t doesn’t get much better than the Sunshine Double for tennis fans. Less than 14 hours removed from a fascinating finals weekend in Indian Wells, the Miami Open qualifying draw is underway. There are hundreds of ATP & WTA matches in the next few days, so please choose your spots wisely. There is no need to force a bet (ever, really) but especially in the beginning of a week. I have already made this mistake today, so trust me. Two smart bets (Munar spread over Seyboth-Wild & Gojowczyk over Stebe) immediately cancelled out by two stupid bets (Tan live spread up 5-0 and Tennys lol Sandgren).
Monday/Tuesday should be spent trying to get a feel for the courts and conditions, as well as players' physical fitness and motivation levels. In-form qualifiers popping upsets in the first-round is and always will be a tried and true betting angle. Think Daria Saville in Indian Wells.
Remember that it's not necessarily who you bet on... it's who you bet against.
So we know for sure that the Miami Open is using Dunlop balls. These balls were used in Australia, and they are definitely on the lighter/livelier side. A fresh set of the Dunlop balls absolutely reward hard/aggressive hitting, as well as big-serving. Where Indian Wells rewarded players with heavy kick-serves who could spin the ball high out of strike-zones and far off the court, it seems Miami will reward flat pace as well as a nasty slice-out-wide serve.
I have watched a decent amount of qualifying so far, and the ball appears to be skidding through the court, so expect a much a much more standard hold & break percentage than Indian Wells. This video from 2021 shows some absolute screamers that rocket right through the court. I am going to treat Miami like a quick outdoor hard court until further notice. Certainly quicker than the conditions at the retired (and legendary) Crandon Park Tennis Center in Key Biscayne.
Wind will typically play a minor factor in any South Florida tournament. Personally, I hate having action when wind is clearly affecting play. One would think it favors the underdog, as wind is definitely an equalizer, but it really depends on how each individual responds.
I will say that having excellent hand skills and being able to feel the ball around the court with floating slices, heavy topspin, as well as drop shots (a crucial shot when playing against the wind) seems to be important. Lorenzo Musetti was particularly impressive in dealing with the wind in Indian Wells, and say what you want about the Italian, he does have extremely soft hands. Here is an interesting thread about betting in the wind between several people who watch and write about tennis for a living.
If you’ve never played tennis in South Florida, it’s a totally different beast. The humidity creates a different type of heat, especially in the mid-morning. I could be wrong, but mid-morning/early-afternoon matches in South Florida were always more hot and humid than any match played in the evening. I believe players who train full-time in South Florida do have a slight advantage over those who don’t. Tommy Paul, Reilly Opelka, Sebastian Korda, Hubert Hurkacz, Michael Mmoh, Bjorn Fratangelo, Frances Tiafoe, and many others I am surely forgetting all train in Florida.
Once again I am sure to leave out MANY important names, but I know that Danielle Collins, Sloane Stephens, Coco Gauff, Madison Keys, Ajla Tomljanovic, Naomi Osaka (at times) Jessica Pegula (partly) and many others train in Florida. If I am wrong about these names they either moved or Wikipedia/WTA website lied to me. Don’t blindly bet on players who live in Florida, please. But I certainly think training in the thick, wet Florida air doesn’t hurt.
South Florida is famous for it’s random afternoon showers that disappear as quickly as they arrive. There will be rain delays during this tournament.
I really have no data to support this claim, as I am not sure it exists, but I believe that a rain-delay offers ZERO positives for a player with a lead. If my pick is up a set or break and is forced to leave the court due to rain-showers, personally, I will be finding a way to hedge in these situations.
Stay tuned for more detailed breakdowns, but these are my overarching thoughts as we enter what should be a profitable week of tennis betting.