This article is part of our Tennis Picks series.
First-round action from the BNP Paribas main draw begins Wednesday. The top 32 seeds in both the men’s and women’s draw have byes into the second round, but there are plenty of familiar names among the unseeded opponents scheduled to play on the hard courts of Indian Wells, California on Wednesday. A pair of Grand Slam champions could be sent home early on the women’s side. In the men’s draw, a couple of accomplished veterans should still have enough gas in the tank to get out of the first round, while another is running on empty. All Tennis Odds & Lines are taken from DraftKings Sportsbook, but you can sometimes find more favorable odds on some of these matches by checking mobile sportsbooks such as FanDuel Sportsbook, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, or any of the other best sports betting sites. We offer exclusive sign-up bonuses for some of those sportsbooks, as well as specific bonuses for users located in Massachusetts, where online sports betting is set to go live Friday.
All matches at the BNP Paribas Open are best of three sets, which is the case for all ATP Masters 1000 and WTA 1000 level tournaments. A mix of players’ previous hard court results, recent form and stylistic matchups can help pinpoint intriguing betting opportunities, both among favorites likely to cruise to victory and underdogs ready to pull off upsets. The aforementioned underdogs are highlighted in the Upset Alert section, the Lock It In section covers players who can safely be considered overwhelming favorites, while the Value Bets section recommends enticing options in matchups that are considered closer to toss-ups.
Indian Wells Picks: Upset Alert
Danka Kovinic (+205) vs. Emma Raducanu
It’s hard to say what kind of form Raducanu will be in here. The 2021 US Open champion has slipped to 77th in the rankings, and she hasn’t played since a straight-sets loss to Coco Gauff in the second round of the Australian Open almost two months ago. Not only is Kovinic ranked 15 spots ahead of Raducanu, but she also has a 1-0 head-to-head edge, having beaten Raducanu at last year’s Australian Open. Kovinic can swing freely as the underdog while having confidence that she can beat this opponent, while Raducanu still hasn’t learned to handle the pressure that’s followed her around since her breakthrough at Flushing Meadows.
Federico Coria (+150) vs. Diego Schwartzman
Schwartzman has been in free fall lately, as he comes into this tournament having lost five matches in a row and 11 of his last 12. The 5-foot-7 Argentine never had much margin for error given his inability to earn free points on serve, and he seems to have lost a step at age 30, making it harder to win enough grinding baseline rallies to overcome his shortcomings on serve. It’s hard to justify Schwartzman being a clear favorite against any opponent given his recent form, and while his Argentinian countryman Coria has an ugly 6-20 career hard-court record, Coria’s actually playing his best tennis at age 30 while Schwartzman appears to be fading into the sunset. Coria reached a career-high ranking of No. 49 last month and currently sits at No. 64, while the long-time top-20 staple Schwartzman is at No. 38 and dropping fast.
Katie Volynets (+230) vs. Shelby Rogers
Indian Wells Odds: Lock It In
Andy Murray (-300) vs. Tomas Martin Etcheverry
Murray should cruise to victory here, as long as he’s adequately recovered from the hip issue that forced him to pull out of Dubai last week. Murray preceded that withdrawal with a run to the Qatar Open final, beating Alexander Zverev along the way before falling to Daniil Medvedev. With the Masters 1000 sunshine double of Indian Wells and Miami on the horizon, he likely skipped Dubai as a precaution. While Murray’s no longer performing at an all-time great level, the 35-year-old Brit still rarely loses to players he should beat, and Etcheverry falls into that category. The 23-year-old Argentine is ranked only six spots behind Murray at No. 61, but Etcheverry gets most of his ranking points from clay-court results, as he’s just 3-8 in ATP Tour-level matches on hard courts in his career.
Jiri Lehecka (-320) vs. Arthur Rinderknech
Lehecka has been one of the fastest risers so far in 2023. The 21-year-old Czech is 11-5 this season, including a quarterfinal result at the Australian Open. The five players to beat him this year are Taylor Fritz, Cameron Norrie, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andy Murray and Alexander Zverev, with Norrie, Murray and Zverev requiring a final set to do so. Rinderknech hasn’t shown a level anywhere close to that group this year, as he’s tumbled to a 2-5 record in tour-level matches and has four losses to players ranked outside the top 130, including one at a challenger event last week.
Ben Shelton (-400) vs. Fabio Fognini
Indian Wells Predictions: Value Bets
John Isner (+100) vs. Brandon Nakashima
Isner’s rarely an easy out, especially early in tournaments when his legs are fresh and powering arguably the greatest serve in the history of tennis. This match will likely come down to a few key points in tiebreaks, as many Isner matches do. Given Nakashima’s 1-3 record in both matches and tiebreaks this year, he may not have the confidence to come through on big points late in sets in this all-American clash. Nakashima will have the crowd behind him, but the San Diego native seems miscast as the slight favorite in this match.
Sloane Stephens (-110) vs. Sofia Kenin
Not only is this another matchup between Americans, but it’s also a clash of former Grand Slam champions. Neither has produced major-winning tennis for a while now, but Kenin has been especially ineffective for an extended period. Her ranking has dropped to No. 170, and she’s 8-23 in her last 31 matches against players ranked in the top 200 dating back to last January. Stephens is at least still in the top 50 at No. 48, and her defensive skills will allow Stephens to get plenty of balls back and give the error-prone Kenin more opportunities to implode. In their only previous meeting, Stephens blew a 6-2, 5-1 lead but managed to recover and pull out a 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 win last August.
Emil Ruusuvuori (-180) vs. Constant Lestienne