Fresh from tipping a big priced winner last week, tennis expert Sean Calvert is back with the best bets in the final Masters 1000 event of the season, the BNP Paribas Masters in Bercy...
"This is the one tournament of the year where the chances of a big priced Masters 1000 winner or finalist are better than they normally would be..."
The regular ATP season comes to a close this week and we have one final tournament in which to try and make a profit.
Last week's 22.021/1 wager on Mikhail Youzhny in Valencia provided a great result, as the Russian stunned David Ferrer in the final of his own tournament and landed a nice priced winner for this column.
More good news is that this week's tournament in Bercy, the BNP Paribas Masters generally provides an unexpected winner or finalist as the long season takes it toll on players.
This year could be the last year in which that happens, as usually the big players save themselves for the World Tour Finals next week in London, but as of 2014 the O2 moves back to Week 46, allowing more rest and extending the season by a week.
It's always worth keeping an eye on home players here and among last year's semi-finalists in Bercy were Michael Llodra and Gilles Simon, while Paris-born Llodra was also a semi finalist in 2010, as was Gael Monfils, while Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was a finalist in 2011 and champion in 2008.
Playing conditions are pretty much the same as we've seen in Basel and will be seeing in London, which is quite slow indoor hard and gone are the days when it was quick here, although tournament director Guy Forget says they might change from next year.
The performances of the top players here has been patchy, with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic having won here once each and Rafa Nadal and Andy Murray are yet to land the Bercy title, but the likes of Robin Soderling, Nikolay Davydenko, Tsonga, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych have, plus Jerzy Janowicz was a 1000.0 finalist last year.
The draw this year sees Janowicz, with a lot of ranking points to defend, likely to face Nadal early, which could open up the top half for the likes of Richard Gasquet, Tsonga, Ferrer, Berdych or Milos Raonic, who can still qualify for the O2 if he wins in Bercy.
In the bottom half Federer rarely puts up much of an effort in Paris and after Basel and ahead of London he's unlikely to again and Juan Martin Del Potro is in the same situation after reaching three straight finals on tour.
Djokovic is lurking in this section also of course, but he has a very average (by his standards) record of 11-6 here and last year was beaten by Sam Querrey after bagelling the American in the opening set, so I question his motivation here too.
Stan Wawrinka let me down badly in Basel last week as he bottled it yet again in front of his home crowd, but he may well do better this week and he looks the best of the seeds in the bottom section to me, but is a touch skinny at 36.035/1.
The Swiss does need to perform to claim one of the final spots in London, but I'd like a price of around 50.049/1 before wading in on Stan, as his record here isn't great.
Also in the bottom half of the draw and of course very well rested and full of energy is the returning Marin Cilic, who's back from his reduced length drugs ban and no doubt the Croatian will be really keen to do well, although lack of match practice is an obvious problem.
So, I like the idea of creating a mini portfolio of a few outsiders here and the ones I have in mind are Llodra, Gael Monfils, Simon, and Benoit Paire.
All of these Frenchman will be trying here this week one would like to think and this is the one tournament of the year where the chances of a big priced Masters 1000 winner or finalist are better than they normally would be, so it's worth siding with the long shots.
Simon should have plenty left in the tank after just a dozen matches since Wimbledon and his awful loss last week had the feeling of Gilles saving himself for this week to me.
Monfils always has injury problems, but again, he could well be saving himself for here, as could Llodra, who barely put up an effort in Basel last week, while Paire also lost in the opening round last week after playing well in Stockholm and has one Masters semi final to his name already this season.
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