It’s Day 1 of the U.S. Open, and to quote the late great Keith Jackson, “Whoaaa, Nelly,” we have a massive 64-match slate with a $10,000 top prize GPP. Like last week, this tournament is being played in Flushing, N.Y. with both the ATP and WTA tours, so we can look at similar metrics to help make our DFS decisions easier with big names like Novak Djokovic, Karolina Pliskova, and Stefanos Tsitsipas on the slate.
Before sorting through the stats we tend to lean to for hard court matches (aces, double faults and return percentage for myself), I’ll take a quick look for any discrepancies in the odds versus the pricing and where the public’s money is going versus popularity.
In the top tier you won’t often see much change in public opinion because huge favorites are such for a reason. So dropping down the mid-tier, you can usually snipe a few nice plays at much lower ownership to make for great starting blocks in balanced lineup (barring it’s not a 64-match slate to spread it all out).
Kyle Edmund ($19)
Opponent: Alexander Bublik
Odds: -240 to -300
Coming off an average showing in the Cincinnati Masters, the UK’s Edmund is in a great spot to move on against “Double Fault King” Alexander Bublik (9.19 double faults per match, if you thought I was joking) with likely minimal ownership. Edmund is not a dominant player on any surface but has the upside with 6.71 aces per match to get you a big number and under two double faults per match (1.72).
Bublik will provide some resistance in the fact that he can fire a lot of aces (16.9 per match), but with an above average return game (34.4%), Edmund should be able to create some break points and win the match.
Camila Giorgi ($19)
Opponent: Alison Van Uytvanck
Odds: -170 to -250
A similar story to Edmund, Giori has some nice wins over the COVID break, but she’s seeing a bit more love from the public, so the odds have jumped a bit more overall. This is likely due to her nice history versus Van Uytvanck — 3-0 all-time.
That said, she, like a lot of the WTA, can get off her game quickly. But averaging three aces a match in 2020 is top 10 on the slate on the women’s side, so she possesses the upside to get you a GPP-winning lineup on any size slate.
Making lineups for this slate is going to be difficult from the standpoint of just using the odds because of its sheer size and FanDuel’s unwillingness to let players build a lineup with six favorites. So, to help clear it up a bit, we should be looking for players with that big upside (aces, sweep potential) and a game that translates well to hard courts.
Stefanos Tsitsipas ($24)
Opponent: Albert Ramos-Vinolas
Sweep Odds: -455
Tsitsipas checks all of the boxes of a top play on the slate (and in the world) with a solid return game and a top-10 mark on the slate of 8.21 aces per match. He also has great odds to sweep the Spaniard Ramos-Vinolas (a clay court specialist).
Stefanos is still a very young player but doesn’t make the many costly mistakes that you normally see come along with them (1.98 double faults per match over last 52 weeks), so I feel comfortable paying up for him in all formats, even if his ownership may be a bit on the high side.
Borna Coric ($22)
Opponent: Pablo Andujar
Sweep Odds: -128
Coric is not someone we love rostering because of some inconsistencies in his game and withdrawal drama, but similar to Tsitsipas, he gets a very nice matchup versus a player much more averse to playing on clay in Andujar.
And although we seem to dog him more often than not, he carries some solid service stats with a 8.24 aces a match in the last 52 weeks and a Tour average 2.72 double faults per match. And to boot, with his price tag, I think you can get him at an ownership discount.
Kevin Anderson ($12)
Opponent: Alexander Zverev
Oft-injured over the last year(s), the COVID break may have been more beneficial for Anderson than any single player on the Tour. A previously top-five-ranked player, he still brings a very solid all around game (34.6% return) and can hammer home aces on these very fast courts – 14.1 per match.
Anderson is 0-5 all-time against the German but won at least four games in every set they’ve ever played, so he’s not being humiliated by any means. Zverev will definitely test any health issues Anderson has with his ability to move around the court, so a strong service game will be needed and is more than possible to happen.
Player I Like to Fade: Catherine “CiCi” Bellis ($23)
Opponent: Tamara Korpatsch
With wins being so vital in Tennis DFS, there will most likely be many “odds players” who will be all over Bellis because she is -2500 on some betting sites, but I’m just not interested.
I absolutely think she will win because Korpatsch is mainly a clay player. But with only 17 aces through 11 matches, I just don’t see the merit in picking Bellis over plays in that price range with much better upside such as Jan-Lennard Struff, Denis Shapovalov and Gilles Simon, to name a few.
Upset I Like: Anna Blinkova ($9)
Opponent: Jennifer Brady
Her game can get a bit all over the place, but Blinkova can bring the heat unlike many ladies in the WTA (4.86 aces match in 2020) and will carry some nice leverage against a normally popular American in Brady.
My normal lean with upsets in most GPPs is to the ladies side because it’s so volatile. I get that situation here along with some strong upside potential, so if I were to dip way down and pick an upset I see in a GPP winner, she would be the most likely.
Others I like: Jordan Thompson, Hubert Hurkacz, Angelique Kerber
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