Prop – Tennis – 26 Games or Fewers, 27 Games or More (Murray vs Gimeno-Traver)

Andy Murray has played in 5 Wimbledon tournaments and has only played 26 or fewer games in his first round match one time. Daniel Gimeno-Traver has only played in Wimbledon twice and gone 27+ games the first time he played and 26 games or fewer last year.

Murray is on an absolute roll so far this year, he just dispatched Andy Roddick with tremendous ease on grass at Queens. The question is will he totally dominate Gimeno-Traver or not. Winning handily (6-3, 6-3, 6-3) would not be enough, Murray must demolish his opponent. In their two previous outings once during the Challenger stage of their careers there was a tight match and once two years ago Murray demolished Traver. The odds however are against Murray. One tight set would swing this prop in favor of the over dramatically. One 7-5 set would more or less ensure an over on this prop. I don’t like picking against someone as hot as Murray and this is really a toss up but Murray’s past history would indicate this should go over. Even a comfortable straight set win would go over. I think something like 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 is likely and that would put this prop over so I would go with the over.

Pick: 27 Games or More

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 – 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

Tennis – Marion Bartoli vs Francesca Schiavone

Marion Bartoli will face Francesca Schiavone for the sixth time in her career on Thursday and is looking to improve her head to head record against Schiavone.

 

So far this year Bartoli is off to a better start posting a 31-14 record so far this year against Schiavone’s 22-12 record. Despite Bartoli’s better start, Schiavone is the defending French Open champion and simply because of that must be the favorite. In their five previous matchups Schiavone owns the head to head record 4-1. That being said Schiavone started the head to head record 3-0 and over the last two matches these two have split results 1-1. Bartoli meanwhile is further in the French Open than she has ever been before. These two players have never met on a clay surface.

 

Schiavone is the better player but Bartoli is in her prime at 26 and Schiavone is on the way out at 30. The last two matches for Bartoli have been pretty pedestrian and Bartoli should be very well rested. Schiavone on the other hand has had split results her last two times out and will likely be more fatigued. I think the difference in this one is Shiavone struggling of late will leave her somewhat fatigued while Bartoli will be fresh and energized by playing in front of her home crowd. Adding to the fatigue factor is the fact that on Clay movement and energy is far more important since rallies last much longer due to the slower surface. If this event was on Grass or Hard Schiavone being more fatigued might not matter but on Clay and at age 30 Schiavone wont recover as quickly as she once did and that’s why I like the younger Bartoli. With the support of the French people I think Bartoli has a pretty good shot of pulling off an upset victory over the defending champion Schiavone.

 

I would stay away from this one. Schiavone is the favorite but I like Bartoli to pull off an upset here in front of this French crowd.

 

Pick: Marion Bartoli

Prop – Tennis – 3 Sets; 4 or 5 Sets (Nadal vs. Soderling)

Rafael Nadal has played 43 matches in Roland Garros (French Open), in those 43 matches he has only lost once. In those 43 matches he has played 3 Sets 34 times. He has only lost a set in two of his last 22 matches in the French Open.

 

Robin Soderling has had a pretty good record at Roland Garros but he has struggled in his outings a lot more often than the King of Clay (Nadal). Soderling has been in the finals in each of the last two years at the French Open. Soderling however hasn’t rolled like Nadal. Soderling has lost at least one set in three of the six matches of Roland Garros the last two years. In both the 2009 and 2010 finals Soderling then lost in straight sets. Though in 2009 Soderling did upset Nadal in Nadal’s only loss at the French Open, ever.

 

Soderling and Nadal have met seven times. Nadal leads the series 5-2. 4 of the 7 matches have ended in straight sets. Nadal has won the last two matchups,  both in 2010, at Wimbledon in 4 sets and Roland Garros in 3 sets. Nadal has a 2-1 French Open record vs Soderling, 2 of those matches ended in 3 sets, 1 went 4 sets. Nadal also leads 3-1 in Clay events with 3 of the 4 matches ending in straight sets.

 

Both of these players struggled in their opening rounds and have gotten on a roll of late. The past results indicate that a 3 set result is the most likely. On clay Nadal has defeated Soderling in straight sets 75% of the time.

 

Pick: 3 Sets

Prop – Tennis – 3 Sets; 4 or 5 Sets (Del Potro vs Djokovic)

Juan Martin Del Potro seems to be the trendy pick to upset Novak Djokovic and end his phenomenal start to the 2011 season. Djokovic is 39-0 in 2011 and has a 41 match winning streak dating back to the 2010 season. I for one don’t see Del Potro pulling off the upset for a few reasons but below is some info on this prop.

Over 39 matches so far this season Djokovich has won in straight sets 30 out of 39 matches. Of those 9 matches in which Djokovich lost a set only 6 matches came against people not named Federer or Nadal.

Juan Martin Del Potro has played well this year coming back from an injury last year. However, so far this year Del Potro has only beaten one player ranked inside the top ten, Robin Soderling (Twice). Del Potro’s record against players ranked inside the top 15 this year is 3-5. Of those victories 2 came against Robin Soderling and 1 against an absolutely abysmal Fernando Verdasco, who Del Potro also lost to earlier in the year before Verdasco’s performance fell off a cliff. Every single one of Del Potro’s matches against top 15 players this year have been finished in straight sets.

These two players have met three times previously with one of those matches being on clay. Djokovic is 3-0 lifetime against Del Potro and Del Potro has not taken as set off of Djokovic.

Del Potro is certainly good enough to take a set here but I don’t consider it likely. If Del Potro comes out hitting his flat forehand well he may grab a set. Still the odds are against him.

Pick: 3 Sets

Prop – Tennis – 3 Sets; 4 or 5 Sets (Gilles Simon vs Jeremy Chardy)

This is a very tricky prop. You would think two top 100 players would likely split sets fairly often but its really not that common. The gap between the 40+ players and the 10-40 players is very wide in Tennis and then the Top 10 has even a greater gap from the rest. Tennis is also one of those sports where the way its structured typically the better player will win in straight sets even in a rather close match. Of course 4 or 5 setters do occur. Simon for example took 4 sets to dispatch crafty veteran Michael Russel in his first round match but lets take a look a little bit further back.

Gilles Simon is ranked 18th in the World and is having a pretty decent start to his season. Jeremy Chardy is ranked 61st in the world and has had very little experience at the top level of tour tennis recently. Simons has played in 34 ATP World Tour matches already while Chardy has only played in 14. In their careers Simons has posted a 205-144 record at the ATP World Tour level while Chardy has only posted a 77-80 record. Simons also has 8 Career titles to his name while Chardy has only 1. Simons is clearly the better player but neither of these two have faced off before so lets take a look at their recent results. For Simons we will look at hoe many times he has played a match that has gone straight sets against a player ranked from 30th and up. For Chardy we will just look at all of his matches. This might give him a somewhat inflated performance record for keeping matches close but he’s only played 3 matches all year against players ranked inside the top 25 and that would make any conclusions from those results widely inaccurate due to a small sample size against similar opponents. I also believe giving somewhat of a handicap to the underdog is wise in terms of a Grand Slam where you typically see players either widely outperform or under perform their averages and it makes more sense to handicap for the over performers.  All below numbers are for the 2011 season.

Gilles Simon has played 21 matches against players ranked lower than 30th. Simons has played the minimum 16 out of 21 matches. Of those matches he has won 16 of 21. In his wins Simon has faced the minimum 13 of the 16 wins. Those numbers would strongly favor straight sets.

Jeremy Chardy has played just three matches against players inside the top 25 so his sample size is a bit to small to really make any conclusions on it. Chardy has played a total of 14 matches this season at the ATP level. In those matches he has played the minimum number of sets 11 times. Chardy also has only beaten a player inside the top 50 once all year.

A prop like this is very hard when you consider that this a Grand Slam, both players will be ramped up and both players are playing in their home country. That said Simon is simply a much better player and while he struggled against Michael Russel I would expect Simon to dispatch Chardy in round two. This could go four sets but both players histories tend to lean toward shorter matches and for that reason I would go with a straight set match.

Pick: 3 Sets