Aussie Open Quarterly Betting Cheat Sheet

Aussie Open Quarterly Betting Cheat Sheet article feature image
Credit:

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

With the draw released and first-round matchups determined, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and begin capping the Australian Open: the first Grand Slam tournament of the season. This quarter-by-quarter cheat sheet will help. Check back later tonight for the WTA quarter analysis and throughout the tournament for daily hitters.

First Quarter

Top Seed: Rafa Nadal
Hard Court Record vs. Seeded Players: 13-2
  • 4-1 vs. [6] Čilić
  • 1-0 vs. [10] Carreño-Busta
  • 3-0 vs. [16] Isner
  • 2-0 vs. [23] Müller
  • 1-0 vs. [24] Schwartzman
  • 0-1 vs. [28] Dzumhur
  • 2-0 vs. [31] Cuevas
H2H vs. Top 4 Seeds: 20-3
  1. 5-1 vs. [6] Čilić
  2. 4-0 vs. [10] Carreño-Busta
  3. 7-0 vs. [16]  Isner
  4. 4-2 vs. [23] Müller
Projected Path
  • 1R: Estrella-Burgos
  • 2R: Mayer
  • 3R: Dzumhur
  • 4R: Isner
  • QF: Čilić
Form Check
  • Gilles Simon
  • Pablo Carreño-Busta
  • Diego Schwartzman
  • Gilles Müller

Breakdown

With Victor Estrella-Burgos, Leo Mayer and Damir Dzumhur scheduled as his first three opponents, top seed Rafa Nadal (-120) has to feel pretty good following the draw. Unless John Isner (+2200) serves at a ridiculous level, I think Rafa will cruise to the quarterfinal, in which Marin Čilić (+600) would present the World No. 1’s biggest test. 

However, Čilić making the quarterfinal is far from set in stone. While he boasts a decent record in Melbourne (20-9), the big Croat has advanced past the fourth round of the Australian Open only once in nine tries (semis in 2010). And with a resurgent Gilles Simon (+1600) looming in his half of the quarter, Čilić might his hands full in the third round.

Simon is 6-1 against Čilić in his career, with his most recent win coming just last week in Pune, where Simon defeated Roberto Bautista Agut, Čilić and Kevin Anderson en route to his first ATP singles title since Marseille 2015. If Gilles continues his hot start to 2018, he’ll give Čilić fits once again and pose a tricky test for Nadal if he makes the quarterfinal. 

PS — if you need any evidence of this, just look back to the defensive examination Simon assigned Djokovic here back in 2016 when he pushed the then-World No. 1 to five sets. 

Dark Horse: Gilles Simon (+1600)

Best Bet to Win Quarter: Rafa Nadal (-120)


Second Quarter

Top Seed: Grigor Dimitrov
Hard Court Record vs. Seeded Players: 8-8
  • 2-2 vs. [8] Jack Sock
  • 3-1 vs. [11] Kevin Anderson
  • 0-3 vs. [15] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
  • 2-1 vs. [17] Nick Kyrgios
  • 1-0 vs. [18] Lucas Pouille
  • 0-0 vs. [27] Philipp Kohlschreiber
  • 0-1 vs. [30] Andrey Rublev
H2H vs. Top 4 Seeds: 10-9
  1. 2-3 vs. [8] Jack Sock
  2. 6-1 vs. [11] Kevin Anderson
  3. 0-4 vs. [15] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
  4. 2-1 vs. [17] Nick Kyrgios
Projected Path
  • 1R: Qualifier
  • 2R: Qualifier
  • 3R: Rublev
  • 4R: Kyrgios
  • QF: Sock
Form Check
  • Nick Kyrgios
  • Andrey Rublev
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas
  • Jack Sock

Breakdown

At first glance, this might be the most interesting quarter, with big-hitting names like Grigor Dimitrov (+225), Nick Kyrgios (+300), Kevin Anderson (+900), Jack Sock (+900) and Jo Tsonga (+1600). Dimitrov, the tournament’s No. 3 seed, is the favorite on paper, but after his first two matches against qualifiers, the Bulgarian will face stiff competition.

If Andrey Rublev (+2000), who took out Dimitrov at last year’s US Open, can get through his first-round opponent, David Ferrer (who he can hit through) — it should set up a rematch against the Bulgarian in the third round (watch out for Rublev’s forehand). 

Another interesting (and with massive implications) potential third-round matchup could feature Nick Kyrgios and Jo Tsonga (with the winner to play Dimitrov) if seeds hold. Whoever takes that match should have enough juice to challenge Dimitrov in the fourth round. Kyrgios beat the Bulgarian convincingly last week in Brisbane, and Tsonga boasts a 4-0 head-to-head record over Grigor.

Further down the quarter, we find last year’s US Open finalist, the somewhat less-talked about Kevin Anderson. Anderson has looked decent thus far in 2018, advancing to the final of Pune (before losing to Gilles Simon), and he’ll fancy the fast conditions in Melbourne.

Nevertheless, Anderson has a tough test in the first round against big-hitting Brit Kyle Edmund. If he can get through Edmund, however, the draw will open up for the South African. We saw how laser-focused Anderson was throughout his US Open run last year, yelling out “COME ON, KEVIN” (to himself) after almost every point. If he can find that level in Melbourne, he will have a chance to make it out of this quarter.

Two seeds that I’m not buying are Jack Sock and Lucas Pouille (+1600). After Sock’s storybook finish to the 2017 season — during which he captured his first Masters tournament and qualified for the World Tour Finals — the top-ranked American has looked sluggish (and rather out of shape) in 2018.

As for Pouille, I still have my doubts about the Frenchman’s game on quicker surfaces. Although Pouille made two hard court finals last year, both of them came at indoor-hard tournaments; for a number of reasons, those tend to play slower than outdoor-hard courts. Compared to his 9-4 record on indoor-hard courts last year, Pouille finished just 9-9 outdoors, including a first-round loss at the Australian Open to 19-year-old Alexander Bublik

Dark Horses: Kevin Anderson (+900), Andrey Rublev (+2000)

Best Bet to Win Quarter: Nick Kyrgios (+300)


Third Quarter

Top Seed: Sascha Zverev
Hard Court Record vs. Seeded Players: 3-2
  • 1-1 vs. [5] Domi Thiem
  • 2-0 vs. [9] Stan Wawrinka
  • 0-0 [14] Novak Djokovic
  • 0-1 [20] Roberto Bautista Agut
  • 0-0 [21] Albert Ramos
  • 1-0 [26] Adrian Mannarino
  • 0-0 [32] Mischa Zverev
H2H vs. Top 4 Seeds: 6-6
  1. 1-4 vs. [5] Domi Thiem
  2. 2-0 vs. [9] Stan Wawrinka
  3. 1-0 vs. [14] Novak Djokovic
  4. 2-2 vs. [20] Roberto Bautista Agut
Projected Path
  • 1R: Fabbiano
  • 2R: Gojowczyk
  • 3R: M. Zverev
  • 4R: Djokovic
  • QF: Thiem
Form Check
  • Gaël Monfils
  • Daniil Medvedev
  • Albert Ramos
  • Mischa Zverev
  • Steve Johnson

Breakdown

There are not many instances in professional tennis where the fourth highest seed in a given quarter is a 12-time Grand Slam champion — like we see this year with Novak Djokovic (+125), who enters the Australian Open as the 14th seed. While Sascha Zverev (+333) may technically be the top dog according to seeding, I doubt many will argue that Djokovic (who has won this tournament five of the last seven years) isn’t the player to beat in this quarter; and he’s priced accordingly as the favorite.

If the seedings hold true, Djokovic will meet Sascha in the fourth round. At the moment, I lean Djokovic to win that matchup. While I love Zverev’s power game, he still struggles with consistency — especially in best of five matches. If Djokovic plays a confident brand of tennis from behind the baseline, I think he’ll ask one too many questions of the young German’s defense.

On the other half of this quarter, we find the big one-handed backhands of Domi Thiem (+550) and Stan Wawrinka (+700), as well as the pesky defensive baseliner, Roberto Bautista Agut (+1200). Although RBA may be the lowest seeded of the three, he might also be the most dangerous.

The Spaniard has refined his hard court game over the past two years and —after a title in Auckland, where he defeated Juan Martín del Potro in the final — RBA enters this tournament brimming with confidence. With shotmakers like Fernando Verdasco, Stan Wawrinka and Domi Thiem awaiting as potential opponents, RBA’s ability to turn defense into offense could see him through.

Dark Horses: Roberto Bautista Agut (+1200)

Best Bet to Win Quarter: Novak Djokovic (+125)


Fourth Quarter

Top Seed: Roger Federer
Hard Court Record vs. Seeded Players: 47-14
  • 4-1 vs. [7] David Goffin
  • 13-6 vs. [12] Juan Martín del Potro
  • 1-0 vs. [13] Sam Querrey
  • 11-5 vs. [19] Tomáš Berdych
  • 6-2 vs. [22] Milos Raonic
  • 2-0 vs. [25] Fabio Fognini
  • 10-0 vs. [29] Richard Gasquet
H2H vs. Top 4 Seeds: 46-13
  1. 6-1 vs. [7] David Goffin
  2. 18-6 vs. [12] Juan Martín del Potro
  3. 3-0 vs. [13] Sam Querrey
  4. 19-6 vs. [19] Tomáš Berdych
Projected Path
  • 1R: Bedene
  • 2R: Struff
  • 3R: Gasquet
  • 4R: Querrey
  • QF: Goffin
Form Check
  • Benoît Paire
  • Alex de Minaur

Breakdown

Aside from finding Novak Djokovic in his half of the draw, Roger Federer (-188) has a relatively straightforward path to the semis this year in Melbourne. In the third round, Federer will likely face Richard Gasquet — a player he has a 10-0 record against on hard courts — and in the fourth round, Sam Querrey or Milos Raonic (+1200). Either way, I don’t think Federer will stress much about his potential fourth-round match, having never lost to Querrey and with Raonic appearing to be a shell of his former self.

In my opinion, the only potential test for Federer would come in his quarterfinal match against either David Goffin (+600) or Juan Martín del Potro (+500). The Maestro will be seeking revenge against both.

Goffin beat Federer last year at semis of the World Tour Finals — marking the Belgian’s first victory in seven tries against the Swiss. And while I love the defensive ability of Goffin — and how early he’s able to take the ball — I think Federer’s offense will prevail in these conditions (especially on Laver).

As for Delpo, when his game fires on all cylinders — like last year at the US Open, where defeated Roger in the quarterfinals — he can beat anyone on the planet. That said, I’m not sure we’ll see that same level from del Potro in Melbourne. In his loss to Roberto Bautista Agut in the Auckland Final, del Potro’s forehand did not have anywhere near the zip it did last summer in Flushing.  And, while I wouldn’t put it past the Argentine to raise his level for the season’s first major tournament, I simply can’t see Roger losing to the same opponent in consecutive Slams.

Elsewhere, a player I will keep my eye on as a potential underdog in the early rounds is Alex de Minaur (+4000). The young Australian has now posted impressive results in back-to-back ATP events in Brisbane and Sydney. If he has anything left in his tank, he could wind up being the tournament’s biggest breakthrough player when all is said and done.

In the first round, he will face Tomáš Berdych, a player he should cause problems for, given how early he takes the ball (and the way he looks to move forward in the court). If he can get through Berdych, he’ll most likely face Frenchman Ben Paire in the second round, a player he just beat this past week in Auckland. If he has his legs, he could be a potential dark horse in this part of the draw.

Dark Horses: Alex de Minaur (+4000)

Best Bet to Win Quarter: Roger Federer (-188)

Photo via Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports