Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: John Isner
- Favorites cashed at a high rate in the first round of Wimbledon on the men’s side.
- Expect more of the same on Wednesday, but we’ve got a few underdogs to consider.
It’s been an eventful start to Wimbledon thus far, with favorites (as expected) dominating most of the first round (49-15). With 20 second-round matches kicking off Wednesday morning at 6:30 a.m. ET, I expect more of the same from the All England Club on the men’s side.
That’s especially with the high volume of big favorites on Wednesday’s card. So far (and there are still some lines yet to be posted), there are only four matches with a favorite priced at less than -200.
- Ivo Karlovic (-167) vs. Jan-Lennard Struff (+129)
- Mackenzie McDonald (-133) vs. Nicolas Jarry (+104)
- Philipp Kohlschreiber (-182) vs. Gilles Muller (+140)
- Stefanos Tsitsipas (-154) vs. Jared Donaldson (+120)
Of the above, I see the most underdog value with Struff. Karlovic matches, as a rule of thumb, are typically 50/50 affairs. And with Karlovic’s serve looking spotty in his first-round match, it leads me to believe that there’s some value with Struff at almost +130. That match should feature a bunch of coin-toss tiebreaks. And Struff should have the edge from the baseline if Ivo isn’t pumping ace after ace.
The McDonald-Jarry match will likely be on Jarry’s racket, with the American McDonald primarily looking to “push” (and I use that term with love) from the baseline; but I’m not sure there’s enough reason to back Jarry, considering his limited sample size on grass. So I’m staying off that match.
I like Kohlschreiber over Muller, with the Luxembourger apparently not 100% fit ahead of this match. Muller’s been dealing with an elbow issue of sorts, and if he’s not serving at his best, Kohli should have the edge there — especially considering his 2-0 record against Muller over the years. I look at him as a nice-priced parlay piece to pair with one of tomorrow’s big favorites.
Wednesday’s big favorites
Speaking of big favorites, Wednesday’s card has a bunch. Among them, most of the “big servers” on tour are heavily priced ahead of their second-round matches, including Milos Raonic (-714), John Isner (-400), Sam Querrey (-550), and Kevin Anderson (-400). To me, Anderson looks the most vulnerable against Andreas Seppi — who cruised in his first round match against JP Smith (6-2, 6-4, 6-1).
Anderson straight-setted Seppi at Wimbledon last year, but it was a relatively tight match (6-3, 7-6, 6-3) and I wouldn’t be surprised if Anderson runs into some trouble. KA should get across, but if you’re looking for a “sweat-free” parlay piece, there are better options on the board.
Another big favorite who could be tested is Lucas Pouille, also priced at -400, against Dennis Novak. Novak looked strong in his first-round match, breezing past Peter Polansky (for what it’s worth), and has now won 10 consecutive sets at Wimbledon this year (including seven during qualifying).
Pouille is no stranger to losing as a heavy favorite — as we saw last year at Wimbledon, when he was ousted in the second round (at -300) by Jerzy Janowicz — and I’ve got him on a minor (to mid) upset alert.
Underdogs to look at
Among some of the more substantial underdogs Wednesday, I like Ryan Harrison’s chances against your pusherman (Curtis Mayfield voice), Adrian Mannarino. Harrison played surprisingly well in his first-round match (albeit, against clay-courter Roberto Carballes Baena), and has passed the Mannarino defensive examination before at a Grand Slam (2016 U.S. Open, in straight sets). At +184, Harrison looks to be a lively underdog on a slate full of favorites.
Finally, depending on prices (they’ve yet to be posted), I’ll be looking to head back to the Denis Shapovalov well (in all likelihood) against a potentially unfit Benoit Paire. The Frenchman was apparently close to withdrawing ahead of his first-round match with some type of meniscus injury, and — if he’s battling some type of leg ailment — I certainly like Shapovalov (who looked to be in classic “Shapo Grand Slam” form against the white-hot Jeremy Chardy) to go another round.