Value on Youngsters at U.S. Open

Value on Youngsters at U.S. Open

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The U.S. Open is right around the corner with matches starting on Monday, which means it’s time to lock in some futures bets. I’ll be focusing on the men’s side here, where I think there’s a ton of value in fading Novak Djokovic coming off of a flat Olympics, where he was denied his Golden Slam.

Djokovic hasn’t played on the ATP Tour since Wimbledon, where he took home his 20th Grand Slam title, but after that he had a disappointing loss in the semifinals to Alex Zverev and a loss in the Bronze Medal match to Pablo Carreno-Busta. The devastation of being denied the Golden Slam he’d worked so hard to achieve was very real, and there was an evident hangover against PCB.

With that, I think the value is all on the guys here not named Novak. I’ll go through my favorites below.

Alexander Zverev (+600)

Folks know I have a distrust of Daniil Medvedev, so at +400 odds I have a hard time laying the type of money on him required to make that a fruitful futures bet. When going against one of the Big Three in a Slam, I like to go for some bigger odds considering it’s been so difficult to oust them all these years.

Zverev is the hottest name in the betting market right now, after a win at the Cincinnati Masters and a Gold Medal in Tokyo. His performance against Djokovic in the semifinals was sublime, and his groundstrokes look as crisp as ever. Best of all, his second serve has ceased being a problem.

Zverev has, perhaps, the most talent of anyone on tour. His serve can be unreturnable, and his backhand can produce winners from nowhere. A version of Zverev that’s playing error-free is one that you’ll want to take, but I won’t want to touch this any lower than +600.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas +900

This is where it gets fun. Tsitsipas was the hottest player on tour just a few months ago, reaching the final of the French Open before dropping a 2-0 lead against Djokovic. From there, his form has been complicated. He went right to Wimbledon and predictably lost early — in the first round to Frances Tiafoe — with no grass-court tuning up whatsoever.

After that, he had a couple of losses in big tournaments to players that were simply in great form. With the way the courts were bouncing, it was going to take a Herculean effort to beat him, and his loss to Zverev is about as close as they come. Tsitsipas did lead by two breaks in the third set, and while that makes the loss sting, it shows how well he did perform before ultimately losing.

Tsitsipas has so much Grand Slam experience and fared better than just about anyone against Djokovic in a final. He just seemed to get tired at Roland Garros; it was hard to say the moment was too big. His fitness is top-notch, and he demonstrated how great he can be on hardcourts with a win over Rafael Nadal from two sets down at the Australian Open earlier this year.

Simply put, he has incredible variety and is probably the second-best player on tour after Djokovic. He can play on all surfaces. Getting this price is ridiculous.

Pablo Carreno-Busta +8000

You’ve got to take one out of left field, right? PCB has made the semifinals twice at the U.S. Open, often bringing his best tennis to the hardcourts of North America. He demonstrated superb talent in his Bronze Medal run in Tokyo, and can’t be ignored at these insane odds.

All you want to see when taking a +8000 future is for your guy to make the final, and that’s exactly what Carreno-Busta can do. He will likely face Zverev in the quarters, and the German is someone who Carreno-Busta led by two sets to love last year in the semis before fumbling the match away. It’s a winnable match.

Then you’ve got Djokovic, presumably, in the semifinals. That’s someone who Carreno-Busta obviously beat in Tokoyo, and someone he’s played plenty of close matches against. He also was leading him in last year’s U.S. Open before Djokovic was defaulted.

It’s steep, but it could happen.

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