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Ivo Karlovic
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Odds and Ends

Tennis Best Bets for July 20

by Kenny Ducey
Updated On: July 20, 2021, 6:21 pm ET

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We've left grass-court tennis in the past, and we're on to the mid-season hardcourt swing with some great action down in Los Cabos. I've picked out a couple matches I see value in and will get to them now.

Jordan Thompson (-313) vs. Ivo Karlovic (+231)

The head-to-head here stands at an even 2-2, and it couldn't be any weirder. Karlovic owns a win on clay — his worst surface — and one back at the 2018 Calgary Challenger. Thompson's also got a clay win and took the most recent meeting on the indoor hard courts in Long Island last year.

Though it's been all Thompson of late, I think with both coming off their preferred grass things should be much closer than the line implies.

Any time you're dealing with Karlovic, a skyscraper with one of the biggest serves in history, you're going to get a tight affair. The grizzled veteran, at age 42, is still proving to be a tough out with a win last week in Newport over up-and-comer Bernabe Zapata Miralles and a tight three-set loss to the talented Alexander Bublik. His return games have been competitive, and his chip and charge tennis is back to where it was probably two years ago.

I believe Karlovic, on a surface that isn't quite as fast but still quick, should be able to bother Thompson enough to take a set here. The Aussie hasn't looked overly comfortable in the last week, and I do believe he's capable of donating a break somewhere in the proceedings. I'll have exposure to the moneyline as well.

Edge: Karlovic +1.5 sets (-129)

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Peter Gojowczyk (-152) vs. Illya Marchenko (+119)

When you watch an in-form Gojowczyk play, as we did last week, it's hard not to see the talent that brought him all the way to No. 39 in the world years ago. The German is capable of displaying exceptional rally tolerance and a dangerous cross-court forehand that can blow away even the strongest of opponents. With all of that said, I'm particularly excited to see him back home on a hardcourt.

Gojowczyk needs time to set up his shots, which is why his run at Newport wasn't a longer one. His best surface is a slower hardcourt, which is exactly what we have in Los Cabos. Here, he should feel even more comfortable, which is good news considering the form he's in.

The veteran has won five of his last eight matches, while Marchenko has lost three of four. Both have had success on harcourts, but it's been quite some time since that was true of the World No. 161, who has lost his last five contests on the surface. I think this line is right on.

Edge: Gojowczyk -152

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Kenny Ducey

Kenny Ducey is a former member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, writing and editing for Sports Illustrated and Baseball Prospectus. His work also appears at DraftKings and The Action Network. Follow him on Twitter @KennyDucey.