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European Open ATP Tennis Picks: Best Bets for Qualifying Action (Monday, Oct. 18)

European Open ATP Tennis Picks: Best Bets for Qualifying Action (Monday, Oct. 18) article feature image

Credit: Markus Tobisch, Getty. Dennis Novak hits a forehand at the Generali Open.

The nonstop ATP calendar churns on after a massive week in Indian Wells.

Tour stops this week include Antwerp and Moscow as players move back to Europe for another indoor hard-court swing.

While first-round play begins on Monday, there’s plenty of value on the slate for the qualifying action, so read on to see how I’ll be betting it.

Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches.

Dennis Novak (-122) vs. Andreas Seppi (+102)

7:00 a.m. ET

In the first match of the day, Novak will be taking the court. It’s not the Novak that you’re probably thinking of, but if you’re betting qualifiers with me, you are probably familiar with the Austrian, Dennis Novak.

The world number 111 has been in impressive form on the Challenger Tour recently. A run to the final in the stacked Orleans Challenger was highlighted by wins against Corentin Moutet and Quentin Halys. He backed that up with wins against Peter Gojowczyk and Elias Ymer the following week before losing to Norbert Gombos in a tight three-set battle.

In his first round of Antwerp qualification, Novak ran through Josef Kovalik with a dominant 6-0, 6-1 win. All of these wins came on indoor hard courts with similar speeds to the one that will be in use this week.

Seppi enters the match having been in solid form as well. The 37-year-old earned three wins on indoor hard courts after a disappointing loss to Ilya Marchenko in Sofia, but he certainly didn’t thrive in his first qualifying match as Novak did. Seppi defeated the wild-card Gauthier Onclin 6-4, 7-5.

Additionally, the lone H2H meeting between Seppi and Novak came on an indoor hard court in 2017, where Novak was victorious in two sets.

Every indicator points towards a situation where Novak should be a heavy favorite, but that isn’t the case. Getting him at a near pick ’em price is incredibly generous.

Pick: Dennis Novak -122 via FanDuel

Henri Laaksonen (-320) vs. Roberto Carballes Baena (+240)

8:20 a.m. ET

Laaksonen beat the aforementioned Novak in the Orleans Challenger two weeks ago, and he played some really nice tennis in doing so. The US Open standout beat Holger Rune and Benjamin Bonzi en route to the title. Those are impressive wins on the ATP Tour, let alone a Challenger event.

Carballes Baena is not too fond of hard courts, but he’s capable of playing quality tennis on the surface at times. The Spaniard garnered wins at the US Open, Australian Open and Indian Wells this year, and his first-round qualifying win against Liam Broady should give him a bit of confidence.

All four of the duo’s prior matchups have come on clay, and they’ve split them 2-2. Carballes Baena is more than capable of holding his own with Laaksonen, and these odds just don’t offer the respect of his game that he deserves.

Back Carballes Baena to push the Swiss and compete for an upset victory.

Pick: Roberto Carballes Baena +240 via FanDuel

Jenson Brooksby (-325) vs. Norbert Gombos (+230)

8:20 a.m. ET

Breakout star Brooksby is participating in his first ATP indoor hard-court event this week, and he enters as the number one seed in qualifying. The American has put together an incredible year with three Challenger titles and a fourth-round appearance at the US Open, but now he’s looking to put a bow on the season.

The man he’ll have to face to reach the main draw is a tough one. Gombos is an experienced tour player that thrives on indoor hard courts. The Slovakian is 0-9 on outdoor hard courts but 8-3 on indoor hard courts in 2021.

Much like the Carballes Baena match, Gombos isn’t being given much credit, but he has the ability to push an inexperienced Brooksby. While the 20-year-old has all the talent in the world, indoor hard courts are most favorable towards big hitters with an impactful serve. Brooksby struggles most with his serve, which can limit his ability to generate easy service games.

He has an uber-impressive 29% return game won rate on hard courts, but a 77% service game conversion rate is less than stellar. If Gombos is able to capitalize on a drop in level from Brooksby, he should be able to convert that into a string of games that could prove pivotal.

Trust him to do just that.

Pick: Norbert Gombos + 230 via PointsBet

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