Tennis Picks: Men’s Sony Ericsson Open Odds & Predictions

Nila Amerova

Thursday, March 20, 2014 8:55 PM GMT

Thursday, Mar. 20, 2014 8:55 PM GMT

The Sony Ericsson Open underway this week presents plenty of tennis betting value, from match betting to outright win markets. Join us as we preview the draw and deliver our verdict on the best bets to win it al.

The BIG FOUR
Pundits and tennis bettors alike question whether the Big Four in tennis – Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Murray – remains a viable assessment of the current status quo. Odds makers’ however have no such qualms, assessing tennis betting markets accordingly, turning to the traditionally accepted Big Four to lead the charge into every single event.

In the second Masters on the season, in as many weeks, Novak Djokovic emerges as the market leader at +163 tennis odds to win outright across sportsbooks. Underscoring the Serbian starlets’ futures betting odds is his title victory at Indian Wells last weekend, amongst several other factors.

Undoubtedly, the World No.2 warrants his fancied odds and not just because he won at Indian Wells but also because his pedigree and hard court prowess is undeniable. That said he’ll have all to do to win back-to-back Masters 1000 events this week. Why? Well, for several reasons a) he did benefit from a rather favourable draw, facing hardly any serious top threats in the Californian desert all the while – and this is the interesting bit – b) playing well below his lofty standards. Often he looked confused and out of sorts and – if a critique were to be had – he didn’t win the title easily or convincingly for that matter. What’s more, in Miami, Djokovic has fallen into a much tougher draw with both Roger Federer and Andy Murray in his half as well as Jo Wilfried Tsonga and David Ferrer (+3300).

Rafael Nadal comes in as the odds makers’ second favourite to win outright at tennis odds of +250 at Bet365. While Nadal is always a great option for your tennis picks, Miami has been the bane of his career. It’s one of few events he has never won despite reaching three finals. The conditions aren’t ideal for his game – the surface giving off less bounce and spin than Indian Wells does. That said the Spaniard had a disappointing turn last week, falling to Alexander Dolgopolov in the third round in three sets. Not unlike Djokovic, Nadal seemed a bit out of sorts and off colour in the Californian desert. It remains to be seen how well he bounces back in Key Biscane this week but one thing is certain, he rarely (if ever) enjoys back-to-back disappointing events.

Well rested and raring to go, this could be his best shot at the title in Maimi ever. A notion helped along by the more balanced draw in Miami where he’s not only fallen into the same half as Berdych and Wawrinka (both listed at +1400) but also managed to avoid the pair and will only have to deal with one or the other in the semis. Juan Martin Del Potro, who would have been in Nadal’s quarter, has withdrawn due to injury. Thus, opening up a spot for lucky loser Benjamin Becker and, in turn, making Nadal’s section increasingly attractive.

Following his Indian Wells account where he finished runner-up – almost won the title even, which many pundits are of the opinion he probably should have as he had Djokovic on the ropes for most of the final– Roger Federer’s stock improves in tennis betting markets. Going into Miami, Federer is firmly installed as the third favourite to win outright at +550 futures betting odds. He doesn’t have an easy quarter with Kevin Anderson and Grigor Dimitrov lurking in the wings as well as David Ferrer flanking the opposite end, but if he continues on his rich vein of form he should make good progress, at least into the semis where he could potentially come up against Djokovic or Andy Murray.

Andy Murray comes in as the fourth favourite at +1100 to win outright. Traditionally, Miami has been a good event to the Scot and for that reason alone he does present some value. But it’s hard to ignore his poor form this season, which, although is largely down to taking time off late last season to have back surgery, raises the question whether he’ll be able to return to top form in the near future. Certainly, his comeback is nowhere near Nadal’s incredible comeback after injury last year, evinced nowhere more so than in Indian Wells where he deposited a very tired account. Making matters worse is Murray’s plunge in the rankings and the surprise announcement of a split with Coach Ivan Lendl, a decision that appears to have been exclusively made by Lendl himself and not the Scot.

Sony Ericsson Open betting Verdict: The bottom half of the draw features the bulk of the so-called ‘Big Four’ of tennis  with Djokovic, Federer and Murray all contained within, thus making it the tougher half to handicap. Nonetheless, both Djokovic and Federer present great tennis betting value and one or the other is quite likely to reach the final. Of course, David Ferrer can’t be ignored in this section. He was last year’s runner-up and after missing Indian Wells last week he comes into this event fresh and well rested. At the very least, he should make good progress into the quarters but if he comes up against the aforementioned tandem, he’ll be hard pressed to advance further. He does however matchup rather well against Andy Murray and in the event both somehow emerge into the semis, Ferrer’s odds would then suddenly improve.

Nadal, Berdych and Wawrinka all enjoyed early exits in Indian Wells so they set up a rather interesting top half of the draw. Most expect the trio to deliver better results this week and, thus, they present arguably the best value in the tournament for your tennis picks. While the conditions in Miami do tip the scale in favour of Berdych and Wawrinka slightly, the natural inclination is to gravitate towards Nadal simply because of his pedigree and his very, very fortuitous draw that should see him win his quarter handily at the very least.

Semifinal Picks: Nadal to beat Berdych in the semis; Federer to beat Murray in the semis

Final Picks: Nadal to beat Federer in the final
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