The eyes of the tennis world turn to Madrid as the season ends with the 2019 Davis Cup Finals, the tournament having been revamped for this year.
Players from 18 countries head to the Spanish capital in a bid to see their nations crowned the best in the world, with the World Group now taking place as one single competition.
The idea of the new tournament – which is the brainchild of Barcelona and Spain footballer Gerard Pique – is to breathe new life into the Davis Cup, which had been stagnating.
Bet on the Davis Cup Finals Online at:
“I just want to bring one of the most important tennis competitions to the top again,” Pique said. “Davis Cup is the only tennis event where fans support countries instead of players.”
It remains to be seen whether or not the new Davis Cup will be a success but the indications are top players such as Rafael Nadal, who will end the year as the number one player in the world rankings, will try to squeeze one more effort out of their tired bodies.
But where is the best betting to be found in the Davis Cup odds? Let’s consider the odds offered by the major bookmakers and make a pick.
France Favorites to Top Group A
With six groups of three teams, countries must top their section to guarantee a place in the quarter-finals. The two best runners-up will also make it into the last eight of the finals.
France, having got to the final last year only to fall short against Croatia at Stade Pierre-Mauroy, are expected to be strong again and they are the 4/9 favourites to win Group A. Gael Monfils, Benoit Paire and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga provide strength in depth for France and they should get through, with Serbia likely to be their strongest competition rather than Japan.
The presence of Novak Djokovic, who missed out to Nadal on topping the 2019 world rankings after a surprisingly poor ATP Finals showing in London, adds star power to this section. Djokovic alone should be able to drag Serbia through as one of the top runners-up and the 2010 champions can be backed at 9/1 to win the tournament.
Defending Champions Croatia Outsiders in Group B
Arguably the strongest section is Group B, which includes last year’s champions Croatia, as well as Daniil Medvedev’s Russia and Spain, who should be led by their key man Nadal. How much being at home will boost Spain is hard to tell but they are favourites to top the group at 1/3, ahead of Russia at 3/1 and Croatia at 9/1.
Croatia’s price may look good value given they won the Davis Cup a year ago but the different format makes that success less relevant and they fired coach Zeljko Krajan this month.
Marin Cilic also misses out on Madrid and Ivo Karlovic is not taking part either, so Croatia are without two of their most recognisable players. Borna Coric, Ivan Dodig, Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic instead make up the Croatia team, who would cause a shock by reaching the quarters.
Germany and Argentina Battle for Group C Supremacy
Group C is tough to call with Germany and Argentina expected to be strong, while Chile are the outsiders at 16/1 to come out on top of the section. Germany are without their top-ranked player Alexander Zverev, who opted not to play due to the change in the tournament’s format, which has not been universally popular within the sport.
“I don’t think the format is Davis Cup anymore,” Zverev said, explaining his decision. “I think Davis Cup is the most historic event that we have in tennis, which is over 100 years old, and Davis Cup is the home-and-away ties. Davis Cup is the whole atmosphere, the play over three days to play five sets and play those tough matches.”
Zverev’s absence could hurt Germany, so Argentina could be the preferred option to top Group C with both nations available at a price of evens to do so.
Australia the Team to Watch in Group D
The presence of Nick Kyrgios makes Group D enticing with Australia (2/5 to top the section) expected to be too strong for Belgium and Colombia.
Alex de Minaur, Kyrgios, John Millman and Jordan Thompson make up an Australia team that are third favourites at a price of 8/1 to go all the way.
Australia reached three straight Davis Cup finals around the turn of the millennium but have struggled since. This might be the chance they need to get back to the big time.
Can Murray Spark GB Success?
Great Britain’s hopes lie on the shoulders of Andy Murray, who inspired them to Davis Cup glory in 2015, but it is difficult to judge how the former world number one will cope with the format.
Murray’s side have been given a relatively straightforward draw, though, and are 1/2 to top a section that also includes Kazakhstan and Netherlands (9/2 and 13/2 respectively).
Team GB needed a wildcard to make it through to the finals but Murray clearly adores representing his country and at odds of 18/1 to win the Davis Cup they are dark horses.
USA Should Top Group F
Last but not least, Group F sees the United States (6/4 to win the pool) face off against Italy and Canada. USA have not reached the final of the Davis Cup since 2007, when they beat Russia.
Taylor Fritz, Reilly Opelka, Sam Querrey, Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock is a strong group of talent available to USA captain Mardy Fish and they look one of the best teams in Madrid.
USA can be backed at odds as big as 16/1 to win the tournament, which looks good value.
Davis Cup Best Bets
Spain’s status as the favourites makes sense given they are at home and possess the best player in the world, Rafael Nadal, within their squad. But it is not clear how fit Nadal is and he might not be able to show his best form at the revamped tournament.
At 5/1 France are an intriguing option given their near-miss a year ago, though it is hard to say whether they can repeat their success from 2018 in a Davis Cup that looks totally different.
Murray’s presence makes Great Britain an exciting each-way selection at 18/1 given he has produced some of the best tennis of his career when playing for his country in the past.
But the top recommendation for Davis Cup betting in 2019 is Australia, who have a good quality group and leadership expertise from Lleyton Hewitt, a former mainstay of their team.
At 8/1 to lift the trophy, Australia look the best bet on offer for the new style Davis Cup.