Tennis Betting Advice - August 2020
US Open: Day One picks and a 250/1 shot…
Monday 31st August 2020
In your Ones to Watch email today:
Good morning and welcome to day one of my US Open coverage…
Play starts at 4pm. You can watch the matches live on Amazon Prime Video.
At times this year it looked like we wouldn’t get another Grand Slam tournament in 2020. But, some 200+ days since Novak Djokovic and Sofia Kenin lifted the Australian Open trophies in Melbourne, here we are in New York…
There will be no fans at the US Open 2020. But it’s great to have the big-time tennis back. Let’s get started…
The plan of attack…
We’re approaching the US Open in exactly the same way that we tackle every tournament: going after appealing outsiders at attractive odds…
With a total of 256 players in the men’s & women’s Singles draws, there are always going to be any number of angles and stories to follow.
We could make various cases for a couple of dozen players in New York over the next fortnight. But I’ll be focusing on what I deem to be the most promising prices and opportunities.
The last 13 men’s Grand Slams have been won by the big three. With Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer dominating the game for many years.
Nadal has chosen not to travel to the USA. Federer is out injured. The bookies have world no.1 Djokovic odds-on, at just 4/5 (1.8). In the tournament Outright Winner markets, we’ll be going in search of underdogs at much, much bigger prices.
In stark contrast to the men’s, the women’s Grand Slams have seen 11 different winners in that same 13-tournament period since the start of 2017, and nine different winners from the last 10. With first-time winners a noteworthy theme:
I’m expecting another wide-open women’s event here.
Since 2016, the US Open has been the scene of debut Grand Slam finals and/ or trophies for:
Bianca Andreescu (winner 2019), Daniil Medvedev (runner-up 2019), Naomi Osaka (won 2018), Sloane Stephens (won 2017), Kevin Anderson (runner-up 2017) and Karolina Pliskova (runner-up 2016).
At Outright Winner prices including 33/1, 40/1, 50/1, and 150/1. Not to mention the 200/1 v 500/1 final between Flavia Pennetta and Roberta Vinci back in 2015.
Recent history gives us plenty of encouragement to go after the big prices in New York.
The strange stage is set…
With Wimbledon cancelled this summer, and the French Open moved to the end of September. This is the first Grand Slam for us to enjoy since the Australian Open in January. That Melbourne fortnight was a fantastic one for us, with 50/1 Ones to Watch pick Sofia Kenin going all the way and lifting her maiden Grand Slam trophy.
I can’t promise you that we’ll find a winning Big One like that in the next two weeks in New York. But as always: we’ll be on the hunt for the attractive prices…
With some players not travelling to New York this time (for example, in the men’s, Federer and Nadal aren’t here. And six of the women’s top 10 are missing). In fact, both the men’s and women’s reigning US Open champions aren’t here to defend their titles (Nadal not travelled, and Andreescu injured).
And the whole event played behind closed doors with no fans.
Plus, a new playing surface installed for 2020 on these Flushing Meadows courts.
There could be even more scope than usual for finding an outsider to go deep in the draw at a big, Each Way price.
The stage is set for a fascinating fortnight at the US Open 2020…
Our first Outright Winner picks…
The draws allow us to map out potential routes to the final for a player. In the men’s, odds-on tournament favourite Djokovic is in the top half of the draw. For our day one selections, we’re looking to the opposite side of the draw-sheet, with an eye on a couple of Each Way, outside chances to reach the final.
Back in January, before everything changed with the coronavirus crisis, I flagged up Andrey Rublev as an early Ones to Watch for the US Open, at odds as big as 150/1 and 100/1.
Having started 2020 with two ATP title wins, the 22-year-old Russian is up to a career high of no.14 in the rankings. Hard courts are his best surface, and Rublev has done well at the US Open before, reaching the 4th round in 2019, and the quarter finals as a teenager in 2017.
With the men’s US Open field now missing names like Nadal and Federer, Rublev is a top-price 50/1 with Boylesports, and 40/1 in general. If you’re not already on him from earlier in the year, then he’s one to add to your book as a lively outsider at today’s prices.
250/1 for a talented underdog…
We don’t want to go in with too many underdog picks in the men’s, with the history of a man like Djokovic dominating the trophy winning. Highly-rated, relative newcomers like Stefanos Tsitsipas (8/1) and Daniil Medvedev (6/1) are both brilliant young players who look hungry for big success, but their prices don’t do much for me here. Likewise, Dominic Thiem (10/1), who was twice that price when reaching the Australian Open final for us at the start of the year.
Sticking very much with the big end of the prices instead, one man I can’t shake from my thoughts is Dan Evans at 250/1. The British player has made massive strides in the last couple of years, really taking the game seriously, and putting the hard work in to match his considerable talent with a racket in his hand.
Age 30, Evans is searching for a first career title. He’s made two finals in his career, both on hard courts, including here in the States at Delray Beach last year, where he was a 100/1 runner-up.
Dan has reached his highest-ever ranking this season, no.28, and currently sits at no.31. He’s in a decent section of the draw here. Names like our Ones to Watch in 2020 youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime (100/1), and the now veteran-status Andy Murray (80/1 & 66/1), also sit in this 4th quarter of the draw.
One of those three men would be my choice to reach the 4th round for a shot at a quarter final place. And if a big name like Thiem slips up, as he did in the 1st round at the warm-up event played on these very courts last week, then the draw could open up for an outsider.
Back in May, when the completion of the 2020 tennis season was still very much in doubt, Evans said that a US Open final in an empty Arther Ashe Stadium could be “iconic.” In this year of unprecedented events, I’m not ruling out a rank outsider in the odds getting to the final. Evans at 250/1 or 200/1 ticks that box for me. I like his playing style, and I like his attitude.
Looking at the women’s draw, I could write for hours about the various permutations and potential storylines…
In short, I don’t like the prices for the favourites (nothing new there). Serena Williams is 5/1, but there really is nothing in her recent form to suggest she can suddenly turn on the afterburners here.
Karolina Pliskova was a 33/1 Each Way payout for us at this event back in 2016, but the big-serving Czech is very hard to trust when at shorter odds; frequently failing to show the trophy-winning consistency needed to justify being 12/1 at best this time.
In between those two, Naomi Osaka is a top price 7/1, but pulled out of last week’s Western & Southern Open final with an injury concern.
Next on the bookies’ lists is 50/1 Australian Open winner, Sofia Kenin. The American is 18/1 this time. That’s not too bad, but it’s not exciting, either. And given the recent trend for new names winning the women’s Grand Slam titles (and Kenin was one of them), I want to stick to backing proper outsiders for now…
With the first couple of rounds coming up over the opening days of the tournament this week, we can expect to add one of two more names to our Outright Winner book as the event unfolds, so stay tuned.
Players like Jennifer Brady, Johanna Konta, and Elise Mertens have plenty going for them in terms of match-winning ability. But odds of 20/1 each don't represent much value to me. We want more…
Coco at 33/1…
Women we’ve backed in recent competitions include the 16-year-old Cori Gauff (33/1), August’s WTA Palermo runner-up Anett Kontaveit (25/1 in general here, 33/1 at best), Elena Rybakina (33/1), and Ons Jabeur (50/1 general, 66/1 best).
Of those, Gauff is the one that looks to have the most upside in her price. That’s because Coco has tough draw, facing Anastasija Sevastova in the 1st round this evening. Sevastova has reached the quarter finals or semis on three of her last four US Open visits. However, the Latvian is winless since the WTA Tour returned this month, going out in straight sets in the 1st round in both Prague, and then Cincinnati (which was played here at the New York venue).
As I said recently, Gauff is improving all the time, and we should follow her while the prices are still on the attractive side. 33/1 is not to be sniffed at, and it could be halved in a few days’ times, if she can start with a win tonight.
Gauff is in the top half of the women’s draw, that contains the likes of Karolina Pliskova and Osaka.
50/1 Maria and 150/1 Marie…
Elsewhere in the top half, in terms of an outsider to follow at an appealing price that could be chopped if a good start is made, Marie Bouzkova is one to watch at 150/1.
The 22-year-old Czech has been on the radar for a while, threatening to make a big breakthrough. A recent win over fellow Czech, Petra Kvitova, shows the level Bouzkova is able to compete at. If she stays fit, then she looks set to get better and better.
A 50-50 match (according to the bookies) today against another of our recent picks, Jessica Pegula, presents a chance for Marie to set herself up for an underdog run here. A key for me here is I reckon she has the mental toughness to her game, as well as the brilliant shots and talent. That can be the edge in Grand Slam, pressure matches. Bouzkova is a contender to be one of the breakthrough players this fortnight.
We’ve been quite aggressive there. The bookies’ prices say it wouldn’t be a surprise if one or both of Gauff and Bouzkova fall at the 1st hurdle today. But this is the game we play. The upside is there in the big Outright Winner prices, 33/1 and 150/1. If our players get through tonight, then those prices are likely to be significantly shorter this time tomorrow.
The 1st round matches in the bottom half of the women’s draw start on Tuesday. One name I want to get down straight away though is Maria Sakkari at 50/1.
The 25-year-old has always been a big-hitting player and a fighter. She’s added some consistency and real class to her game in recent times, too. A 4th round run at the Australian Open, and a quarter final last week (where she beat Serena Williams on the way) suggest that Sakkari is on the edge of a breakthrough run at a big event.
Day One match picks…
I’ve had a few emails asking for match ‘predictions.’ I’m happy to share my thoughts. I’ll keep it brief though, as time is short.
Today’s day one schedule contains 64 matches across the men’s & women’s 1st round Singles. Three I like for a 9/4 (3.25) treble in the women’s Match Winner markets today are:
Marketa Vondrousova to beat Greet Minnen @ 1/5 (1.2)
Marta Kostyuk to beat Daria Kasatkina @ 4/6 (1.67)
Kaja Juvan to beat Usae Maitane Arconada @ 8/13 (1.62)
Ones to Watch:
Outright Winner picks – Each Way:
Each Way terms: 1/2 odds 1-2 places.
Match Winner picks:
If you’re new to tennis betting, have a read of my Bookie Rules page here for a few pointers.
Play starts from 4pm.
I’ll be back at 10am on Tuesday with your Day Two analysis, picks and advice.
If you have any questions or want to drop me a line during the tournament, I’m on hand via email. You can message me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoy the tennis…