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For the 6th consecutive week, tennis fans (and gamblers alike) can enjoy high-quality professional tennis action from sunrise to sundown, regardless of where they live around the globe.
Both the ATP and WTA Tours, who seem determined to make up for any lost time in 2020, have maintained a frantic schedule early in the season. Entering only the 11th week of the year, the ATP Tour has already held 16 (!!) different tournaments in 13 different countries, while the WTA tour has held 11 events in 9 locations.
As such, the tennis season continues to provide a plethora of gambling opportunities for those with enough guile (and patience) to pursue them. With that in mind, here are my picks for Thursday’s professional matches in Acapulco and Monterrey (matches start at 6pm ET).
(To catch up on all that has happened in the tennis world, or to start following along with the day-in, day-out happenings on tour, be sure to check out all of the work being done at crackedracquets.com.)
Fun Prop: Both players to win a set in Auger-Aliassime/Tsitsipas – +122, 1.00 unit to win 1.22
Thursday night’s Acapulco Quarterfinal between top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas and seventh-seed Felix Auger-Aliassime features a matchup of two ascending players accurately considered to be both future grand slam champions and stalwarts at the top of the men’s game.
Both players rose to the number one ranking in the world as juniors, and achieved Top 20 professional rankings by the age of 20. As such, and despite the fact that Tsitsipas was born two years prior to Felix, the two men have faced off numerous times throughout their young tennis careers.
From the start of 2015 to June of 2019, Felix carried a perfect 5-0 overall record against Tsitsipas. Four of Felix’s five victories came in matches played on hard courts (the same surface being used in Acapulco this week), and Felix won 10 of the 11 sets played in those five encounters. However, in their two subsequent matchups, Tsitsipas earned straight set victories over Felix. Both of Tsitsipas’s wins also came on hard courts, and he dropped serve only once in each of those victories.
Since the ATP Tour restarted play in August (after shutting down in March of 2020), Tsitsipas has also clearly been the better of the two. In his last 52 weeks, Tsitsipas is 28-12 overall, has reached two Grand Slam SFs, made an ATP 500-level final, is 5-7 overall against Top 20-ranked players, and currently sits at a career-high of #5 in the rankings.
While FAA’s record of 19-13 overall (with two ATP 250-level finals and a ranking of #18) is nothing to scoff at, Tsitsipas certainly enters the match in better form, and is unsurprisingly the moneyline favorite (-260) to win. However, despite Tsitsipas’s excellent level of late, FAA’s biggest strengths on the court (his ability to land first serves and attack the first ball in baseline rallies) still corresponds perfectly with Tsitsipas’s largest vulnerability (his backhand return). FAA is also 9-3 overall in 2021, carries a 2-3 record against Top 20-ranked opponents during that span, and according to the numbers, measures out as the 10th-best server on tour thus far during the 2021 season (to Tsitsipas’s 12th).
Additionally, according to Tennis Abstract (the premiere stats database in tennis), while Tsitsipas has been the better server over the last 52 weeks, FAA actually ranks slightly better than Tsitsipas as a returner. He leads Tsitsipas in both break of serve percentage (23.3% to 22.0%), total return points won (39.4% to 37.2%), and win percentage on 1st serve return points (30.8% to 29.0%).
To summarize: these two know each other’s games well, have been playing high-quality tennis since August, and are both hungry and determined to continue to progress to the top of the men’s game. As such, I expect tonight’s match to be an absolute war of attrition.
And what’s the best way to capitalize on that?! Throw 1 unit on the match to go the distance, then kick your feet up and enjoy the show!!
We’ll keep this one short.
Cam Norrie: 19-13 overall/18-10 in hard court matches/10-9 against Top 100 opponents in his last 52 weeks, 11-5 record to start the 2021 season,
Dom Koepfer: 13-11 overall/4-5 in hard court matches/7-7 against Top 100 opponents in his last 52 weeks, 4-4 record to start the 2021 season
H2H: 1-1 overall. Norrie won their last encounter 63 62 back in 2017.
Both guys have been pretty good, but the numbers/eye-test both say Norrie’s been the slightly better player (particularly on Hard Courts, which is the surface being used in Acapulco) of late.
Yes, all Dom Koepfer has to do is win one lopsided set to screw the entire bet up. However, Norrie is 6-2 in his last 8 three-set matches, and would have covered a -2.5 game spread in each of his six three-set victories. Also, if you believe Norrie will win the match (as I do), you’ll receive more value taking the -2.5 game spread (-120) than the Norrie moneyline (-188).
The eyes say it. The numbers say it. Give me 1.50 units on Norrie to win 1.25.
Because who doesn’t need a little spice in their life.
To hear more about the logic behind these picks, tune into the daily Cracked Racquets Great Shot Podcast: Ace of the Day segment, a series singularly focused on negotiating the many wagering opportunities happening every day in the sport. Also, if you’re interested in hearing recaps of each day’s results or feel inspired to start following tennis more closely, tune into our Cracked Racquets “The Mini-Break Podcast” wherever you listen to your podcasts, or follow @crackedracquets on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Alex Gruskin is the Editor-In-Chief of Cracked Racquets, host of the Cracked Interviews Podcast/Mini-Break Podcast, and host of the “Ace of the Day” segment on the Great Shot Podcast – a Tennis Channel Podcast – which breaks down daily tennis prop bets, picks and parlays.