Daniil Medvedev vs. Rafa Nadal Picks Odds, Pick, Preview: Can Spaniard Win Record Slam in Australian Open Final?
Getty Images. Pictured: Daniil Medvedev and Rafa Nadal, who will play for the Australian Open title.
- Rafa Nadal and Daniil Medvedev meet in the Australian Open final.
- Nadal is in search of a record 21st Grand Slam title but is a +165 underdog to do so.
- Our Action Network tennis experts have laid out their top picks for the event, below.
Medvedev vs. Nadal Odds
|Time | TV||3:30 a.m. ET | ESPN|
|Odds via Caesars. For tips on watching tennis matches, click here.|
The first Grand Slam final of 2022 has a similar feel to the last one of 2021, as Rafa Nadal aims to accomplish the feat that Novak Djokovic wasn’t able to complete, beating Daniil Medvedev for a record 21st Slam.
Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer all are tied for the lead in Grand Slams on the men’s side with 20 each, but Nadal will attempt to break from the pack in the Australian Open final.
He came into the event at +900 and with the fourth-shortest odds to win, but there wasn’t much hype surrounding the all-time great. Nadal has shown that he’s still a force to be reckoned with and could be undergoing a bit of a resurgence in form.
This won’t be an easy final to win, however, as evidenced by his status as an underdog to Medvedev, who became the tournament favorite after Djokovic was removed from the draw.
Without further ado, here’s how each of our tennis analysts will be betting the final.
Medvedev vs. Nadal Best Bets
At this point, all fitness concerns are out the window. Medvedev survived a few tough matches in a row, coming back from a two sets-to-love hole to beat Felix Auger-Aliassime and play the part of ironman in a four-set war with Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinals on Friday.
Nadal fought the heat in his quarterfinal match and lost nine pounds in the process, but he looked like a spring chicken in a win over Matteo Berrettini.
Although fatigue has come into play when handicapping the later rounds, I truly believe this should be a level match from a fitness perspective. Both of these guys have done enough all tournament to earn that assumption.
With that, the upper hand clearly has to go to Medvedev. It’s true that Nadal holds the 3-1 record over the course of their careers, but there’s a lot of context needed there. Medvedev’s game has never been at the level it is today, and you have to go back to the first meeting early 2019 to truly find a time where the Spaniard had the upper hand in this head-to-head.
After that, there was the US Open final — where Medvedev nearly erased a double break in the fifth set and probably outplayed Nadal but was held back by his nerves. Then, there was the 2019 ATP Finals where Medvedev led 5-1 in the deciding set before letting his emotions get the best of him and failing to serve the match out twice.
This isn’t a matchup Nadal has dominated despite what the record would tell you, and it’s because he’s not at an advantage when up against a defender who is better than he is.
You can look no further than Nadal’s head-to-head with Novak Djokovic, which the Serbian leads 22-10 off of clay. Against a backboard — and someone who can get to everything — his digs and short angles are not nearly as effective. Medvedev’s expert returning should also help neutralize the Nadal serve, which has been very important to the Spaniard as he’s gotten older.
Medvedev’s service has also been exceptional at this tournament and he has hardly had to play points on his serve. It’s what has kept him fresh, and what will put what is ultimately too much pressure on the Nadal serve in this one.
Pick: Medvedev -3.5 Games (-110 via FanDuel)
Medvedev has become a staple at the end of draws for hard-court Majors. He won the US Open last season and is into another Slam final here.
During his 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinals, Medevev had the perfect combination of firepower behind the serve and an extremely consistent baseline game. Medvedev hit 39 winners compared to 28 unforced errors, he won 82% of his service points and only got broken twice over the four sets played.
It was a welcome relief for Medvedev to have a more straight-forward match after needing to come back from two sets down against Felix Auger-Aliassime in his quarterfinal match.
Nadal is into yet another Slam final, this one after a six-month injury break due to a foot issue.
Nadal will look to control his baseline and be aggressive with his heavy forehand to prevent Medvedev from drawing out rallies. Nadal is known for being one of the fittest players in the world, but he’s played a ton of tennis since his injury break and the cumulation of all these matches against a player with Medvedev’s physicality could be a problem for Nadal.
The maximum number of times Nadal went to net this tournament was 26 times against Shapovalov (where he won 22 of the points). This is interesting to note, as Nadal went to net 66 times against Medvedev in the 2019 US Open final, winning 51 of those points.
Shortening the points against a player with Medvedev’s counterpunching skills is not a bad strategy, and we saw it against Medvedev in the round of 16, when Cressy went 89-for-135 at the net.
Ultimately, at this time Medvedev is the fitter, younger player and one of the only players in the world that can outplay Nadal from the baseline on hard courts. In addition, Medvedev’s ability to fit winners into very tight windows is important against Nadal’s incredible counterpunching skills.
Pick: Medvedev -1.5 Sets (-105 via DraftKings)
To be quite honest, my peers have done a good job of outlining the factors that are relevant as we head into this match.
I’m in agreement with David and Kenny that Medvedev has the tools to grind down Nadal from the baseline and present a difficult challenge on return that will limit the free points that Nadal generates. Unlike Berrettini, he doesn’t have an exploitable weakness on the ground, and he’ll be ready to go in a bid to deny a second player their 21st slam.
So, let’s look at the numbers to see how we can find the best plus-expected value play.
If we’re all in agreement that Medvedev winning a tough battle is the most likely outcome, where does the best opportunity fall?
A look at the over wouldn’t be bad, as four of Medvedev’s matches have gone over the total, but just one of Nadal’s has, and there’s no guarantee that a four-set match would put us over the number, so I’ll avoid this total.
These are also both players that are willing to fight to close out a set with two breaks to relieve pressure off of their serves, as Nadal did against Karen Khachanov in their final set, and Medvedev did against Nick Kyrgios and Tsitsipas in those final sets.
Plus, the over would require both players winning a set, so there’s a better choice to be had if you believe in the idea that they’ll push each other.
While the same logic could apply to those that back Nadal here, Medvedev to win and both players to win a set is +150 at Caesars. From a numbers perspective, without even doing any analysis, this is a great price to snatch.
The over 3.5 sets is listed at -205 while Medvedev to win is priced at -187, so a parlay on the two would pay out +128, giving this wager an edge of six percent in implied probability.
Naturally, this bet makes sense when thinking about likely match flows, and when you can gain this much of an edge on listed single odds, it becomes a no-brainer for me.
Pick: Medvedev to Win and Both Players Win a Set (+150 via Caesars)