Monday Hitters: Australian Open Day 2 Betting Value
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
We have 32 ATP singles matches on tap for us tonight on day two of the Australian Open, which will get underway shortly after 7:00 pm EST. And with a number of intriguing storylines surrounding the field — including the long-awaited returns of Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka from injury — there should be some nice opportunities to stack and flip pesos into the early morning. Let’s dive right in.
Jiří Veselý (-335)
Jiří Veselý looks short to me at this price against compatriot Václav Šafránek. Vesely lost at a similar price earlier in the season to Ricardo Ojeda Lara, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see the big Czech struggle again tomorrow in his first round AO matchup. Šafránek has a pretty tidy game — good enough first serve, and crisp groundstrokes that he can move from side to side on the baseline. He won’t give Veselý any easy points or free games (he only dropped his serve just twice in three qualification matches).
It’s funny: When Veselý was coming up, he was more known for his ability on faster courts (with his big first serve). But, over the past two years, most of Veselý’s (good) results have come on clay. I think Veselý should be priced closer to -150 favorite against fellow Czech Šafránek. Keep in mind, Veselý has NEVER won a match at the AO (0-5, lifetime). There’s definitely value with the underdog at +260.
Maximilian Marterer (-200)
I’m not really sure what Max Marterer has done over the past few months to warrant a price of -200 over fellow German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe. Marterer has lost three of his last four matches to the likes of Andreas Seppi, Matteo Berrettini and Ilya Ivashka (all on hard courts). While I think Marterer is a decent talent (big serve, big strokes) — he is simply overpriced here.
Neither player has particularly impressive results at the Tour level on hard courts, but Stebe actually has the superior hold/break statistics on the surface. In his career on hard courts, Stebe has a 89% combined hold/break percentage — he’s holding 62.4% of his games and breaking opponents in 26.6%. Marterer, on the other hand, has just a 76.9% combined hold/break percentage on hard courts at the Tour level — and he’s never won a match, at 0-5. There’s value with the more experienced German, Stebe, at +160.
Fernando Verdasco (+195)
Fernando Verdasco is a pretty lively underdog tonight against countryman Roberto Bautista Agut. This is the classic matchup of high-octane offense versus relentless defense, and with conditions playing quick in Melbourne — where Nando has fared well in the past — it wouldn’t surprise me to see the veteran Verdasco notch a first-round upset, here.
It’s possible that Bautista Agut could be feeling it in the legs after his title run last week in Auckland, and if he comes out sluggish, Verdasco is the type of player who can make him pay. I worry, at times, with RBA about his ability to put opponents away early in points. The shotmaking Verdasco — who leads the head-to-head 3-1 (including a win in their last clash, in Dubai last year) — has proven in the past that he’s strong enough to hit through RBA’s defense, and tonight seems like a potentially good spot for Verdasco to expand on his success.
Guido Pella (+240)
Domi Thiem will have his hands full in the first round against defensive baseliner Guido Pella. Pella has gotten off to a decent start to the 2018 season, advancing to the semifinal of Doha, and he’ll surely be looking to keep it rolling against a player he’s enjoyed much success against in the past. (Pella is 2-0 head-to-head against Thiem). Style-wise, Pella is a nightmare matchup for Thiem.
The Argentine player will force Thiem to play a ton of balls back from the baseline, so Thiem will have to look to keep points short on his own serve, using the out-wide serve and the forehand. Personally, I think Thiem will find a way to win this match, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Pella makes it uncomfortable for Domi. Still, at +240, you’ve gotta consider Pella a lively underdog.
Alex de Minaur +200
After much deliberation, I’ve decided to ride with Alex de Minaur in his first round match against Tomáš Berdych. The only thing holding me back was a fatigue concern surrounding the young Aussie, who put on stellar performances in back-to-back tournaments in Brisbane and Sydney. However, I think the 18-year-old will tap into his “adrenaline reserve” tank and seize the moment in front of a supportive fan base.
So far in 2018, de Minaur has been one of the most pleasant surprises around the Tour. In just nine matches in 2018, de Minaur has already defeated the likes of Steve Johnson, Milos Raonic, Nando Verdasco, Damir Dzumhur, Feli Lopez, and Ben Paire — all respectable (and veteran) names around the Tour. Against an aging — and much slowed down — Berdych tonight, I think de Minaur will log another big name onto his list of victims.
From a style standpoint, I love the way de Minaur matches up against the veteran Czech. At this point in Berdych’s career, his groundstrokes simply lack the depth and pace they once had. And de Minaur — who constantly looks to move forward in the court — will surely pounce on any short balls. Another thing I love about de Minaur is his intensity, as the kid plays every single point. He also seems to have that “clutch gene,” which allows him to raise his level during big points.
At the end of the day, this match features two players moving in opposite directions in their careers… at high speeds. Berdych, once a regular in the top 10 of rankings, on the decline — and the teenage de Minaur on the verge of a big breakthrough. At +200, I like de Minaur — let’s just hope he has the legs to pull off the upset against a player he’s surely capable of beating in Berdych.
Ana Bogdan +103
I’ll make Kiki Mladenovic prove she can finally win and will gladly fade her as a favorite after losing 14 straight matches. That losing streak includes her most recent L to 343rd ranked Ellen Perez in Sydney. Mladenovic lost in R1 of both hard court Grand Slams last year and owns a 26-28 career (losing) record at Slams.
Mladenovic also has a career losing record on hard courts at 46.6%; it’s her least productive surface by far. Bogdan doesn’t evoke the most confidence at a Slam, but she does have a recent win over an in-form Camila Giorgi, and hard courts are her favorite (and best) surface. Siding with the Romanian at +103 here against a lost Kiki.
Hitters: Alex de Minaur +200, Ana Bogdan +102
Value: Václav Šafránek +260, CM Stebe +160, Fernando Verdasco +195, Guido Pella +240
Photo via Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports