Wimbledon Odds, Previews, Picks: Nakashima vs Thompson & Bublik vs McDonald

Wimbledon Odds, Previews, Picks: Nakashima vs Thompson & Bublik vs McDonald article feature image

Gareth Fuller/Getty. Pictured: Mackenzie McDonald.

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Let the action begin. The biggest event in the tennis world is set to begin on Monday, with a flurry of matches to come throughout the first four days. For those of us that love breaking down, analyzing and handicapping tennis matchups, Wimbledon is the absolute best kind of busy one can be.

For Monday's action in the men's draw, I want to focus on the contests between Brandon Nakashima and Jordan Thompson, as well as Alexander Bublik and Mackenzie McDonald.

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

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Wimbledon Picks

Brandon Nakashima (-115) vs Jordan Thompson (-105) 

6 a.m. ET

Look, I understand how good Nakashima is. Heck, my shock at how poor he's been this season stems from knowing just how talented the young American is.

Unfortunately, his form doesn't lie and it isn't just bad luck or marginal losses that you'd expect to turn at any moment that has caused the downturn, there's a fairly obvious reason for his struggles. The return game has been well below par.

His 2023 campaign has seen the 21-year old break at rate just under 14%. I'm not talking about a 13.8% number on grass either, that is across all surfaces. For perspective, the worst rate inside the world's top-50? Ben Shelton at 14.1%. Nakashima is the world No. 51. In other words, there's no one ahead of him in the rankings that has been as poor on return as him in 2023.

That explains his 8-12 record on the year, with over a third of those victories coming at a 250 the week before a slam (known for having weaker fields and guys with question marks regarding motivation).

Pit that against a player in form, who specializes in playing on faster courts, likes the low bounce and finds ways to generate service holds in Thompson and Nakashima could be in trouble.

Thompson has reached a final on grass this season, has two other losses to strong players in Andy Murray and Cam Norrie (in three sets) and was one of Feliciano Lopez's victims as he summoned one final run at the final event of his career.

With an Elo rating on the year well over 100 points higher and a raw grass court Elo that is 70 points better, I simply can't figure out what makes the Aussie the underdog here. Matchup, form, numbers and surface ability all point to him winning.

Pick: Thompson ML (-105 via DraftKings)

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Alexander Bublik (-240) vs Mackenzie McDonald (+190)

9:30 a.m ET

If you're the superstitious type and think it's a bad idea to fade a pair of Americans on the 4th of July weekend (I, as a Canadian have no such problems), then this article may make you feel a tad uneasy.

I'll be opposing McDonald, as well as Nakashima, with the big-serving Kazakh who is in fine form entering The Championships.

I will even go as far as saying that Bublik is the most likely player not named Carlos Alcaraz to beat Novak Djokovic in the next few weeks. Will that happen? Probably not. If it does though, I wouldn't be surprised if Bublik was the one to do it.

If he's mentally engaged (a big "if", and surprisingly not a given with him even at a Grand Slam), there are very few players better on a grass court.

Armed with a massive serve, strong movement for a man of his size, soft hands, a crafty game and ability at the net, he has all the requisite tools to make a deep run at Wimbledon.

Can he keep it together mentally for two weeks on the biggest stage of them all in a prolonged best-of-five sets format? That much he still has to prove.

This first match is a good one for him, though. In his title run in Halle, Bublik showcased the ability to break serve consistently, and while McDonald does like playing on quicker courts, he doesn't really have big weapons to repel Bublik in his service games.

Needless to say, if he does fall behind by a break in a set, there's a strong possibility that he may as well turn his attention to the next.

I'm not keen on the game spread with Bublik, knowing if he does falter on serve he can tank a set, so I'll back him to get this done in three or four sets instead.

Pick: Bublik -1.5 sets (-125 via PointsBet)

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