ATP Daily Hitter: An Underdog with Betting Value on Saturday
In the face of a rather ugly looking card, it was an off day for us yesterday, but we’re back in action Saturday with a full slate of tennis from Miami. With David Goffin (-320) getting dogged by Joao Sousa, 6-0, 6-1, yesterday, RBA (-625) getting taken out by Michael Mmoh — and Novak Djokovic (-455) getting straight-setted by Benoit Paire — it appears the dogs are barking this week in South Beach. And I’ve got my eye on one nicely priced underdog today.
Action kicks off at 11:00 a.m. ET, so without any further ado, let’s dive in.
Match: Tomáš Berdych (-455) vs. Yoshi Nishioka
Where: Miami Open
When: Not before 12:30 p.m. EST
We’ve been hot for the past few weeks, so let’s roll the dice here. I’ve got my eyes on Nishioka +335 (pictured above) against Berdych. I was able to watch some of Nishioka’s first-round match against Alex de Minaur (who you all know I’m super high on) and was very impressed by the Japanese player’s performance. Nishioka was menacing on the baseline Thursday, running down every ball de Minaur hit — and sending them back with authority.
Nishioka is a great athlete (with top-flight foot speed) and is capable of being an elite defender when he wants to be. From what I’ve noticed, Nishioka tends to struggle with motivation from match to match — but at a big tournament such as this one, against a player the class of Berdych, I expect Yoshi to be locked in for this match. After all, Nishioka knocked out Berdych on a similar stage this time last year in a three-set defeat of the Czech at Indian Wells, the last match the two played against each other.
And in case you need to refresh your memory, Berdych was leading that match 6-1, 5-2, before seemingly hitting a wall and melting down. Nishioka ended up winning that match in three and — based on the type of defensive effort I saw from Nishioka in his last match — Berdych could be in for another long day. The main thing I noticed from their last match against each other was the depth of Berdych’s strokes. For the first set (the set Berdych won 6-1), Birdman was hitting all of his shots heavy and almost to the baseline, forcing Nishioka to play from extremely defensive positions. But, as the match wore on — and Berdych’s ball began to creep more closely to the center of the court — Nishioka was able to jump on balls and keep Berdych moving side to side.
With how slowly these courts are playing in Miami, I don’t think Berdych has the game (at least anymore) to hit through them consistently against a player such as Nishioka. And as long as Nishioka keeps Berdych uncomfortable — and doesn’t allow the Czech to get cozy from behind the baseline and dictate rallies — I give Nishioka a pretty decent shot to double up against Berdych, who’s taken a step back over the past six months. At +335, it’s more than enough value for me. Give me Nishioka.
DAILY HITTER: Yoshi Nishioka +335 (not before 12:30 p.m. EST)
Photo via Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports