Tennis Betting Advice - August 2020

100/1 outsiders in New York this week…

Monday 24th August 2020

In your Ones to Watch email today:

  • Western & Southern Open, New York…
  • Outright Winner picks…
  • Ones to Watch at 100/1…

New York, New York…

From the moment the revised calendar was announced, this month’s New York events looked fascinating…

This week, we have the Western & Southern Open, with both men & women in action, moved from its usual Cincinnati home to the US Open’s Flushing Meadows complex in New York, behind closed doors.

After that, the Grand Slam event itself takes place on the big stage here, with the US Open 2020.

The top 2 seeds are out…

Over the weekend, the 1st round at the new ‘WTA New York’ (Western & Southern Open) tournament confirmed that we are indeed right to expect a few weeks of shocks and surprises on the hard courts of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center…

As is usually the case, it’s the women’s draw that looks by far the most wide-open for an upset. Over the weekend, in the very 1st round, the top two seeds were both knocked out, no.1 Karolina Pliskova and no.2 Sofia Kenin. Recent WTA Lexington winner Jennifer Brady was also sent packing in straight sets.

With both Pliskova and Kenin short on court time in recent weeks and months, the rustiness was there to be seen. Pliskova was beaten 2-0 by one of our Ones to Watch in 2020 names that we mentioned in Friday’s preview, Veronika Kudermetova. Kenin also went down in straight sets, losing to French underdog Alize Cornet.

Kenin was in the bottom half of the WTA New York draw, which is the area we targeted with our initial Outright Winner picks, Elena Rybakina (50/1) and Cori Gauff (28/1).

Rybakina and Gauff both lost in the 1st round. While a 1st round double-hit like that is never fun to take, we can seek consolation in three facts:

One, 1st round defeats are part and parcel of our Ones to Watch approach. We’ve had 16 of them so far this year. But at the other end of things, we’ve had 20 of our outsider picks reach the quarter finals or better…

Secondly, at least we weren’t on the likes of Pliskova and Kenin at short prices (around 10/1 each for those top seeds).

And thirdly, moving forward, Rybakina and Gauff will have plenty of chances to land us a big one in the months and years to come, I’m sure. The way things are looking right now, I wouldn’t even rule one or both of them out from bouncing straight back at the US Open itself in the next fortnight.

Take on the top names in the women’s…

Back to the business at hand this week though, and with rusty players coming back to competitive action after lockdown, and new playing conditions to adjust to (the courts are reported to be playing fast here). I have no qualms whatsoever in staying away from the other women near the top of the betting list:

Serena Williams (3/1), Naomi Osaka (8/1), Petra Kvitova (8/1), and Aryna Sabalenka (9/1) all play their first matches today, as seeded players that had Byes through to the 2nd round. I wouldn’t want to be trusting any of those at single-figure prices this week, considering the circumstances and element of the unknown we’re dealing with here.

As well as steering clear of the short-price favourites and potentially vulnerable seeds, we should also be wary of jumping on any bandwagons. For example, Kudermetova was 200/1 when the draw was made. After knocking out the top seed Pliskova, the Russian is now trading at between 40/1 and 25/1.

Likewise another Ones to Watch regular in recent seasons, 25-year-old Maria Sakkari. The Greek player was in with the 80/1 & 66/1 shots on day one. After an impressive 2-0 win over Gauff, Sakkari is now 33/1 at best and 28/1 & 25/1 in general. She might have to get past Serena in her part of the draw.

Dayana Yastremska is a player I like, but the Ukrainian had treatment for an ankle problem in her epic, three-set victory over the 40-year-old Venus Williams at the weekend.

From 25/1, Yastremska is now 16/1 in general. And her quarter of the draw also includes Osaka and Kvitova, as well as a quartet of dangerous outsiders: another Ones to Watch in 2020 name, Karolina Muchova (25/1), our recent WTA Palermo finalist Anett Kontaveit (28/1). And two improving & upcoming players, Jil Belen Teichmann (100/1) and Marie Bouzkova (66/1).

Ones to Watch at 100/1…

I could spend hours going through the draw and reeling off any number of permutations and underdog possibilities. But we can’t back them all. If you like the sound of any of those players & prices I’ve just reeled off, then don’t let me stop you. There could be the winner in there somewhere, for sure.

For me, with the 2nd round getting underway this afternoon (4pm UK time), I’m sticking to my instincts and only going with players still with some of the same day-one juice in their prices…

In the bottom half of the draw, Ons Jabeur (100/1) is one that could take advantage of Kenin going out early in this section. The Tunisian is up to a career-high of no.39 in the world. Jabeur was a 20/1 pick for us at WTA Lexington earlier this month, where she reached the quarter finals, and was 6-4, 4-2 up against Coco Gauff, before the 16-year-old American staged an impressive comeback.

That Lexington workout could act as a decent pipe-opener for Jabeur. As could her 1st round win over the weekend, where the 25-year-old came through a tricky test against another talented teenager, 17-year-old Leylah Annie Fernandez. Jabeur recovered from losing the first set in a whitewash, to win 0-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Jabeur faces a tough opponent on paper in Madison Keys (12/1) today. But Keys is hard to pick right in normal times, let alone when playing in her first ‘proper’ event since the Australian Open in January…

As 7th seed here, the American had a Bye through to the 2nd round. So, like the other big names and seeds mentioned above, Keys will be coming in cold today. The match is usually on her racket. If Keys plays her best, fast-power game for two of the three sets, then she should win. But ‘should’ is not a word I like when it comes to betting.

Jabeur is capable of reeling off some quick service games herself, and has the racket skills to make this very tricky for Keys, in what will be their first ever meeting.

If Jabeur can negotiate that one, then the rest of this bottom quarter of the draw looks tantalisingly open, with names like Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Garcia and Ekaterina Alexandrova respected, but not to be feared in the same way an in-form Sonya Kenin would’ve been.

With the outsider potential looking very good this week, I also want to have an interest in the top half of the draw, where we’ve yet to make a move…

With top seed Karolina Pliskova out, the first quarter of the draw is now down to the hit-or-miss Aryna Sabalenka (9/1), and Elise Mertens (12/1), in terms of the seeds. We want to be dealing with players with much more going for their price here…

One name that might be being overlooked is Jessica Pegula. The 26-year-old American took out the in-form Brady in the 1st round. And she certainly has a fair chance against Amanda Anisimova in the next round.

Anisimova is another of our Ones to Watch in 2020 names, but the 18-year-old is still finding her way when it comes to consistency, and as such doesn’t hold much appeal as a 1/2 (1.5) favourite in this match. In the Outright market, current odds of 16/1 are hard to get excited about, either.

In Friday’s New York preview we noted that American players were worth paying special attention to right now. In the first WTA tournament held in the USA since play resumed, three of the four WTA Lexington semi finalists were Americans, including the winner, Brady.

Before lifting a maiden WTA trophy in Lexington the other week, Brady had recent form on her side in the shape of a positive set of match results in the World Team Tennis event held in the States thoughout July. Pegula has a similar form-line, ending that team event competition with eight consecutive victories in the mini-match, first-to-five-games format.

At odds of 100/1, Pegula is an outside chance this week to be the next American woman to make a breakthrough on home territory. A strong run through qualifying last week also shows that Jessica is playing well on these courts.

One final name that ticks plenty of boxes at 100/1 is Jil Belen Teichmann…

Sometimes, there is no better form than recent form. And if it’s momentum we’re talking, then seven match wins out of eight on North American hard courts on the WTA Tour since 11th August is hard to better right now…

Age 23, the largely unheralded Swiss player is up to a career best of no.54 in the world. Teichmann came through qualifying here in New York last week without dropping a set. And continued that with a very smart 2-0 win over an admittedly struggling (ankle) Danielle Collins yesterday.

After reaching the Lexington final as a 66/1 outsider, Teichmann is making a habit of reaching finals at big prices. In 2019, she won her first two WTA titles, at odds of 50/1 and 40/1. She looked confident against Collins on Sunday. Don’t rule out an upset win over Kontaveit today, or indeed another surprise run through the field this week.

Stefanos the man at 8/1…

In the men’s, ATP New York field, the case for the favourites is stronger. World no.1 Novak Djokovic is Evens (2.0) for the title. And elsewhere, in the opposite side of the draw, Stefanos Tsitsipas is my idea of the best man to follow from the leading names…

I wouldn’t go taking 8/1 on any of the women’s candidates in New York right now. But in the men’s, where genuine upsets are harder to come by, I make the 22-year-old Greek a strong contender this week.

After a 1st round Bye as the no.4 seed, Tsitsipas looked in great shape in his 2nd round win over Kevin Anderson on Sunday night. Sharp, fit, and focused. Looking at the draw, Stefanos – who was an 18/1 winner for us at the ATP Tour Finals at the end of last season – has a good-looking route through to the semi finals.

For an outsider from that part of the draw, yet another of our Ones to Watch in 2020 youngsters, Reilly Opelka (80/1) could utilise his massive serve on these fast courts to go deep this week. And elsewhere, Denis Shapovalov (50/1 & 40/1) was impressive 1st round winner over Marin Cilic, and could meet Djokovic in the quarter finals.

As I’ve said, though, you can’t back them all. In the women’s, I’m very much in favour of the big outsider route this week. In the men’s, Tsitsipas is my pick of the class acts on show.

Note: make sure you only go with the bookies that are still offering 1/2 odds Each Way (Paddy Power & Betfair Sportsbook have reduced their men’s New York terms to just 1/3rd odds).

Ones to Watch:

Outright Winner picks – Each Way

Western & Southern Open – Women’s
(WTA New York/ Cincinnati)

  • Ons Jabeur is 100/1 with Bet365, Betfred, 80/1 NetBet, 10Bet, 66/1 William Hill, Skybet, Betway, 888 Sport, Unibet
  • Jessica Pegula is 100/1 with Bet365, BetVictor, Boylesports, 888 Sport, Unibet, 80/1 Skybet, NetBet, 10Bet
  • Jil Belen Teichmann is 100/1 with Bet365, BetVictor, 80/1 Skybet, Boylesports, NetBet, 10Bet

Western & Southern Open – Men’s
(ATP New York/ Cincinnati)

  • Stefanos Tsitsipas is 8/1 with Skybet, William Hill, 7/1 Betfred, Betway

Each Way terms: 1/2 odds 1-2 places.

Today’s play starts from 4pm (bookies suspend their Outright Winner markets during play).

I’ll be back throughout the week with updates from New York. And we have the US Open itself starting on Bank Holiday Monday.

Enjoy the tennis…

Best wishes,

Oliver Upstone

Tom Wilson

Ones to Watch