There are a dozen matches on the card on Thursday on week one of the 2016 ATP World Tour, with the likes of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal all set to be in action.
Things didn’t quite work out as planned on Wednesday, with one winner from three bets, and that was Kei Nishikori, who landed the ‘sure thing’ wager thanks to a straight sets win over Mikhail Kukushkin.
Hyeon Chung had his chances to land the ‘long shot’ of a set one success over Marin Cilic when he led by a break in that opener, but he was unable to see it out and was beaten 7-5, 7-6 by the Croat.
Austin Krajicek found Borna Coric in good form and was just unable to force a tie break in set two of their match, but it was still worth taking Coric on at the dismal price he started at on Wednesday.
Roger Federer vs Tobias Kamke
It could be worth a small interest in the in-form Kamke in this 11:00 UK time clash with defending champion Federer, based on all the injury rumours that surround the Swiss at the time of writing.
Federer was due to play on Wednesday, but requested a later start time, and reportedly has barely practiced since Sunday in Brisbane amidst rumours of either injury or illness.
It seems highly unlikely that Federer would want to play every day from Thursday to Sunday inclusive, which is what he’ll now need to do to retain his Brisbane title, and at 14.0 it’s worth chancing the German player here.
Former ATP Newcomer of the Year Kamke has struggled in recent seasons and slipped down to number 278 in the rankings from a high of 64 four years ago and he wouldn’t be expected to be more than token resistance to Federer in normal circumstances.
Kamke has been impressive against fairly weak opposition so far this week and if Federer is struggling either the outright win or set one to the German at 8.0 could make things interesting.
Gilles Muller vs Thomas Fabbiano
This 11:30am UK time clash between the Luxembourger and the Italian should go the way of Muller, who should have too much firepower for Fabbiano.
The 26-year-old Italian has never made it into the world’s top-150 and his three set success from a set and a break down against world number 256 Jozef Kovalik was the first time that Fabbiano has won a match at tour level.
Fabbiano had only won one set in his six pervious losses at tour level and was outplayed for much of the match against Kovalik, which, when added to his 8-26 record against the top-100 suggests he’s not up to this.
Muller has won six of his eight matches as a 1.20 to 1.30 favourite and he’s won his last 31 against players ranked outside the top-150, with his last loss at tour level against such an opponent being against Izak Van Der Merwe on grass in Newport back in 2012.
Others to consider adding to any short-priced multiples include Tomas Berdych against Kyle Edmund, Rafa Nadal against Andrey Kuznetsov, and Novak Djokovic against Leo Mayer.
Aljaz Bedene vs Luca Vanni
The draw has opened up nicely for my outright Chennai pick Bedene now that number two seed Kevin Anderson has withdrawn due to injury and he’d have taken a last 16 clash with Vanni in a heartbeat pre-tournament.
The winner will face either local wild card Ramkumar Ramanathan or lucky loser Alexander Kudryatsev and this looks a fine opportunity for Bedene to improve upon his excellent 9-3 record in Chennai.
Having beaten Vasek Pospisil in round one the Brit will take on Vanni for the first time since juniors on clay in Slovenia back in 2010 when Bedene ran out a 6-1, 6-1 winner and on a hard court it seems highly likely that another win for Bedene will be the result of this 13:00 UK time clash.
Vanni has a decent serve and had a good win over Jan-Lennard Struff, whose ranking has dropped like a stone since the heady days when the German was top-50, in round one, but this looks tougher and the -2.5 games on Bedene at 1.75 looks the bet.
The Italian is 1-5 against top-50 opponents and 0-2 on hard courts, while Bedene has a decent record of 47-9 as a sub-1.50 favourite (14-4 on hard courts) and will surely fancy this one at a tournament he clearly likes.
Another to consider is the 1.80 about over 9.5 games in the opening set of Viktor Troicki vs Grigor Dimitrov in Brisbane, with the Serbian tough to break in these conditions when he’s serving well and Dimitrov down at number 27 (two spots below Troicki) in return games won in 2015.
Indeed, Dimitrov was ranked number 36 (below Kevin Anderson) in break points converted in 2015, and on a fast surface surely Troicki can take the first set towards a tie break – or at least to 10 games.
Sure thing: Back Muller to beat Fabbiano at 1.22
Value bet: Back Bedene -2.5 games to beat Vanni at 1.75
Long shot: Back Kamke to beat Federer at 14.0