Thomaz Bellucci v Thiago Monteiro – ATP Rio de Janeiro – Second Round
The Brazilian clay in Rio de Janeiro is the setting for today’s handicap betting recommendation, with the second round of this week’s ATP 500 event concluded this evening.
On the last match on the schedule tonight – one for the night owls with a 23:30pm UK time start – Thomaz Bellucci takes on Thiago Monteiro in an all-Brazilian clash, and I like the chances of the youngster, Monteiro, to at least keep things close.
After an initial drift, Monteiro is now receiving some market support and has been backed into 3.22, with Bellucci the solid market favourite at 1.40. However, this perplexes me, with the Brazilian showing very little evidence to justify this status, as I’ll mention later in the preview.
The Tournament So Far
Monteiro got the better of the improving Portuguese clay-courter, Gastao Elias, as a very slight favourite, in the final set, in the first round.
There is little doubt that Bellucci’s win over the top seed, Kei Nishikori, was more eye-catching, but it is worth noting that the Japanese player was likely to have been fatigued following his defeat in the final of Buenos Aires last week. Nishikori is certainly not renowned for his physical longevity.
In ATP main draw matches on clay in the last 12 months, there isn’t much difference between the players in terms of their hold/break percentages – Bellucci has held serve 73.1% of the time, breaking opponents 24.0% (combined 97.1%) from 18 matches (he has won just seven of these), with Monteiro actually winning nine of his 15 matches at main tour level, holding 80.5% and breaking 21.8% (combined 102.3%).
When all clay matches are factored in, Bellucci’s stats improve slightly to 74.5% and 23.7% (combined 98.2%) and Monteiro’s drop a touch to 78.4% and 20.8% (99.2%).
Considering this data, it is very difficult to see why Bellucci is such a heavy favourite for this match. It is extremely likely that his win over Nishikori, coupled with him being a bigger-name player, has influenced the market.
It’s also worth noting that the last two players that Monteiro faced as a 3.00+ underdog on clay were Gilles Simon and an in-form Pablo Cuevas. Both would be favoured to get past Bellucci.
As a young player with plenty of upside, Monteiro also has a strong record at covering game handicaps as a heavy underdog on his preferred surface.
Indeed, as a 3.00+ underdog on clay since January 2015, the Brazilian prospect’s record with a four game head start is nine handicap wins, two pushes and two defeats – clearly very impressive historical data.
On this basis, backing Monteiro +4 games tonight seems the right bet.
Tennis Handicap Betting Recommendation: Thiago Monteiro +4 games at 1.72
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