March Masters, the tennis equivalent of March Madness if you will, kicks off in the Californian desert this week with the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. Predictably, the spotlight shines on the Big Four: Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Murray. Is the champion contained in this fabulous quartet.
Previewing the Indian Wells Odds To Win Outright
Tennis bettors will find no surprises at the top of the Indian Wells Futures market as the Big Four are the players to beat. Djokovic has the market cornered on +125 tennis odds while Roger Federer comes in second at +350. Andy Murray, meanwhile, is priced at +650 to win outright and Rafael Nadal rounds out the group on +800 tennis odds.
After the Big Four the tennis odds climb up into the quadruple range. Kei Nishikori (+1600), Stan Wawrinka (+1800) and Tomas Berdych (+2000) are adjudged by odds makers to be the next best tennis picks to consider in the pursuit of the title. Followed by Milos Raonic (+2500) and David Ferrer (+3300).
The next rung down the lndian Wells ladder includes the outside bets to spot beginning with Marin Cilic (+4000), Grigor Dimitrov (+5000) and John Isner at (+8000) according to the bookies, amongst several others.
Indian Wells Odds To Win Quarters
In the next few sections, we look at the respective quarters headlined by one of the Big Four. We preview the field of competition and serve up our choice tennis picks to win the section, along with some outside tennis picks as well to consider that could potentially shake things up.
First Quarter: Djokovic -350 To Win
Djokovic falls into the first quarter of the draw, a section he's highly favoured to win at -350 tennis odds. However, it's not going to be a walk in the park with in-form David Ferrer (+650 to win quarter), flush off back-to-back title wins in Rio De Janeiro and Acapulco slated to challenge him in the quarterfinals, if all goes to plan. Before the last eight, though, he will have to navigate a course past several potential threats such as Viktor Troicki, Julien Benneteau, Kevin Anderson or John Isner. Then again, Djokovic fares well against all these players and shouldn't be troubled. On a more specific note. Isner is after a disappointing USA loss to Great Britain in Davis Cup action. His five-set loss to Jamie Ward after being up two sets must be crushing to his confidence.
Although David Ferrer is expected to emerge in the quarterfinals, that is in no way a certainty when his path to the last eight is littered with stumbling blocks from Ivan Dodig and Borna Coric to a pair of rising Aussie stars Bernard Tomic and Thanasi Kokkinakis and US Open champion Marin Cilic. Indeed, Ferrer will have his work cut out for he before he gets a crack at Djokovic, assuming the World No.1 avoids an early shock. Then again, work, grinding, grafting...whatever synonym floats your boat...is his middle name.
Top Tennis Pick: Djokovic -350
Value Tennis Pick to Win Quarter: Ferrer +650
Long Shot Pick: Anderson +2200
Second Quarter: Murray -125 To Win
Murray's quarter looks straightforward enough on paper. Perhaps, deceptively so. The players in his section all have the potential to light up, so it shouldn't be taken for granted that Murray is the runaway fave at -125 to win outright. Kohlshreiber is a tricky opponent at the best of times, while Fabio Fognini is the most frustrating of all the players on the ATP Tour, going from pedestrian to absolutely brilliant tennis from match to match, tournament to tournament. Then there's Ernests Gulbis, who can light up at a moment's notice in his section, a healthy sprinkling of veterans in Benjamin Becker and Mischa Zverev, and Aussie hopeful Sam Groth, amongst several others. On the opposite side, Kei Nishikori looms as a real threat to win the quarter at +150. Spanish lefties Feliciano Lopes (+1600) and Fernando Verdasco (+2200) and American hopeful Ryan Harrison to name a few.
Top Pick To Win Quarter: Andy Murray -125
Value Tennis Pick: Nishikori +150
Long Shot Pick: Fognini +2000
Third Quarter: Nadal -110 To Win
Rafael Nadal has the market cornered on -110 tennis odds to win the third quarter, but there is reasonable speculation about his form, whether it's at the requisite level to compete successfully at a tournament of this calibre. When Nadal is confident and on-from there is no denying his quality or value as a tennis pick. It remains to be seen where it is this week in Indian Wells.
Nadal falls into the same section as Milos Raonic, the odds makers second fave to win the quarter at +250. Immediate threats include up-and-coming Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, a player that he trained with in the offseason, as well as Igor Sjisling and Filip Krajinovic and Jeremy Chardy. Others in his immediate path to the quarters include Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon (both at +1400).
Raonic is widely expected to challenge Nadal in the quarters, but he's got some stiff opposition to consider before he might tackle Nadal in the last eight, including Alexandr Dolgopolov, Tommy Robredo and Grigor Dimitrov, to name a few.
Top Tennis Pick: Nadal -110 To Win Quarter
Value Tennis Pick: Grigor Dimitrov +450
Long Shot Tennis Pick: Simon +1400
Fourth Quarter: Federer -125
Roger Federer leads the charge in the fourth quarter as the -125 favourite on the tennis odds board, but his section is one of the toughest with compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka (+300 to win the quarter) flanking the opposite end. In the mix, a whole slew of big hitters are found including Jerzy Janowicz, Gilles Muller, Tomas Berdych (+350 to win the quarter), Lukas Rosol and Ivo Karlovic. Then there's Andreas Seppi, the player that beat Federer in the third round of the Australian Open. As well, veterans such as Sergiy Stakhovksy and Mikhail Youzhny. Navigating a successful course through this section is going to be tough, to say the least. It wouldn't be surprising if there were a few upsets along the way. That said, Roger Federer is after winning the title in Dubai, beating Djokovic in the final. His confidence should be in good shape for this prestigious Masters event.
Top Pick: Federer -125
Value Tennis Pick: Berdych +350 To Win Quarter
Long Shot Tennis Pick: Karlovic +5000