Indian Wells Masters Day Five: Irrelevant head to head influencing Mannarino price

Serbian Tennis player Filip Krajinovic
Filip Krajinovic could give Roger Federer a test tonight...
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Monday evening is day five at the Indian Wells Masters, and tonight's schedule sees the beginning of the third round. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, is back to preview the action...

"This match-up is a prime example of an irrelevant head to head, with Chardy being the higher ranked player in all four matches - he isn't close to being now - and none have taken place for over four years."

Bhambri impresses as we get another winner

We managed another winner last night with the heavy underdog, Yuki Bhambri, not only covering the game handicap but defeating Lucas Pouille in straight sets. Keeping an eye on Pouille's pricing in the slower outdoor hard court events looks worthwhile, as there is a likelihood that he will continue to be over-rated by the market in these unfavourable match-ups for him.

The majority of the eight matches in the last 32 tonight look pretty competitive, with only Roger Federer, Kevin Anderson and Dominic Thiem in heavy favourite territory.

Federer could be tested by in-form Krajinovic

Tournament favourite Federer is [1.09] to get past the in-form Filip Krajinovic and the Serb is something of an upgrade on Federer's previous opponent on Saturday, Federico Delbonis. My model made Federer bigger, at [1.16], and this could be a bit of a banana-skin for the Swiss legend, who is likely to still be a little rusty having played just that match against Delbonis since he won Rotterdam around a month ago.

Anderson and Thiem fairly priced as heavy favourites

Anderson is absolutely justifable as a virtual shoo-in against the clay-courter, Nicolas Kicker - how has he got to this stage - while Thiem should enjoy the relatively slow conditions here, and faces another clay-courter in Pablo Cuevas, whose hard court stats are below top 50 level.

This leaves another five matches with which to choose our recommendation for tonight, and we do have a few options.

Mannarino can overturn irrelevant head to head against Chardy

In the opening match at 1800 UK time, Adrian Mannarino attempts to overturn a 4-0 head to head deficit against countryman Jeremy Chardy, and is currently available at [1.61] to do so. This match-up is a prime example of an irrelevant head to head, with Chardy being the higher ranked player in all four matches - he isn't close to being now - and none have taken place for over four years.

Despite this head to head being worthless, Chardy - who has been in poor touch for around a year now as he goes into his thirties - is over-rated by the market, who may have read too much into this.

My model priced Mannarino at [1.41] for this match, and he enjoys a huge edge on return statistics against his rival Frenchman, and I do feel this represents decent value tonight.

Bautista-Agut and Fritz also representing value

The other main contenders for today's recommendation include our outright market long-shot, Roberto Bautista-Agut, who is a similarly priced [1.59] against Borna Coric, with also a similar model price, and their match-up features a head to head which has more relevance - Bautista-Agut has won four of the five meetings, all since July 2015, with Coric in the top 50 in all of them.

Also worth a mention is Taylor Fritz, who I'm surprised to see as a [2.58] underdog against Fernando Verdasco. The erratic Spaniard has held serve 76% on hard court in the last 12 months, breaking opponents 24.7% (combined 100.7%) and this data is obviously nothing special. Fritz's service stats are quite a bit better, despite his lower ranking, and he has plenty of age-related upside as well. According to my model, the American youngster was value in his previous win, against Andrey Rublev, and he is again here.

In the other matches tonight, Daniil Medvedev is again over-rated, although opponent Pablo Carreno-Busta - the slight favourite - has not been in good touch in recent months, while if Tomas Berdych is fully fit - not necessarily a given - he looks reasonably priced as a marginal favourite at [1.83] over the rapidly improving Hyeon Chung.


Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings

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