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Tennis Best Bets: US Open Predictions to Consider on DraftKings Sportsbook for September 11

Kenny Ducey gives his best bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for Friday’s Men’s Semifinal.

2020 US Open - Day 10 Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

We’ve hit the second day of semis at the US Open, and it’s finally sinking in that we’re going to anoint a brand new Grand Slam champion. Three of the next generation’s brightest stars play for a spot in the final today, along with 29-year-old Spaniard Pablo Carreno-Busta, who is enjoying yet another deep run on American hardcourts. With all that said, let’s run through the two matches and see which bets have the most value on DraftKings Sportsbook.

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Pablo Carreno-Busta vs. Alexander Zverev

Carreno-Busta +4.5 Games, Carreno-Busta ML (+240)

In what is very clearly the warmup act for Medvedev–Thiem — which should be the match of the tournament — we find PCB, who put on a masterclass against a very in-form Denis Shapovalov, as a huge underdog to the always-volatile Alexander Zverev. You’re certainly not laying down -305 on someone this inconsistent. We saw last match against Borna Coric, which he won, even game spread and total bets on him are impossible to figure out.

Here is one thing we know about his form: The spotlight had never been greater on the young German, of which much has always been expected and he did not rise to the challenge in his semifinal match. The issues that have plagued Zverev over the years — double faults and unforced errors — returned against Coric. He’d hit just two double faults and made 22 unforced errors in his Round of 16 match, then came out and hit 12 double-faults and 46 unforced errors in what was an incredibly sloppy match. If it weren’t for Coric crashing back to Earth and matching his sloppy play, Zverev would have seen yet another disappointing result just when he seemed poised to rise to a level higher than he’s ever risen before.

Pablo Carreno-Busta, on the other hand, is all about consistency. He showed off incredible rally tolerance against Shapovalov, who was playing some of the most solid tennis of his career, and played daringly when he needed to, hitting a respectable 33 winners. Maybe most impressively, PCB nearly out-served Shapovalov, hitting more first serves in (71%) and winning 15% more points (55%) behind his second serve than the Canadian. He limits mistakes and proved on Wednesday that he can win enough points on his serve, which will be vital against Zverev, who relies on power and profiles very similarly to Shapovalov.

There is a chance that Zverev puts it all together on Friday, finding angles and hitting through Carreno-Busta on the baseline en route to an easy victory. There is a much greater chance, however, Zverev lets the errors fly and lets Carreno-Busta in. After what I saw of Zverev’s return game against a relatively weak server in Coric, PCB should lose sets narrowly if he doesn’t win them, making this game spread a good bet. I also think he’s undervalued in the match line market, and I’ll be making a small play on the moneyline. If you want to get nuts, Zverev -5.5 double-faults at -125 probably has a strong chance of hitting judging by his past performances this deep in slams.


Daniil Medvedev vs. Dominic Thiem

Medvedev ML (-121)

Whooo baby, this is the moment we have been waiting for all tournament. The consensus is that the US Open champion will come from this match, which is sure to be a marathon, popcorn-inspiring affair. The match is essentially a pick-em, with good reason, but I am going to take my best shot at predicting the outcome here.

Medvedev trails 1-2 in his all-time series with Thiem, but took their most recent matchup on the hardcourts in Montreal last year. Since one match was on clay, and the other was in 2018 (which came down to a third-set tiebreak, by the way) I think their Montreal encounter is the best chance we have to judge how the two might match up. One thing that struck me watching back some of that match was how easily Medvedev was winning his service games. He had a 15.4% ace rate, and won a blistering 95.7% of first serve points. Simply put, Thiem had no idea how to solve his serve.

The other thing that is striking is how easily he was breaking Thiem. The Austrian lost 16 of the first 17 points in the second set, and actually had to save a match point at 0-5. Medvedev won exactly half of the return points he played, and won 62.5% on Thiem’s second serve.

Now, there were some factors at play here. Thiem had just won a clay court title and was exhausted; he admitted as much after the match. That would make another blowout unlikely, but I do think some of the elements of that match could be replicated. Med won’t win 96% of his first serve points, but on new US Open surfaces that will replicate the ones used in Canada as it pertains to speed, I think he can still be dominant on serve.

Medvedev’s return game also is a problem for even the best on tour, fatigue or not, and Thiem has not played a returner who will consistently hit serves back to the baseline like Med. He’s going to start points hitting moonballs off his back foot, and Medvedev will have every chance to be the aggressor and move forward.

Finally, speaking un-analytically here, let’s use our eyes for a second. Thiem was absolutely drenched in sweat against De Minaur throughout his match, telling me it was far more taxing than the score line would indicate. He looked absolutely gassed in the third set, which makes total sense given De Minaur’s speed and ability to extend points and make opponents work hard. While that is not a determining factor here, Medvedev should have an edge in the fatigue department, having won every set he’s played — rather comfortably, I should add. Thiem has played a few tiebreaks, had to work hard to out tough opponents and dropped a set to Marin Cilic earlier in the tournament. He is not going to be as tired as he was in Montreal last year, but I’m suspecting Medvedev will be a little bit more rested.

I’m rolling with Medvedev for all the reasons listed above, in addition to the fact that he’s simply a better hardcourt player than Thiem when you don’t factor in matchups, form and fatigue. Adding all those to the equation, Medvedev should be able to protect his serve in this one, meaning he won’t need to win many return games to take this one over the Austrian. I’m looking forward to this one, and you should be too. It’s gonna be good.


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jetsfan196) and I may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.