ATP Miami Futures Betting Preview, Plus First Round Picks
After an exciting week of tennis from Indian Wells — capped off by a scintillating final in arguably the (best of three) match of the year — we look ahead to the next ATP Masters tournament stateside: the Miami Open.
In today’s piece, I will take a deeper look at all four quarters, projecting the quarterfinal matchup for each, while noting any futures I fancy. I will close with what bets I like in the first round.
Miami Open Presented By Itaú
Miami, Florida | March 21 – April 1
Site: The Tennis Center at Crandon Park
Surface: Miami Laykold Cushion Plus
Balls: Penn ATP
Prize Money: $7,972,535
Draw Size: 96 [128 format]
2010: Andy Roddick (d.) Tomáš Berdych
2011: Novak Djokovic (d.) Rafa Nadal
2012: Novak Djokovic (d.) Andy Murray
2013: Andy Murray (d.) David Ferrer
2014: Novak Djokovic (d.) Rafa Nadal
2015: Novak Djokovic (d.) Andy Murray
2016: Novak Djokovic (d.) Kei Nishikori
2017: Roger Federer (d.) Rafa Nadal
No. 1 Rafael Nadal (hip), No. 7 Domi Thiem (ankle), No. 10 Lucas Pouille (non-medical), No. 21 Stan Wawrinka (knee), No. 24 Albert Ramos (undisclosed), No. 29 Andy Murray (hip), No. 31 Philipp Kohlschreiber (undisclosed), No. 38 Jo Tsonga (knee), No. 42. Gaël Monfils (back)
Seeded Players: (1) Roger Federer, (6) Kevin Anderson, (10) Tomáš Berdych, (16) Pablo Carreño-Busta, (18) Adrian Mannarino, (21) Kyle Edmund, (31) Fernando Verdasco, (32) Karen Khachanov
- Roger Federer ↑
- Kevin Anderson ↑
- Tomáš Berdych
- Pablo Carreño-Busta
- Adrian Mannarino ↓
- Kyle Edmund
- Fernando Verdasco
- Karen Khachanov
Federer, the tournament’s No. 1 seed, has been gifted with a generally favorable draw — with Fernando Verdasco, Adrian Mannarino, and Pablo Carreno-Busta (PCB) as the three seeded players in his half of the quarter. Federer owns a 6-0 career record against Verdasco and shouldn’t sweat much versus Mannarino. As for PCB, he’ll be tough to hit through, with how slowly these courts play in Miami. However, given their respective forms over the past six months, Federer won’t worry too much about facing him (potentially) in the fourth round.
Although Fed didn’t look overly convincing last week at Indian Wells, he should be good enough again this week to at least advance to the quarterfinal. That’s where things could get potentially hairy for the Maestro. Kevin Anderson is 11-2 in his last 13 matches, convincingly backing up his US Open triumphs last summer. If the big South African gathers a head of steam, he could test Federer if the Swiss isn’t at his sharpest.
An interesting storyline hanging around this quarter of the draw could come in the fourth round, as Anderson could potentially square off against the No. 10 seed, Tomáš Berdych. Anderson is 0-12 in his career against Berdych, a pretty grim statistic for the 31-year-old. Although it’s hard to dispute KA current superior form, that type of head-to-head could loom in the back of Anderson’s head under pressure if he does indeed face Berdych. Still, I like Anderson’s chances of reaching the quarterfinal and giving Federer a real test.
I’m getting the feeling that Federer won’t win this tournament and Anderson has played at a top-5 level since the US Open. At 33/1, I’m willing to take a crack on the World No. 9 to catch Roger off-guard. Anderson told the media a few weeks back that he feels his best game is just as good as Federer and Nadal’s. It’s a pretty outlandish comment, but this would be a decent shot for him to walk the walk.
Anderson (d.) Federer
Futures Bet: Anderson to win 33/1
Seeded Players: (4) Sascha Zverev, (8) Jack Sock, (11) Sam Querrey, (15) Fabio Fognini, (17) Nick Kyrgios, (24) Damir Džumhur, (28) David Ferrer, (29) Borna Ćorić
- Sascha Zverev ↓
- Jack Sock ↓
- Sam Querrey
- Fabio Fognini
- Nick Kyrgios
- Damir Džumhur
- David Ferrer
- Borna Ćorić ↑
The first thing I noticed about this quarter is the potential fourth-round Alexander Zverev v. Nick Kyrgios (pictured above) duel. It’s hard to pick a favorite there, considering how little we’ve seen from Kyrgios since the Aussie … and how much poor tennis we’ve seen from Sascha. This quarter also features Americans Jack Sock and Sam Querrey, who you can trust just about as far as you can throw the pair, in addition to two streaky players in Fabio Fognini and Damir Džumhur, both of whom can be dangerous when on.
Of all the seeded players, it seems the two lowest ranked competitors — David Ferrer and Borna Ćorić — are the most reliable right now. Ćorić looked good at Indian Wells, but I’m not sure he’s ready to post deep runs in back-to-back Masters tournaments. In Ćorić’s path, however, could lie unseeded NextGen star Denis Shapovalov — whose game is perfect for these slow hard courts.
In the end, I’ve got Nick winning this quarter. It’s time for Kyrgios to step up and start winning again. Miami will certainly be a big enough stage for Kyrgios to “get up” for. Last year, Kyrgios seemed to raise his level in South Beach, making the semifinal — and pushing Federer to a third-set breaker — and I get the feeling he’s primed for another deep run. Of course, with Kyrgios, it’s always a dice roll — yet, with the likes of inconsistent players like Sock, Querrey, Fognini, and (at this point in time) Zverev in his quarter, I think Kyrgios presents a dice roll worth shooting.
Projected Quarterfinal: Kyrgios (d.) Shapovalov
Futures Bet: Kyrgios to win 33/1
Seeded Players: (3) Grigor Dimitrov, (5) Juan Martín del Potro, (9) Novak Djokovic, (13) Diego Schwartzman, (20) Milos Raonic, (22) Filip Krajinović, (26) Kei Nishikori, (30) Richard Gasquet
- Grigor Dimitrov ↓
- Juan Martín del Potro
- Novak Djokovic ↓
- Diego Schwartzman
- Milos Raonic
- Filip Krajinović ↑
- Kei Nishikori
- Richard Gasquet
An intriguing quarter with a bunch of question marks surrounding the big names in this part of the bracket. The top seed, Grigor Dimitrov, has now lost three consecutive matches, including a disappointing one last week from a set up against Fernando Verdasco. Juan Martin del Potro, the five seed, is in championship form, but one’s gotta wonder about the big man’s legs, after back-to-back titles. Elsewhere, Novak Djokovic tries his luck once again, after a humbling (to say the least) showing in Indian Wells, which saw him lose his only match played — against Japanese scrapper Taro Daniel. And then there are the two former top-five players: Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic, both of whom are still working their way back from injury issues.
In my opinion, Djokovic is not ready to compete at a high level just yet. (I personally think he’ll get knocked out by compatriot Krajinovic in the third round). The same goes for Raonic, who, despite making the semifinals of a Masters last week, still hasn’t reached his peak level from a few years back. That leaves Dimitrov, Delpo, and Kei to realistically come out of this quarter. In the third round, Delpo could potentially meet Kei, a player he’s played tight matches against over the years. The outcome of that match will have major implications for the rest of the tournament.
I think this quarter presents a good opportunity for Kei to secure a few marquee wins, which should provide the Japanese player with some much-needed confidence. Nishikori will feel right at home in Miami — where he trains most of the offseason — and should get plenty of crowd support. If he gets a couple wins under his belt, I can see him winning a quarterfinal match against Dimitrov, especially if Grigor doesn’t significantly raise his current form. In a relatively wide-open quarter with a lot of question marks, Kei can reassert himself among the Tour’s elite, but I will pass from a futures perspective.
Nishikori (d.) Dimitrov
Seeded Players: (2) Marin Čilić, (7) David Goffin, (12) Roberto Bautista-Agut, (15) John Isner, (19) Chung Hyeon, (23) Gilles Müller, (25) Feli López, (27) Andrey Rublev
- Marin Čilić
- David Goffin
- Roberto Bautista-Agut
- John Isner ↓
- Chung Hyeon
- Gilles Müller
- Andrey Rublev ↓
Every few months, there are these things that happen in tennis … I call them “Big John weeks.” These are randomly-occurring weeks where John Isner serves at an incredible level, which usually leads to a deep tourney run for the American. Miami has the potential to be one of those “Big John weeks.” Isner has really struggled in 2018, losing seven of his last nine matches. However, he made the semifinal here back in 2015. His past success here and the conditions should give the American enough confidence to finally enjoy some success in the new season.
Čilić, the top-seeded player and favorite in this quarter, hasn’t had much success in Miami, compiling just a 9-9 record over the past decade. Čilić has stumbled somewhat since the Australian Open, failing to win consecutive matches since that AO final against Federer. With dangerous players like Andrey Rublev and Isner in his half of the quarter, I’m not high on Čilić’s chances in Miami.
Instead, I actually fancy someone from the top half of the quarter to get through. Hyeon Chung could meet Gilles Simon in a potential intriguing second round match. Simon boasts a 16-12 record in Miami and has great H2H records against the three top seeds in this quarter: 6-1 vs Čilić, 5-1 vs Roberto Bautista-Agut, and 2-2 vs David Goffin. If Gillou can get through Chung in what should be a grueling defensive battle, he could wreak havoc in this part of the draw as an unseeded player. Having said that, I like Goffin to survive what looks like one of the more wide open quarters in Miami.
Projected Quarterfinal: Goffin (d.) Isner
Futures Bet: Goffin to win 33/1
Anderson, Goffin, Kyrgios all at 33/1
FIRST ROUND DAILY HITTERS:
Joao Sousa (+110) vs. Ryan Harrison (11:00 a.m. EST)
Photo via Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports