Sunday US Open Final Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Alexander Zverev vs. Dominic Thiem (Sept. 13)

Credit:

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images. Pictured: Dominic Thiem.

Sep 13, 2020, 12:55 PM EDT
  • The men's US Open final will take place in New York City on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.
  • Alexander Zverev has been plagued by nerves throughout this year's US Open, while Dominic Thiem hasn't been fazed.
  • Gill Gross breaks down the final below and explains why he's putting his trust behind Thiem's run to the trophy.

Alexander Zverev vs. Dominic Thiem

 Zverev Odds +310 [Bet Now]
Thiem Odds -385 [Bet Now]
Start Time Sunday, 3 p.m. ET
TV ESPN

Odds as of Sunday afternoon and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


There are no style points in tennis, which has been a good thing for Alexander Zverev at the US Open. The five-seed has seen upsets of Stefanos Tsitsipas in his quarter and Novak Djokovic in his half. In wins over Borna Coric and Pablo Carreno Busta, Zverev stumbled out of the gates but steadied the ship eventually. The German was by far the more talented player in both matchups, he but struggled with crippling nerves at the start of both.

Dominic Thiem has shown no such vulnerability. He cruised to the semifinal but was yet to face a challenger as formidable as Daniil Medvedev. He passed the test with flying colors, as Thiem won in straight sets as a consensus  +105 underdog. Medvedev served for the second and third sets, but Thiem came up with clutch breaks of serve followed by masterful tiebreak victories. Thiem’s fearlessness on big points was astonishing. Only a player with deep-rooted inner belief could possibly perform under pressure as the Austrian did.

How Zverev Wins

First serves in percentage is often painfully overvalued as a statistic in tennis. For Zverev, it’s importance is undeniable. In AZ’s six matches leading up to the final, he’s won over 50% of his second serve points only once (Mannarino, R3). He was 19-of-52 on second serves against Carreno Busta in the semifinal. You see where I’m going with this. For Zverev to win, he needs to limit the number of second deliveries he’s forced to hit in the first place.

The model is what he did against Brandon Nakashima in Round 2, making 75% of first serves and winning 81-of-97 of those points in a four-set win. Zverev only won a measly 34% of second-serve points in that match, but it didn’t matter.

Thiem is superior from the baseline, so Zverev must get the best of the serve-return dynamic. That battle is almost entirely won or lost based on the German’s first-serve percentage. Thiem is an excellent returner of second serves. He likes to buy himself time using a deep return position that takes heavy cuts. Don’t be fooled by the court positioning: Thiem can attack the serve with the best of them.

The first serve is a completely different story. With no time to take the full swing, Thiem’s power is neutralized, and his efficiency dwindles. The Austrian has improved the return of serve immensely, but it’s still one of the ways he can be attacked. Zverev is bombing his serves in 2020. He’s the US Open’s ace leader with 116, and he’s been clocked at 140 miles per hour.

It’s pretty simple. Zverev’s serve needs to take over this match if he’s going to win.

How Thiem Wins

Even though Thiem comes into this match with “more pressure” as the favorite, there’s no doubt about his ability to handle the nerves better than Zverev. If the German has another slow start, Thiem will not let him get away with it. If someone is going to flop in this match and play below his ability, it’s not going to be the two-seed.

Thiem’s aggressive baseline play is overwhelming, to say the least. If Zverev gets passive, he’s going to be punished by Thiem’s power. The forehand-to-forehand crosscourt pattern is a major mismatch in favor of the Austrian, who hits on his dominant side with more stability and more potency. Zverev prefers to hook his forehand crosscourt to the righty forehand, so there will be no escaping this essential pattern.

Thiem’s advantage from the baseline is pretty clear. As stated in the Zverev blurb, this is about serve-return. The conditions are favorable for Thiem. It’ll be a late afternoon start in the low 70’s in Arthur Ashe stadium. The biggest court in all of tennis has played pretty slow, especially in relatively cool weather.

Thiem won 24% of first-serve return points against the big-serving Medvedev, suggesting the return is sub-elite but short of a glaring weakness. I would be surprised if Thiem didn’t win 60% or more of second-serve return points, putting loads of pressure on Zverev to make a high percentage of first serves.

The Pick

This is a hard one to bet since oddsmakers correctly have Thiem listed as a heavy favorite (-435). I like the price on Thiem to win in straight sets. There’s a legitimate chance Zverev folds under the pressure in his first major final, but if he doesn’t, there’s no guarantee he doesn’t fold under Thiem’s game. The Austrian is the better player — and the more confident player. He’ll show no mercy after losing his last major final after leading. He’s ready to win the trophy, and I feel great about backing him.

The Pick: Dominic Thiem To Win 3-0 (+130)

[Bet Thiem now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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