Davis Cup Semi Final Betting: Value in underdogs France in Croatia clash

Gasquet's fitness could be key to France's chances against Croatia
Gasquet's fitness could be key to France's chances against Croatia

The 2016 Davis Cup semi finals begin on Friday and Sean Calvert fancies Great Britain and France to make it through to November's final...

"Should this go to the wire I'd fancy Pouille over a likely half fit Coric..."

Back France to beat Croatia at 2.3211/8

The Davis Cup semi finals are the only place to see the world's top male tennis players this weekend, with Andy Murray among those in action.

Great Britain v Argentina

Great Britain's talisman teams up with Dan Evans, Kyle Edmundand his brother Jamie Murray, as the defending Davis Cup champions face a home tie against Juan Martin Del Potro's Argentina.

The away side are perennially in the latter stages of the competition (this is their 11th semi final in the last 15 years), but are still yet to win it, after four losses in the final - the most of any nation in Davis Cup.

Argentina, Romania and India have never won the Davis Cup having contested the final more than once, but only this weekend's visitors to the Emirates Arena in Glasgow have lost four times in the final.

And Argentina's chances of making a fifth final are rated at around 4.03/1 by the layers and that seems about right on indoor hard away from home against Murray and co.

I was in Brussels a year ago when Argentina were beaten on indoor hard by Belgium in the semis, but this time they have a potential match winner back in the team in the form of Del Potro.

But as good as Delpo is it's hard to see him winning two singles and a doubles at this stage of his comeback and as ever GB will rely almost exclusively on a potentially jaded Andy Murray.

Reports from practice in Glasgow, where playing conditions have been described as 'medium-fast', suggest that the Wimbledon champ is looking weary, but when doesn't he look tired?

Even a tired Murray should have few problems against Guido Pella in these conditions and you'd fancy Edmund to have a good chance of taking down Pella as well.

Teaming up with Jamie in the doubles it seems highly likely that they'll beat whichever scratch team the visitors cobble together, so unless Murray is totally drained GB look like making another final.

Croatia v France

Over in Zadar it's Croatia versus France in a clash that shows the strength in depth of the French squad, as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils are both out injured, so they bring in Richard Gasquet and Lucas Pouille.

Playing conditions at the Kresimir Cosic Hall are reportedly medium-slow on indoor hard and this is a tricky one to evaluate, with injuries and fitness likely to play a big part here.

Gasquet looked pretty unfit in Winston-Salem and New York and it's hard to know what condition he is now in, while the Croatians have problems of their own, with Borna Coric having retired injured at the US Open.

Coric says of his injured knee that: "It's fine - I am not hurt," but he's not likely to say anything else - until after the tie at least, while France skipper Yannick Noah had this to say about Gasquet.

"We've worked a lot with Richard. He already worked a lot in Paris and we pushed him hard. Richard is ready," said Noah.

Due to the weird system that Davis Cup uses for its fixtures Croatia haven't played at home in this competition since losing 4-1 to Great Britain back in 2013, with their last six matches being played away.

Indeed, they haven't won a match at home since beating Ecuador 5-0 back in 2010, and much will depend on the frustrating Marin Cilic, who had looked in prime form before losing heavily to Jack Sock in New York.

Cilic has a 19-9 record in Davis Cup singles, while Gasquet has only played 15 live rubbers in this contest in a decade, with a 9-6 record, and a lot will depend on his fitness.

Pouille comes into this match after another impressive performance on the big stage in New York and this one could be set up for his sort of mentality playing the potentially deciding fifth rubber in a Davis Cup semi.

The French surely have the upper hand in doubles, with the top two ranked players in the world in Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert to call on and with that rubber likely to go their way the French look the bet as underdogs.

At this point in time I'd rate the game of Pouille higher than that of the somewhat overrated Coric, whose stats are nothing at all to write home about this season, and should this go to the wire I'd fancy Pouille over a likely half fit Coric.

A medium-slow court seems an odd pace to choose for the Croats, but presumably they did it with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in mind, however Gasquet is likely to be more effective on a slower indoor surface.

Looking at the service hold/break records of the four singles players in this one on indoor hard at main level over the last year we find that Cilic leads with 91% holds and 18% breaks and an 11-5 win/loss mark.

Gasquet is next, with 84.7% holds and 21.3% breaks, and a 12-5 win/loss record, while Pouille follows with 77.8% holds and 16.2% breaks and a 5-5 win/loss mark.

Coric's numbers are poor at just 70.9% holds and 16.4% breaks in his last 10 matches on this surface and seven losses from his last matches, so he looks the weak link of the quartet.

With the doubles likely to go France's way too they look the best value wager this weekend at around 2.3211/8.

Recommended Bet
Back France to beat Croatia at 2.3211/8

Tennis 2016 season P&L

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