Tennis – Na Li vs Francesca Schiavone

Francesca Schiavone is the defending French Open champ but this match is a lot closer than it might appear.


Schiavone is 24-14 so far on this year (including Fed Cup Matches). Schiavone has also had some success on Clay posting a 13-4 record on that surface. Schiavone is probably very comfortable on clay having played on it over 160 times with a record of 107-57. The last two years Schiavone has been even better than that clay record would suggest and she hast posted solid results. Between 2002-2005 Schiavone really struggled on clay and her career mark on that surface is lower because of those struggles.


Na Li has posted a better start to the 2011 campaign going 26-9. Na Li has also won a title but of those wins 11 have come on hard courts including her very solid start to the year with a title in Sydney and a Finals appearance in the Australian open. After her red hot start to the year Li slowed down dramatically and posted very poor results until the past month or so when she has gotten on a roll again. Na Li is 14-3 on clay so far this year and that’s almost identical to Shiavone. Na Li has had success on Clay but hasn’t played on it much over the course of her career having played 82 matches on clay, almost half as many as Schiavone.


Schiavone has beaten players she is supposed to beat on her way to the finals but hasn’t really faced a top talent type test yet. Na Li meanwhile has pulled off several big upsets against big name players including #4 Victoria Azarenka and #7 Maria Sharapova. Na Li is probably in slightly better form but hasn’t won a grand slam title in her career while Schiavone is the defending champion here.


These two have played twice before and have split the series 2-2. Na Li leads on Hard courts 2-1 while Schiavone has a 1-0 lead on clay courts. While I think Na Li is playing better Schiavone has had her best results on clay over the past two years. Schiavone is not exactly a clay court specialist but clay is her best surface while Na Li has always been more of a hard court player. Na Li will make this close and might even pull this one out but I like the defending champion in this one playing on her best surface vs a hot Na Li.


Pick: Francesca Schiavone

Prop – Soccer – DC United Win, Draw, Lose by 1; LA Galaxy Win by 2+

So far this year the L.A. Galaxy are leading their division and have a positive goal differential of 8. DC United is riding mid table with a GD of -4.


So far this year DC has played 11 games and lost by 2+ in 3 of them. They have not lost by 2+ in their last 4 games. The LA Galaxy have played 15 games and has won by 2 or more in only 2 games. LA might have the home pitch advantage but while posting a solid goal differential they just haven’t had enough blowouts and DC hasn’t been blown out enough to cause me to take the over.


Pick: DC United Win, Draw, Lose by 1

Prop – Soccer – Austria Win, Draw, Lose by 1; Germany Win by 2+ (Germany @ Austria)

Germany has absolutely cruised of late in their qualification efforts for the Euro 2012 qualifying. In their last qualification match they defeated Kazakstan 4-0. Germany looks to step closer to qualification with a win against their rival Austria.

Austria isn’t in great shape and needs to do some work to qualify for Euro 2012 but they will be up against a stiff challenge in Germany.

This matchup is a tough one. Germany is explosive and is tied for the best goal differential in qualifying for Euro 2012. They have struggled somewhat in recent friendly’s going 1-1 over their last two matches and winning and losing both matches by 1 respectively. Some injury concerns may hold Germany back in this one. Austria meanwhile has lost by at least 2 goals in each of its last three matches and hasn’t picked up a point in over four matches.

Despite Austria’s struggles I think this one will be close. Austria and Germany are rivals which traditionally you would think would lead to a close game. More importantly Germany’s midfield has been ravaged by injuries and withdrawals so I think it more likely Germany will get an early lead and pull back to defend given their weakness in the middle, further even if Germany doesn’t pull back the weak midfield could cost them a goal by giving Austria more space than their typical midfield lineup would allow. Germany hasn’t been blowing away quality opponents recently and Austria is a quality team, I expect Germany to in but just by 1. of course Germany is perfectly capable of winning this one 4-0 but I just don’t think given the injuries and their recent form that it will happen.

Pick: Austria, Win, Draw or Lose by 1

Prop – Tennis – 36 Games or Fewer, 37 Games or More (Djokovic vs Federer)

The Streak Masters has picked a perfect prop. STAY AWAY FROM THIS ONE. Seriously this is one of the toughest props to call that I have ever seen on here. The way this prop works you could see a very close 3 set match top the 36 game mark by going 7-5, 7-5, 7-6. Such a result while not terribly likely is certainly possible and these two actually posted a 7-6, 7-5, 7-5 result in the 2009 US Open Semi Finals. Then you could see perhaps an even more likely 4 set match go under the 36 games with something like a, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. Such a result is very similar to what Federer and Djokovic may have done if Indian Wells were a best of 5 tournament instead of Best of 3 (They actually went 6-3, 3-6, 6-2).


6-3 and 6-4 are the most common results in a set where two players are fairly evenly matched and both players play well. If this match goes 4 sets and averages 6-3 sets then you will see an exact 36 games hit. So what your most likely betting on in this prop to get the over is a 5 set match (In 5 GS meetings these two have only played 5 sets once) a very close 4 set match or an extremely tight 3 set match. The under needs to avoid a 5 set match, pray for a pedestrian 4 set match or hope for a pretty routine 3 set match.


Since the start of the 2010 season these two have met 8 times. Four matches have gone the minimum, four have gone into extra sets. Just about 4 matches have had pretty low game totals, 4 have had very close sets and elevated game totals. Four Grand Slam meetings have had under 36 games, three have had over.


Both players have absolutely dominated, one would think this would be close but Federer was in pretty good form during the Australian Open and Djokovic dispatched Federer in only 35 games earlier this year in the Australian and also dispatched Federer pretty handley despite dropping a set at Indian Wells winning 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. Recent history would point to this match lasting less than 37 games so the 36 or fewer would probably be the slightly better pick but I would rather just avoid picking here.


Pick: 36 Games or Fewer 

Prop – Tennis – Nadal Wins 3-0, Any other Result (Nadal vs Murray)

Rafael Nadal has played 44 matches in Roland Garros (French Open), in those 44 matches he has only lost once. In those 44 matches he has played 3 Sets 35 times. He has only lost a set in two of his last 23 matches in the French Open.


Andy Murray meanwhile has also been playing well recently. Murray was a Semi Finalist in Rome and Monte Carlo. In both of those prestigious events Murray lost in the Semi’s against Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal but he also managed to take a set off of both the world #1 and #2.


Rafael Nadal leads the H2H matchup here 10-4. Nadal leads the H2H matchup 3-0 when the contest has been on clay. Nadal has won in straight sets in 2 of the 3 clay events. Murray has taken at least one set from Nadal the last 3 meetings, and Murray has taken at least a set in 3 of the last 4 meetings.


Nadal typically has dominated at the French Open and I expect Nadal to win this match but with Murray feeling very confident due to his recent success, I would expect him to take at least one set. Nadal really hasn’t cruised early in his matches this year and Murray’s best results against Nadal and other top players have typically come in the beginning of the match. I would stay away from this one if you have any streak on the line just because Nadal is so dominant on clay but I am tentatively taking Murray to pick up a set and give this prop the Any Other Result that so many people are already picking.


Pick: Any Other Result