Outright market unworried by Alcaraz fitness
Sinner capable of testing the Spaniard
Djokovic likely to dominate in Banja Luka
Alcaraz odds-on in unbalanced Barcelona market
There's a strong-looking field in the premium tournament of the week in Barcelona, which is a 500-level event (the other two are 250s). In his home country, Carlos Alcaraz is top seed although there's an injury doubt over the Spaniard after missing the last few weeks including Monte Carlo.
This injury doubt hasn't prevented the outright market from making Alcaraz a strong favourite at 2.01/1 to lift the trophy in a week's time. With three other players rather nearer the forefront of the outrights than others - Jannik Sinner, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud - there's a rather unbalanced feel to the market, with all other players trading far in excess of this trio as long-shots.
Sinner the best option to take on Alcaraz
Conveniently for the market, the four market leaders are seeded in different quarters, with no real easy-looking draw compared to the others. Sinner looks well-set to get to the latter stages, given that only Cameron Norrie or Lorenzo Musetti look likely to have much chance of preventing him from reaching the semi-finals.
As usual, I'm fine with fading Tstisipas, who is in Sinner's half of the draw, and there's little doubt that despite Sinner's loss to Ruud in Monte Carlo (a loss where he won a greater percentage of points in the match), he's running at almost 110% combined service/return points won across surfaces in 2023 - a level which will certainly test Alcaraz in a potential final, particularly if Alcaraz isn't fully fit.
Sinner looks the best option if you are looking to oppose Alcaraz at a short price.
Rune top seed in Munich to bounce back
Over in Munich, Holger Rune needs to bounce back from his loss to Andrey Rublev in the Monte Carlo final yesterday, being top seed to win the event which looks pretty low in quality (31 ranked Botic van de Zandschulp is the fourth seed and gets a first-round bye). The Dane is defending his title here, beating van de Zandschulp via retirement last year.
Rune is vying with favourite status with Alexander Zverev at 4.57/2, who I'm not totally convinced is anywhere back to his best yet. Taylor Fritz looks the other major contender, but I worry about his serve on clay.
Dominic Thiem 10.09/1 being high-up in the outrights looks pretty absurd based on his results this season so far. If Rune is in decent shape following his exertions in Monte Carlo, he looks the outstanding player in the field.
Djokovic expected to ease to Banja Luka title
Finally, Banja Luka plays host to a new event on the ATP Tour and in his home country, Novak Djokovic is top seed and odds-on market favourite to win the trophy. Monte Carlo winner Rublev is the obvious rival to the Serb, but after an incredible effort last week, may not be in great shape (and could well withdraw) for this much smaller event.
With the remainder of the field looking pretty mediocre, with plenty of Challenger Tour regulars participating, it would be a real shock if Djokovic was beaten by anyone who isn't Rublev. This looks to be a likely procession for Djokovic to pick up yet another career ATP Tour title.