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Best bets for second round action in Halle (June 16)

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The second week on grass at the ATP level continues, as tournaments in Germany and England take diverging paths.

While the top seeds and Halle players are finding some success as the week progresses, the top seeds in London are dropping like flies.

Let’s dive into some matches taking place on Thursday in Halle as the commercial end of the tournament draws near.

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Match schedules are subject to change. Read here for tips on how to watch tennis matches.

Nikoloz Basilashvili (-115) against Oscar Otte (-110)

7:30 a.m. Eastern Time

As the books and markets catch up to Otte’s matches in totals (he has now played seven tie-breaks in his eight grass-court sets this season), his money line appears to be the most tempting market to attack.

With his massive serving and forehand combination, the German has managed to hold a staggering 95.7% of his service games so far this season on grass. The downside for him is that he hasn’t managed to find many breaks.

However, he has so far beaten the likes of Denis Shapovalov and Miomir Kecmanovic, losing in two tie-breaks to grass-court aficionado Matteo Berrettini.

Equipped with the ability to hold serve and keep his nerves in tiebreaks, Basilashvili is not the worst opponent in the world for him.

While the Georgian also starts from the baseline and with his serves, his erratic nature means he can lose control of his powerful groundstrokes for short periods of time and concede the unforced errors that Otte may need to find a break. service or two.

With the price on your moneyline coming back to a pick ’em from being as expensive as -130, it’s worth betting a position on it to win.

Pick: Otte ML (-110 via BetMGM)

Roberto Bautista Agut (-180) vs. Tallon Griekspoor (+140)

11:30 a.m. Eastern Time

The next match features veteran Roberto Bautista Agut taking on rising Tallon Griekspoor for the final spot in the Halle quarter-finals.

It is the Spaniard’s first tournament since Madrid and his second since Miami at the end of March as he has been dealing with injury issues.

However, he showed no signs of any lingering injuries in his first-round encounter with Marton Fucsovics. He was dominant on both serve and return, taking a 6-2, 3-0 lead before Fucsovics bowed out for the second match in a row.

As long as you don’t read in that party too, It is still encouraging to see Bautista Agut looking fit and back to his old ways on faster surfaces.

Next up for him is Griekspoor, who used a momentum-shifting tiebreaker against Alex Molcan to move forward. He saved six set points, including several when Molcan was serving, and took the tie break, before breaking Molcan in his first service game in the second set.

That’s all I would need to move on.

Ultimately, Bautista Agut presents a much tougher opponent for Griekspoor for a number of reasons than the Slovak.

First of all, he has the necessary defensive and ball recovery skills to expect mistakes like the ones Molcan had.

Second, while he’s not a southpaw, his backhand is consistently reliable and can be a weapon on grass, so he can also get into that part of Griekspoor’s game that the southpaw tried to do in the last round.

The difference is in the comfort and experience on the surface.

Bautista Agut is much more adept on faster surfaces, he can still come back and he has the athleticism to move around grass courts efficiently. He, too, reached the second week of Wimbledon in his last three attempts, including a four-set semifinal loss in 2019 to a certain Novak Djokovic.

With matchup, surface and experience advantages, I will bet the games with Bautista Agut.

Forecast: Bautista Agut -2.5 (-110 via BetMGM)

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