US Open Futures: Men's Early Preview

Nila Amerova

Monday, July 7, 2014 7:19 PM GMT

Monday, Jul. 7, 2014 7:19 PM GMT

Three Grand Slams are in the books. The US Open, the fourth and last Grand Slam on the season, is fast approaching. Let’s look at the tennis betting board to determine which player(s) the bookies favour and where the value tennis picks are to be had.

           

Novak Djokovic wins Wimby
On the heels of Novak Djokovic’s victory at the 2014 Wimbledon finals, tennis-betting confidence in the Serbian starlet swells. In fact, Djokovic himself admitted to entertaining self-doubt and having confidence issues (said as much following his victory), after losing five of his last six major finals. It was the catalyst for hiring Boris Becker onto his team, a decision now happily vindicated.

Djokovic won his second Wimbledon title in a five-set victory over Roger Federer in Sunday’s widely televised final. It was his first Grand Slam win since the 2013 Australian Open and seventh overall title. Djokovic, who has been consistently playing well, going deep in tournaments, if not reaching finals, has given himself many chances over the last 18 months to add to his Slam tally. Not until now though has he finally got the monkey off his back. His reward: he returns to the top of the ATP rankings this week and is installed as the +175 bet to win the US Open next month.


Rafael Nadal comes in as the second favourite behind Djokovic to win the US Open. Nadal, who is the defending champion, enters futures markets as the +200 tennis betting pick. It might surprise some that he’s nipping at Djokovic’s heels, despite suffering a fourth round exit to rising star Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon. But that’s because he is the consummate competitor, a 14-time Grand Slam champion. Just because he got beat at the All England Club isn’t enough to dissuade tennis bettors. After all, Nadal featured in the Australian Open final and won the French Open final, which marks a run of three straight Grand Slam final appearances ahead of Wimbledon. Hard courts aren’t as bad for his knees as grass courts are as well, so odds makers expect Nadal to find form during the US Open series, which kicks off in July.

Andy Murray failed to defend his Wimbledon crown, which to some extent was to be expected. Defending a Grand Slam title is no mean feat – only few have accomplished it. Nadal (French Open), Federer (Wimbledon) and Djokovic (Australian Open) are three players in today’s game that can claim that privilege. Just the magnitude of the task is reflected in the small number of players (three)  that have accomplished the feat, not to mention the exclusive “Big Three” club they belong to. Murray is on the fringe of that club and he’s making a case for it being the “Big Four,” but the simple fact is that he has a long way to go before he can fully belong. That said, the US Open was always his best shot at a Grand Slam title according to pundits. As such, he’s tipped as the third favourite at +250. Coming through on those odds will go a long way to establishing a real “Big Four.”

Roger Federer defied the odds and the ageists, who were busily writing him off as a non-entity, by reaching the Wimbledon final. The Swiss maestro, winner of seven Wimby titles, gave Djokovic a run for his money. He even overturned match points in the fourth set to force a fifth set. But in the end, Djokovic persevered. Still, it was Federer’s second defeat at a Wimbledon final, first since the epic 2008 defeat to Rafael Nadal. Tennis bettors that are looking to back Federer could do no worse than backing a tried and tested champion. Winning doesn’t come to him as easy as it used to, but the very fact that he’s still getting chances to add to his tally of 17 is remarkable. You can back Federer at +800 to win the 2014 US Open.

Outside contenders include everybody and anybody beyond the aforementioned quartet. For instance, Stanislas Wawrinka, who comes in as the +1400 bet to win outright, is one such outsider. His inconsistency since winning his Australian Open title, which isn’t exactly a vindication of that accomplishment, takes the shine off his odds. 

Bookmakers don’t have a full board available yet – only 17 players in total have been priced for the US Open. Amongst them are some of the rising young guns that turned heads at Wimbledon, including Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic. The Bulgarian boasts a far better price tag at + 1600 to Raonic’s +2400, which can be explained by his all court game and variety. Simply put: he has more game than Raonic has so if one of the rising stars is going to breakthrough, odds makers feel it’ll be Dimitrov before Raonic. The Canadian’s game can be summed up so: a serve-and-a-forehand. Typically, it’s not enough to win numerous major titles but, perhaps, it’s enough to win a US Open. Just ask Andy Roddick.

Tennis Betting Verdict: It’s too soon to get a real handle on the US Open but tennis bettors eager to get an early start can do no wrong by backing one of the established four favourites – Djokovic, Nadal, Murray or Federer. All have won the US Open. They can do so again. Outside bets from this vantage point have to begin with Grigor Dimitrov. The Bulgarian has upside. The rest are best left until the tournament truly gets underway and tennis bettors get a real sense of who’s got form going into the US Open.

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