Tennis Betting: Houston clay court value outsiders
Isner is in the bottom half of the draw, along with Feliciano Lopez, Ivo Karlovic, Sweeting, James Blake and not a great deal else, in all honesty, and the big American is the clear form pick.
Sean Calvert has gone through the field and come up with two lively outsiders to consider for the start of the clay course season in Houston this week.
Juan Monaco plays in Houston for the first time in five years and he's one of the obvious favourites after his semi final run in Miami, but the clay court specialists such as Monaco don't have a great record in the unique conditions of Houston.
The stone and brick dust court surface in Houston is not the same as traditional clay and the Har-Tru surface plays quicker, which explains a list of recent champions that includes the likes of Ryan Sweeting, Andy Roddick, Ivo Karlovic, Lleyton Hewitt and Mardy Fish.
Indeed, the only champions here in recent history with a clay upbringing were Juan Ignacio Chela (2010) and Marcel Granollers (2008), but both of those men -- particularly Granollers -- are effective on quicker surfaces as well.
This year's draw has thrown up a seemingly perfect opportunity for John Isner to back up his fantastic efforts in Davis Cup at the weekend, but he's a pretty short price at [3.6] as a consequence considering how tired he'll be after those long matches and flights.
Isner is in the bottom half of the draw, along with Feliciano Lopez, Ivo Karlovic, Sweeting, James Blake and not a great deal else, in all honesty, and the big American is the clear form pick. He has never made it past the quarter finals in Houston though, and I doubt how committed he will be to this ATP 250 event under the circumstances with his propensity for physical letdowns.
That bottom half of the draw is wide open though and I will take a chance on a man who always performs well in the Houston conditions at around [100.0] on a back to lay basis.
Wayne Odesnik is not the most popular player on tour after his ban for possession of Human Growth Hormone, but he knows how to play here, with two semi-finals and a final in his last three visits.
If Isner is a little flat this week, it's worth a small bet on Odesnik who certainly has it in him to stun the top seed in his quarter, Lopez, who is making his debut on the unusual surface of Houston.
The top half of the draw looks far more competitive, with Monaco, Fish, Kevin Anderson, Ryan Harrison, Xavier Malisse, Alex Bogomolov Jr, and Sam Querrey all potential finalists on their best form.
Fish has played here a lot, but he hasn't made it past the last eight since he won it in 2006 on a different surface to the current one, and he's too short in the betting for my liking at around [7.6].
Monaco looks like he has the best chance of the shorter-priced players, but again, he's coming from a long journey in Davis Cup, and so instead it could be worth taking a chance on Querrey, who knows these conditions well and is also an attractive price at around [40.0].
Big Sam reached the final here in 2010 and he can be an effective performer on clay on his day, as wins over Isner, Gilles Simon, Richard Gasquet, Radek Stepanek, Viktor Troicki, Anderson and Phillip Kohlschreiber on the red dirt highlight.
His form since returning from injury has been hit and miss, but he should start picking up soon and Houston would be a great place for him to find some form.