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Australian Open Odds, Predictions, Previews | Bet Total in Nadal vs. McDonald

Australian Open Odds, Predictions, Previews | Bet Total in Nadal vs. McDonald article feature image
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Anadolu Agency/Getty. Pictured: Rafael Nadal.

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We’re on to the third day of the Australian Open, and I’m still seeing plenty of value on the men’s side of things.

I’m going to take a look at two players involved in some bizarre matches on Monday in Frances Tiafoe and Rafael Nadal, and explain how we should bet them going forward .

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

Australian Open Predictions & Previews

Frances Tiafoe (-650) vs. Juncheng Shang (+450)

10:15 p.m. ET

It’s only a matter of time before Juncheng Shang announces himself to the world at a Grand Slam, and it could very well be in this match against Tiafoe.

No, I am not calling an outright win here for the 17-year old out of China, who trained at the IMG Academy here in the United States. I am, however, expecting things to get a bit tricky for Tiafoe just as they did in his opening match.

Despite having reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open once before, the American has made a habit out of starting his seasons off very slowly and hitting his stride during the North American hardcourt swing in the summer.

While he’s done well to pick up six wins thus far in 2023, it’s worth noting that none of these wins were impressive. The win over Dan Evans was the best result thus far for Tiafoe, and even that victory came in nervy fashion.

I’m not sure how well Tiafoe will match up with Shang, who is a crafty left-hander who plays incredible defense. He has found himself incredibly frustrated in the past when confronted with clay-court types like Shang who compete relentlessly, just as he did on Monday against Daniel Altmaier.

Shang is a very talented player and I expect him to capitalize on a version of Tiafoe which isn’t really quite the same as the one we saw at the US Open last year. It’s also worth noting that we’ve never seen this amount of pressure on Tiafoe to perform, and perhaps that was part of the reason he was unable to serve out Monday’s match in the third set.

Pick: Shang +6.5 games (-115 via DraftKings)

Rafael Nadal (-1100) vs. Mackenzie McDonald (+650)

10 p.m. ET

It’s not often you see Nadal cough up more unforced errors than winners, but that was the case on Monday night when he faced the youngster Jack Draper.

To put it bluntly, the Spaniard looked absolutely horrible with 46 unforced errors in total, and he likely would have been pushed to five sets had it not been for Draper experiencing some cramping and struggling significantly with his body.

McDonald, on the other hand, is playing some of the best tennis of his career right now. I realize with two losses in the last two weeks that it’s hard to make that case, but his level in a win over Dan Evans was exceptional as was his level against Mikael Ymer, who made him work incredibly hard in a three-set loss.

The American produced some excellent tennis in the first round against fellow countryman Brandon Nakashima, giving little away and serving brilliantly. I think Nadal is going to be in for a tough match.

He came into this tournament on a two-match losing streak and somehow looks even worse than he did in the weeks leading up to the Australian Open.

Nadal is a 22-time Grand Slam champion and can certainly turn things around in an instant, but the smart thing to do here is to bet based on what we’ve seen — and what we’ve seen has been bad. It doesn’t help that Nadal complained about the tennis balls not spinning enough heading into the tournament.

Given McDonald’s well-documented history of struggling with leads in Grand Slams, I find it hard to believe he could possibly dispose of Nadal in straight sets here. With that, I think taking the over is the best way to play this one, as opposed to the game or set spread.

I do think McDonald will dig his teeth into this one and take a set, but this bet will give you a bit more cushion if he’s at least able to force a tiebreak, which is likely given the way he’s been serving.

Pick: Over 30.5 games (-105 via DraftKings)

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