The final ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event, the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, hits the tennis-betting floor this week with a whole slew of viable contenders bidding for the title. Find out what value tennis picks we’ve sorted in this final Masters betting extravaganza of the 2014 season.
There are no surprises in this category with the usual suspects emerging as the short odds-on favourites for the title, with the only notable absentee Rafael Nadal, who’s withdrawn with appendicitis for the rest of the season. Leading the tennis odds board is Novak Djokovic, matched at +175 to win outright; a surging Roger Federer, matched at +275 to win outright, and Andy Murray, matched at +600 tennis odds, a distant third but no less a threat for it.
Novak Djokovic returns to competitive play since Shanghai over a fortnight ago, but with the birth of his son last week he might be slightly distracted, not to mention perhaps a tad pooped (pun intended) from nappy duty. Djokovic is the defending champion, which means he has a lot of points to defend this week. There’s no shortage of incentive for Djokovic with Federer nipping at his heels in the ATP rankings race, putting up a good fight for the year-end World No.1 ranking down the stretch. You can bet Djokovic will be focused and raring to go, but his draw does have several threats strewn across it, from his opener against Philipp Kohlschreiber to a potential clash between Gael Monfils or John Isner (+8000) in the R16 and a potential final eight showdown with either Grigor Dimitrov or Andy Murray, to name a few.
Roger Federer arrives in Paris on the heels of back-to-back title victories in Shanghai and Basel. Of the top favourites for the title, he’s the most in-form of the lot. That could mean he’s the value tennis pick to win it all at +275 tennis odds. Roger Federer has won this title only once in his career, a rather meagre account considering he has 23 Masters to his credit. The pursuit of the title, not to mention the resumption of his quest for the year-end No.1 ranking in Paris, however looks auspicious behind a rather favourable draw through which he does have a reasonable shot of navigating.
Federer’s certain to open his campaign against a Frenchman, but which remains to be determined – Jeremy Chardy or Kenny De Scheeper. Inconsistent Fognini and big-serving Ivo Karlovic are also in his immediate path, but with favourable records against both players either threat would appear straightforward in tennis betting terms. In the final eight, Federer could face up-and-coming Milos Raonic (+1800 futures odds), American hopeful Jack Sock or home favourite Richard Gasquet (+6600), to name a few. Once again, the balance tips in the Swiss’ favour on account of solid head-to-head records with each. Unless one of these players punches above his weight class, it’s safe to assume Federer would cruise into the quarters at the very least, if not further.
Andy Murray’s tennis odds are a reflection of his tough draw, which would pit him against Novak Djokovic in the quarters. Best-case scenario for the Scot, who’s still bidding to qualify for the ATP Tour Finals in London, is if somebody upsets Djokovic in the early rounds. Needless to say that is out of his hands. Before Murray can think about the Serbian starlet, he’s got his own personal challenges to overcome, including home favourite Julien Benneteau and Grigor Dimitrov (+2000), to name a few. Murray is coming off an exhausting and gruelling three-set marathon in Valencia against Tommy Robredo. Although the Scot pulled off the victory, it was by far the longest three-set match of the season and it could take its toll on the Scott in Paris.
According to the bookies, the contenders for this title include Tomas Berdych (+1200), Kei Nishikori (+1400), David Ferrer (+1600) and Milos Raonic (+1800). Customary contenders such as Tsonga and Wawrinka, meanwhile, have been downgraded in tennis betting markets to slightly lesser threats at +2000 futures odds, simply because of waning form and betting confidence.
Berdych, Tsonga and Ferrer are one-hit wonders at this level, all having won the Paris Masters title at a point in their careers: Berdych picked up the title early in his career (2005); Tsonga won it during his memorable 2008 season; and grafter Ferrer clinched it in 2012 when he beat surprise package Jerzy Janowicz in the final. Of this triplet, Ferrer is the most reliable, consistently grinding his way deep into tournaments. Winning another such title however is a big ask for the Spaniard, it would take a lot of things going his way in the draw namely some big seeds dropping like flies. Speaking of the draw it’s fitting for a workhorse such as he is with compatriot Fernando Verdasco, dogged Gilles Simon (Shanghai runner-up) and Tsonga contained within, to name a few.
Raonic and Nishikori represent the future of tennis and while both have made significant strides this season, there’s still a decided gap between them and the favourites at this level. Neither has clinched a title better than an ATP 500 event. That said Nishikori has proven his merit as a contender by beating some of the top players in the game, most notably Djokovic and Federer. Raonic has yet to procure such a scalp in order to make him a viable tennis pick.
The French Angle
It’s a strong French contingent competing in Paris with Tsonga, Gasquet, Monfils, Simon, Benneteau and Chardy flying the nation’s colours. There’s something to be said for home advantage in most sports, but not so much in tennis. But for tennis bettors looking for a Frenchy to spot, Gilles Simon at +8000 cuts a striking figure as a long shot bet. The Frenchman reached the Shanghai finals only to lose to Federer in a tight straight setter a few weeks back. What’s more, France is slated to take on Switzerland in the Davis Cup final next month, the call to national duty going to Tsonga, Monfils, Gasquet, Benneteau and Llodra. Simon is persistently passed over by France, which as far as this tournament goes means he’s free to exert himself to the maximum at this event.
Tennis Free Picks: Obviously, the betting public is going to be split between Djokovic +175, Federer +275 and Andy Murray at +600 and we have to agree with those choices. Federer, however looms as the best of the lot at +275. For outside outside tennis picks consider Nishikori +1400 or Ferrer +1600.