Carlos Alcaraz vs. Matteo Berrettini Australian Open Betting Odds, Preview & Prediction (Jan. 20)

Carlos Alcaraz vs. Matteo Berrettini Australian Open Betting Odds, Preview & Prediction (Jan. 20) article feature image

BSR Agency/Getty. Pictured: Matteo Berrettini plays a forehand in the second round of the Australian Open.

Carlos Alcaraz vs. Matteo Berrettini

Alcaraz Odds-175
Berrettini Odds+135
Time9:30 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. For tips on watching tennis matches, click here.

As soon as the men's draw came out last week, the excitement began to build towards a potential third-round clash between "The Hammer" Matteo Berrettini and young upstart Carlos Alcaraz. The two met in an epic clash last season in Vienna, and if that is any indication then we are in for a real treat.

With a big match comes a multitude of betting options. I think I've picked out the right way to go about this, and I'll explain why below.

Berrettini a Problem-Solver in First Two Rounds

The world number seven has had a very topsy-turvy start to his Australian Open campaign. He battled stomach issues in his opening-round match against Brandon Nakashima, coming through in an impressive and gutsy four-set performance and dedicating the victory to Imodium. Two days later he was feeling better, but he played an unorthodox opponent in Stefan Kozlov, struggling a bit to get a read on the young American  and dropping a set in another four-set victory.

The fact that he looked as good as he did in the first round against a very good opponent in Brandon Nakashima and problem solved against the slow-hitting Kozlov are encouraging signs in my eyes. Oddsmakers have other ideas, depressing Berrettini's price in this match after winning two matches in unconvincing fashion. You can choose to read into them however you want, but I'm not all that concerned.

Berrettini has started to find some form here in Australia after a rough end to last season. He lost to Alcaraz in the Vienna quarterfinal before an abdominal injury forced him to retire from the ATP Finals in his home country in what was an incredibly emotional scene. The Italian number one has won three of his last four matches, dropping just the one match to Daniil Medvedev but taking a set off of him along the way.

Alcaraz Getting Better and Better

The 18-year-old opened around -145 in this matchup before the money came flying in on the fan favorite. Just about everyone wants a piece of Alcaraz these days, and you can't really blame them. He's picked up right where he left off last season with two easy straight-set wins in Melbourne. With the victories, Alcaraz has now won seven straight matches, dating back to his win at the ATP Next Gen Finals.

Alcaraz has gotten notably larger since the start of last season, packing even more of a punch with his relentless groundstrokes. He has blown away his competition in Melbourne with power, and with the way he's running he's got his eyes set on much more than just a second straight Grand Slam quarterfinal.

The Spaniard holds the advantage in the head-to-head, taking out Berrettini in that aforementioned match in Vienna. Alcaraz found himself a break up in the third set before donating it right back to Berrettini and fighting in a third-set tiebreaker. It was a tight and grueling match, but one which would have been a bit more academic if not for his relatively weak serve. If there's something not to like here, that would be it.

Betting Value

The steam has moved this line to a semi-ridiculous place. Alcaraz does have Grand Slam experience and a 1-0 advantage in the head-to-head, but context is always important. While Alcaraz did get past Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open last season to achieve the biggest win of his career, he also fell behind two sets to one to Peter Gojowcyzk the following match then was forced to retire in the quarterfinal.

The bottom line here is that while Alcaraz is destined for the top five in the near future, this moment in time may not be his. He still needs to improve his serve and gain more match fitness, learning how to sustain multiple best-of-five matches in a week or two's time.

I do think Berrettini is a bit undervalued here given the nature of his first two wins and that Vienna match. The fact is, he's more accomplished and, at worst, on the same level as Alcaraz. The only people to defeat him at Grand Slams last year were Novak Djokovic and himself, pulling out of the Australian Open with an injury.

The Italian packs a real punch, and I'd take him over anyone in a ball-bashing contest. That's what this should turn into, and I think Alcaraz's struggles on serve could help Berrettini get a nose in front. I'm expecting him to win two sets at the minimum in this one.

Pick: Berrettini +1.5 Sets (-135)

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