Frances Tiafoe vs Ben Shelton Odds, Pick, Predictions | US Open Expert Preview

Frances Tiafoe vs Ben Shelton Odds, Pick, Predictions | US Open Expert Preview article feature image

Pacific Press, Icon Sportswire/Getty. Pictured: Frances Tiafoe and Ben Shelton.

Tiafoe vs Shelton Odds

Tiafoe Odds-250
 Shelton Odds+205
Over/Under39.5 (-130 / +105)
Time | How to WatchTuesday, 8:30 ET | ESPN
Odds via DraftKings. For tips on how to watch US Open, click here.

The second men's quarterfinal of the day on Tuesday at the US Open will be played under the lights inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. It will feature two American tennis stars in Frances Tiafoe and Ben Shelton.

The two have never met before, with Shelton's meteoric rise taking place late last year, and it's sure to be a popcorn match which will captivate the entire nation. Will the young upstart pull off the upset and reach his first Grand Slam semifinal, or will the experience of Tiafoe prevail?

Let's get into how to bet on Frances Tiafoe vs Ben Shelton in the US Open.

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Tiafoe Rounding Into Form at Right Time

The 25-year-old has been nothing but consistent on the hard courts over the years, playing his best tennis on the surface every summer in the lead-up to the US Open. He's used that momentum in the past to achieve the best results of his career, but this year has been much different.

Tiafoe entered this year's US Open with no form to speak of. He was bounced from his home tournament in D.C. in just the third round by Dan Evans, he lost to a player who had just come out of retirement in Milos Raonic the following week in the first round of the Rogers Cup and he lost to Stan Wawrinka in the second round of the Cincinnati Masters.

So, it was anyone's guess how Tiafoe would fare at this year's US Open. He's done well to reach the quarterfinals in rather tidy fashion, dropping just one set, but he's also had the benefit of facing an incredibly easy draw by defeating Leaner Tien, Sebastian Ofner and Rinky Hijikata. Adrian Mannarino was a quality win, but that victory didn't come without its twists and turns; Mannarino erased a break deficit in the fourth set and would eventually go up a break before losing a tight tiebreak.

It's hard to say Tiafoe is playing his best tennis, but it's also hard to criticize him for his play to this point given the results.

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Shelton Improving in Key Way

The 20-year-old has stepped right into the spotlight here at the US Open, blasting serves near 150 mph and hitting his opponents off the court. Shelton has played three four-set matches and one match which ended in retirement after the first. While fitness has been a question for Shelton in the past, particularly at the Australian Open when he ran out of gas in the quarterfinals against Tommy Paul, he looked as spry as ever against Paul in his victory on Sunday.

The main thing I want to talk about here is the Shelton return. He's breaking under 20% of the time this year, which is not a good number by any means, but in the last two matches he's been able to make a ton of noise in his return games and has won a ton of second serve return points.

Now, was that a fluke? Aslan Karatsev has never been a consistent server, and Paul said after Sunday's match that he thought he could have served better and with more pop. We will find out on Tuesday night, but it does seem that over the past week the American has made significant strides in an area which has always been deemed his greatest weakness.

Tiafoe vs Shelton Pick

When these two meet a year from now, I'd expect Tiafoe to be a -130 favorite at best. There's nothing between these two in terms of playing ability, and with a bit more experience Shelton will surely catch Tiafoe in the rankings if he doesn't pass him altogether.

I think there's a lot of value in taking Shelton to win this match. I think he's playing better tennis than Tiafoe at the moment; even with some clean score lines we've seen Tiafoe throw away service games with a break lead in his past two matches, and he couldn't serve it out against Hijikata on Louis Armstrong in the fourth round.

I think there are simply too many lapses in focus here from Tiafoe to trust him to hold serve enough to stay in front of Shelton. On the other side of the coin, it's been nearly a month since the World No. 10 faced a server as big as Shelton – and that match was his three-set loss to Raonic. You can practice all you want, but there is nothing that will prepare you for facing a serve and forehand combination this big when you haven't done so for a month.

I expect Shelton to take at least two sets in this match, and at that point you have to take the moneyline. Tiafoe is being significantly overvalued here because of his Grand Slam experience and the presumed fatigue of the young Shelton, but I see no signs that he's feeling it physically.

Shelton will win this match and set up a mouth-watering matchup with Novak Djokovic in the semis.

Pick: Shelton ML (+205)

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