Sunday ATP & WTA Odds, Predictions: 2 Undervalued Dogs at Miami Open (March 27)
Icon Sportswire/Getty. Pictured: Alexander Bublik hits a backhand at the Indian Wells tennis tournament.
The second Masters 1000 in two weeks has produced some stunning tennis, featuring a few upsets, quality comebacks with match points saved and one of the best shots you’ll ever see, courtesy of J.J. Wolf.
M A D N E S S 🤯
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) March 27, 2022
Matches will ramp up on Sunday as we launch into the Round of 32 in both the men’s and women’s draws, so if you’re looking for a bit of pre-NCAA Tournament action, read on.
Here are two underdogs that are receiving a generous line.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches.
Casper Ruud (-400) vs. Alexander Bublik (+300)
12:20 p.m. ET
The Norwegian number one demolished Henri Laaksonen on Friday to the tune of a 6-1, 6-2 victory. He converted on four of his six break points and didn’t offer the Swiss a single one, winning 97% of his first serve points and 80% of his second serve points.
Bublik struggled but ultimately got the job done in his opening matchup with Daniel Elahi Galan, hitting 11 aces and 13 double faults on just a 56% first serve rate. It took all of the six breaks that the Kazakh earned to finalize the victory, but it was a sweet one for Bublik.
You may be asking after those prefaces, how could this be a rationale for the underdog? Well, this is an excellent buy-low sell-high opportunity for Bublik.
He plays an extremely aggressive style of tennis that relies on risky service decisions and first-strike tennis, but his serving against Galan is just about as poorly as he can do. In fact, it was his second-worst service performance of the year, and Bublik still got the job done.
Slower conditions aren’t an issue for him, as we’ve seen Bublik play quality tennis in Rotterdam and Indian Wells, and he even has had times where clay hasn’t been devastating.
And as much as Ruud has improved on hard courts, which is a lot, he can’t be given too much credit for the performance over Laaksonen. Ruud played solid tennis and performed as a world top-10 player should, but Laaksonen got just 39% of his first serves in and looked lost throughout the match.
Bublik and Ruud have met three times before on hard courts, with Ruud dominating one of those matches (Paris 2021), pulling out a close victory in one (St. Petersburg 2019) and Bublik taking the third (Davis Cup, 2022).
Ruud is the rightful favorite in this one, as he has the biggest stroke on the court by way of his forehand and more tools to cause issues for Bublik, but +300 and 3.5 games is a hefty number to be giving a player that won this matchup just a month ago and holds an identical hard court hold rate.
Look for Bublik to really push the world number eight.
Pick: 0.5u Bublik +3.5 games (+100) | 0.5u Bublik +300 via DraftKings
Coco Gauff (-400) vs. Shuai Zhang (+300)
2:20 p.m. ET
On the women’s side, no non-elite player has looked as good as Shaui Zhang at the start of the Miami Open. The Chinese number three got past a rising star in Clara Tauson and obliterated a normally solid Sorana Cirstea to follow.
Against Tauson, Zhang won 61% of her first serve points and 59% of her second serve points, and against Cirstea those numbers were 75% and 71%. She conceded just one break point to Cirstea and allowed the Romanian a single hold all match.
Coco Gauff comes into this match having won a tight battle with Qiang Wang, but she’s struggled thus far on the year. The American has won more than one match just twice in the six tournaments that she’s played, and Gauff talked about just how motivated she was to get past her opponent, who beat her at the Australian Open.
Could this be a let-down spot for Gauff? I think there’s an argument to be made. Hard courts are Zhang’s best surface, as her Elo Rating on them is 50-plus points better than her clay and grass ratings, and though Zhang would prefer a slicker, faster surface, these conditions aren’t bad for the first-strike tennis she likes to play.
Zhang’s execution against Tauson was solid, but against Cirstea she really afforded her no chance. Admittedly, Cirstea couldn’t find her rhythm at any point in the match, but that was in part due to just how efficiently Zhang was playing.
For someone to be that good and get priced at +300 against a player that hasn’t been dominant at any point in the season, I’ll take that number every time.
Pick: 0.5u Shuai Zhang +4.5 games (+100) | 0.5u Zhang +300 via FanDuel