ATP Indian Wells Betting Odds & Predictions: Back Alcaraz & Brooksby to Set Up Quarterfinal (March 16)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images. Pictured: Carlos Alcaraz.
We have another stellar night session at the Indian Wells Masters on Wednesday in men's tennis action.
The slate will be headlined by the 18-year-old phenom Carlos Alcaraz taking on Gael Monfils, as well as last year's champion Cameron Norrie facing American Jenson Brooksby.
Monfils pulled off one of the upsets of the tournament thus far, defeating world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev early enough in the tournament where Medvedev actually will lose his status in the rankings.
So, will Monfils be able to pull off a similar shock against the Spaniard? Read on to see how I'm betting these matches.
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Carlos Alcaraz (-310) vs. Gael Monfils (+230)
9 p.m. ET
There might not be many times in the future when Alcaraz is placed outside of the center court at events, but he'll take on the Frenchman on Stadium Two in this latest showdown.
That's an upgrade from his matchup with Roberto Bautista Agut, when he was on the third court at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Of course, tournament organizers were likely pleased with that decision considering what Alcaraz did to his countryman.
He absolutely demolished one of the most consistent players, 6-2 6-0, and it was one of the performances of the year. Alcaraz played flawless, winning 76% of the points on his first serve, 75% of the points behind his second serve and limiting Bautista Agut under 43% of his service points won on the match.
The teenager's ball striking is suited well for the conditions in Indian Wells, with his groundstrokes bouncing heavily off of the gritty courts and the added time to prepare for shots serving as an added benefit to his game.
It's going to be hard to beat Alcaraz on any surface at this point, but this is one of the best circumstances for him to be playing in. That's not too far from the case for Monfils, though, and he also put on an incredible showing to take out Medvedev.
Monfils hit the cover off the ball to get through Medvedev, flummoxing him with a combination of defensive acumen and easy power. Maybe most impressively, Monfils did it without serving particularly well.
The world No. 28 hit three aces and seven double faults, but he only won 69% of the points behind his first serve. His 77% first serve rate was his best of the season, but the damage was done on the ground against one of the most rally tolerant players on tour.
Monfils will have put in a similar effort to take out Alcaraz, though, and he'll have to post a similar first serve rate to avoid consistent pressure on his serve. Alcaraz has broken his opponents in 33% of his service games on hard courts , and he's even more potent on return in the desert, where conditions are optimal for him.
We have to expect a bit of regression on Monfils' first serve, and that'll shift the balance even further to Alcaraz, who doesn't need to play nearly as well as he did against Bautista Agut to advance to the quarterfinals.
Expect Alcaraz to put the pressure on early and often once again.
Pick: Carlos Alcaraz -3.5 Games (-115 via Caesars)
Cameron Norrie (-130) vs. Jenson Brooksby (+100)
10:15 p.m. ET
Another brilliant matchup comes in the form of last year's Indian Wells champion versus one of the most promising Americans the men's side has had in some time.
Brooksby overcame Stefanos Tsitsipas on Monday, rebounding from a 6-1 first set to turn into a brick wall with offensive firepower, and the world No. 5 didn't have any answers.
Norrie certainly has the patience to hit away with Brooksby, but the question is, does he have any weapons that can actually hurt the American? I'm not sure he does, and while the service edge lies with Norrie, he's won 8% less of the games behind his serve than Brooksby has this year on hard courts.
Brooksby, who is one of the least potent 6-foot-4 servers you'll ever see, has held 91% of his service games on hard courts, a number that you'll typically see from some of the best servers. Brooksby is simply that good on the ground, and Norrie doesn't have real means of troubling him, unless his game just isn't there on the day.
Norrie thrives through coaxing errors and impatience out of his opponents, but he won't get that from Brooksby, who is already one of the best competitors in the game.
The Brit's hard court Elo Rating is right next to Brooksby's, and I think that reflects the general level of these two players on the surface, but in this matchup Brooksby should be able to deal with Norrie's consistent play off of both wings.
Considering he's a favorite in my estimation, Brooksby is certainly worth the play at plus money.
Pick: Brooksby ML (+100) via Caesars