Barcelona Open betting preview: 16/1 Grigor Dimitrov to go deep in Barcelona?

As the ATP Tour moves on from Monte Carlo, our tipster Deggsy Bilton looks to line your pockets once again.

First things first. Can somebody slap me hard around both chops the next time I dare to suggest that Rafael Nadal might be worth opposing to win a tennis tournament played on clay?

Spain’s Raging Bull absolutely obliterated the field to claim an eleventh Monte Carlo Masters last week and put the whole of the men’s game on notice ahead of this year’s French Open.

The bad news for his rivals is that Rafa will head straight from Monte Carlo to Barcelona to compete in this week’s Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. Like most of the prestigious ATP events played on dirt Rafa has made the Trofeo Conde de Godó event his own and given this is his ‘home’ tournament there’s no questioning his motivation this week.

Having nailed down title number 11 in Monte Carlo he now has the chance to do so here and later this year will also be bidding for an eleventh title at Roland Garros.

Analyse his play in Monaco, where he rarely looked troubled, and it becomes apparent he really does look the lock of all locks this week. Incredibly he has now won 36 sets in a row on clay and is looking as good as ever.

The injury concerns (he had pulled out of three straight tournaments dating back to the end of 2017) were put to bed last week and he knows if he wins Barcelona he will remain as World No 1.

The majestic Iberian finds himself in a loaded quarter of the draw in Catalonia, with two-time champion Kei Nishikori potentially looming in the third round and big rival Novak Djokovic a potential foe in the last eight.

Yet he won’t be losing any sleep as his stats on clay are simply ridiculous. Over 400 matches played now and a win ratio in excess of 92% on the red stuff. He also clearly loves playing Barcelona so when you factor all that in odds of 1/2 about him winning this week actually start to look quite sweet.

If two’s on is too short for you it might be worth considering an each-way play from the other half of the draw. Dominic Thiem looks the most likely alternative to Nadal but he looks short enough at 8/1 and faces a tough test early on against Fernando Verdasco.

Fifteenth seed Verdasco actually won here in 2010 and if he arrives in the mood his ripping forehands could give Thiem fits. For this reason Thiem looks one to swerve but Grigor Dimitrov looks interesting at 16/1.

The classy Bulgarian has never been beyond the second round in Barcelona in three previous attempts but he’s in a much weaker half of the draw and showed in Monte Carlo last week his game is on point.

He streaked to the last four (beating David Goffin en route) in the Principality before losing to Nadal in straight sets. His movement and rhythm looked good all week and at 16/1 he has solid claims to make the final here.

There is also action in Budapest this week, where Lucas Poullie goes off as the tournament jolly. Poullie is the defending champion in Hungary but bombed for us after being tipped to make a few waves in Monte Carlo so we are happy to serve him at 11/4. Not so Andreas Seppi, who looks a decent shout at 16/1.

Seppi is seeded eight and kicks off against fellow Italian Thomas Fabbiano. And although he tends to save his best work for the Australian Open he is actually a clay specialist who nobody in this draw will fancy tackling.

A gnarled veteran of the ATP Tour, he’s looked sharp this season and might be overpriced in a very mediocre field.

Bilko’s Banker: Grigor Dimitrov to win the Barcelona Open (each-way) at 16/1 (bet365/Paddy Power)
Best of the Rest: Andrea’s Seppi to win the Hungarian Open at 16/1 (Bet Victor)

Deggsy Bilton