ATP French Open – 3rd round – Stan Wawrinka vs Steve Johnson
Regular readers of this column may be getting a little tired of my opposition of Stan Wawrinka on the betting handicap lines, but a number of recent winning bets should be adequate compensation for that!
Wednesday’s comfortable win in the second round of the French Open involved backing Dusan Lajovic to cover 8 games against Wawrinka on the game handicap, which he managed pretty easily after winning a set in the match, and I’m looking to Steve Johnson to be able to perform a similar feat today.
Wawrinka’s problem is that he loses concentration in matches, and is unable to maintain a consistent level. My in-play data shows that primarily, his main issue is starting sets badly when he wins the previous set, and this – in addition to a relatively mediocre return game for a top ten player – makes it difficult for him to cover game handicap lines.
On Wednesday, I highlighted that Wawrinka has covered -8 games on clay in Grand Slams just once in the last four years when priced under 1.20, and across all surfaces, his record for this is very poor, now covering this line in 4/15 matches priced 1.20 or below in the same time period.
Whilst the hold/break percentages make Johnson a slightly worse player than Lajovic, and this is reflected in my model which made the American only slight value, the aforementioned handicap trend, as well as the in-play data, makes this a very strong position. Again, I don’t expect Wawrinka to win dominant sets against a player who boasts a strong serve, despite clay not being his favourite surface.
Recommendation: Back Steve Johnson +7.5 games at 1.74
Price correct at the time of writing