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Australian Open Odds, Picks, Previews: Look Out For These American Matches

Australian Open Odds, Picks, Previews: Look Out For These American Matches article feature image
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Xinhua, Anthony Wallace/Getty. Pictured: Ben Shelton and Taylor Townsend.

  • Two Americans will take center stage at the Australian Open on Wednesday.
  • Ben Shelton and Taylor Townsend each have chances to advanced to the third round.
  • Jon Reid breaks down their matches and offers his best bets.

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After an incredibly busy Tuesday at the Australian Open – thanks to both heat and rain delays pushing back the conclusion of the first round – it’s back to normal for Wednesday, as the second round wraps up.

Let’s delve into one match from each of the singles draws that appear to be showing nice value on Wednesday night, each including an American.

Match times are subject to change. Read here for advice on viewing Australian Open matches.

Australian Open Odds, Picks, Previews

Ben Shelton (-135) vs. Nicolas Jarry (+110)

9 p.m. ET

The cat is out of the bag with regards to the newest American tennis sensation. After winning the NCAA singles title in 2022, the 20-year old Shelton burst onto the Challenger Tour scene.

Having played regularly for just about half the season, the slugging southpaw still managed to win a trio of Challengers (which he did back-to-back-to-back to end his season) and reached the final of three more. That has seen him shoot into the top 100 just months after turning pro.

He has a monster serve, massive forehand, moves extremely well, plays with strong rally tolerance and has an above-average backhand and can play with variety to boot.

Shelton’s opponent in this one, Chilean clay-courter Nicolas Jarry, is also able to serve some bombs and rip his forehands, but doesn’t possess the rally tolerance, backhand or athleticism of the young American.

He narrowly escaped his opening qualifying round match thanks to an opponent with back issues, played a close two sets with a fellow clay-courter in the second round and then beat Emilio Nava and a slow-court player in Miomir Kecmanovic.

There’s very little he does better than Shelton and this is easily his sternest test yet. I’m happy to back the American, who played a tough, big-hitting Zhizhen Zhang in the opening round and got through.

Pick: Shelton ML (-135 via DraftKings)

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Ekaterina Alexandrova (-240) vs. Taylor Townsend (+185)

7 p.m. ET

What a second-round draw for Ekaterina Alexandrova, as she looks to continue her strong start to her 2023 campaign against Taylor Townsend.

The Russian is equipped with some of the most natural power from the baseline you’ll find on the WTA Tour, and it’s lifted her into the top 20 of the women’s rankings.

When you couple that power with the quicker courts, balls and conditions down under, and you’ve got a recipe for success for the 28-year old. She also has a great chance to make the fourth round at the “Happy Slam” for the first time in her career, given her draw.

After reaching the third round in 2020 and 2021 (she was bounced those years by Petra Kvitova and Ashleigh Barty those years – two of the best quick courters and big servers in the game at the time), Alexandrova would play either Anett Kontaveit, Mayar Sherif or Magda Linette should she progress against the American.

Townsend had an impressive opening round win, but her opponent is a youngster who prefers clay courts and who has had a tough time on the lower-bouncing Australian courts, netting a lot of balls in her warmup events and in that first round.

I’m not convinced Townsend is ready to push a top 20 player – especially one that possesses a big power edge, and whose game suits the conditions.

It can be tough to trust Alexandrova’s power with larger wagers, as she’s known to try and hit her way through the downswings. In this case, however, the line is off by a full game to a game and a half, through key numbers when it comes to tennis spreads. I’m happy to play this one as a larger wager.

Pick: Alexandrova -3.5 games (-113 via PointsBet)

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