Betting Value on Day 10 at the Australian Open
Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports
Last night provided a crash course in “why you should always be fearful of an under the radar Marin Čilić,” as Rafa Nadal bowed out in the fifth set against the big Croat. Čilić fired 83 winners against Rafa, who was clearly restricted movement-wise by a leg injury. And with Grigor Dimitrov’s latest botch job against Kyle Edmund — losing in four sets — our first Australian Open semifinal match is locked in.
With two more quarterfinal matches yet to be settled — including the battle of Cinderellas: Tennys Sandgren vs. Hyeon Chung; and the Maestro Roger Federer vs. Tomáš Berdych — let’s take a look at what the book offers tonight.
Hyeon Chung (-455) vs. Tennys Sandgren
Look, I think Hyeon Chung is a solid player and a decent talent — but there is no doubt in my mind that Chung is overrated heading into this match.
Take a look at his last two matches. On paper, Chung’s straight set victory over former World No. 1 Novak Djokovic jumps off the page. However, if you watched that match, Djokovic’s movement looked subpar. And, aside from the forehand down the line (which, in and of itself, was unremarkable), Djokovic’s timing on his groundstrokes (specifically the backhand) looked like that of a player who has been off tour for six or so months.
As for Chung’s defense, which has seemingly been the toast of the tennis town this week … it’s good — but Novak was hardly ripping shots like he was in, say, 2016 or 2015. His backhand looked loopy and lacked control — and Djokovic’s rally stamina was that of like, what, five or six balls before an error? Let’s be real, here. Djokovic didn’t exactly make Chung work (at least not like a 12-time GS champ).
And against Zverev in the round before… I walked away from that match feeling far worse about Zverev’s game than particularly good about Chung’s. Nevertheless, credit to Chung for advancing this far. Like I said, I think Chung has talent — I just also think his results are a bit skewed on paper.
Oddsmakers, on the other hand, are apparently far more impressed by Chung’s wins over a shell-of-himself Novak and an entirely-off-form Zverev; and have priced him accordingly (-455). But something tells me this match will be a lot closer than the line suggests.
Tennys Sandgren has the opportunity of a lifetime tonight — and he knows it. Sandgren, a 26-year-old career-journeyman and Challenger Tour grinder, now finds himself in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam against a NextGen player. I prefer that mentality compared to Chung’s one round after upsetting Novak Djokovic; Chung is surely dealing with the pressure of backing that victory up.
I think Sandren will play the freer game of the two. I also like the way Sandgren matches up with Chung. I’ve written in the past about my concerns with Chung’s lack of definitive offensive weapons. He is capable off of either wing, but really doesn’t have a go-to shot in pressure spots.
If you take a look at their offensive stats from each of their last matches (Sandgren vs. Thiem and Chung vs. Djokovic), Sandgren has the edge in every category — and his statistics include two sets that Thiem won! In my opinion, Sandgren also faced an opponent playing at a higher level in Domi Theim (compared to Novak) despite all the HC concerns floating around his name. After looking at these stats, I can’t justify a -500 price tag on Chung.
Head to Head: The two actually met just a few weeks back in Auckland. Chung won in a tightly contested three-set affair, which I re-watched this morning over my espresso. For all intents and purposes, that match played out like a pick ’em. In the first set — specifically, Chung’s first service game — Sandgren squandered four break points that would’ve given him a 2-0 lead.
Ultimately, Chung held that game and wound up breaking Sandgren (like most swings in tennis matches) in the following game before winning the first set 6-3. Anyone who watches a lot of tennis, however, knows how quickly matches can swing. And, if Sandgren pounced on any of those four break points in that first set, the result could’ve looked entirely different.
Value with Sandgren who is — without question — playing with house chips right now. Chung, a highly touted prospect, should feel more pressure of the moment. I fancy Sandgren +6 games, here, to be safe… but the moneyline is also really lively.
Roger Federer (-700) vs. Tomáš Berdych
Head to Head: Federer owns the H2H 19-6, with Berdych’s last win coming in 2013 (in Dubai). Although Fed has dominated Berdych over the years, not many players in the history of tennis boast six wins against the Maestro. So, as poor as the record looks, Berdych has still enjoyed more success against Roger than most.
That said, Roger wins this match. Nothing here (at least from a betting sense) tickles my fancy.
Well, Caro found a way to move on, and Money Mertens helped do some dirty work for her. Woz now finds herself in good shape to reach the Final, but she will have to fight against an on-form Elise.
Moving on to tonight. Simona Halep’s strong return game actually matches up well with Karolina Pliskova’s dominant serve. As a result, Halep has won 5 of their 7 career matches. In fact, outside of Fed Cup, Halep has won all 4 hard court matches between the pair in straight sets. That said, I still can’t trust her ankle. I couldn’t take anything away from her last match, as Naomi Osaka just sprayed the ball all over Melbourne, failing to make Halep work for anything. Pass.
In the other WTA match, Angelique Kerber takes on Madison Keys in a matchup of two very on-form players. Kerber owns a 6-1 h2h advantage, and has won all 6 matches away from grass (where Keys has a big advantage) in straight sets. Angie matches up so well because she will get everything back and Keys will eventually spray an error. That said, Keys is in way too good of form and has played with much more margin of late to take Kerber at a price tag of -160 here. Pass.
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