Aus Open – Day 9

Novak Djokovic vs Milos Raonic
Novak -1.5 Sets

Novak has been on fire all tournament and is yet to drop a set thus far. Especially with a rest advantage before the Final, I think he’s the overwhelming favourite to claim this tournament.

Raonic has been hugely impressive himself, winning all 4 contests in straight sets, including a win over #6 seed Tsitsipas. That said, his strengths just don’t match up as well against a player like Novak.

His serve is undoubtedly his best quality, but Novak is still comfortably the best returner on tour. He’s been opportunistic on break point so far, but I don’t see him getting many opportunities on the Djokovic serve.

These two have played 9 times before and Novak has unsurprisingly won all 9 contests. Raonic’s serve will keep him competitive here, but I’d be shocked if he claimed anything more than a set.

Ash Barty vs Petra Kvitova
Barty to Win $1.70

Barty has had a strong tournament so far and has emerged as the early favourite to claim the title. She has a tough opponent in Kvitova here but is well equipped to win this match outright.

Her form has been consistently strong over the last week, dropping just 2 sets all tournament. Dropping the second set 6-1 to Riske was a bit of an eye opener, but she recovered nicely in the 3rd set.

Kvitova has also had a strong start to the tournament, although her trademark serve appears to have faded of late. She was broken by Sakkari 4 times last time out, a feat that I can see Barty matching in this one.

I’d expect the Barty serve to hold true here, while a strong return game puts pressure on Petra’s serve. Currently at odds of $1.70, you’d have to back the tournament favourite with the home crowd behind her.

Australian Open – Day 8

Elise Mertens vs Simona Halep
Halep to Win

Halep has had a fine start to her Aus Open campaign, winning her first three matches without dropping a set. Her return game has been on point all tournament, breaking 5 times in each of her three matches thus far.

Her opponent, Elise Mertens, is very accomplished for a #16 seed and has also had a good run to this point. She has dropped just 1 set all tournament, managing a bagel in each of her matches thus far.

That said, I like the look of Halep to win straight up here at $1.60. Her and Ash Barty are the clear two favourites in the women’s draw and I expect a professional performance here.

Mertens has had great success on break points in this tournament, which I’m not sure is sustainable against Halep. The former Darren Cahill protégé is serving much better of late, something which I expect to continue. If she can keep up her recent serving form, I expect her to advance to the Quarters here.

Garbine Muguruza vs Kiki Bertens
Muguruza to Win

Despite entering this tournament unseeded, I think Muguruza has a great shot at unsettling the #9 seed here. She’s been great all tournament, including a decimation of #5 seed Svitolina last time out.

Bertens is yet to drop a set thus far, although this is a huge step up in opponent quality. She is averaging nearly 5 breaks of serve per match so far, something which is unlikely to continue against Muguruza.

The Spaniard has really found her serving rhythm of late, only getting broken 3 times in her last 6 sets. Her return game has also been on point, averaging nearly 5 breaks a game against some relatively good servers.

She has performed well at the Aus Open throughout her career and enters this clash with a solid 20-7 career record at Melbourne Park. Bertens hasn’t been nearly as good on hard court, actually having a 4-7 career record at this slam prior to 2020.

I’m expecting a close match here, but Muguruza’s improving serve and elite return ability give her the decisive edge.

Australian Open – Day 7

Fabio Fognini vs Tennys Sandgren
Fognini to Win

I like Fognini to win here at a reasonable $1.60 price point. He is the more technically gifted of these two players, and I think the slower Aus Open court benefits him here.

He had two tough five-setters to start out, but looked dominant in a straight sets win over #22 seed Pella last time out. While known primarily as a clay court specialist, his Aus Open form has really improved of late. He is 8-2 in his last 10 Aus Open matches, which suggests he is becoming very used to these conditions.

The controversial Tennys Sandgren is a bit of an enigma. He made the Aus Open Quarter Finals in 2018, which was the high point of his career. This was the only year he won a match at the Aus Open in 7 attempts prior to this year.

He is also participating in the Men’s Doubles and I think he’ll be the more fatigued of the two men here. Fognini has the talent edge here and I’d also favour him if this one goes to 4 or 5 sets. At $1.60, I think he’s a safe bet to move onto the quarters.

Ash Barty vs Alison Riske
Barty 2-0

The #1 seed enters this clash as the relatively heavy favourite. I think she’s got a strong matchup advantage over Riske and would back her to take this in straight sets.

It has been a relatively straightforward road for Barty, who has won her last 6 sets with ease. She had a tremendous 2019, winning her first slam and making it to the Quarters at the Aus Open.

She has now won 11 matches in her home slam since 2017, no doubt due to the excellent home support. Her opponent hasn’t been nearly as successful at Melbourne Park, going just 4-8 for her career before this year.

Riske has somewhat struggled to even reach this point, having to negotiate two tense 3-setters in her 3 matches. She also had a relatively late doubles match yesterday, which could lead to some fatigue here.

Overall, Barty is essentially just a better version of the same player. That accounts for a lot in tennis and I’d expect her run to continue with a straight sets win here.

Australian Open – Day 6

Angelique Kerber vs Camilla Giorgi
Kerber $1.65

I’m taking the #17 seed Kerber to defeat journeywoman Giorgi at solid odds of $1.65. The matchup really favours her here and I expect her dominant return game to really shine.

A ranking of #17 isn’t indicative of the immense talent this 3-time grand slam champion has. She is now 31-11 in her career at the Aus Open and hasn’t looked like dropping a set thus far.

Giorgi typically struggles on hard courts, entering this Aus Open with a 6-7 record and going an even worse 5-8 at the US Open. She has had two impressive wins thus far, although neither opponent has Kerber’s quality.

She has served just 2 aces compared to 6 double faults thus far, while Kerber has already broken serve 12 times in 2 matches. I just don’t see Giorgi’s serve holding up over 3 sets and expect Kerber’s elite striking to prove the difference.

David Goffin vs Andrey Rublev
Goffin +3.5 Games

Despite entering this clash as the #11 seed, Goffin finds himself as a sizeable underdog to the #17 seed Rublev. Rublev probably has a slight edge on hard courts, but I think this should be closer to even odds.

I like Goffin getting the 3.5-game head start here and think he has a definite chance of winning this match outright. He is now 13-6 at the Aus Open all time, reaching the Quarters back in 2017.

Rublev is a relative newcomer and hasn’t advanced past the 3rd round of the Aus Open previously. He has had a rather easy route to this point, taking care of two unheralded players thus far.

Goffin is a definite step up in opponent quality and I don’t see him overwhelming big Dave with his power here. It was a poor showing in round 2 from Goffin, but I think that has a lot to do with his inflated price here. I’m chalking that up as one bad match and think that 3.5 games is great value in what should be a close one.

Multi: Kyrgios/Medvedev/Nadal
Odds of $1.68

Medvedev and Nadal are the two biggest favourites of the day and probably as close to locks as you can get at this point. Kyrgios is essentially a better version of the same player as Khachanov and will emerge victorious if he plays to his level. Including him really boosts the price here and makes this a solid play at $1.68.

Aus Open – Day 5

Roberto Bautista Agut vs Marin Cilic
Bautista Agut -1.5 Sets

Now 31 years of age, it appears Marin Cilic’s best days are firmly behind him. He made the final here two years ago, but managed only 8 grand slam wins in 2019.

His opponent, RBA, seems to be finding a new level, entering this tournament as the #9 seed. He has looked in control in both of his matches so far, only dropping one set in the process.

Cilic won an epic 5-setter against Benoit Paire in the second round and I can see him somewhat fatigued entering this matchup. This will make it more difficult to keep up his ferocious serve for long periods and I can see a few break opportunities going RBA’s way.

This should lead to a few 6-2 or 6-3 set victories, which really bode well for the -3.5 handicap here. Cilic has the talent to win a set here, but if this goes to 5 I’d be pretty surprised. With that in mind, I’ll take RBA -1.5 sets.

Roger Federer vs John Millman
Federer -7 Games

I’ve always thought the nickname ‘Mailman’ was somewhat paradoxical for John Millman. Despite being given that moniker, he’s hardly ‘delivered’ throughout his career.

He has a 42%-win rate in ATP Singles matches and is coming up against one of the best of all time here. He’ll no doubt be energised by the crowd, but I’d expect a guy like Federer to also feed off of this.

Millman isn’t a particularly good server, which could prove troubling against an excellent returner like Federer. This means we could see a few multi-break sets, which would really help the -7.5 games cash.

The Fed Express has had an excellent start to the tournament, not even coming close to dropping a set in 2 matches so far. He has won 87% of career matches at the Aus Open and looks primed for another big run here. If he passes the early test, I see him running away with this match.

Multi: Schwartzman/Tsitsipas
Odds of $1.90

Australian Open – Day 4

David Goffin vs Pierre Herbert
Goffin 3-0

I like the look of Goffin to win in straight sets in this one. He’s been one of the most consistent performers on tour over the last half decade and has a huge matchup advantage here.

Hughes-Herbert has a poor 5-9 record in hard court grand slams, his worst on any surface. He isn’t a great server of the ball and I think Goffin’s elite return ability can stifle him here.

Goffin tends to excel against unseeded players and he made light work of Jeremy Chardy in straight sets last time out. He has a 65% win percentage at the Australian Open, many of which have come in straight sets.

His serve has improved tremendously of late and should form the foundation of a solid win here. At current odds, I think this is a better play than the games handicap.

Karen Khachanov vs Michael Ymer
Khachanov -1.5 Sets

The second bet I like today is #16 seed Karen Khachanov laying 1.5 sets here. The big Russian got off to a good start in round 1, winning relatively comfortably in 4 sets.

He is one of the better young servers on tour and this is the 4th straight year he’s started his Aus Open with a win. His opponent Mikael Ymer is young and fairly unheralded on the tour.

He’s much more of a clay court specialist and is yet to win a grand slam match on any other surface. He isn’t renowned for having a big serve, which negates Khachanov’s major weakness.

With this currently scheduled as a day game, I also think Khachanov’s serve will be a huge advantage in what should be warm conditions. I don’t anticipate many breaks against his serve and his record in tie-breaks is stellar.

This has all the makings of a 3 or 4 setter in the big Russian’s favour.

Daily Multi: Wawrinka/Zverev/Khachanov/Kyrgios
Odds of $2.27

All four of these men have strong serves and enter their matches as comfortable favourites. Each of them are seeded and have reached the second week of a grand slam before. At odds of $2.27, I’d be surprised if any of them lost here, especially in a best-of-5 match.

Australian Open – Day 3

Dan Evans vs Yoshihito Nishioka
Evans -2.5 Games

The #30 seeded Brit Evans had an emotional win in round 1, coming from 2 sets to love down to win dramatically in 5. Things were a bit easier for his Japanese opponent, who won relatively comfortably in 4.

Evans opens as the $1.57 favourite in this one and I like him at the -2.5 games handicap. I think he’s the better of these two players and his game is much more suited to hard courts.

Nishioka is just 6-15 lifetime at Grand Slam events, suggesting this level of tennis is a bit above him. He has a very small frame for the ATP circuit and a 5-set match would presumably take a lot out of him.

Evans has a strong serve and powerful groundstroke game that gives him a strong edge here. I think he wins in 4 sets or less, which correlates nicely with the -2.5 games handicap.

Fabio Fognini vs Jordan Thompson, 7 pm
Fognini -1.5 Sets

#12 seed Fabio Fognini also had a dramatic round 1 win, coming from 2 sets down to beat big-hitting Opelka in 5. Aussie Jordan Thompson had a relatively cruisy win, beating Bublik in straight sets.

Fognini opens as the $1.53 favourite here and I think he’s somewhat undervalued. The public tends to get behind the Aussies in the early rounds, which hasn’t worked too well of late.

Fognini can be had at $2 at the -1.5-set handicap, which I think is even better value given the matchup discrepancy. He is an excellent mover on the tennis court and has the return ability to dominate Thompson’s relatively weak serve.

Thompson is 6-17 in Grand Slams for his career, typically saving his best stuff for Roland Garros. Fognini is essentially a better version of the same player and I’m confident he takes this one in 4 sets or less.

Daily Multi: Berrettini/Querrey/Raonic/Dimitrov/Schwartzman
Odds of $3.03

I’ve gone relatively conservative with the multi on the first few days. Paying over $3 with 5 different players, this one is anything but.

Each of these 5 players is comfortably favoured in their game, with none above $1.33 and none below $1.15. If all of them perform to their potential, they each win their matches pretty comfortably.

Guys like Federer and Djokovic can be added for a bit of extra value, but these are the 5 I’m rocking with.

Australian Open – Day 2

Federico Delbonis vs Joao Sousa
Over 38.5 Games

These are two incredibly evenly-matched players and I’d be surprised if either won in straight sets. Both have relatively strong serves, with Delbonis holding the slight edge there.

Sousa is an absolute grinder though, the type who excels the longer the match goes. I think he’s capable of wearing down Delbonis here and capitalizing when the opportunity arises.

The play I like most in this matchup is the total, which is currently at a modest 38.5 games. If we get the 4+ sets that I’m predicting, reaching the over here looks very likely.

It’s expected to be a relatively cool day in Melbourne tomorrow, so the conditions shouldn’t really affect either player. I’m expecting a tightly-contested match here, one that likely goes down to the wire and easily hits the over.

Ivo Karlovic vs Vasek Pospisil
Over 42.5 Games

Another total I like here occurs with two of the biggest serve bots in world tennis. Dr Ivo is still going strong at 40 years of age, while Pospisil is the comfortable favourite here.

Both of these men still have excellent service games, which should mean that breaks come at a premium here. The total comes in at 42.5 games, which is definitely high, but probably still doesn’t account for their serving prowess.

The obvious downside is that Pospisil wins in straight sets, but Ivo’s tiebreak record is so good that I’d expect him to get at least 1. For reference, his price to win a set is $1.55. Given the way these two men serve, two tie breaks in 4 sets is definitely realistic.

This would mean we only need 17 games in a potential two other sets to clinch the over. On a day without too many standout plays, this looks like one of the better ones on the board.

Multi: Fritz/Kyrgios/Goffin/Verdasco
Odds of $2.07

We’ve got another solid multi option today paying over $2. Kyrgios and Goffin enter this tournament seeded and should have no problem getting the job done here.

Fritz and Verdasco are coming up against two men that just aren’t suited to playing on hard courts. Both of these two have very solid service games and should win without too much trouble.

Combine all 4 and this gives us a solid + money multi to move into day 3 with.

Australian Open – Day 1

Sam Querrey vs Borna Coric, 11 am
Over 39.5 Games

We get a really interesting battle of styles to kick us off at the 2019 Aus Open. Young gun and #25 seed Borna Coric takes on the big serving vet Sam Querrey.

I think Coric is comfortably the better of the two players, but Querrey’s serve will keep him in this. He is still relatively young at 32 years of age and holds serve over 85% of the time on hard courts.

Coric doesn’t have the greatest history at the Australian Open, only winning his first match here last year. His game is more suited to clay and I think Querrey’s serve will put the pressure on here.

On the flipside, Querrey is far from a great return man. Coric is still a decent server at this level and I’d expect breaks to be few and far between in this one.

Assuming we get at least 4 sets here, I’m fairly confident in over 39.5 games cashing.

Kyle Edmund vs Dusan Lajovic, 1 pm
Over 38.5 Games

I’ve got a similar line of thinking on this second play here. These are again two evenly matched players and getting to 4 sets should see us eclipse the total of 38.5 games.

Kyle Edmund has been largely inconsistent throughout his career, sitting exactly .500 at 107-107. Dusan Lajovic has increased his ranking to #27, but hard court definitely isn’t his surface.

He is the relatively clear underdog here and I’d probably expect Edmund to edge it in 4 or 5 sets. Nevertheless, I can’t really see too many breaks of serve in this one.

Edmund has had a penchant for tie-breaks throughout his career and I’d anticipate another one or two here. Both men are fighters and neither will give an inch, so I think we’re in for a relatively long match of tennis.

Multi: Shapovalov/Raonic/Dimitrov/Paire
Odds of $1.96

Early in a grand slam is always a good time for a multi. I’m going with a similar formula that I plan to stick to for the first few days.

Each of these players are seeded, giving them all relatively easy opponents in the first round. All 4 of them are known for their strong serving ability, particularly Raonic.

While none of them are great returners, their serve should keep them in control here. Especially in the best of 5 sets, this is a great weapon to have.

We’re getting nearly evens at $1.96, which I think is strong value here.

US Open – Men’s Final

Daniil Medvedev vs Rafael Nadal
Nadal -1.5 Sets

Daniil Medvedev

Medvedev has had one of the most impressive seasons on the ATP this year, winning 50 matches and earning a top 5 ranking. He has had a very solid tournament to date, having not being taken to 5 sets even once. His win in the semis over Dimitrov was outstanding, relatively comfortably winning in straight sets. He has faced Nadal just once previously, a loss on the Canadian hardcourts last month.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal has absolutely been the form player of this tournament, dropping just 1 set the whole way. He was easily too good for Berrettini in the semis, taking the 3rd set 6-1. His return game has been on an elite level all tournament, averaging over 5 breaks a game so far. He showed his matchup advantages in a very comfortable 6-3 6-0 win in their only previous meeting.

Prediction: Nadal -1.5 sets

While most of you won’t be attracted to the relatively small moneyline price, Nadal to win in 4 or less is somewhat better value. Although Medvedev has been strong on hardcourts, his loss to Nadal at the Rogers Cup highlighted some of his matchup weaknesses. The narrative is also firmly in Rafa’s favour here, with a chance to claim his 19th grand slam. Ultimately, I think Nadal’s elite return ability makes life very difficult for Daniil here, winning a relatively straightforward match in 4 or less sets.

1st Set Correct Score Nadal 6-4 $4.60

Medvedev has been on a brilliant run all season, particularly showing his quality on the hardcourts. While I don’t think he has enough to beat Rafa, I definitely see him being competitive to start. Nadal has had a 6-4 set in 3 of his matches so far and generally has a pattern of breaking once per set. For a bit of extra value, I think he does just enough to edge Daniil here instead of going to a tie-break.