It was a bumper day of tennis betting on Wednesday in Shanghai on a day where seeds fell and plenty of profit was made for this column.
Jack Sock was a 3.90 winner against a predictably less than committed Kei Nishikori, although it was still a good performance from the American to land his first top-10 win.
And before that one Gilles Simon landed a 2.60 gamble when he took down Stanislas Wawrinka in a three setter that the moody Swiss gave up in embarrassingly during the final game.
Thursday’s play features the third round at the 2014 Shanghai Rolex Masters and play gets underway from 06:00 UK time.
Jack Sock vs Julien Benneteau
I’m happy to stick with the American in this one at his current price of around the 2.23 mark.
Clearly, Nishikori wasn’t 100 percent happy with his body on Wednesday, but Sock’s level shouldn’t be overlooked in that match, with the American showing perhaps the best tennis I’ve seen from him.
Anything like a repeat of that sort of form would surely be enough here against Benny, whose win over Grigor Dimitrov has made his price too short today in my view.
Dimitrov has a really poor record in Asia and it was no shock to see him lose one that on paper he should have won and the layers may have overreacted to that win a little bit here.
Sock and Benny are yet to meet on the tour, but the Frenchman doesn’t have the best record against big servers and in these conditions I would give Sock a decent chance.
Benny may not have too much left in the tank after Kuala Lumpur and before this week he’d never won a match here at the Shanghai Masters.
It might be tight, but I think there’s a touch of value on Sock here.
The only other wager that tempts me today is the overs in the clash between Mikhail Youzhny and Juan Monaco, which starts at around 10:00 UK time on Thursday.
I’d be surprised if either player won this one in straight sets, but Youzhny’s long encounter against Ivan Dodig that the Russian eventually prevailed in took almost three hours, while Monaco hardly got out of first gear when Milos Raonic retired.
That puts me off a little and I wouldn’t be surprised if Pico was able to come through that one.
Novak Djokovic should have few issues with Mikhail Kukushkin, although the Kazakh did play well in beating Kevin Anderson in straight sets last time out and could cover the +6.5 game handicap.
But the best value could lie in backing Roberto Bautista-Agut against Roger Federer, who had to save at least four match points against Leo Mayer and didn’t finish playing until 01:30 local time on Wednesday.
That will be a tough turnaround for the Swiss, who will need to play much better in any case and when the market forms on that it could well be worth siding with the Spaniard in that one.
Back Sock to beat Benneteau at 2.23