WTA Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions, Preview: Our 2 Best Bets for Thursday Slate (March 24)
Mark Brown/Getty Images. Pictured: Irina-Camelia Begu.
The weather is hot in Miami and the quality of tennis remains high. And with more marquee matches to play Thursday, don’t expect the level to drop anytime soon.
Luckily, there are a couple spots on the order of play where value has presented itself.
Here are two betting picks to think about from the WTA Tour event in Miami.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for advice on watching tennis matches.
Ons Jabeur (-460) vs Magda Linette (+340)
1 p.m. ET
Ons Jabeur will be looking to put Indian Wells behind her as she starts her Miami campaign. In the Californian desert, Jabeur struggled in a 5-7, 7-6(0), 4-6 loss to Daria Saville.
Against Saville, Jabeur won just 55% service points, getting broken seven times and facing 17 break points. The Tunisian looked slightly injured during the match and was unable to play her best in the very slow, high-bouncing conditions. And while the conditions will be different in Miami, the courts are playing slower and Jabeur won’t enjoy the humidity.
However, when Jabeur is playing well, she’s a treat to watch. Her low-skidding backhand slice is a major weapon, she has great variety, and she is very precise when at the net. Jabeur’s forehand can also control the baseline.
Magda Linette played well during her 7-6(4), 6-4 win over Qinwen Zheng in the first round of Miami. It was surely nice for Linette to get the bad taste out of her mouth to defeat to lucky loser Astra Sharma in Indian Wells.
Against the big-hitting Zheng, Linette did a good job of taking what was given to her. She won 54% of the points on Zheng’s second serve and took five of the six break points she saw all match. Linette made Zheng beat her from the baseline.
Linette is a competent hard-court player, having won 58% of her career matches on the surface. She’s also captured two WTA singles titles on hard courts. While she doesn’t have overwhelming power, she does a good job of moving her opponents around the court and playing with decent controlled aggression.
Jabeur is not the most fit player on the WTA Tour, so the heat and humidity aren’t ideal for her. In addition, the courts are playing a bit slower than expected, while Jabeur typically does well on quicker surfaces.
Linette can play well on hard courts and is used to the conditions, having a played a good match against Zheng. Linette won’t give away many free points and will force Jabeur to earn her victory.
Giving 5.5 games is too many in this situation.
Pick: Linette +5.5 games (-132 via FanDuel)
Irina-Camelia Begu (+240) vs Aryna Sabalenka (-325)
8:30 p.m. ET
Irina-Camelia Begu came back from a set deficit to win 6-7(6), 6-1, 6-1 against Hailey Baptiste.
Against Baptiste, Begu won 81% of her first-serve points and was only broken once. On return, the Romanian won 44% of her return points and broke six times. Baptiste found it hard to hit through Begu’s impenetrable baseline game.
Begu doesn’t do anything special on court, but she’s a solid baseline player. She is consistent, hits with good depth and is a good mover. While she isn’t a power player, she can effectively ramp up the aggression on short balls.
While Begu won’t beat herself, Aryna Sabalenka is a player who has hurt herself way too often of late. Against Jasmine Paolini in her first match in Indian Wells, Sabalenka collapsed in a 6-2, 3-6, 3-6 loss.
Sabalenka hit 10 double faults in the match and only won 31% of her second serves. Sabalenka really struggled to break through in the second and third sets during her return games, despite Paolini’s weaker serve. The Belarusian only broke serve once after the first set.
Sabalenka is playing hit-or-miss tennis at the moment. Sometimes, her aggressive baseline game is dominant and her first serve is unplayable. However, at other times, she really struggles to find consistency in any aspect of her game.
Sabalenka had struggled with a double-fault problem earlier this season, so seeing her hit 10 double faults against Paolini was worrying. And, as Sabalenka is big hitter who loves to end points quickly, the thick air and surprisingly slow courts in Miami won’t suit her game.
Begu won’t give many points away for free and will test Sabalenka’s rally tolerance. Sabalenka has only won three of 12 matches this year in straight sets for a reason, as her level fluctuates wildly.
This is a good price for Begu to grab a set.
Pick: Begu +1.5 sets (-105 via PointsBet)