The Davis Cup enters a new era this year with the decision having been made to change a format which has proven hugely popular with supporters but not so much with the players. The top nations - who tend to include some of the highest-ranked players - had been required to commit four weeks of the year to trying to lift the famous trophy in the week after the ATP Tour Finals and while that remains the case, nations will now play either just once or twice per season due to the competition winners being decided in a week-long tournament in November. Croatia are one of six teams to have already booked their place due to their victory in 2018, but the qualifying round takes place during the first weekend in February, and it has led to some intriguing ties being staged around the world.
When taking a look at the Davis Cup odds over the next week, your best chance of finding any value with your tennis bet is by assessing the ties where the unseeded nation has been drawn to play at home. They would have selected the surface of their choice and it is unlikely to favour the opposing team. The showdown between Brazil and Belgium is one to take a closer look at because Belgium have never suffered defeat to the South Americans in three contests - the most recent coming in 2016 - but the Belgian number one David Goffin has been left out of the tie. Both of Brazil's singles players are ranked higher than Belgium's and with the home side also possessing the star doubles duo of Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares, there should really only be one winner.
We also like the look of Sweden, despite the Scandinavians being involved in what can only be described as a 50-50 clash in Colombia. It did not come as a surprise when red clay was chosen for this encounter and Colombia will fancy their chances of progress due to having doubles specialists Juan-Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in their team. However, Swedish youngsters Elias Ymer and Mikael Ymer have the ability and confidence to silence the home crowd in Bogota, and we are backing Sweden to run out 3-2 victors.
There are going to be other ties which could go down to the wire, but Germany's match with Hungary is one which should not. World number four Alexander Zverev - after a fourth-round exit at the Australian Open - takes his place in the team alongside the experienced Philipp Kohlschreiber and with strong options in the doubles, Germany may not lose a single set.
The same can be said of Russia when they travel to Switzerland. Roger Federer will not be involved so it leaves world number 166 Henri Laaksonen as Switzerland's highest-ranked player, which is not ideal when Russia have included two top-20 players in Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev. Placing a double on two whitewashes may not produce the greatest value that you will ever get but barring an injury, it should produce a return with minimal fuss.