The opening event of the new ATP Tour season is the Brisbane International (outdoor,hard) and it looks like a decent betting opportunity.

Top Seeds

Two of the top three in the market, namely favourite and top seed Rafael Nadal and two-time former champion Andy Murray, both have injury question marks hanging over them and their prices are largely based on their historical performance.

Nadal, who underwent ankle surgery in the off-season, returned to action in Abu Dhabi a few days ago, but lost to Kevin Anderson. He then withdrew from his third-place play-off match and hardly sounded full of optimism either.

He said: “I suffered a lot in terms of injury. I don’t want to suffer more – I want to make the things the right way, step by step and that’s it.

“My goal is try to be ready for the Australian Open and I think I’m on the way to make that happen but, of course, I can’t take a lot of risk, (this) being the first match after a lot of months and especially after the surgery.”

Brisbane

Those words should be more than enough to stop anyone backing him at 9/4 at an event he’s played only once before, losing in the quarter-finals.

As for Murray, he’s openly admitted he’s still feeling pain from his chronic hip condition, adding: “I would just like to get through the tournaments and feel like I am able to compete and not be restricted by my hip.”

Again, that doesn’t sound like someone truly expecting to win a title this week.

I’m also prepared to discount defending champion Nick Kyrgios, who appears to have had his preparations disrupted by a spider bite, although he seems to spend too much of his time toying with the media these days. That ‘game’ is further evidence of the mental state of Kyrgios, hardly someone to trust at a single-figure price in a field of this quality.

So Where is the value?

The contrast to his compatriot Alex de Minaur could hardly be greater, a young workaholic who will run all day, chase down many a lost cause and has the talent to go with his workrate.

He was a surprise semi-finalist here 12 months ago but seeing him return to that stage would not be classed as a shock this time around.

With a game style which has drawn comparisons with his mentor and Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt, De Minaur looks set for another big year and he’ll be keen to start it well on home soil. At 18/1, he looks a viable each-way shot.

He looks to have a decent path to the last eight, where he could meet Nadal – that’s if the Spaniard is able to overcome a likely meeting with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Brisbane

Bet On The Brit

The bottom half of the draw looks weaker and it is here that Briton Kyle Edmund makes appeal.

Edmund won his maiden ATP title in Antwerp towards the end of last season and should take added confidence into the new campaign as a result.

He’s made the quarter-finals here in each of the last two years and a decent draw makes it realistic for him to go further in 2019.

With a first-round bye, Edmund will start against a qualifier before a possible meeting with Kyrgios. That’s a decent looking quarter.

Kei Nishikori looks the most likely semi-final opponent and I was tempted by him given both his strong end to last season (US Open semis, runner-up in Toyko and Vienna) and his good record in Brisbane (four times in the semis or better, including the 2017 final).

However, Edmund is more than twice the price and his forehand weapon could well dictate any meeting with the Japanese. At 10/1, the Briton looks worth an each-way play.

Tips:

Alex de Minaur each-way –

Kyle Edmund each-way –

 

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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