The Davis Cup is almost upon us, a unique event in men’s tennis that pits nations against each other and serves up an entirely different avenue for tennis fans in which to flex their betting muscles. Join us as we examine the top field in this season’s Davis Cup line up and deliver our verdict.

So without further ado, here is a breakdown of the nations competing complete with Davis Cup odds to win outright and our thoughtful tennis picks. 

Image previewSwitzerland +225 Following Stanislas Wawrinka’s unlikely Australian Open victory Switzerland’s odds to win the competition have been shaved down to +225 at Bet365, essentially branding them as the top favourites to win the competition outright. This is rather interesting, if not misleading: a market purely driven by Wawrinka’s ascent in the rankings up to World No.3. It’s worth mentioning, the Swiss are seeded 15th– behind competition long shots Japan, Germany and Kazakhstan to name a few.

The sum of a nation’s players determines what probability of winning exists. One player alone can’t win it all. In this case, aside from Stanislas Wawrinka of course, Switzerland is conspicuously short on big names (sans Federer as per usual) and that makes them a soft favourite at best in our opinion. Heck, the rest of the team ranks outside the Top 150 – with Marco Chiudinelli, Henri Laaksonen and Michael Lammer – a group that will have all to do to get past some of the stronger nations in the competition. All in all Switzerland gets a PASS (do not pass go) from us.

Spain+350 – Last year, Spain sent a weakened line-up to Canada only to falter at the first hurdle. Absentees included Rafael Nadal (injured), David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro to name a few. Unfortunately, for Spanish fans this top triplet is giving the first round a pass yet again. In their stead, Feliciano Lopez, Fernando Verdasco, Robert Bautista Agut and David Morreno are carrying the flag, an interesting bunch that ranks inside the Top 50 and could potentially do some damage. But certainly not a bunch that merits tennis betting odds that would put them second in the Davis Cup pecking order.

They have a tough opening round date with Germany (+2500 to win outright at Bet365) however, a side earmarked the quintessential dark horse of the competition with some household names representing. If Spain can get a result away to Germany, they could be the nation to watch. A definite consideration for your Davis Cup betting thrills.

France +450—On paper, France looms large with two top ten players in Jo Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet. And a former top ten player in Gael Monfils. Rounding out the quartet is Julien Benneteau, ranked No. 39 and a wily veteran. Based on the names answering the call of duty alone, France at +450 seems to be the value tennis pick of the lot. That said this same bunch has flattered to deceive in this competition, which is an extension of a similar tendency in their individual careers on the ATP Tour, and, as such we hesitate to recommend them in the outright win market.

What’s more France host Australia in the first round, a side represented by fierce competitor Lleyton Hewitt, young guns Nick Krygios and Thanasi Kokkinakis and Chris Guccione. France have not lost a first round tie since 2009 but the Aussies will be no pushovers. [Insert dramatic shiver].

Image previewCzech Republic +500 – Of all the Davis Cup odds currently in swing across sportsbooks, those attached to back-to-back champions Czech Republic are particularly surprising. Listed as the fourth favourites to win outright across sportsbooks? What?

Two-time champions (not to be repetitive but let’s) and the top seeds no less, represented by the same crew including the tandem of Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek that has carried the team to glory these past two seasons. It’s bizarre, not to mention smacks of disingenuous. Importantly, Czech Republic have home advantage for their first round clash with Netherlands, a team comprised of middleweight players that they should be able to overcome. Of course, everybody will be looking to dethrone the Czechs and that puts a lot of pressure on them. But you can’t ignore the fact that they have been the best team in recent years and therefore they are the absolute value tennis pick to win outright at the moment.

Serbia +1000 – Serbia won the competition three years ago and followed up that performance with back-to-back runner-up finishes, each time to the Czech Republic. To find them listed as the fifth favourites to win outright at +1000 tennis odds is therefore somewhat surprising.

Surely, given their recent success in this competition and their second seeding, they warrant a much better price tag. Well, that would be the case if Novak Djokovic were in attendance for Serbia’s R16 tie with Switzerland. It so happens, he’s not. He’s opted for a break from competition all together instead, citing mental and physical exhaustion as his reason for ignoring the call of duty.

Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac have a lot of experience but they hardly strike a formidable pose seeing that the former is predominantly a doubles player and the latter is ranked outside the Top 200. Dusan Lajovic and Filip Krajinovic make up the rest of the nominations, young guns ranked outside of the Top 100 and 200, respectively. And, thus, it does appear that the market on Serbia is apt at the moment based on the current landscape. That said with home advantage going for them in the first round, they really could get past Switzerland. Then if Djokovic rejoins the team for the quarterfinal round in spring, Serbia could prove the savvy tennis pick of the lot.

Argentina +1200, USA +2000, Canada +2500, Great Britain +3300....

Elsewhere, the contenders compete in some intriguing matchups. A watered down Argentina (sans Juan Martin Del Potro) takes on a tough Italy (+3300 to win outright); USA and Great Britain collide in what should be a right cracker but from which the former really should emerge victorious; Canada, who reached the semis last year strike an interesting pose as the +2500 long shot tennis pick. Their appeal should grow following their tie with Japan (+10000) that most expect them to win handily. Finally, the wide-open affair between Kazakhstan (+15000) and Belgium (+10000) rounds out the R16 Davis Cup betting options.

Recommended tennis picks: France on paper appear to be the smart tennis pick at +450 while (predictable but no less true) Czech Republic at +500 and Serbia at +1000 are the value tennis picks. The long shot pick Canada at +2500.