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Novak Djokovic
Geoff Burke/ USA TODAY Sports
Odds and Ends

Tennis Best Bets for September 10

by Edward Egros
Updated On: September 10, 2021, 12:17 pm ET

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While the women’s tournament at the US Open features two unlikely finalists, the men’s draw has a lot more chalk. Three of the top four seeds are still vying for the final Grand Slam title of the year. Here’s where you can find betting value:

Auger-Aliassime (+420) vs Medvedev (-650)

The one real surprise in this final quartet is the 12-seed Felix Auger-Aliassime. At just 21-years-old, the Canadian ranks No. 12 this tournament in first-serve points won at 81%, which includes 85 aces (fourth highest). You can credit his attacking style and ferocious forehand to where he’s the one attempting to dictate the action.

Against inferior competition, that intensity should be more than enough. The problem is that his opponent Daniil Medvedev thrives on this surface. Per tennisabstract.com, Medvedev owns the highest hardcourt Elo rating on Tour, even higher than Novak Djokovic’s score. His backhand in particular has such pinpoint accuracy that if FAA commits too much to any one part of the court, Medvedev could make efficient work out of this semifinal match.

EDGE: Medvedev 3-0 (+105)

Djokovic (-275) vs Zverev (+205)

Perhaps one reason why Djokovic is not nearly as big of a favorite in this semifinal is because of what happened to him at the Olympics in Tokyo. There, on the same surface, Alexander Zverev stormed back after dropping the first set to win the match 1-6, 6-3, 6-1.  When Djokovic looked unstoppable, it was Zverev who proved that everyone is human.

The problem with placing too much weight on this one match is simple: it was out of three sets, not five. In shorter matches, the underdog has a much better chance of success; but, when the sample size is increased, the better player is likelier to win. There is a reason why Djokovic has been able to drop his first set almost routinely at majors, only to mount a furious comeback usually starting in the second set. Citing those same Elo ratings, Djokovic has only a slight edge (2026.9 to 2018.4,) so I am not expecting a short match, but the overall outcome should be predictable.

EDGE: Over 38.5 games (-125)