US Open Men's Day Eight Tips: Millman value to cover game handicap against Federer
Day eight of the US Open plays host to the remaining four matches in the last 16, and returning to preview the men's singles action, is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...
"Federer has covered this -8.5 game handicap line just once in seven hard court Grand Slam matches this year, when priced below [1.20]."
Thiem records a nice priced winner for us on day seven
Things went well for Sunday's recommendation with the underdog, Dominic Thiem, picking up a straight-set win over Kevin Anderson, and the Austrian now faces tournament favourite Rafa Nadal in the quarter-final. Our outright pick Nadal was relatively unconvincing last night in his four-set win over Nikoloz Basilashvili, and Thiem may fancy his chances for their first ever meeting away from clay.
The other two matches last night were rather contrasting - Juan Martin Del Potro eased past Borna Coric in three sets, to end our other outright hope in the men's, while John Isner edged Milos Raonic in five non-tiebreak sets. While I mentioned yesterday that I anticipated less chance of tiebreaks than probably most of the market, I'd have still offered long odds on zero tiebreaks in a five set match between these two.
Cilic accurately priced against Goffin
Tonight's action gets underway at 1600 UK time, and it's a tough card to discuss, from a value perspective. Of the four matches, only Marin Cilic is a favourite priced in excess of [1.30], with the Croat currently standing at [1.50] for his meeting with David Goffin, and this isn't hugely out of line with my model pricing. Cilic has a pretty solid record against slightly worse opposition - it's usually against those better that he has big struggles with.
Kohlschreiber not without a chance against Nishikori
Kei Nishikori is the other favourite bigger than [1.10], with the Japanese player facing the conqueror of Alexander Zverev, Philipp Kohlschreiber. After a great win over his German countryman in round three, I do feel that Kohlschreiber is a little under-rated here, although Nishikori has been pretty solid so far in New York in his previous three matches.
Djokovic priced as if at peak level
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are the other two favourites in action, and the duo are both prohibitively short, priced below [1.10] against Joao Sousa and John Millman, respectively.
In my opinion, both are too short. This is standard Djokovic pricing from his peak years, despite Djokovic statistically not being nearly at these levels, as I've discussed in previous previews. He certainly is improving, but he's certainly not at the level where he dominated the men's game at his best.
However, Sousa is nothing special on hard courts - he hovers around the 100% combined hold/break percentage generally - and of course, Djokovic is extremely likely to win this, but he's no value to do so at all.
Improving Millman can keep things respectable
This is also the case for Federer. Again, he's not quite at peak levels but he will be expected to get the job done against Millman, but I do like the Australian's chances of covering the game handicap.
My reasoning for this is twofold. Firstly, Millman, as discussed when we recommended him on Saturday against Mikhail Kukushkin, has really kicked on this year and is playing the best tennis of his career. While this isn't at elite levels by any means, I certainly rate him higher than Djokovic's opponent, Sousa, on hard courts at this point in time, and in addition, in their one previous meeting, Millman gave Federer a really tough match in Brisbane.
Federer with historical struggles covering large handicap lines
In addition, Millman has rarely been outclassed by opponents when a heavy underdog, with a tendency to keep things pretty close and cover big game handicap lines. We can get 8/11 on him with an 8.5 game head start with the Sportsbook, and I like this bet - Federer has covered this -8.5 game handicap line just once in seven hard court Grand Slam matches this year, when priced below [1.20].
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Dan's US Open 2018 P/L
P/L: + 3.66pts (21.53% return on investment)