serve and forehand. I loved what I saw from Tsitsipas last week at Indian Wells, where he pushed Dominic Thiem to a third-set in style, keeping it close against the World No. 7 until the very end.
Layers seem to favor Medvedev tomorrow, which doesn’t phase me. Some may be in a hurry to back the Russian after his showing at Indian Wells, where the young Russian advanced to the third round. I, on the other hand, was hardly as impressed by Medvedev’s “run” last week, especially once you notice he only defeated Stevie Johnson and Matteo Berrettini. He only barely slid past the latter, before getting straight-setted by an off-form Pablo Carreño in the following round.
Nevertheless, I will gladly take the underdog money here, as I actually make Stefanos a slight favorite. I think the difference will be the Tsitsipas forrehand, which will be the biggest shot on the court. Medvedev’s herky-jerky style tends to break down over the course of matches. I expect Tsitsipas to be too solid for him tomorrow. With the two never having met before, I think this might be a decent spot to catch Vegas snoozing. Give me the Greek at +115.
THE PICK: Stefanos Tsitsipas +115
Thursday Daily Hitter No. 2
Match: Marius Copil vs. Mikhail Kukushkin (-154)
Where: Miami Open
When: 4:10 p.m. ET
We got spurned last week when we faded Mischa (elder) Zverev by backing Mikhail Kukushkin (as a favorite). Well, not gonna happen again. After his first-round exit at Indian Wells last week, Kukushkin went on to win the Irving Challenger, which actually attracted a pretty impressive field (including Yuichi Sugita, Gilles Simon, Stevie Johnson, and Alex de Minaur, among others). However, I get the feeling that Kukushkin’s spurt of good results will start and end in Irving. It smells like the Kazakh is overrated by layers here in Miami, where competition will be greater (and the stakes, higher).
Marius Copil (pictured above) also lost in the first round at Indian Wells last week in a ridiculous three-tiebreaker match against Peter Polansky. (Copil lost in the third-set breaker 12-14). But, the week before — at the Indian Wells Challenger — Copil posted two decent wins over respectable opponents (Liam Broady and Mitchell Krueger). He should feel fine about his game heading into this match, especially since he made his first Tour-level final last month in Sofia.
The two have only met once over the years at the Tour level, which Kukushkin took in three sets back in 2015. The pair did meet last year at the Challenger level, where Copil jumped all over Kukushkin (6-3, 3-0) before the Kazakh retired early.
However, let’s throw out the head to head and focus on form and style, where Copil will have the edge. His bigger serve should allow him to hold easier. If Copil gets a lot of first serves in tomorrow, he should win a high percentage of first serve points. And in years past, servers have fared well in the Miami condition. I think Copil’s serve will be the difference. Plus, he’s made tremendous strides from behind the baseline over the past year and a half. Meanwhile, I haven’t seen much progression in Kukushkin’s game. Ultimately, I think the Romanian holds too much value at +138 to pass up.
THE PICK: Marius Copil +138
Thursday ATP Hitters Recap
- Stefanos Tsitsipas +115
- Marius Copil +138
- Ajla Tomljanovic +143
- Zarina Diyas -128
- Victoria Azarenka -112
Photo credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports