Wednesday ATP Betting Preview: Battle of the Brits in Eastbourne
Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Andy Murray
With Wimbledon less than a week away, we first set our focus on the two grass-court tournaments in Antalya and Eastbourne.
It’s always tricky capping tournaments the week before a Slam. However, with eyes potentially focused on the following week — it presents an opportunity to find value underdogs who might have a motivational edge.
After looking at Wednesday’s card, a few matches immediately stuck out to me. The first features an all-British matchup between Andy Murray and Kyle Edmund —with the former (two-time) Wimbledon champ priced at close to 1-2 odds.
I personally price this match at a lot closer to a coin toss — with a slight edge to Edmund. Over the years, Edmund hasn’t played his best tennis on grass, but, as the new British No. 1, he should be motivated to back up his ranking against a player such as Andy. Last week at Queen’s, Eddie looked solid against Ryan Harrison in his first match (winning 90% of his first serves) and pushed Nick Kyrgios to a third set — both reassuring signs for prospective Edmund bettors.
On the other hand, Murray’s recent results since returning could be a bit deceiving. In his match against Kyrgios, it almost looked like Kyrgios let Andy keep it close, and — against Stan Wawrinka, earlier this week in Eastbourne — the Swiss looked, well, really poor.
I do somewhat worry about the “big brother, little brother” thing surrounding Murray and Edmund. I believe Edmund’s level is higher right now, considering how Andy has looked (via the eye test) since coming back from injury. But, when playing a national hero such as Murray, nerves and tightness may always creep into the back of Edmund’s mind.
Still, I think Edmund at +140 is a decent play for any value seekers out there. Especially with Andy most likely looking ahead to Wimbledon — as opposed to any kind of deep run at Eastbourne.
I’m also tempted to try Ricardas Berankis as a big underdog against Adrian Mannarino. These two always seem to play tight matches and, yet, the line is always heavily in favor of Mannarino. However, Mannarino plays well in Antalya, making the final last year. Berankis +1.5 sets — if you have that available — looks like a solid bet.
Let’s now get into Wednesday’s daily ATP hitter.
Jay Clarke (+230) vs. Cam Norrie (-270)
Where: Eastbourne, UK
When: Not before 9 a.m. ET
This is a pretty ridiculous line. I mean, Norrie very well could win this match — but, I cannot justify a -270 price tag on Norrie on grass. In his career (at all levels), Norrie is just 3-10 on the lawn — with a hold percentage of just 61.9%. That’s a pretty abysmal number for the grass; especially if you consider the current form of Wawrinka — against whom Norrie won just 65% of first serves.
I’m sure Clarke will happily look to exploit that weakness.
Clarke has a much bigger game than Norrie does — one that is much better suited for grass courts. At just 19 years old, he could become a household name on the Tour. He’s got a wicked backhand and a knack for finding the lines. He will aggressively look to hit winners on any short balls Norrie sends his way.
Clarke took Ryan Harrison to the woodshed his first-round match in Eastbourne (6-4, 6-1) in an impressive showing. The Brit really returned well, breaking the Harrison serve three times — and winning a ridiculous 52% of return points in the second set.
Clarke should, theoretically, have even more success against the serve of Norrie — which is not nearly as strong as Harrison’s. And, with the crowd more likely to get behind Clarke, a rising young star, than Norrie — who, in all fairness, was born in South Africa — I like Clarke to feel the moment and raise his level in front of the home faithful.
At +230, you don’t have to pull my arm in this spot. Give me Clarke.