Shane Lambert looks at Andy Murray in French Open and while he should easily dispose of Karlovic, the bets now are Nishikori and Raonic in the outright market.
Andy Murray's troubles to open the 2016 French Open have been commented on extensively. Through two rounds of play, Murray has played 10 sets of tennis already. In five of those sets, he was facing elimination from the tournament and at one point he was even two points from going out. That might cause some to lose confidence in Murray; however the World No. 2 seems very-very-very safe in the third round.
Murray will play Ivo Karlovic next and the Croat would like nothing better than to show that he isn't over the hill. However, if I know anything about tennis at all it's this: a 37-year old who just played a match that went 12-10 in the 5th won't have anything left for the next round.
Karlovic played 3 tiebreakers, a 6-3 set, and a 12-10 set in the last round. Even though he advanced that kind of extended play promises to take him out of the tournament still. Only the very best players can come back from that kind of tennis torture two days later and beat someone like Murray: Dr. Ivo doesn't fit the bill.
To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if Karlovic withdrew from the tournament ahead of the match, something that would help Murray put his spotty matches behind him. That would also give him a fatigue advantage going forward against players that have to work for a win.
For a betting angle against Karlovic, focus on Murray early in the match. There may be no point in taking the Scot to win the entire match since Karlovic is a risk for mid-match retirement. There's nothing more annoying in sports betting then having a winning bet push due to a player tapping out. It is nice, however, to have a losing bet push for the same reason.
If the match plays out and Murray doesn't win 3-0 then that's a clear sign that there are major problems with the Scot for some hard-to-explain reason. Teymuraz (tame your what?) Gabashvili could then loom larger in this section of the draw then what people realize. After all, John Isner is his third-round opponent, a player who is hardly a Grand Slam match-winning guru. Last-favourite Gabashvili, a potential fourth-round opponent for the Scot, won't be as lenient with Murray if he's playing as bad as both Radek Stepanek and Mathias Bourque were.
Deeper in the draw, you really have to be loving each-way terms on Kei Nishikori right now paying 10/1 to make the final with bet365. I'm also loving Milos Raonic getting through the first two rounds without dropping a set. The efficiency bodes well for his body holding up in the tournament which appeared to be the main problem at the Aussie earlier this year.
Murray will probably work things out, but his odds can't be touched in futures markets at the moment until there's some kind of sign of improvement. A bent-out-of-shape Karlovic is perfect for round three, but we need to see something out of the Scot to re-instill some betting confidence for the futures market.
2-pt bet on Andy Murray to win the first set against Karlovic at 2/9 with 888Sport
2-pt bet on Kei Nishikori to win everything at 20/1 each way with bet365
1-pt bet on Milos Raonic to win everything at 50/1 each way with bet365
If Gabashvili gets through Isner, then consider him for an upset of Murray in the fourth round if odds of 7/2 or longer are available. On handicaps, look for +8.5.