US Open Men's Semifinals Betting Guide: Friday 9/8/23

Kenyatta Storin
Kenyatta Storin@KenyattaStorin
US Open Men's Semifinals Betting Guide: Friday 9/8/23

The US Open is into the semifinals, and we should be treated to some fantastic matches in the final days.

What better way to get in on the action than by making wagers on the tennis odds at FanDuel Sportsbook?

Let's see where we can find value in the men's semifinal matches on Friday.

Ben Shelton vs. Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic 3-0 Sets (-155)

Yes, Ben Shelton is a fantastic story, and he's enjoyed some impressive wins in the tournament -- but it's really hard to see someone who came in with a 12-20 season record being the guy who knocks Novak Djokovic out.

Djokovic is a -1700 favorite, which implies a 94.4% win probability. Tennis Abstract's Elo ratings project a more lopsided 97.3%.

Even Novak is prone to the occasional off day -- as we saw in the third round when he had to come back from down two sets to beat 38th-ranked Laslo Djere -- but it's otherwise been smooth sailing for him, which included taking out top American Taylor Fritz without much trouble in the quarterfinals (6-1, 6-4, 6-4).

Shelton, armed with a serve that's clocked as high as 149 mph, largely controlled his last two matches against Francis Tiafoe and Tommy Paul, but he'll have a much more difficult time doing that against one of the best returners to ever play the game in Djokovic.

It's always possible that Novak -- who has never played Shelton before -- could drop a set as he feels his opponent out, particularly if the 20-year-old's serve is locked in early on. But picking the Serbian to win in straight sets is the best way to get the odds down to a reasonable value, particularly with the game spread (-7.5) being high.

Carlos Alcaraz vs. Daniil Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev ML (+290)

Do I think Daniil Medvedev will win on Friday? Honestly, probably not. But if you told me entering the tournament that someone not named Novak Djokovic would knock Carlos Alcaraz out of this tournament, Medvedev would likely be my pick.

First, the bad. Over two head-to-head matches this year, Medvedev has lost all five sets he's played against Alcaraz, and two of those came at Indian Wells, a spring hard courts tournament in the California desert. Alcaraz has gone 16-3 on the surface this year (84.2% win percentage), and those three losses all came against top-15 opponents. Here in New York, he's dropped just one set entering the semifinals.

But here's the good news. Medvedev is one of the best hard-courts players in the world, which includes going 32-5 in those matches this year (86.5%). Of his 20 career titles, 18 have come on this surface, which includes the 2021 US Open title over none other than a certain Djokovic.

The Russian has looked up to the task in impressive wins over top-15 opponents Andrey Rublev and Alex De Minaur over the last two rounds, overcoming particularly brutal heat in his quarterfinal versus Rublev.

Tennis Abstract has these two ranked second and third in surface-adjusted Elo rating -- you can guess who's first -- showing that they could be closer matched than the odds are saying. Overall, Medvedev is projected for a 38.4% win probability that's significantly higher than +290 implies (25.6%).

Maybe it turns out Medvedev can't figure out an ever-improving Alcaraz, and that's entirely possible, perhaps even likely. But this is a pretty big number we're getting to back the World No. 3 on his preferred surface, and that's value I'm willing to take a chance on.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author’s advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.