The U.S. Open begins in Queens, New York on Monday, Aug. 30. The field in this tournament is a little weaker than usual in name power due to the withdrawals of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Venus Williams. That may cause overall interest to be lacking. Instead there should be more of a focus on the next generation that is more like the current generation. The courts at this major in the mid- to late 2010s were among the slowest hardcourts on tour, playing more like clay than other hardcourts. Last year the courts were changed to a Laykord hard surface, which should have made the courts much faster. The reported Court Pace Index had the new surface speed as among the fastest hardcourts on tour. The uncertainty in court speed is making it more difficult than usual to project out this tournament.
U.S. Open Betting Preview: Tennis Picks & Odds
With Djokovic placed in the top half of the bracket, both Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev have opportunities to make it to another major final. However, neither player is immune to inexplicably poor performances. Unfortunately, though, barring him hitting another line judge in the head with a tennis ball, nobody is beating Djokovic in this tournament. Most of the value on the men’s side is probably going to be on quarterfinalists bets due to that fact.
ATP Outright Odds
Novak Djokovic Outright -150: It is a steep price to pay, but without Nadal in the field, who is beating Djokovic in five sets? If the courts are slow like last year, it will not be Medvedev as he is not at his best on slower surfaces with heavy spin. It is possible Tsitsipas could be the one and he did take the first two sets against Djokovic in the French Open final this year. However, Tsitsipas needs to prove it. If the courts play fast, his toughest competition may come within his own quarter as Matteo Berrettini is lurking. Djokovic did beat him in four sets in the Wimbledon final four, which in theory is the type of surface that would give Berrettini his best chance.
Andrey Rublev Outright +2800, Quarter +350: Tsitsipas and Rublev are about as evenly matched as it gets with the head-to-head matchup. Rublev finally got over the hump in beating Medvedev at Cincinnati and has made the quarterfinals in the last two hardcourt majors, and the semifinals or better of the last two 1000-level events on hardcourts. He will be a shorter underdog than +350 to Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals.
Casper Ruud Quarter +700: This is a surface speed-based play for me. Ruud has had a great summer (much to the chagrin of one Nick Kyrgios), staying in Europe and winning several smaller tournaments on clay courts. Should these courts continue to play slow it works right in his skillset. He is also better on hardcourts than most think — he lost in the quarterfinals in both Canada and Cincinnati, but there is no shame in losing to Alexander Zverev or Tsitsipas.
As has been the case for the last few WTA majors, this tournament is wide open. Ashleigh Barty has solidified herself as the #1 player in the world, winning Wimbledon, Cincinnati, and Miami. She also probably would have won the French Open too had she not had to withdraw from the quarterfinals due to an injury. Barty is the deserved favorite, and after her are a bunch of good players with a lot of uncertainty. Taking someone like Naomi Osaka or Bianca Andreescu means taking great players, maybe even the two best on this surface when they are right, and a whole lot of question marks. Osaka’s struggles with mental health have been well publicized and she has not played well in any of the six matches she is played since her self-imposed absence. Andreescu broke onto the scene in 2019 — at one point she was 43-4 on hardcourts and won in Indian Wells, Toronto, and the U.S. Open — and has struggled with injuries since. There are more examples of uncertainty among the favorites — Iga Swiatek has looked off since she played poorly and lost to Maria Sakkari in the French Open quarterfinals, Garbine Muguruza looked like the best player in the world to start the season and lost her form due to injuries, Aryna Sabalenka is in a lot of ways the female version of Auger-Aliassime — and it’s making it hard to find a lot of value.
WTA Outright Picks
Daria Kasatkina +15000, Quarter +2500: Kasatkina represents the best value from an outright perspective according to the model. She is currently putting together her best season since 2018 and looks to be through whatever issues were plaguing her the last two seasons. The top seed in her section, Elina Svitolina, comes in with fewer question marks than the other favorites. At these prices, look to hedge Kasatkina should she make it to that Svitolina match anyways.
Liudmila Samsonova +30000, Quarter +3500: If Andreescu still is not 100%, this draw sets up beautifully for Samsonova. There is always risk in playing Jelena Ostapenko because she can hit every line for 90 minutes and winning, but there is just as much risk that she will miss every line for 45 minutes and losing. From there it could be smooth sailing until the quarterfinals, depending on the form of Petra Kvitova and Maria Sakkari. Samsonova’s power and aggressiveness makes her a live underdog on any day, and she can power her way to the finals.
Top Round 1 Bets
Jack Sock +101: Once upon a time Jack Sock was America’s last great tennis hope. Injuries have derailed his career and he has never been the same player since he reached the top 10 in 2017. Every now and then he will reappear in a tournament. He beat Nishioka easily in Washington a few weeks ago and then took Nadal the distance the next night (and, frankly, was unlucky to not score that upset). He now faces Nishioka for the third time this year after winning the first two. Assuming he is focused and healthy, Sock will make it three in a row against Nishioka.
Brandon Nakashima +152: This one may be worth waiting to bet on until seeing how fast the courts are playing as Nakashima faces Isner in the first round. They are 1-1 against each other this year with Nakashima winning in Los Cabos and Isner prevailing in Atlanta. At this point in their respective career, Nakashima is the favorite on a slow (clay) court over Isner.
Alize Cornet +292: Jabeur can be a very tough opponent due to her power and the variety of shots she is able to employ. Cornet’s experience should help deal with some of the trickiness of the spin and awkward shots Jabeur is able to put on the ball.
Moneyline Favorite Parlay: Krystina Pliskova, Ilya Ivashka, Filip Krajinovic, Petra Kvitova, Emil Ruusuvuori, all the big favorites over -1000
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