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Boxing Picks 2021- Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders (May 8th)

There have been some solid cards over the last several months, but the largely absent fans has been a big miss for Boxing as much as other s...

Monday, 31 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 31st)

Today was not supposed to be as busy as it has turned out and I realise that the tournaments in Washington and Los Cabos, from where my tennis picks are focusing today, are shortly due to begin.

However I do have three picks from the First Round matches that have been scheduled across those two tournaments on Monday. Unfortunately it does mean a third straight day where I have to put up the picks without the breakdown, although I will ensure that doesn't happen again on Tuesday.

MY PICKS: Tommy Paul - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet365 (2 Units)
Donald Young - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Matthew Ebden - 2.5 Games @ 1.85 William Hill (2 Units)

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Boxing Picks 2017- Mikey Garcia vs Adrien Broner (July 29th)

I've said it before and I will say it again- 2017 has been a wonderful year for Boxing with some huge fights being signed and yet another big fight takes place this weekend when Mikey Garcia is set to move up in weight to face 'The Problem' Adrien Broner.

It's a far closer fight than most initially expected and headlines at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, while back in the United Kingdom Carl Frampton returns from his first professional defeat to try and get back into a position to fight for a World Title. Whether that is against Lee Selby or a third fight with Leo Santa Cruz remains to be seen, but it does make for another interesting night of boxing.

Of course we are also less than a month away from Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor which is the fight that has captured the imagination of the casual fan. I still don't see anything but a comfortable win for 49-0 Mayweather, but that is a story for another day.

By that time we may also know who Anthony Joshua is going to take on next with the leading contender looking to be a rematch with Wladimir Klitschko under the bright lights of Las Vegas. That could be a special night in November, although there has been little sound coming from the Ukrainian who has yet to officially exercise his rematch clause.

That was supposed to be announced in June, yet here we are in July where Eddie Hearn and AJ continue working towards holding the event in Las Vegas. Cardiff is also being held as a back up in case Klitschko decides to call it a day and then it will be Joshua vs Kubrat Pulev who is the current mandatory for the IBF Title Joshua holds.

Any fight with Tyson Fury looked to move further away when the former Champion announced yet another retirement this past week, although I still think Fury will return for that mega-fight that won't happen before the summer of 2018 anyway.

Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin continues to come forward at a pace and the very interesting World Boxing Super Series will also begin in September and the potential for some huge fights over the next ten months in that tournament too. All in all, Boxing looks to be in a wonderful place.

It isn't just the boxing fights that will have my attention on Saturday night as we see the long awaited rematch between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier in the UFC. These two legitimately don't like one another and it really is the fight that will determine the best Light-Heavyweight in the UFC and makes for another intriguing fight. That one will be on record and I will catch up Sunday morning with my main attention being on the boxing on Saturday night.

Carl Frampton vs Andres Gutierrez
The return of 'The Jackal' will make for a big occasion for the Northern Irish fans who have followed their hero to the United States for two huge nights over the last twelve months.

Many would have hoped this was going to be the third of a mooted trilogy with Leo Santa Cruz, but the latter decided he didn't want to do it at Windsor Park and so Andres Gutierrez has been picked for the 'homecoming' fight.

Any time you get in the ring with a Mexican is not going to be an easy night though and Frampton will need to be at his best. Winning this fight opens the door to the potential rubber fight with Santa Cruz or for a huge domestic fight with Lee Selby, but a second consecutive loss would be tough for Frampton to recover from.

Like many from his nation, including Canelo Alvarez, Gutierrez started life as a professional when he was very young and at 24 years old he has had more Knock Out wins than Frampton has had fights. You do have to respect that Gutierrez is likely to be tough and rugged like the late Alejandro Gonzalez Jr proved to be when dropping Frampton twice in Texas when they fought two years ago.

Like Gonzalez Jr, the Gutierrez resume is not one that is littered with too many known fighters and he was beaten by Cristian Mijares on a Majority Decision when stepping up to face an opponent who had fought at world level before. The biggest win is probably the Unanimous Decision over Ray Perez, but that doesn't exactly mean he is cut it to beat Frampton in front of a raucous home support.

Gutierrez is the taller fighter and has a considerable reach advantage which may make life a little more awkward for Frampton. While the Frampton team are talking about him being ready to make a real statement, stopping Gutierrez won't be easy and it may come down to the scorecards again.

Five of the last six Frampton fights have gone the distance and he has won four of those. You would imagine he is going to be given credit for any really close Rounds and I will be looking for Frampton to likely win this one with a Unanimous Decision.

I am just not convinced Frampton has the punching power to stop Gutierrez who will be looking to make his mark on the big stage and unlikely to allow the Mexican spirit to waver. There is always a fear that the referee could get involved, but I think this will be a close enough fight to see all 12 Rounds completed and Frampton to earn the Decision by around 116-112.

The weight issue shouldn't be of huge concern as it feels like an error from Frampton rather than an issue that may be longer term.

EDIT: This fight has been called off after Andres Gutierrez suffered a freak accident the day before the scheduled fight.

Jarrell Miller vs Gerald Washington
There is a lot of hype around Jarrell Miller which 'Big Baby' has contributed to by calling out the very top names in the Heavyweight Division. The 29 year old will be fighting in front of his home fans on Saturday night and has a chance to put together a statement win over Gerald Washington who was last beaten by Deontay Wilder.

The 5th Round Knock Out showed that Washington has some way to go to win a World Title, but he was boxing well before the big punch landed. That may mean his resistance is a question mark when facing an opponent like Miller who has stopped 16 opponents in his 18 wins.

It has been almost a year since Miller was last in the ring though and I think that could be an issue if he is not able to get Washington out early as he has been suggesting. While Miller wants to win this one in quicker fashion than Wilder to put his name out there as a future World Title challenger, I can see a situation develop where tiredness becomes a factor.

No matter how many Rounds of sparring have been completed, boxing a real fight is a much different story. Washington hasn't exactly been active, but he did have that fight with Wilder where he would have learned he can box with a World Champion and have success, which was highlighted in the cards at the time of the stoppage.

We saw Dominic Breazeale bounce back from his World Title defeat to Anthony Joshua with a solid win as the underdog, and I think Washington may be able to produce the upset. I will be looking for Washington to avoid the threatening Miller early in the fight and perhaps out box him when Miller begins to get tired as he surely will at some point.

Scoring Knock Outs is what the Heavyweight Division is all about, so you can't ignore the fact that Washington may be able to put Miller away, but I think the tactic will be to out box him. Being 'away from home' makes going for a Decision a risky move, but I can see Miller being frustrated if he hasn't got rid of Washington early and ring rust to take over.

Of course Washington may be someone whose whiskers could struggle when tested again, but having a small interest in the underdog to win this one on a Decision could prove to be a big price.

Jermall Charlo vs Jorge Sebastian Heiland
The move to Middleweight begins for Jermall Charlo who will be fighting at his heaviest weight in his professional career on Saturday. The door has been opened for the unbeaten former Super Welterweight World Champion who will be in line to face the winner of the Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin super-fight in September.

He faces a rugged Argentinian in his first fight at this weight and Jorge Sebastian Heiland will be hoping to spoil the party. However it is his more natural weight compared with Charlo, although it does feel like the American is going to grow into this weight easy enough with the height and reach to be dangerous.

The question will be about the punching power and whether that also makes it way up the weights. Seventeen of Charlo's last nineteen fights have ended inside the distance, but Heiland has never been stopped and this is not going to be easy for Charlo.

However I think Heiland has not really fought at this level and this feels like a coming out party for Charlo at Middleweight and potentially set up a huge fight with the winner of Canelo-Triple G in 2018. It might take some time to break down someone with the experience Heiland has, but I can see Charlo potentially working his way into a position to earn the stoppage as we reach the second half of the fight.

It may even take the referee or the corner to pull Heiland from the punishment the longer the fight goes, but eventually I expect to see Charlo in that position. Heiland is tough, like many from Argentina tend to be, but this is a chance for Charlo to 'steal the show' as he has been promising and I can see him showing off the power from the Super Welterweight level as a fully fledged Middleweight and earn a stoppage later in this fight.

A small interest in Charlo getting it done in the second half of the fight is worth taking here. Backing that to happen between 7-9 Rounds looks to be worth a small interest.

Mikey Garcia vs Adrien Broner
As soon as this fight was announced, I was really intrigued by it and why the two fighters had decided to go in this direction.

It felt like both Mikey Garcia and Adrien Broner could have headed elsewhere than taking on what looks like arguably the biggest challenge of their careers. That especially feels the case for Garcia in all honesty with Broner having tangled with the likes of Shawn Porter and Marcos Maidana and I was a little surprised that 'The Problem' has been written off by many when the fight was announced.

A lot of that has to do with a 'lazy' attitude and perhaps not being very likeable with the hope that Broner will lose and allow Garcia to move on to better things. However Broner has looked good in making weight and I really think he can surprise the oddsmakers with a career best performance that once again makes him a big name.

Broner is a name, but his recent struggles in and out of the ring has reduced the appeal and he is coming in as the 'B' side of this promotion. That does mean he might be unfavoured in tight Rounds which is a concern, but Broner has shown toughness and I am not sure Garcia will be able to hit as hard as the likes of Maidana who put Broner down twice in his win over the American.

You can't always be sure what kind of frame of mind Broner will turn up in, but I think he will be the bigger man on the night and Garcia might find him a little awkward. If Broner is feeling up to the task, he can certainly give Garcia so many issues to resolve and I think there is every chance he is able to impose himself on this fight.

I really think it will be close, much closer than the layers seem to believe. I have been convinced by Broner's attitude leading up to the fight and him making the weight in the manner he did is a positive, while Broner doesn't look drained like many feared he could.

Being the 'B' side may mean Broner has to work a little more to win the Rounds than he is used to, but he has been in with some tough competition and I think that shows up here. Broner needs this fight more than Garcia who can go back down a weight and put together some big fights, and I think that is something that makes a difference.

I can't imagine Broner doing enough to stop Garcia, but I can see him taking a tight Split Decision points win and I will back 'The Problem' to be find the answers in a Decision win.

MY PICKS: Gerald Washington By Decision/Technical Decision @ 6.00 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Jarmall Charlo Win Between 7-9 @ 6.00 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Adrien Broner By Decision/Technical Decision @ 7.00 Sky Bet (1 Unit)

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 29th)

There are some weeks where you just can't seem to catch a break and I have no doubt that this is one of those.

Two more matches had every chance of winning going into the final set on Friday and both went the wrong way meaning almost every pick this week that has been beaten has been beaten in the final set. Winning more points has meant nothing, having the superior numbers overall haven't met anything and to say I have been frustrated is putting it mildly.

While it has been a crappy week in general, it could end on a bright note but I will have more about that in the coming days.

Friday was another busy day which means I am not able to put up a full post, but I will get back to the normal threads either on Saturday, if there are any picks from the Finals being played, or on Sunday for the opening matches of the new tournaments beginning on Monday.

MY PICKS: Caroline Wozniacki - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Yannick Hanfmann + 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Roberto Bautista Agut - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Friday, 28 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 28th)

Thursday proved to be a busy day for me, and a long one, which means my focus is simply getting the picks out for the Friday Quarter Final matches that will be played.

Wet weather remains an issue for the organisers of the events in Europe, but the tournaments remain on schedule and there hasn't been the need for players having to win two matches in a single day to remain in the draw.

It has been a poor week for the picks with little fortune behind them as players have continued to blow winning positions and subsequently missed the cover I have been looking for.

Tough weeks are part and parcel of a long season, but it is still frustrating when so many winning positions have been blown and the manner in which they have been blown.

MY PICKS: Karen Khachanov @ 1.91 William Hill (2 Units)
Jiri Vesely - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Caroline Garcia - 4.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Jack Sock - 1.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet365 (2 Units)

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 27th)

There were a number of matches on Wednesday but only one made my shortlist and then there were enough doubts when having a deeper look at that contest which put me off backing it.

It has been a pretty difficult week to find the right angles for picks this week and the only two I have been convinced about have both let me down. Both have been very, very close to success, but ultimately being close is not good enough and I am hoping for better on Thursday to get this week turned back around.

The remainder of the Second Round matches will be played on Thursday before we move onto the Quarter Final matches at the five events being played this week. On Thursday I do have five picks from the tournaments and I am looking for a really strong day to move this week into a positive position for the remaining three days.

Kiki Bertens - 5.5 games v Barbora Krejcikova: This is the second time in 2017 that Kiki Bertens and Barbora Krejcikova will be meeting on the Tour and the latter will be hoping for much better than when she earned just three games in the Final in Nuremberg. That was a special tournament for Krejcikova, but Bertens has shown she is one of the better players on the clay courts on the WTA Tour with a title there and one won last week in Gstaad.

The Bertens numbers on the clay courts have been really impressive over the last two years and she has been able to look after her serve very effectively. That is perhaps no surprise when you think how good the serve is and Bertens is able to have the patience to work the points over.

It is also shown up in her return game overall, but those numbers get stronger across the board when Bertens has played opponents Ranked outside the top 100. Those small margins can make the big difference and it is difficult to see Krejcikova snap her 0-3 record against top 20 Ranked players on the clay despite the ease of her win over Annika Beck in the First Round here.

Tiredness could be a factor against Bertens who won the title in Gstaad but she didn't show that in her First Round win over Carina Witthoeft and I think the Bertens return game can set her up for a big win on Thursday. Serving as she has means Bertens can exert plenty of pressure on Krejcikova and I will look for the Dutchwoman to win this one 6-3, 6-3 and move into another Quarter Final on the clay in 2017.

David Ferrer - 2.5 games v Federico Delbonis: The decline in the David Ferrer game may be irreversible at this time of his career, but he won another title last week in Bastad. That was an impressive title win for Ferrer and I am a little worried that he will struggle to back that up with the inconsistency he has begun to show in his game.

Last week he beat Federico Delbonis who has suffered with injury and a loss of form to fall down the World Rankings and thus take part in more Challenger events than he has been used to. Delbonis has played well in those Challenger events with some deep runs in those tournaments which will have given him some confidence.

Winning two Qualifiers before a First Round success over Carlos Berlocq will add to that confidence and Delbonis and Ferrer did play a close match last week in Bastad. Both players were dominant on the return in that match and I think that will be the case again for both, although I can see Ferrer franking his form with another victory over Delbonis.

Ferrer has won all three previous matches against Delbonis without dropping a set, which is another mental edge for the veteran Spaniard, and I will look for him to win this one 7-6, 6-4.

Jiri Vesely - 2.5 games v Horacio Zeballos: He might not have been at his best in the First Round, but Jiri Vesely should take some heart from beating an in-form Fernando Verdasco over three sets. Playing a lefty in the First Round should mean Vesely is prepared for another meeting with Horacio Zeballos against whom he has won both previous matches.

Neither of those have been on the clay courts which will be Zeballos' preferred surface, but Vesely may also be at his best on this surface. His numbers against players Ranked outside the top 50 on the clay have been very impressive and that is why I do lean towards Vesely winning this one and also covering this number.

I do have to respect the fact that Zeballos does get some pop on his serve which makes him dangerous, but his return game is not the best. Zeballos will also be challenged by the return game Vesely is able to produce against those players Ranked outside the top 50 and I think that works together to see the Czech player move through to the Quarter Final.

In their two previous matches the superior returning of Vesely has proved to be a difference and I will be looking for this match to go the same way. A tie-breaker could be the key moment of the match, but I am looking for Vesely to win that and also the match 6-4, 7-6.

Karen Khachanov - 1.5 games v Aljaz Bedene: There is much to admire about Karen Khachanov's game and the young Russian certainly looks like one of the names to look out for in the coming years. He has had a couple of solid performances at Grand Slam events over the last couple of months, and Khachanov is very comfortable on the clay courts.

He will have to be close to his best to beat Aljaz Bedene who has had a very strong run on the clay courts in 2017. Bedene has showed improvement in both serving and returning in 2017 and that has seen him produce better results.

However those have rarely come against players of the quality of Khachanov and I think that is going to be an issue. While Khachanov hasn't returned as well as he had been in the last couple of years, that has something to do with taken a step up in class when playing regular ATP events and Khachanov has produced better numbers when facing those players Ranked outside the top 50.

Khachanov beat Bedene twice on the clay courts in 2016 and I think he can produce another win over him here in Hamburg. While Bedene has played better tennis on the clay since his last match with Khachanov, I also think the latter is much improved and I can see him being too strong in a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 win.

MY PICKS: Kiki Bertens - 5.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
David Ferrer - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Jiri Vesely - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Karen Khachanov - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 0-2, - 4 Units (4 Units Staked, - 100% Yield)

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 25th)

It feels like the whole of Europe is having a downturn in weather at this moment in July, although the tournament in Atlanta was another affected by poor weather on Monday.

At least Hamburg has a roof on the main court there, but rain delays have to be expected in the days ahead and I think there is a big chance of seeing players have to complete two matches in a single day to get these events back on track.

There are plenty of tennis matches scheduled for Tuesday as the events play catch up with Monday being severely affected by the rain, but the forecast doesn't make for great reading on the day and it may be another delay-filled day.

While there may be a lot of matches scheduled, for the second day in a row I am making just one pick from the matches to be played, weather permitting.

Caroline Wozniacki - 5.5 games v Pauline Parmentier: The clay courts may be the weakest of the surfaces as far as Caroline Wozniacki is concerned, but I think the Number 1 Seed in Bastad can get her event off to a solid start. This is a big number for Wozniacki to cover considering her clay court performances, but I think she has been able to produce enough solid tennis on the surface in 2017 to win this one.

Her opponent had a good run in Gstaad last week, but Pauline Parmentier has struggled when facing the better players on the Tour. The Frenchwoman is just 4-5 when facing top 100 players on the clay courts in 2017 and she was 5-4 last season and that is all the while Parmentier has only played five matches against players inside the top 50.

Parmentier is just 5-30 against top 20 players in her career and one of the poorer factors has been the return game which can be so important in women's tennis. She is 0-6 against top 20 players over the last two years on any surface and Parmentier has failed to get within this number of games four times in that time.

No one will confuse Wozniacki with someone who possesses a very strong serve, but the former World Number 1 is capable of looking after that enough to win this match. Her own return game is likely to put a lot of pressure on Parmentier and those numbers improve across the board when Wozniacki has taken on players Ranked outside the top 50 on the clay courts this season.

These two haven't met for a while, but Wozniacki recorded two big wins over Parmentier when they have played on the Tour and I will look for her to cover this number.

MY PICKS: Caroline Wozniacki - 5.5 Games @ 1.91 William Hill (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 0-1, - 2 Units (2 Units Staked, - 100% Yield)

Monday, 24 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 24th)

Another week is in the books in the 2017 Tennis season and the final grass court event of the year came to an end in Rhode Island on Sunday.

This week there are five more tournaments being played with three of those on the clay courts and two on the hard courts. One of those takes place in Atlanta where the first of the North American hard court events that counts towards the US Series begins on Monday.

Next week will be an ATP 500 event in Washington before back to back Masters tournaments in Canada and Cincinnati as we will quickly move into the US Open. It will be interesting to see the kind of names that perhaps pull out of the US Open with doubts about both Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, while we will all wait to see when Maria Sharapova is going to be back in action who will be needing a Wild Card to enter the US Open main draw.

The news story run by the US Open itself suggests Sharapova will be welcomed into the Qualifiers, which she has the Ranking for, but I'd be surprised if she is given a Wild Card into the main draw. That's for another day though and the focus this week is on the tournaments being played in Atlanta, Bastad, Gstaad, Hamburg and Nanchang.

Last week was a decent one for the picks, although not a really strong one like I would have wanted. A winning week is a winning week, but I am looking to put some momentum behind the picks to head into the bigger tournaments ahead this summer before the US Open gets underway.

Facundo Bagnis v Yannick Hanfmann: Two really impressive wins in the Qualifiers from Yannick Hanfmann has helped him enter the main draw in Gstaad, but I am not sure why he is the favourite to win this match. He is playing a clay court specialist in Facundo Bagnis who is considerably higher up in the World Rankings, but the numbers seem to favour Bagnis too.

There has been a lack of tennis played by Hanfmann at the main ATP level but he has gone 3-2 in those matches this year, 2-1 on the clay courts. That's not bad, but you can't ignore the fact that Hanfmann doesn't play the better players on the Tour regularly, although he may feel this match against Bagnis is more in line with the type of competition he faces.

This year has not been a great one for Bagnis in terms of the results, but his numbers have generally been quite steady despite the wins not coming as frequently as they did in 2016. Hanfmann has been able to look after his serve effectively which makes him dangerous in this one, especially when you see how much the players at the Challenger Tour have had difficulties against him.

The return game hasn't been bad either, but I think Bagnis is more than capable of earning the 'upset' in a match where I may have slightly favoured him to be honest. It will likely be a close match and I do think Hanfmann is capable, but I just wouldn't have him as the favourite and I think Bagnis can do enough to make these odds against quotes count with a victory on Monday.

MY PICKS: Facundo Bagnis @ 2.10 Bet Victor (2 Units)

Season 2017- 32.36 Units (1460 Units Staked, - 2.22% Yield)
Season 2016- 5.64 Units (2013 Units Staked, - 0.00% Yield)
Season 2015- 21.81 Units (1812 Units Staked, - 1% Yield)
Season 2014+ 45.05 Units (1586.5 Units Staked, + 2.84% Yield)
Season 2013+ 21.74 Units (1251.5 Units Staked, + 1.73% Yield)
Season 2012+ 49.21 Units (855 Units Staked, + 5.76% Yield)
Season 2011+ 82.02 Units

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 22nd)

The five tournaments being played this week have moved into the Semi Final Round and it has been an inconsistent week for the Tennis Picks.

It can still be concluded as a winning week though, and that is the most important factor, as I try and get 2017 turned around after a miserable time between February and April.

The build up to the next Grand Slam at the US Open will begin next week with the first hard court event in North America being played in Atalanta, and I am looking for a strong six weeks to lead into the US Open and build some real momentum.

Fernando Verdasco - 2.5 games v David Ferrer: It is David Ferrer who has the lead in the head to head between these players, but this is the first time Ferrer will play Fernando Verdasco since May 2015. In that time there is no doubt that Ferrer has declined as a player while Verdasco is perhaps a little more steady with his play these days.

You can't completely ignore the head to head because Ferrer may feel he still owns the mental advantage between himself and Verdasco. That can be a tough obstacle for players to overcome, but Verdasco has beaten him seven times in the past so wins over Ferrer won't feel so alien to him to see Verdasco struggle to cope.

There definitely seems to be a real edge in the numbers Verdasco is producing compared with Ferrer who is struggling to hold serve as effectively. His return numbers used to be a strength for Ferrer, but he has had his difficulties when playing the better players on the Tour and I think the Verdasco serve has certainly been offering up the chance for Verdasco to dictate the points.

The Verdasco return has been a key part of his game in 2017 and I do think he can put Ferrer under pressure in this Semi Final. The latter Spaniard had a long match in his Quarter Final too and these factors can come together in what could be a surprisingly comfortable win for Verdasco.

I expect Verdasco to have the better of the break point chances and he can win this one 6-4, 6-4.

Added one pick from Umag below. Am out for the day so can't do a full breakdown of the pick.

MY PICKS: Fernando Verdasco - 2.5 Games @ 1.85 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Paolo Lorenzo - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 @BetFred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 7-6, + 1.18 Units (26 Units Staked, + 4.54% Yield)

Friday, 21 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 21st)

I've just had a few things to do on Thursday which means I am not able to produce the full breakdowns of the Tennis Picks from the Quarter Final matches that are scheduled for Friday.

For this thread I will simply put the picks down below and I should be back with a proper thread for the Semi Final matches as long as I have any picks from those matches.

MY PICKS: Diego Sebastian Schwartzman - 2.5 Games @ 1.73 Bet365 (2 Units)
David Ferrer - 4.5 Games @ 1.85 William Hill (2 Units)
Carla Suarez Navarro - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Julia Goerges - 2.5 Games @ 1.73 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 5-4, + 1.72 Units (18 Units Staked, + 9.56% Yield)

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 20th)

It was a decent, if unspectacular, Wednesday with two of the three picks returning a winner.

Thursday is a day reserved for the second half of the Second Round matches to be played at the various tournaments outside of ATP Newport which has reached its Quarter Final Round although they do spread those four matches over two days.

No one can deny there are plenty of matches to get through on Thursday, but I will be honest and say only two of those have intrigued me enough to add to the picks for this week.

Fernando Verdasco - 4.5 games v Facundo Bagnis: Some may have been moved away from this pick after seeing the struggles Fernando Verdasco had initially in his win over Elias Ymer in the First Round. The veteran may not have covered that day, but he played well enough to have a chance to do that and I think he can beat Facundo Bagnis for a second year in a row in Bastad.

Last year Verdasco lost just three games to Bagnis in a comfortable win here and he is still returning well enough to give the Argentinian troubles in those games. Bagnis did beat another veteran in the First Round when coming from a set down to beat Tommy Haas, but the challenge is much different when facing an opponent who is still inside the top 50 compared with one who is calling time on a long career.

There have been improvements in the Bagnis game when coming up to the higher level which may make him more competitive in this match with Verdasco who is also a year older. However Bagnis has not played well against the top 50 when his serve has proven to be one that can be attacked, while his return game is still not as strong as it should be to make an impact at that level.

That is not so much a concern for Verdasco who should be able to serve and return with effective enough ability to put himself in a strong position in the match. Nowadays Verdasco is more likely to throw in a stinker of a set, like he did in the First Round, but the numbers backed up the superior player.

With a slightly better returning day, as he has shown when players lower down the Ranking table, Verdasco should be able to come through with a 6-3, 6-4 win in this one.

Albert Ramos-Vinolas - 4.5 games v Thiago Monteiro: There are a couple of factors that may put some off from this pick and the most notable is the way that Thiago Monteiro has played against fellow left handed players on the clay courts. He has won all previous matches against fellow lefty's on this surface, but I think the defending Champion can break down the South American in this one.

It has been an up and down season for Albert Ramos-Vinolas who perhaps underachieved on the clay as far as he has been concerned. However he has shown he is now comfortable enough to beat those players outside of the top 50 on the clay courts and much of that is down to strong returning.

The serve can be vulnerable, but Ramos-Vinolas looks after that against the lesser players on the Tour and Monteiro's return game is one that has much room for improvement. The win in the First Round came through a retirement so we can't read too much into that one, but Monteiro is someone who has shown he can struggle when playing the better players on the Tour.

Ramos-Vinolas is 27-6 on the clay against players Ranked outside the top 50 over the last two seasons and his return numbers have been impressive in that time. I will be looking for him to find a way to put pressure on Monteiro in this one with that return game working out effectively. 

It feels like Monteiro will find lesser chances to break serve compared with Ramos-Vinolas and I think the Spaniard can get through his opening match in Bastad with a 6-4, 6-3 win.

MY PICKS: Fernando Verdasco - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Albert Ramos-Vinolas - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 4-3, + 1.52 Units (14 Units Staked, + 10.86% Yield)

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 19th)

There does feel like there is a distinct lack of quality out on the Tour this week which isn't a surprise days after Wimbledon came to a close. While some decent players are in action, the bigger matches are unlikely to be seen until the end of the week when those players are matched up against one another.

The Second Round matches might be better than we saw earlier in the week, but there are still enough mismatches to have some very short priced favourites on Wednesday when the first half of those Second Round matches are played at the five main Tour events.

Diego Sebastian Schwartzman - 4.5 games v Renzo Olivo: I don't think I will ever forget the way the match went the last time Diego Sebastian Schwartzman and Renzo Olivo met on the Tour. That came earlier in 2017 and Schwartzman somehow failed to cover this number of games despite producing 21 break points compared with just the 9 for Olivo, but the higher Ranked Argentinian could not find the breaks easy to come by.

That does mean Schwartzman has created 37 break points in the last two matches between these players, but his conversion rate has not been anything to write home about. That is a concern because maybe Olivo has some mental strength which enables him to get out of tough spots, but I am more encouraged by Schwartzman's return numbers against players Ranked outside the top 50.

Those numbers on the clay suggest Schwartzman won't be as generous at letting his break points slip away, while his service numbers have also been more productive. Of course this is a vulnerable serve, but Olivo has struggled when playing the top players on the clay as his recent 1-5 record against top 50 players highlights.

Olivo may also have the edge of being over in Bastad over the last two weeks and so accustomed to the conditions, but I think it is Schwartzman who will have the majority of the play.

I do expect breaks of serve for both players, but Schwartzman has the numbers which point to a 7-5, 6-3 kind of win for him in this one.

Pablo Cuevas - 4.5 games v Henri Laaksonen: A knee injury ruled Pablo Cuevas out of Wimbledon the year after he had reached the Final in Nottingham on the grass. The absence from the Tour with an issue that has blighted him before is an obvious concern, but I also know that some players have previously skipped the grass in order to keep their knees from wearing down, particularly Rafael Nadal.

That is the biggest question mark about this match which should be one that Cuevas is very comfortable in. While he is one of the better clay court players on the Tour, Cuevas faces Henri Laaksonen who is still finding his feet at the highest level of the Tour.

There have been six occasions Laaksonen has played a top 50 Ranked player on the clay and he has lost all six of those matches. He was narrowly beaten by Andreas Seppi in a Davis Cup tie, but the other five losses have come in one sided fashion and his struggles on the return are likely to be a big issue here.

Cuevas has loved playing those further down the World Rankings where he is able to generate plenty of success on the return of serve. That could be a big issue for Laaksonen in this one if Cuevas is feeling good and I do think the higher Ranked player will be able to put his opponent under pressure.

The biggest question remains the Cuevas health, but if he feels ready to go in this one, I think he can come through with a 6-3, 6-4 win.

Jiri Vesely - 4.5 games v Radu Albot: Jiri Vesely got it done when picking him in the First Round and I do think he can cover this number against Radu Albot too.

The numbers against players Ranked outside the top 100 on the clay continue to impress from Vesely who has improved to 7-1 in that spot in 2017 to add to the 9-1 record he had in 2016. The serve becomes a big weapon for Vesely at this level, but the key is the way he has been able to get his teeth into the return games which was highlighted in his impressive First Round win over Norbert Gombos.

I will be looking for that dominance to show up at some point in this match too against Radu Albot who is coming off a decent grass court showing. However he is 0-4 when facing top 50 Ranked players on the clay courts and Albot's issues begin with what is a vulnerable serve, one that I would expect Vesely to exploit in this Second Round match.

He hasn't returned well enough against the top players, while Albot's overall return numbers on the clay makes it difficult to believe he will be capable of sticking with his opponent in this match.

I would expect Vesely to be in a position to break serve three or four times in this match and a decent day behind serve should see him come through with a 6-3, 6-4 win in this one.

MY PICKS: Diego Sebastian Schwartzman - 4.5 Games @ 1.85 William Hill (2 Units)
Pablo Cuevas - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Jiri Vesely - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 2-2, + 0 Units (8 Units Staked, + 0% Yield)

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 18th)

There were quite a few matches scheduled for Monday at the five tournaments being played this week, but I didn't really find anything but the one angle with the Carla Suarez Navarro pick.

Thankfully that was an angle that provided a winner.

On Tuesday I do have a few more matches that have interested me with plenty of First Round matches remaining at the various tournaments. Hopefully it can be a day when I build off the success of Monday and get this week into a really positive position before we reach the halfway mark.

Jiri Vesely - 4.5 games v Norbert Gombos: He can be a hard player to trust having not quite reached the level expected of him, but Jiri Vesely is comfortable on the clay courts and shouldn't be intimidated by the level of competition he will face in Umag. It has been clear from his numbers that Vesely is considerably stronger when playing at the Challenger level compared with the full ATP during his career on this surface, but this tournament is not considerably stronger than a Challenger event.

The First Round match for Vesely against Norbert Gombos is certainly more in line with the level of opponent he would meet in a Challenger and I think the Czech player is going to be too good for Gombos. You have to respect the fact that Gombos has some solid numbers on the clay, but those have come against players Ranked far below Vesely and I do think that is a difference maker on the day.

The service points won and return points won numbers come down considerably for Gombos when he has taken on top 50 Ranked opponents during his career. Life has been much tougher when it comes to trying to hold onto his serve and this could be a big problem against Vesely.

That comes down to the fact that Vesely has served and returned much better when facing the weaker level of competition in the Challengers that he seems to dominate. Vesely's serve is a weapon on either Tour, but it is the return numbers which are significantly stronger and I expect he is going to be able to make that show up on Tuesday.

These two players haven't met since 2014, but I still think Vesely's 5-1 head to head lead, 4-1 on the clay is still relevant. While Gombos hasn't made a significant move onto the main Tour, Vesely has and has also continued to prove too strong when he drops his level of competition and I like the Czech player to earn a 6-3, 6-4 win in this one.

Dusan Lajovic - 3.5 games v Thiago Monteiro: It is never an easy decision to back a player who is coming off a long week where they have either reached the Final or won a tournament. Usually it will mean shortened travel time to the next tournament and can be difficult for a player, but Dusan Lajovic won't have the same excuses having won a Challenger event in Bastad a few days ago.

Now Lajovic enters the main tournament draw in Bastad looking to back up the success of last week and being accustomed to the conditions has to help. His best work has tended to come on the clay courts and he is favoured to beat Thiago Monteiro whose best clay court work has come in South America.

However Monteiro has to be respected having spent his life playing on clay and so feeling very good on the surface. The Brazilian hasn't been in the best of form of late though and I do worry that Monteiro doesn't play the return points well enough on the clay to be a threat to significantly improve his World Ranking.

That isn't to say Lajovic is the best returner out there, but he does tend to improve when playing the Challenger kind of level and his opponent is someone he would potentially see in those tournaments. The return numbers also improve when facing players Ranked outside the top 50 and I think that is important for Lajovic who can protect his serve a little better than Monteiro in this one.

Facing a lefty could present some early problems for Lajovic, and fatigue could be another potential issue for him. However I do think Monteiro's poor returning numbers could prove to be a difference in the match as Lajovic is able to work his way to a 6-4, 6-4 win.

Fernando Verdasco - 4.5 games v Elias Ymer: His best days are behind him, but Fernando Verdasco should still have enough in the locker to beat home hope Elias Ymer who has yet to make the breakthrough at the highest level in his career. Ymer did reach the Quarter Final of the Bastad Challenger last week, but this is a significant step up in class for him even if Verdasco is not the player he once was.

The serve is not working as it did, but Verdasco has been returning as well as ever in his career in 2017 and I do think he is used to playing opponents who are stronger than the one he will face in the First Round here. You can see the decline in the service numbers, but Verdasco's returning ability should keep him in a strong position in this match.

The Spaniard will certainly feel that will be the case against a limited returner like Ymer, especially when he plays at the highest level of the ATP. And it is Verdasco's returning numbers that are likely to keep the young Swedish player under immense pressure for much of this match that is the reason I am going to look for Verdasco to cover this number.

Those return numbers become much stronger when facing players Ranked outside the top 100, although Verdasco was beaten by one such player in Budapest earlier in 2017. It will take a huge upset for Ymer to be able to follow that up with his own upset considering he is 1-11 against top 50 Ranked players in his career and is likely to be in tough spots throughout this match.

As long as Verdasco is focused, it feels like he is going to be too strong and is able to battle past Ymer with a 6-4, 6-2 kind of win.

Sorana Cirstea - 4.5 games v Ana Bogdan: Two Romanian players meet in the First Round at the WTA Bucharest and I do think the higher Ranked player will be able to make it through to the next Round. That player is Sorana Cirstea who has used her success at a lower level in 2016 to help propel her back up the World Rankings in 2017 as she is back on the regular WTA Tour.

Cirstea faces her compatriot Ana Bogdan who has yet to earn the consistent results to be playing on the WTA Tour on a regular basis. The best results tend to come on the clay though and that makes Bogdan a dangerous opponent for Cirstea having also beaten her last year at the US Open.

The return game is where Bogdan has struggled to make her impact and she is going to be faced with a decent Cirstea serve. It has also meant Bogdan is perhaps under a bit more pressure to protect her own serve when making less of an impact on return as she would have liked, and I am very much expecting Cirstea to have success in those games too.

The fear when backing Cirstea is her own inconsistencies which can see her drop a set by a wide margin of games which will make covering this number almost impossible. However, Cirstea has a solid 10-3 record on the clay when facing players Ranked outside the top 100 while being Ranked inside the top 100 herself, and Cirstea would have covered this margin of games eight times in those ten wins.

It feels like Bogdan may just struggle to stay with Cirstea over the course of the match and I am looking for the latter to fight her way to a 6-4, 6-3 win.

MY PICKS: Jiri Vesely - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Dusan Lajovic - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Bet365 (2 Units)
Fernando Verdasco - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Sorana Cirstea - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 1-0, + 2 Units (2 Units Staked, + 100% Yield)

Monday, 17 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 17th)

2017 in general feels like it is has been rushing through and that is underlined by the Tennis Tour which has taken in three of the four Grand Slams.

Wimbledon 2017 came to a close on Sunday and I have to say it was not really a stand out tournament, although it will be a memorable one from a historical point of view. Roger Federer winning his eighth Wimbledon title, the first male player to do that in the history of the tournament, will be replayed for many years although it was the second of two disappointing Singles Finals we saw this weekend.

Garbine Muguruza was the other winner, but it may be a case of what may have been for Venus Williams who was leading 5-4 and earned two set points on the Spaniard's serve. Not for the first time over the last two weeks, Muguruza saved those to come out of the game and she went on to win the final NINE games of the Final to pick up a second Grand Slam crown.

I will admit the last time she won a Slam at the French Open last year, I thought Muguruza had all the tools to be a leading contender for every Slam following, but she didn't cope with the new expectations. With more experience we may see Muguruza kick on from the Wimbledon title, although the US Open looks to be another wide open draw on the women's side of the tournament.

It will be Roger Federer who goes into New York City as the favourite for the men's title with the likes of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray both dealing with injuries which may leave them undercooked for a tilt at the title. Rafael Nadal is playing well enough to be a threat, but it does have to be said that the court conditions we usually see at Flushing Meadows will favour Federer more than the Spaniard and he will be the man to beat in that draw.

There are six weeks before the US Open begins on Monday 28th August and the Tour doesn't stop to gather a breath after the exertions of Wimbledon. While the big hard court events in North America will be played in August, preparation for the US Open will begin later this month in Atlanta and Washington.

This week it is a chance for the clay court loving players to enjoy some final tournaments on their favourite surface. The events in Bastad, Bucharest, Gstaad and Umag are clay events on the ATP and WTA side of the Tour, while the men will have a final grass court event which is held in Newport.

Wimbledon did prove to be a tough tournament for the tennis picks with that generally being the worst of my Grand Slam picks. The outright picks did at least bring in a profit, but the daily picks struggled and the grass court season in general was a poor one for my picks.

A bit better luck may have turned things in my favour, but I just have to take it for what it is and look for better over the remainder of the month to perhaps get into a stronger position.

Picks this week may come out a little inconsistently with the tournaments being played not exactly the strongest, but if anything does take my fancy I will be sure to put those picks down.

On Monday I have only had my eye on one pick coming from the WTA Bucharest First Round.

Carla Suarez Navarro - 5.5 games v Annika Beck: It can be difficult to trust Carla Suarez Navarro when asking the Spaniard to cover big numbers simply because her serve is one that can be attacked by opponents. The return game is where Annika Beck's strength is too, which makes this a difficult match for Suarez Navarro, although I do give the latter a big enough edge on the clay courts to be able to come through with a healthy margin of victory.

While you would say that Suarez Navarro has had a difficult time on the grass, she has at least been putting matches into the legs compared with Beck who has played just twice in the last eight weeks. Both of those matches ended in one-sided defeats for the German and Beck has lost six of her last seven matches on the Tour to slip down the World Rankings.

Suarez Navarro has had some solid runs on the clay courts, which is no surprise considering how much she enjoys the surface, but some defeats will have raised eyebrows over the clay season in 2017. Defeats to Lauren Davis and Coco Vandeweghe as a favourite were a surprise, but you can't ignore how well Suarez Navarro tends to play against players Ranked outside the top 50 when it comes to meeting them on the clay.

The Spaniard is 27-2 in that spot on the clay, and eighteen of those wins would have come by a margin to cover this number of games. The serve can be an issue for Suarez Navarro, but she has returned really effectively when facing the lower Ranked players on the Tour and I will be looking for that to show up in this match with Beck, whose own serve is very vulnerable.

Beck's own numbers do not look great when facing players inside the top 50 of the World Rankings and on the clay courts. I do think she will have her chances to break serve, but I am not sure she will do that enough to stay with Suarez Navarro who should earn at least four or five breaks in this one.

It is a big number, but I am looking for Suarez Navarro to perhaps move into the Second Round behind a 6-3, 6-2 kind of score.

MY PICKS: Carla Suarez Navarro - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Season 2017- 33.74 Units (1430 Units Staked, - 2.36% Yield)
Season 2016- 5.64 Units (2013 Units Staked, - 0.00% Yield)
Season 2015- 21.81 Units (1812 Units Staked, - 1% Yield)
Season 2014+ 45.05 Units (1586.5 Units Staked, + 2.84% Yield)
Season 2013+ 21.74 Units (1251.5 Units Staked, + 1.73% Yield)
Season 2012+ 49.21 Units (855 Units Staked, + 5.76% Yield)
Season 2011+ 82.02 Units

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Wimbledon Tennis Day 12 Picks 2017- Ladies Final (July 15th)

The Ladies Final at Wimbledon 2017 will involve a Williams again, but it is 37 year old Venus Williams who has come into the tournament that her younger sister Serena could not defend due to pregnancy.

For a long time it was Venus who was the dominant Williams sister on the famous lawns in SW19, but now she will be looking to pull to within one of Serena by taking the title home on Saturday.

That won't be easy against Garbine Muguruza who has played in two previous Grand Slam Finals, both times against Serena Williams. She won the last one of those at the French Open in 2016, but it was Serena Williams who beat Muguruza here at Wimbledon in the 2015 Final.

The Spaniard plays with plenty of power and comes into the Final as the favourite, but Venus Williams has the experience and arguably is playing on her most natural surface.

Venus Williams v Garbine Muguruza: I picked Venus Williams as the winner of this tournament at the start of the event and she has already provided a big return having reached the Final. That means those who followed the outright picks are now sitting on a big priced winner in what has been set as an almost pick 'em Final, but I think it may be worth letting things play out with my feeling being Venus Williams can go on and win the title here for the sixth time.

Both players have only dropped one set in the tournament so far and while Garbine Muguruza had the more straight-forward Semi Final win, I do think Venus Williams has improved in each passing match through the tournament. The serve has been a huge weapon for Venus Williams and it was that delivery which kept Johanna Konta in awkward positions in their Semi Final.

The serve working as well as it has been also means Venus Williams has been able to play with some freedom on the return games and that has seen her put some real pressure on opponents. As well as Garbine Muguruza has served at times, the raw numbers suggest she has been put under some pressure but has managed to play the key points at 30-30, deuce or break point down very effectively.

Some of the players Muguruza have played will be kicking themselves they didn't play those points a little better, but Williams has shown some strength at the key moments in her recent matches. That has been most evident on the serve where Venus Williams has been broken just twice in four matches having dropped serve four times in her first two matches, but it also has seen Venus convert a few more break point opportunities at a better percentage than she was earlier in the tournament.

The Spaniard has not been broken in her last two matches which will certainly give her some confidence, but I don't think Venus Williams will be as loose with her play as Svetlana Kuznetsova and Magdalena Rybarikova were. It won't be easy to get into the Muguruza games if she continues to hit as big as she has been, but I am not sure she has been playing as well as the straight sets victories in her last two matches suggest.

Kuznetsova certainly had her chances in their Quarter Final where there were not many points between them, and I think Venus Williams' comfort on the grass means she may be a little more confident when the chances do come her way. Venus Williams has been very strong when facing those players outside the top ten in the World Rankings on the grass and I think the performances so far this week makes me believe the wrong player is favoured in this one.

If Muguruza continues to play way above average on the big points, then of course she is a big threat, but Venus Williams has been close to her best and I like the veteran American to keep the Williams name on the Wimbledon Champion board.

MY PICKS: Venus Williams @ 2.10 Paddy Power (0 Units)

Wimbledon Update: 44-48, - 6.58 Units (179 Units Staked, - 3.68% Yield)