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Thursday Australian Open Odds, Picks: A Total & Spread Bet to Make For Third Round Play

Thursday Australian Open Odds, Picks: A Total & Spread Bet to Make For Third Round Play article feature image
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William West/Getty. Pictured: Karen Khachanov.

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The story of the Australian Open thus far is Mackenzie McDonald knocking out the No. 1 overall seed Rafael Nadal in the second round.

While the event is lacking some big names (Nadal, Nick Kyrgios and Carlos Alcaraz), Novak Djokovic still remains, and there’s still some great betting value.

I’m targeting two third round matches featuring Americans on Thursday, so dive in below for my Australian Open odds and picks.

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Thursday Australian Open Odds & Picks

Karen Khachanov (-112) vs. Frances Tiafoe (-104)

3 a.m. ET

It doesn’t get more even then this match between Karen Khachanov and Frances Tiafoe. Both are seeded in the top 20 in this event, reached the US Open semifinals and have Elo Ratings in the top 25 on hard courts.

Khachanov has dispatched Bernabe Zapata Miralles and Jason Kubler in Melbourne, while Tiafoe defeated Daniel Altmaier and 17-year old Juncheng Shang.

These two have never met on a hard court before, with Khachanov winning their only two meetings at Wimbledon.

Tiafoe has been a much different player since his run at the US Open, though. He’s more confident with his game, doesn’t get into his major inconsistency spells of the past and his serve has been a dangerous weapon.

I had questions about whether Tiafoe would be able to continue his form outside of New York, but the American made the finals of Tokyo, the quarters in Paris and has started this year 7-0 while dropping just two sets.

You can tell by just watching the American that he has a different swagger to him and believes he’s capable of competing with the best of the best on tour.

I’m hesitant to take a side in this match, but I will be targeting the over.

Beyond the fact that these two players are evenly matched, they both rely heavily on their serves.

Khachanov saved six break points in his first-round match and only faced five total break points against Kubler. Meanwhile, Tiafoe saved seven break points versus Altmaier and only faced four total break points against Shang.

In 2022, Khachanov and Tiafoe ranked inside the top 25 in Serve Rating and percentage of service games won.

It feels like we’re getting this matchup way too early in the event, and it could be one of the best matches of the early rounds. I expect multiple tiebreakers and a long, tight match that resembles a quarterfinal-type duel.

Pick: Over 39.5 (-105 via PointsBet)

Yoshihito Nishioka (-170) vs. Mackenzie McDonald (+140)

10:30 p.m. ET

The headlines across the tennis world are focused on Nadal’s injury, but that’s almost a disservice to McDonald.

Up a set and a break and using his excellent defense and consistency from the baseline, McDonald was outplaying Nadal before the Spaniard even suffered his injury.

The 27-year old American’s fine form has extended beyond this match with Nadal, defeating Daniel Evans in straight sets in Adelaide and topping Brandon Nakashima in the first round of this event.

But that doesn’t mean I’m blindly backing McDonald in this spot.

In fact, I’m doing exactly the opposite.

McDonald is coming off of two highly-emotional matches, playing a four-hour five-setter against Nakashima before earning the biggest win of his career against Nadal.

Expecting him to continue his form and play at this level is not out of the realm of possibility, but this is a potential letdown spot, regardless of how high the stakes are.

Plus, he’s facing Yoshihito Nishioka, who just beat McDonald in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3 in Adelaide at the start the new season. Nishioka made the semifinals of that tournament and has looked really solid so far in Melbourne.

He hasn’t dropped a set yet, cruising through Mikael Ymer and qualifier Dalibor Svrcina.

Also, from a matchup perspective, Nishioka can match McDonald in baseline rallies and will be able to keep up from a fitness perspective — unlike Nadal.

Pick: Nishioka -2.5 games (-130 via DraftKings) | Play to -3

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