Alexander Zverev – Best Bet on the Men’s Side
On the Men’s side, Rafael Nadal has seen his odds improve from +500 before the tournament to +105 currently. Nadal became the favorite for the tournament the moment his rival Novak Djokovic retired from the match with a shoulder injury. While I am happy to see Nadal’s odds improve, I wouldn’t recommend betting him at the current number. Federer has looked strong and has already made his way into the Final 8, whereas Nadal still has a match to go before reaching that stage.
In general with sports betting, whenever a new favorite emerges in any sport I feel there is a rush of public money coming in on that team/player affecting the price. The idea is that when people see a new favorite they think – Well, Vegas knows – and they instantly shift their mindset into thinking the favorite is all but assured of victory. We know there is always variability. Based on current pricing I think we have a great shot at a newcomer taking this year’s hardcourt crown. I have heard a lot of serious Tennis people rave about the recent play of Alexander Zverev. Currently 22/1 at FanDuel, Zverev looks to me to be the best bet for the rest of the tournament.
Naomi Osaka – Best Bet on the Women’s Side
On the Women’s side back in July, I backed Naomi Osaka at +1100. Unlike with Nadal, I still like Osaka’s odds even as they have improved throughout the tournament. Hardcourt appears to be her best surface, as her quick flameout on the grass at Wimbledon now feels like a distant memory.
Serena Williams is still the favorite (now +130) and Osaka is now at +470. Serena Williams is one of the most famous athletes in the world and her popularity hasn’t waned despite the fact that she hasn’t won a major tournament in several years. That popularity encourages many casual bettors to back Williams, creating more value elsewhere on the board.
Osaka’s biggest moment actually came with her somewhat in the shadows of Serena. When Williams had her much publicized dust-up with Head Referee Carlos Ramos, Osaka’s first career Grand Slam victory became somewhat of a footnote.
If we only looked at results from that match onward, Osaka would be a clear favorite to repeat as champion. Not only did Osaka win in straight sets in the final of this tournament last year, she has played better Tennis than anybody over the course of the past calendar. Only 21 and still improving, she is currently ranked #1 in the world, while Serena has dropped to 8th based on current form. Of course, her amazing 23 Grand Slam victories must play some part in our evaluation, it’s hard for me to imagine that a 37-year old Williams should be a significant favorite over the 21-year with better recent form over the course of the psat year.