Thursday US Open Betting Picks: Our Favorite ATP Bets for 2 Second Round Matches (Sept. 3)
Peter Staples/ATP Tour via Getty Images. Pictured: Felix Auger-Aliassime
- Betting Day 3 of the US Open? So are our tennis experts.
- They are making picks in two of today's matchups on the ATP side: Vasek Pospisil vs. Milos Raonic and Felix Auger-Aliassime vs. Andy Murray.
- Check out their analysis and favorite bets for those matchups below.
The chalk reigned supreme once again on Day 3 of the Men’s US Open. There have been a few upsets, but we’ve yet to see anything crazy go down at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center on the ATP side of the draw.
Can we expect more of the same on Thursday? Here are our favorite bets for Thursday’s Round 2 action:
Sean Zerillo: Vasek Pospisil +5.5 Games (-118)
- Odds available at MGM [Bet Now]
- Time: Approx. 1 p.m. ET
I highlighted Vasek Pospisil on Tuesday, before he dismantled Phillip Kolhschreiber in straight sets – winning 54% of all points in his opening round match while playing at a high level (64 winners, 35 unforced errors).
The Canadian won 58 of his 68 first service points (85%), on the strength of 23 aces at outdoor Court 14. And on Thursday, he’ll move indoors to Louis Armstrong Stadium, where the court conditions should be ever livelier – and help his power to play up further.
Pospisil will renew his rivalry with countryman Milos Raonic, who is playing as well as anyone in the world right now – looking dominant in his run to the “Cincinnati” final last week, before losing to Novak Djokovic.
Pospisil and Raonic have been playing against one another since they were 13 years old and they have met seven times previously at the professional level (one challenger, three futures, and three ATP matches). Pospisil holds the 4-3 edge in the official head-to-head – winning their first three meetings and their most recent matchup (2018, Antwerp).
Raonic is clearly the deserving favorite, however. While Pospisil has gotten himself back to peak personal form after 2019 back surgery (rising to current World No. 13 in the Universal Tennis Rankings rankings), his total points won on hard courts (51%) and combined rate of service and return games won over the same surface (104.3%) still falls well short of Raonic’s numbers over the past 52 weeks (53% total points won; 111.7% combined games won).
Both men serve big, and break points will be difficult to find on these quickened courts. I’m expecting to see at least one or two tiebreaks in this matchup. In six prior hard court meetings, for example, seven of the 15 sets ended either 7-5 or 7-6.
Raonic should have a major advantage in those crucial moments – his career tiebreak record (61.7%) is in the top 5 amongst active players while Pospisil’s (47.1%) tiebreak skills have proven subpar.
I do expect Pospisil to keep this matchup close, however – even if he does lose in straight sets. With the game total set at 39, you need Pospisil to take at least one set to get to that number – so I gladly took his game spread (+5.5) instead; as a 6-7, 6-7, 3-6 result still gets us to the window.
Tennis Abstract only makes Raonic a 57.5% favorite in this matchup, implied odds of -135, and I do expect Pospisil to outplay his odds on Thursday against a familiar foe.
Gill Gross: Felix Auger-Aliassime (-176) over Andy Murray
- Odds available at BetMGM [Bet Now]
- Time: Approx. 9 p.m. ET
This isn’t the sentimental pick, but I have to fade Andy Murray’s metal hip on this occasion. Murray has shown post-surgery that he still has a lot of the skills (and heart) that made him a three-time major champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist, but he has also shown limitations in a few specific areas that FAA is prime to exploit.
Murray is still covering the court with high-end anticipation and good top line speed, but the quick changes of direction are still giving him problems. FAA takes the ball early, which means the Brit has less time to recover to the middle of the court, and less time to get his feet in position once the ball comes off Felix’s racquet.
If you give Murray time to recover his court position, he can still move quite well. I anticipate FAA will suffocate Andy’s movement with aggressive court position. Felix will also benefit from his disguise.
In recent wins over Francis Tiafoe and Alexander Zverev, Murray has been able to sit on their dual tendencies to take forehands cross-court. Felix plays with no such patterns.
If Murray were in his prime, I’d say the defense and movement could neutralize the offensive play of Auger-Aliassime, but nowadays, the Canadian should be able to generate plenty of winners and forced errors with his dictating play.
Part of that also comes down to the serve. The Brit’s return was once one of the most unshakable shots on tour. Now, he lacks the explosive agility required to cover the service box and make stretch returns.
Auger-Aliassime can pump it up the high 120s regularly, and he gets good slider action on his slice serve.
However, if there’s one thing to be concerned about with Felix, it’s his double-fault rate. FAA has doubled on 5.4% of service points in 2020, the sixth-highest mark on tour, according to data from Tennis Abstract.
The third and final detriment for Murray is his recovery. He played for four hours and 39 minutes against 5-foot-7 baseliner Yoshihito Nishioka in the first round, in which he saved a match point in the 4th and completed a comeback from two sets to none down.
Afterwards, Murray admitted to fatigue, complained of toe pain and resorted to an emergency ice bath in the locker room. Who could blame him?
Playing one physical match has been perfectly doable for Murray, but recharging the body in time for the next one has proven difficult. Last week, Andy scored three-set wins over Tiafoe and Zverev before putting up a listless performance against eventual finalist Milos Raonic.
For Murray to win, he’ll have to rely on his superior consistency. Surely, unforced errors are more likely to spray from the Canadian’s racquet. But Murray is no longer one for mistake-free tennis. He is susceptible to error-filled stretches within matches when he’s not feeling fresh physically.
I don’t expect Murray to have his A-game on Thursday night. FAA has the kind of offensive capabilities that should keep Andy scrambling and further wear down his legs.
I’m comfortable betting FAA up to -180.