Monday US Open Odds, Picks | Townsend vs Gracheva, Mertens vs Bjorklund Betting Predictions (August 28)

Monday US Open Odds, Picks | Townsend vs Gracheva, Mertens vs Bjorklund Betting Predictions (August 28) article feature image

Clive Mason/Getty. Pictured: Taylor Townsend.

It's the final major of the 2023 tennis season, as the US Open's main draw gets underway on Monday.

The first weeks of Grand Slam are some of the best to bet on, as we see 192 matches played in just four days. That means there's plenty to choose from the bookmakers and markets have a tough time getting every match correct.

Let's take a look at a pair of contests from the women's singles draw that are set for Monday. Here are my US Open picks and predictions.

Match times are subject to change. Read here for advice on viewing tennis matches.

US Open Picks & Predictions

Taylor Townsend (-145) vs Varvara Gracheva (+120) 

11 a.m. ET

Opening the main draw on Court 5, American Taylor Townsend squares off with Varvara Gracheva.

It's been a tale of two seasons for the latter, who had a remarkable season on the hard courts this past spring, but has faded during the past few weeks leading into the US Open.

It was really all down to the improvements we'd seen on serve and with the forehand for the Russian-turned-Frenchwoman. When she was landing her forehand without spewing too many unforced errors (as was her way prior to 2023), she was able to dictate play and avoid beating herself.

Sadly, she's reverted to the player we knew prior to this year in recent events.

She has one main draw win between Washington, Montreal, Cincinnati and Cleveland and even that came against Caroline Wozniacki and required a lucky loser spot to achieve.

Townsend struggled to get going in 2023, after not having played on the pro circuit with regularity in a while. She's a fairly new mother and was even doing analysis on TV for a little while.

Her clay season went swimmingly, however, and her rally tolerance and net game always give her a chance in matches – especially if her opponents are going to concede a decent number of unforced errors.

I'm happy to back her here against a regressing Gracheva.

Pick: Townsend ML (-145 via FanDuel)

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Elise Mertens (-250) vs Mirjam Bjorklund (+198) 

2:30 p.m. ET

Talk about coming into a match in good form.

Mirjam Bjorklund absolutely tore through her qualifying draw, dropping just 13 games in three matches. Now, the level of competition was far from being someone of Elise Mertens' caliber, but on hard courts Bjorklund is more than capable of using this momentum to trouble the Belgian.

She has a strong ground game, moves decently and the forehand can be a legitimate weapon that allows her to play first-strike tennis and win points.

Then there's the fact that Mertens seems to have taken a step (or three) back this year.

Normally known as a force that requires a top-tier player to beat, Mertens has not been herself. She did have a pair of decent runs in Miami and at Roland Garros to avoid her ranking plummeting, but she doesn't play much attacking tennis anymore and she appears to be a step slow from the baseline.

That has turned her consistency and counterpunching into more defensive play that sees balls left short relatively consistently.

This match checks many of the boxes I need to back underdogs. We have a struggling favorite, an underdog with a strong game and on their best surface and divergent form that indicates the match may be closer than the odds would indicate.

Give me Bjorklund to pull off the upset.

Pick: Bjorklund ML (+198 via FanDuel)

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