As golf’s third major is underway at the U.S. Open, we have tennis’ third major of the year — Wimbledon — starting Monday. With a couple of grass-court events completed and a couple more finishing this week, bettors are starting to get an idea of which players could be rounding into form at the right time.
Novak Djokovic: -125
Matteo Berrettini: +600
Rafael Nadal: +650
Carlos Alcaraz: +800
Felix Auger-Aliassime: +1200
It’s no surprise to see Djokovic not play in a lead-up event to Wimbledon: Of his six Wimbledon titles, five were won without playing a lead-up. Alcaraz has played just two grass matches in his ATP career (1-1 in those matches), while Nadal is still not a guarantee to play after expressing that he had to inject his foot to win the French Open.
So, considering that none of the top three favorites has set foot on grass courts yet and two are better known for playing well on clay, there could be some value down the board. The draw won’t be released until a few days before the start of the tournament, so we’re trying to capture value now before some of these current tournaments end before the draw.
Here are two players to consider at BetMGM for an early buy. This thought process is based on two concepts: (1) You already have a Djoker futures ticket at plus money, so who else could be an option? And (2), if not Djokovic, then who?
Matteo Berrettini +600
I’m not sure I’ll get to the window with a Berrettini future just yet, but I wouldn’t blame others for hopping on this early. The Italian known as "The Hammer" is through to the semifinal at Queen’s Club in London. That leaves him 29-3 on grass since 2019, 18-1 on grass since 2021, and 7-0 on grass in 2022. His three losses were against David Goffin at 2019 Halle, Roger Federer at 2019 Wimbledon, and Djokovic at 2021 Wimbledon.
What makes him such a threat is the one-two punch. He has one of the best serves on this surface. It’s heavy, fast and really difficult to return. Berrettini hits a lot of aces and gets a lot of free points from his serve. Combine that with a powerful forehand, and it’s over.
What makes him vulnerable is he doesn't have much else. His backhand is non-threatening, and when faced with an opponent who can start a point and extend the rally, then that’s where you see Berrettini falter. The longer the point, it’s not to his benefit. This is why Berrettini wasn’t able to get to five sets against Nadal at this year’s Australian Open, why he has not been able to get to five sets against Djokovic in three attempts, why he struggled against Andy Murray last week in Stuttgart, and why he struggled this week against Denis Kudla. Get the ball in play, move Berrettini around the court, hit to his backhand, and opponents do well. Both Nadal and Murray may be injured and their status for Wimbledon is unknown, and if Djokovic loses early then that opens the door for Berrettini. If the draw breaks right, the Hammer could find himself in back-to-back Wimbledon finals.
Felix Auger Aliassime +1200
I am waiting for FAA to break out. Like, sledgehammer through the brick wall with force. He’s so close!
Aliassime lost to Berrettini in the quarterfinal of last year’s Wimbledon, but it was an unfortunate draw. FAA went five sets to defeat Alexander Zverev in the Round of 16 in the match before in one of the biggest wins of his career.
After that he reached back-to-back semifinals in the U.S. Open and then in the Australian Open where he nearly defeated Daniil Medvedev, losing a five-set, two-tiebreak match that ended 6-4 in the fifth. It was close. He nearly picked off Nadal at Roland Garros, Rafa’s home court, pushing Nadal to five sets and becoming only the third player in Nadal’s 115-match history at the French Open to do so. When I say Aliassime is close, I mean he is close. Zverev is out because of injury, and if Berrettini ends up on Djoker’s side of the draw, this could be very good for the Canadian.
Similar to Berrettini, Aliassime has a booming, accurate serve. The difference between the two is that FAA has equally impressive ground strokes on both his forehand … and backhand. At 12-1, this is enticing to me and a ticket I have in my pocket.
Iga Swiatek: +150
Coco Gauff: +1000
Simona Halep: +1200
Serena Williams: +1400
Yes, that’s Serena you see on the odds board. She is back!
Just this week, Williams announced that she will be returning to Wimbledon as a wild card for her 21st appearance. With seven Wimbledon titles, it’s hard to pass up at 14-1. However, Williams has not played a match since last year’s Wimbledon event, where she retired 3-3 in the first set of the opening round to Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Plus, she’ll also be playing for the first time without her coach of 10 years, Patrick Mouratoglou, who is now with Halep. Together, Williams and Mouratoglou won 10 Grand Slams, plus an Olympic Gold medal. Williams is now with sister Venus’ coach, Eric Hechtman. At 40 years old, could this be Serena's retirement tournament rather than the start of a comeback? We’ll find out.
There is just one player who intrigues me: Gauff. Coming off her first Grand Slam final appearance at the French Open, Gauff is rolling this week in Berlin, advancing to the semifinal of the Grass Court Championships. A positive: Her two losses in previous Wimbledons were to eventual champ Halep in 2019 and former champ Angelique Kerber in 2021. Those are two very good losses. One thing she has is aggressiveness, and on grass that style of play can go a long way.