Paris Masters Day Four: Schwartzman value to cover handicap against Zverev
We have third round action from the Paris Masters today, and after Jack Sock provided a winner yesterday, our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, is back to check out the value...
"In line with his general struggles indoors, when priced at a similar level on the surface, since the start of 2017, Zverev has only managed to cover the -4.5 game handicap line on two of 12 occasions, so taking Schwartzman +4.5 games makes a lot of sense here."
Sock begins his critical defence with Gasquet victory
Yesterday's action in the French capital was pleasing, with Jack Sock not only taking a set from Richard Gasquet but in fact, winning in straight sets, leaving me to wonder how the American would have fared this year if he had to defend 1,400 ranking points every week!
Certainly, the threat of a big ranking drop seemed to trigger the American's best tennis, and his mammoth task of at least defending some of the 1,000 points from his victory here last year was made easier by Rafa Nadal's withdrawal from the event. The Spaniard pulled out prior to his clash with countryman Fernando Verdasco yesterday, and then Verdasco was beaten by the (very) lucky loser Malek Jaziri, who now faces Sock today in round three.
After being caught yesterday, the pre-match market is much more defensive on Sock, pricing him at [1.40] against the Tunisian journeyman, which definitely looks short enough.
Schwartzman value against Zverev
In yesterday's preview, I also mentioned Diego Schwartzman was under-rated against Feliciano Lopez, and the Argentine duly prevailed in a tight three-setter, which was no doubt deserved, given that he created 15 break point chances to the Spanish veteran's six.
Schwartzman's main issue was conversion, taking a mere three of these - if he had managed to convert even a standard percentage (particularly in game one of set two, when he didn't break from 0-40), the result may have looked more comprehensive.
Today, Schwartzman is a [4.20] underdog as he steps up in class to face Alexander Zverev, but I do think this price isn't bad value at all. Zverev's serve wasn't in great shape against Frances Tiafoe yesterday, but he managed to save eight of ten break points, mainly in a topsy-turvy second set.
Zverev historically struggling to cover game handicap lines
In line with his general struggles indoors, when priced at a similar level on the surface, since the start of 2017, Zverev has only managed to cover the -4.5 game handicap line on two of 12 occasions, so taking Schwartzman +4.5 games makes a lot of sense here.
Hopefully in the run-up to the match, there will be a little more liquidity in this line on the Exchange (it currently stands at [1.66]) and I'd expect this to settle in the low [1.70]s, in line with general market pricing.
Dimitrov and Coric also offering underdog potential
In other matches, Grigor Dimitrov might have a touch of value at [2.84] against Marin Cilic, and he's another one defending plenty of points in the coming weeks and facing a drop in the rankings, while if Borna Coric is fit - and he looked decent enough yesterday, against Daniil Medvedev - then the [2.06] about the Croat looks decent against Dominic Thiem, who tends to prefer conditions to be a little slower.
Anderson priced more realistically following Vienna triumph
It's also interesting to see Kevin Anderson priced at a more realistic level, at [2.26], against Kei Nishikori, a price I agree with. He was much bigger for his win in Sunday's final, also against the Japanese man, in Vienna last week, and I felt that was an excellent price.
Finally, after Milos Raonic's walkover yesterday, Roger Federer gets his campaign underway against Fabio Fognini, who also benefited from a rest day yesterday, as Marton Fucsovics pulled out of their clash - after beating the Italian in Vienna last week.
Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings
Back Diego Schwartzman +4.5 games at around [1.70] to beat Alexander Zverev