The final Grand Slam of 2017 begins on Monday at the US Open and, with the men’s tour currently enjoying a final warm-up event in Winston Salem, our tennis expert Dan Weston looks at the main contenders for glory in New York. Read on for ATP US Open betting insight.
The US Open represents the final opportunity of the year for tennis players to win a Grand Slam. Before you look at the US Open odds, you can read our guide on how to bet on tennis. Historically, top players have thrived at Flushing Meadows, with only Marin Cilic winning the event from outside the top six seeds in the last 10 years.
Indeed, if we treat Cilic’s win over 10th seed Kei Nishikori as an anomaly, this seeding area looks a solid ballpark again to find a winner. Even considering that Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka and Nishikori are all absent, plus Andy Murray's fitness doubts, shock title triumphs from outsiders happen so rarely in men’s Grand Slams.
Unsurprisingly, leading the way in the outright betting is Roger Federer, marginally shorter than his pre-Wimbledon price. The Swiss legend is certainly the player to beat in the coming fortnight.
The weather in New York next week looks excellent - sunshine and around the mid-20s Celsius. Unless it warms up significantly in the second week, the players should avoid the high temperatures that have been experienced in the past. These have previously generated a number of retirements, particularly in the early rounds.
In the last three years at the venue, 78.1% of service games have been held, a figure 1.4% below the ATP hard court mean, while 0.54 aces per game were recorded down from the 0.57 ATP hard court average. On this basis, we can consider court speed to be medium-slow - and certainly slower than some of the US warm-up events. It’s unlikely that the anticipated court speed will assist any particular player genre.
ATP US Open betting: An unsurprising favourite
Unsurprisingly, leading the way in the outright betting is Roger Federer, priced at 2.61* to take the title - marginally shorter than his pre-Wimbledon price. The Swiss legend is certainly the player to beat in the coming fortnight. At this point, though, it’s worth clarifying that all odds only stand if Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray all compete.
Historically, top players have thrived at Flushing Meadows, with only Marin Cilic winning the event from outside the top six seeds in the last 10 years.
There is little doubt that, despite his defeat to Alexander Zverev in Montreal and subsequent withdrawal from Cincinnati, Federer is the player in form. This is well illustrated by his 35-3 record in the calendar year - there isn’t another player on tour with anywhere near such an impressive win-loss record in 2017. He is also unbeaten in Grand Slams.
In the last 12 months on hard court, Federer has won 71.0% of service points and 39.0% of return points (combined 110.0%), truly outstanding considering his age (now 36) and last year’s injury troubles. Interestingly, only Murray (111.7% combined) can boast better 12-month data on the surface.
However, while Murray’s level has dropped significantly this year, it hasn’t particularly on hard courts. In fact, he’s still 110.1% combined for 2017, winning 12 of his 15 matches on the surface.
ATP US Open odds: The world number one
Having said this, the Scotsman - available at 8.79* - is a big fitness doubt having not played since his defeat to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon, with a hip problem his latest ailment this year. Bettors will need to assess Murray’s early level at the event to gain insight as to whether he can compete against elite-level opponents.
Sandwiched between favourite Federer and third-favourite Murray is Nadal, with the Spaniard currently priced at 3.79*. Nadal has just regained the world number one spot but has struggled to replicate his stunning clay-court form across other surfaces. He lost to Gilles Muller at Wimbledon and also to Denis Shapovalov and Nick Kyrgios in the two North American Masters warm-up events.
With some solid form under his belt, as well as impressive statistics on hard courts in the last 12 months, Dimitrov looks to have a decent underdog’s chance.
Statistically, in the last 12 months, Nadal (107.8% combined) should be a solid contender but he looks to be a level below Federer at his peak on the surface. He does, however, look better than the other contenders. Assessing the draw will be critical for Nadal, who could have to face both Federer and Murray to take the title.
Priced slightly higher than Murray at 9.97* is Zverev, with the young German propelled to fourth favourite following consecutive tournament victories in Washington and Montreal. Twelve-month hard court numbers don’t favour the talented prospect, though, running at just 102.9% combined. On the flip side, in 2017 only, this rises to 104.3% and his 16-4 record on the surface is respectable.
However, a 7-1 tiebreak record, along with huge overperformance on break points in these matches, make it difficult to envisage further short-term improvement from Zverev. It’s also worth noting that his record in the best-of-five-set format in Grand Slam events needs vast improvement.
ATP US Open betting: The outsiders
Priced between 10.0 and 20.0 are the quartet of Marin Cilic, Nick Kyrgios, Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov. Of these, the first three have suffered recent injury issues. Cilic hasn’t played since his defeat in the Wimbledon final against Federer, while Raonic’s defeats against Jack Sock in Washington and Adrian Mannarino in his home event in Montreal don’t breed confidence.
In addition, Kyrgios has suffered from hip issues, although he appears to have been able to overcome them to an extent in making the final of the Cincinnati Masters last week. In that final, Kyrgios was defeated by Dimitrov (who was the pre-match underdog) and, statistically on hard court, Dimitrov could be the outsider worth watching.
With some solid form under his belt, as well as a 107.0% combined service points won/return points won percentage on hard court in the last 12 months, the Bulgarian looks to have a decent underdog’s chance. He is currently priced at 15.18* and the draw will be critical for him.
Bettors will need to assess Murray’s early level at the event to gain insight as to whether he can compete against elite-level opponents.
Further down the list, Juan Martin Del Potro and Dominic Thiem are both available at 25.35*. Both have significant question marks surrounding them. Del Potro has undergone more wrist surgery and his level this year is not particularly impressive, winning 18/30 matches (and recording almost -17% ROI in those 30 matches). He will also face a tougher draw, being outside the top 16.
As for Thiem, his record on hard courts is mediocre (102.2% combined) compared to his excellent clay level. His questionable scheduling, meanwhile, has led to post-Wimbledon slumps in previous years, as accumulated fatigue kicks in. It will therefore take a significant turnaround for Thiem to be a major contender at Flushing Meadows.
ATP US Open odds: The rest of the pack
Of the remaining outsiders priced greater than 75.00, Gael Monfils, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Roberto Bautista-Agut have the best serve/return points won data. The two Frenchmen, though, have flattered to deceive on the biggest stage for some time now, while Bautista-Agut’s woeful 7-38 career record against top-10 opponents casts serious doubt on his ability to make the latter stages.
Other players worth mentioning are the American trio of Sock, Querrey and John Isner. Yet, with all three being relatively serve-orientated, it will be tough for them even in their home country. Elsewhere, David Goffin has struggled on tour since he badly injured his ankle at the French Open. Tomas Berdych, meanwhile, gave Federer his toughest match at Wimbledon, although the Czech is another with a terrible record against elite opponents.
Certainly, with doubts surrounding the majority of the field, Federer is the player to beat in the coming fortnight. Victory would give him his 20th Grand Slam trophy – a simply incredible achievement.