Davis Cup 2016 World Group Betting: Hewitt and co. look good for cup glory

Hewitt can lead Australia to Davis Cup glory
Hewitt can lead Australia to Davis Cup glory

The attention of the tennis world turns to Davis Cup this week with the start of the 2016 tournament and Sean Calvert has two outright bets for us to consider for this season's competition...

"Rusty will have the respect of the likes of Nick Kyrgios, Bernard Tomic, Sam Groth and (when he returns from injury) Thanasi Kokkinakis and he should be able to whip last year's semi finalists into shape."

Back Australia to win the Davis Cup at 9.08/1

It was a pretty good week for back-to-lay punters in Acapulco and Sao Paulo last week, with my big-priced fancies Alexandr Dolgopolov and Dusan Lajovic both making the semis in their respective tournaments.

Dolgo traded as short as 3.45 to win Acapulco after beating David Ferrer en route to the semis and when number two seed Kei Nishikori also fell early in Mexico.

And Lajovic was a 6.611/2 chance to land the Sao Paulo crown when he entered his last four clash with eventual champion Pablo Cuevas, so there were plenty of profit opportunities to be had.

The ATP World Tour takes a break this week, as the 2016 Davis Cup begins and as ever there's a draw conundrum to solve for us outright backers.

Last year Great Britain and Belgium were the surprise finalists and in 2016 the Rio Olympics may well have a big part to play in the destination of the massive 105kg Davis Cup trophy.

Already we've seen the expected high profile withdrawals of the likes of Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka and there'll be more as the season progresses, with Switzerland now looking a terrible bet at odds as short as 10.09/1.

The Swiss are left with the likes of Henri Laaksonen, Marco Chiudinelli, and Adrien Bossel for their round one tie away in Italy on indoor clay in Pesaro and I like the chances of Fabio Fognini and co. at 26.025/1 - even with Fogna missing from round one through injury.

The likes of Fognini, Andreas Seppi, Paulo Lorenzi and Simone Bolelli should be too much for a really weak Swiss side at home and after winning the doubles in Dubai Seppi and Bolelli will be confident and Lorenzi has been playing on clay for a long time.

They also won't be bothered about Indian Wells, which starts a couple of days after the round one ties.

That is more than can be said for perennial unsuccessful favourites France, who controversially moved their round one tie 'at home' against Canada to the French territory of Guadeloupe.

Ever the diplomat, Gael Monfils wasn't happy about it, which displeased returning team captain Yannick Noah greatly, and the French remain a team of individuals who are creaking badly as their stars reach their 30s.

Talisman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was beaten on clay by world number 338 Thiago Monteiro in Rio last time out and thrashed by Nico Almagro the week before and his fitness these days is questionable, while Gilles Simon is in rotten form and Richard Gasquet's body appears on its last legs so to speak.

All three have bigger fish to fry and Noah, having recognised this, said: "If you're motivated you'll make sacrifices in your schedule for your preparation. If a person decides to play a tournament on a different surface the week before a Davis Cup tie, perhaps because it's financially attractive, he will not be selected."

Good luck with that, Yannick. Moving the whole tie to Guadeloupe because it's closer to Indian Wells hardly smacks of the team being committed to Davis Cup and once again France are a dismal price at 4.03/1.

In France's bottom half of the draw I prefer a team of players likely to be highly committed under new captain Lleyton Hewitt and that, of course, is Australia.

Rusty will have the respect of the likes of Nick Kyrgios, Bernard Tomic, Sam Groth and (when he returns from injury) Thanasi Kokkinakis and he should be able to whip last year's semi finalists into shape.

Away ties against the Aussies on grass in Darwin or Melbourne won't be for everyone and that's what the USA have in round one and also what would happen in the quarters to Croatia should they beat Belgium in the opener.

I can't see Marin Cilic being keen on that the week after Wimbledon and Croatia have little else in their team to concern the Aussies, with Borna Coric looking very much out of sorts right now and having played only five matches on grass on tour.

That would see Australia through to the last four against either France, Canada, Germany or the Czech Republic the week after the US Open and from what I can work out whoever they play it would be at home.

The concern, as ever, is the fitness of Kyrgios, who always seems to have some sort of problem, but he has such a lean towards the dramatic that it's hard to tell how injured - if at all - he is at any one time.

So, it's Australia for me in the bottom half at around 9.08/1 and in the top half Italy look value at 26.025/1 with a likely home tie against Argentina to follow Switzerland.

Likely away ties versus either GB or Serbia are the stumbling block for Italy, but who's to say that the Serbs will win in round one with Novak Djokovic a doubt with an eye infection?

Without Novak that round one clash with Kazakhstan could turn into a real dogfight against the side that have made the quarter finals the last three years in a row and who regularly play above their rankings in this competition.

In any case I can't see Djokovic putting too much importance on Davis Cup this year with the Olympics to factor in to the equation and knowing the Serb's keenness to make history for himself he won't want to end his career without an Olympic gold.

Andy Murray's season also involves the Olympics and although he already has a gold medal he says his schedule is: "100% Olympics and I want to try to play Davis Cup too."

Hardly inspiring reading for GB Davis Cup fans and for me it's asking a lot of a new dad to spend even more time away than last year and also a big ask for his body. Something will have to give somewhere.

Recommended Bets

Back Australia to win the Davis Cup at 9.08/1
Back-to-lay Italy at 34.033/1

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