Davis Cup Finals preview and best bets

Andy Schooler’s followers already have this week’s Davis Cup Finals favorites on the side at 33/1. Now he’s added a 20/1 suggestion for the last week of the 2022 season.

Tennis betting tips: Davis Cup Finals

0.5pt ew Netherlands to win the Davis Cup at 20/1 (bet365, William Hill, 1/3 1,2)

1pt Netherlands and Croatia both to win their quarter-finals at 3.03/1 (bet365, William Hill)

Already advised:

0.5pt ew Canada to win the Davis Cup at 33/1 (Sky Bet 1/2 1.2)

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook


Davis Cup Finals – Knockout stage

  • Malaga, Spain (indoor hard)

The last week of the 2022 tennis season will see the best team in men’s tennis decided at the Davis Cup Finals.

After a series of qualifiers earlier in the year and the Finals group stage in September, we’re down to the final eight and the champions will now be decided via a knockout format from Tuesday to Sunday in Malaga.

The draw ‘bracket’ is already known with Australia, Netherlands, Croatia and Spain in the top half, and Italy, USA, Germany and Canada in the bottom half.

It’s worth noting that those in the top half look to have an advantage in terms of the schedule – they will get a day off before both their semi-final and final, whereas the teams in the bottom section must play the semis and final on consecutive days.

There’s no clear favorite with the top five in the market all priced between 100/30 and 5/1.

One factor which we need to try to use to separate the sides is the court conditions.

Greenset is again the surface – it was used in the group stage when there was plenty of criticism of the courts being too slow.

It would appear organizers have listened to that criticism with early indications suggesting the speed has increased.

Spanish captain Sergi Bruguera said on Sunday: “(The court) is very fast and it doesn’t benefit us. If the big servers are good, they have a great advantage that can be key.”

His German counterpart Michael Kohlmann added: “The court is a bit faster than in Hamburg, which suits us as a team. Overall, very fair conditions for all teams.”

One would suspect Bruguera is slightly overstating things – the Spanish would much prefer a slower surface – but it also seems clear this is not the pudding court we saw in the group stage.

Anyway with those comments taken on board, let’s take a look at the quarter-finals and then come to some sort of conclusion about who might be lifting the trophy come Sunday.

Australia v Netherlands (Tuesday, 1500 GMT)

  • Australia – Alex de Minaur, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Matt Ebden, Max Purcell
  • Netherlands – Botic van de Zandschulp, Tallon Griekspoor, Tim van Rijthoven, Wesley Koolhof, Matwe Middelkoop

The Dutch could be a touch of value here at 6/4.

They were arguably the most impressive team of the group stage, surprisingly winning the group held in Glasgow with a 100% record, seeing off the USA and eliminating Great Britain in the process.

Botic van de Zandschulp went 3-0, extending his winning run in the competition to five, while world number 96 Tallon Griekspoor raised his game to go 2-1.

They also have a strong doubles team in Wesley Koolhof – the current joint world number one – and Matwe Middelkoop.

Australia looks a little light with Nick Kyrgios, who would walk into this team in both singles and doubles, not involved.

That leaves a lot resting on the shoulders of Alex de Minaur, with their number two singles player now Thanasi Kokkinakis, who is only just ranked inside the top 100.

Kokkinakis has just competed at the ATP Finals (with Kyrgios) in doubles but somewhat strangely he seems unlikely to play in that format this week with captain Lleyton Hewitt having opted to use Matt Ebden and Max Purcell in the group stage. They did win two out of three, though.

The faster court should help the Aussies more but, at the prices, the Dutch still look the better bet.

Croatia v Spain (Wednesday, 1500 GMT)

  • Croatia – Marin Cilic, Borna Coric, Borna Gojo, Mate Pavic, Nikola Mektic
  • Spain – Pablo Carreno Busta, Roberto Bautista Agut, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Marcel Granollers, Pedro Martinez

The world’s top two singles players are currently Spanish but, sadly for the nation’s Davis Cup hopes, neither Carlos Alcaraz nor Rafael Nadal will be in Malaga this week.

They still have two of the world’s top 21 in their line-up, but they are probably rightly the underdogs now.

In Marin Cilic and Borna Coric, Croatia boasts two of the world’s top 26 and, as captain Bruguera has pointed out, the court conditions are likely to favor their game more.

Cilic made the final indoors in Tel Aviv a couple of months ago, while Coric showed some good form on the autumn indoor circuit, reaching the semis in Vienna where he beat both Stefanos Tsitsipas and Hubert Hurkacz.

It’s also important to note that Cilic leads his likely opponent, Pablo Carreno Busta, 4-1 on the head-to-head, while Coric has won the last three against Roberto Bautista Agut, the most recent meeting seeing him record a dominant 6- 2 6-3 victory on a slick court in Cincinnati.

Croatia could get this wrapped up in the singles but even if they don’t they look favorites to win the doubles with Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic one of the top doubles teams in the world. Indeed, they arrive off the back of a runners-up showing at the ATP Finals in Turin.

In short, Croatia can win this and, at 8/11, will certainly have their backers to do so.

Italy v USA (Thursday, 0900 GMT)

  • Italy – Lorenzo Musetti, Lorenzo Sonego, Fabio Fognini, Simone Bolelli
  • USA – Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, Jack Sock

Italy posted the best record in the group stage, winning seven of their nine rubbers as they topped their pool, but that was with Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini in the team.

Both are now injured and missing from the line-up.

Strength in depth is something Italy do possess these days, but Lorenzo Musetti isn’t at his best on a fast court – as evidenced at the recent Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan where the ante-post favorite exited in the group stage.

Given Italy’s absentees, the USA team now looks the stronger of the two.

They boast two of the world’s top 20 with Taylor Fritz a man in form having just reached the semis of the ATP Finals where he pushed eventual champion Novak Djokovic close.

There’s the obvious concern about how he’ll back up after a tough week in Turin, but this is one last effort for the year and you’d imagine Fritz will be ready for a final push.

US Open semi-finalist Frances Tiafoe is a strong second singles player, while Tommy Paul is in reserve and is no mug if required.

Fritz crushed Musetti at Wimbledon in straight sets, while Tiafoe defeated Sonego in Paris only last month.

One weakness compared to the group stage is the absence of Rajeev Ram. The world number three formed a specialist doubles team with Jack Sock, with the latter now having to team up with one of the singles crew.

Italy’s doubles pair of Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli have won a Grand Slam title together in the past so they could have the edge if the tie is still alive at that point.

This should be pretty competitive, but I’d expect the US – 1/3 for the win – to emerge victorious.

Germany v Canada (Thursday, not before 1500 GMT)

  • Germany – Oscar Otte, Jan-Lennard Struff, Yannick Hanfmann, Tim Puetz, Kevin Krawietz
  • Canada – Felix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov, Vasek Pospisil, Alexis Galarneau, Gabriel Diallo

Canada starts the week as tournament favorites, just, but this is no gimme.

Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov are two strong singles players and both should enjoy the conditions if the court is indeed considerably quicker than it was in the group stage.

Auger-Aliassime is arriving from Turin where he exited in the group stage, although he has racked up a lot of indoor wins in the past couple of months, with his serve proving a particularly potent weapon.

Shapovalov has also finished the year strongly, although he’s had trouble against likely singles opponent Jan-Lennard Struff in the past. He trails 5-3 overall.

Captain Frank Dancevic would have been happy to see Vasek Pospisil win the Drummondville Challenger at the weekend.

Pospisil could be a key man in doubles where he’s likely to play alongside Shapovalov – the pair produced some important wins during Canada’s run to the 2019 Davis Cup final.

Canada will probably want to get things done before the doubles in this tie as Germany’s pair of Tim Puetz and Kevin Krawietz is a strong one.

With Alex Zverev still injured, Struff and Oscar Otte will play singles and they will be buoyed by a strong effort in the group stage when they helped Germany finish top of a strong group.

At 3/1, the Germans should not be ruled out but they do look up against it here and while the road might not be perfectly smooth for Canada, I do expect them to prevail.


Overall verdict

So, as you can tell, I’ve got the semi-finals being Netherlands v Croatia and USA v Canada.

Those ties would likely have Croatia and Canada as the favorites.

The good news is that regular readers may well have Canada already on the betslip at 33/1 – we put them up at that price prior to the group stage in September when they were without Denis Shapovalov.

With Shapo back in the fold, he and Felix Auger-Aliassime look a strong team, while Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil will offer plenty of threat in any live doubles rubbers.

They are probably worthy favorites now but it’s going to be competitive this week and one bad individual performance could prove fatal to a team’s chances.

I therefore don’t feel there’s much value in Canada’s price of 100/30 and certainly if you’ve got them at 33s, I’d suggest just seeing that one out.

Croatia are second favorites at 7/2 but Marin Cilic has never been the most reliable player and he arrives here on the back of three straight losses.

Borna Coric also blows hot and cold. If he’s on a good week, he could lead his nation to the title, but do I want to back them at 7/2? No.

I therefore make the NETHERLANDS the value shouted at present. They are starting the week at 20/1.

They were very impressive in the group stage and seemed to have a real team spirit which made them greater than the sum of their parts.

It’s worth noting that Tim van Rijthoven is their supposed ‘third man’ for singles, but if the courts are indeed very quick, he would be a good man to bring in ahead of Tallon Griekspoor.

Two doubles specialists will also ensure they are in with a good shout in any ties that go the distance.

Quarter-final opponents Australia look one of the weaker teams in Malaga and if the Dutch come through that they’ll meet either Croatia or Spain, neither of whom look bombproof. Far from it, in fact.

Basically we’re wanting the Dutch to win two ties to land the each-way part of the bet – it’s a third of the odds for a place in the final, so you’re getting close to 6/1 about them playing in the title match.

That looks worth a small punt, while we’ll keep fingers crossed that Canada can deliver that long-term bet too.

Looking at the quarter-final ties, the Netherlands do look a nice price at 6/4 to see off Australia and Croatia at 8/11 are also of interest to take down hosts Spain.

I’m happy to put those two in a double which pays just over 3/1.

For those seeking a spot of value, I don’t think Germany should be as big as 7/2 to beat Canada so they could be worth a nibble but let’s hope Canada sends us into Christmas on a big-priced winner.

Published at 1500 GMT on 21/11/22

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