half of the draw: Nadal begins title defence campaign
Three-time Madrid champion and current titleholder Rafael Nadal is inevitably the tennis-betting favourite this week. Listed at fancied -125 tennis odds to win outright, Nadal is the odds-on favourite to win his home Masters 1000 event for the fourth time in his career. But this nod comes despite recent wobbles at Monte Carlo and Barcelona, both of which have correlated to a readjustment of his French Open odds from -150 to +100.
It’s interesting that the powers that be across sportsbooks are still confident in the Spaniard’s prowess in Madrid. But not so in Paris. Would that have something to do with this week’s recent development: news of Djokovic’s withdrawal from Madrid due to a reoccurring wrist/arm injury that is making the rounds?
Still Nadal’s draw is in no way a picnic, particularly when his recent form is a far cry from his lofty standards and he has losses to David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro on his CV in recent weeks to explain away. Straight out of the gates he could face clay-court gurus and dangerous floaters Jurgen Melzer or Juan Monaco. In the R16, veterans Tommy Haas or Jarkko Nieminen could potentially emerge while in the quarterfinals rising star Grigor Dimitrov (+5000), Kevin Anderson or World No. 6 Tomas Berdych (+4000) could emerge to challenge him.
In the adjacent quarter (what would yield a potential semi-final opponent), Nadal has the likes of Roger Federer to contend with – the Swiss maestro is also going for a fourth Madrid Open title this week and has beaten him previously in Madrid (the inaugural 2009 final). What’s more, Federer recently finished runner-up in Monte Carlo. Yet, he’s a disingenuous +1000 bet to win the Madrid Open.
Others in this section that are eager to shake things up are Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, French tandem of Gilles Simon and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (+4000) and Andy Murray to name a few. Speaking of Murray, he’s dropped down to World No. 8 in the rankings, is making his clay-court debut this week – but doesn’t play his best tennis on clay – yet somehow is listed as the +2800 bet to win outright? How come he’s one of the Top Five faves to win in Madrid when he’s never won a clay-court title, let alone made it into the final of a clay court event?
bottom half of the draw: Wawrinka aims to win second straight Masters
Arguably, the player to spot in the bottom half of the draw is Stanislas Wawrinka, who in lieu of Djokovic’s withdrawal from the event is now the second favourite to win outright at +600 future odds at Bet365. The Swiss No.1 is after winning his maiden Masters title in Monte Carlo and now is looking to make it two in a row in Madrid.
Wawrinka’s section is extremely negotiable given his surge in 2014. He has veterans Mikhail Youzhny, Feliciano Lopez and Guillermo Garcia Lopez in his section – all adept clay-court players in their own right and therefore dangerous floaters. But they would have to come up with something extraordinary to topple Wawrinka, especially given the fact that he has the momentum and confidence going into this tournament. Only rising star Kei Nishikori (+6600) leaps off the page in this section as a stumbling block. The Japanese starlet is rather talented on clay and given the best-of-three set scenario at the Masters level, he has a viable shot to shake things up this section, which makes him a tempting choice to win this quarter at +275. In fact, he’s the odds makers’ second favourite after Wawrinka at -175 to win the third quarter.
Finally, the fourth quarter contains David Ferrer, who is matched at +1100 to the Madrid Open in futures betting markets. The Spaniard is the runaway favourite at -110 to win this quarter and for good reason. With no Djokovic in his section (this would have been Djokovic’s quarter) and with the likes of long shots such as John Isner (+12500) and Albert Ramos (+25000) in his immediate way. And temperamental Fabio Fognini (+6600), contradictory Ernests Gulbis (+5000), fragile Marin Cilic (+8000) or inconsistent Jerzy Janowicz (+10000) down the stretch, this section is his to win or lose.
Tennis Betting Verdict: Since the tournament moved to clay in 2009, Nadal and Federer each won this event twice. Only Novak Djokovic won the event in 2011 in its current form. If history were an indication, the aforementioned pair of Nadal and Federer therefore do warrant consideration on your tennis picks.
Form suggests Nadal is a less than certain option but then again his draw says otherwise. Granted it’s no picnic but he’s on home ground in Madrid. Berdych is after a defeat to Berlocq in the final of the Portugal Open and Dimitrov has yet to win a Masters title so while both (in theory) are viable alternatives in his section, you must still expect Nadal to come through in this quarter. In recent years, Nadal has owned Federer and should they collide in the semis, you’d expect that confidence to play a major factor.
The bottom half of the draw is potentially the most interesting with Wawrinka and Ferrer practically leaping off the page as the best picks of the lot. What’s more, both have recent wins over Nadal, albeit the latter has one additional edge having beaten Nadal on his beloved clay. To date, Wawrinka has yet to beat Nadal on clay.
Top Tennis Free Picks: Here are a few picks to consider for your wagering ticket this week on the Madrid Open.
to win outright at -125
Wawrinka to win outright at +600
Ferrer to win his quarter at -110
Federer to win his quarter at +138