Heavy favourites - Alcaraz and Zverev expected to get easy wins
Paris is the setting for the opening day of the French Open tomorrow, the only Grand Slam to start on a Sunday. This is something that always puzzles me - I'd much rather a Monday - Sunday two week event - but here we are, and there's action from the top half of the draw on opening day.
The day one schedule doesn't include top seed Novak Djokovic, nor 13 time winner Rafa Nadal, but it does contain Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev, who get their campaigns started immediately.
Alcaraz is an overwhelming favourite at 1.021/50 against the Argentine, Juan Ignacio Londero, who is a lucky loser having lost in qualifying to Borna Gojo. It would be a huge, huge shock if Alcaraz was ousted at the first hurdle.
It would also be if Zverev was defeated by Sebastian Ofner, who made it through qualifying albeit as a favourite in every match. Zverev's price is not much different Alcaraz's, at 1.031/33, but the final sentence of the previous paragraph still holds for the German - expect a routine victory.
Even money matches - Thiem can take advantage in downgrade of opposition
As is pretty much always the case in men's Grand Slam events, that's a dynamic to be expected in the first round, but what I've tried to do today is to look at some of the matches where the market expects things to be a little closer.
Carlos Taberner's performances this season have been pretty mixed - he performed creditably in Barcelona, and won a Challenger event in Italy in March, and the Spaniard faces Borna Coric, who has now dropped out of the top 200 following injury problems.
Coric has tried to make a comeback from those shoulder issues this year, but has gone 1-6 with only a win over the veteran Fernando Verdasco in Miami to show for his efforts.
Having said that, the Croat has taken sets off the likes of Alexander Zverev and Jannik Sinner during his comeback to tour, so could well benefit in the downgrade in opposition. It's an interesting match to watch to see where Coric - a player of decent upside in the past - is at, and the market has made him a slight underdog at 2.111/10.
Another player who has had major issues in his comeback from injury is Dominic Thiem. Thiem's main problem is difficulty winning return points - way, way down on his peak level - and his woes continued this week in Geneva, losing in straight sets to Marco Cecchinato.
This leaves Thiem 0-6 for the year, and just 1-12 in sets, so he too will be grateful for the downgrade in opposition - he faces the Bolivian, Hugo Dellien, tomorrow.
Dellien is a pretty mediocre player at main tour level (combined service/return points won just over 95% on clay in the last 12 months) and even with that woeful record this year, Thiem's numbers over the same time period still usurp that.
I think the Austrian can finally kick-start his comeback with a win here, although the market is finding it tricky to split the duo, pricing up Thiem at 2.0421/20.
Heavy underdogs - Borges and Griekspoor can test higher ranked opposition
In other matches, it wouldn't surprise me at all if the Portuguese prospect Nuno Borges caused Karen Khachanov great difficulty. Borges has an excellent record in Challengers on clay and looks a decent shout as an underdog winner on the opening day.
Another underdog worth following is Tallon Griekspoor against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
Fokina has underwhelmed following his shock run to the Monte Carlo final last month, but the market is still pricing him up at a level which appears to be better than what his numbers suggest.
Griekspoor hasn't shown an abundance of pedigree on clay on the main tour, but is a competent enough player at Challenger level, barely losing a match in the last 12 months on the surface at that lower level.
I'm surprised to see him at this price here - we should be able to get around 1.84/5 on the Dutchman receiving a 6.5 game head start, and I like that line.