Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz played a thrilling final in the Cincinnati Open earlier this month, with Djokovic narrowly prevailing. And with the U.S. Open beginning Monday, tennis fans may be hoping the two superstars meet in a similarly entertaining Grand Slam final next month.
If the sports betting markets are any indication, fans may very well get their wish.
FanDuel lists Djokovic at +110 to win the tournament, while Alcaraz is close behind at +175. No other player has odds shorter than +1000 to win the U.S. Open.
“As was shown in the Cincinnati final, Djokovic and Alcaraz are both well ahead of the rest of the field,” David Gertler, an Action Network contributor and founder of the All About Tennis Blog, told Sports Handle.
Any other contenders?
Mobile sportsbooks other than FanDuel have similar odds for U.S. Open futures. BetMGM lists Djokovic at +120 to win the event, with Alcaraz listed at +175. Caesars Sportsbook has Djokovic at +120 and Alcaraz at +150, while Fanatics Sportsbook has Djokovic at +105 and Alcaraz at +150.
Gertler believes a challenging draw for Alcaraz gives Djokovic a slight edge entering the tournament.
“Before the draw, I would have slightly leaned Alcaraz, given that he’s much younger and is better suited for best-of-five at this point in their careers,” Gertler said. “However, Alcaraz will likely have to play tough opposition such as Thompson/Evans, Zverev/Sinner, and Medvedev just to reach the final, whereas Djokovic’s draw is much more straightforward. I think this is an equalizer and, all things being equal, with a confidence boost from beating Alcaraz in Cincinnati, I slightly lean Djokovic in a final showdown.”
Those two are heavy favorites for a reason, having won each of the last five grand slam championships, with Alcaraz winning last year’s U.S. Open. Gertler doesn’t anticipate anyone other than those two winning this year’s tournament, as he doesn’t trust the form of Daniil Medvedev (+1000 on FanDuel).
One of the best sets you'll EVER see.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) August 21, 2023
Gertler suggested Jannik Sinner (+1500) and Alexander Zverev (+3600) as possible threats, but their paths are daunting.
“Zverev and Sinner are two names that spring to mind as ‘other options’ to win the title, given how Zverev played in Cincinnati and Sinner’s ability to push Alcaraz to his limits,” said Gertler. “However, they would have to play each other in the fourth round to play Carlos in the quarterfinals, so it’s hard to imagine either of them beating each other, then Alcaraz, Medvedev, and finally Djokovic.”
Women’s field closely contested
On the women’s side, the chase for the title looks more open.
DraftKings lists Iga Swiatek as the favorite at +240, with Aryna Sabalenka (+475), Coco Gauff (+700), Elena Rybakina (+800), and Jessica Pegula (+1000) closely behind.
Gertler isn’t sold on Gauff ahead of the event. While she has played well throughout the summer and reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open in 2022, Gertler has concerns about whether her game is currently good enough to win a Grand Slam event.
“While she’s certainly in good form, her forehand is still a little more wayward than you would think if you looked at her results on paper,” Gertler said.
Meanwhile, Pegula, who is playing well and has a favorable draw, is Gertler’s favorite pre-tournament futures bet.