Could Betting Nick Kyrgios at the US Open be a Value Play?

Ever since a 19-year-old Nick Kyrgios took the tennis world by storm in 2014, drubbing heavy favorite Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon, the controversial Australian has been the sport’s preeminent enigma. In 2022, that’s begun to change. Has it changed enough to make Kyrgios a value play at the 2022 US Open? Let’s find out. 

Dimers.com contributor Mac Douglass breaks down Kyrgios’ odds at the 2022 US Tennis Open.

One of the great—if not the greatest—raw talents tennis has ever seen, a man capable of beating anyone in the world on any given day, Kyrgios has constantly failed to live up to his potential, with his head-scratching antics, refusal to employ a full-time coach and occasional virtuoso performances flummoxing proponents and detractors alike.

 

New Year, New Kyrgios

This January, Kyrgios teamed up with fellow Aussie and childhood friend Thanasi Kokkinakis to win the Men’s Doubles title at the Australian Open, a shocking outcome for the unseeded pair, and the first time Kyrgios had even sniffed a major title in singles or doubles.

Then came Wimbledon. Just as he did in 2014, the huge-serving Kyrgios rocked the tennis world, this time making it all the way to the final at the All England Club. Though he ultimately lost to seven-time champion Novak Djokovic, Kyrgios’ Wimbledon run remains a remarkable testament to his abilities, and, moreso, his new-found will to win. What does this tell us about Kyrgios’ shot at taking home the 2022 US Open?

Quite a lot. 

Why Kyrgios is a Value Bet

At present, Kyrgios is +4000 to win in Flushing Meadows this September. For bettors, there is value there. Here’s why. 

Kyrgios’ ATP rank does NOT reflect his Wimbledon final

As Dimers.com reported in June, this year Wimbledon barred Russian and Belarusian players, in response to which the ATP stripped the tournament of its ranking points. Currently, Kyrgios resides at a lowly No. 47; however, had he been awarded the 1200 points due a Grand Slam runner-up at any other major in any other year, Kyrgios would be easily crack the Top 20.

US Open oddsmakers, of course, are aware of this, but +4000 still seems awfully low for the most talented player in the field, one in the midst of a career year that’s already seen him take home one major title — albeit in doubles — and make the final of the sport’s biggest tournament in singles play. 

Kyrgios’ was +1800 at Wimbledon

Think about that. Prior to this year’s Wimbledon, when Kyrgios had never come close to a singles final at any major, he was still given a +1800 shot to take the title. Today, despite Kyrgios’ extraordinary performance in London, oddsmakers consider him a far longer shot to win the season’s next slam than he was the previous.

While it must be acknowledged Wimbledon is played on grass, Kyrgios’ favorite surface, whereas the US Open takes place on hard courts, that’s not enough to justify the discrepancy. Not only have all six of Kyrgios’ career singles titles come on hard courts, he relishes in the raucous atmosphere for which the US Open is famous, and is still considered less than half as likely to win in New York than he was in London. 

Djokovic probably won’t play

As Dimers.com reported last month, Djokovic is currently a massive favorite to win the US Open this September, even though Djokovic’s  unvaccinated status prevents from participating in the tournament, and there’s no good reason to think that will change.

Djokovic may be the only player alive capable of beating Kyrgios if Kyrgios plays his best tennis. If and when Djokovic is officially removed from the field, everyone else’s odds will improve, perhaps Kyrgios’ most of all.

Is Kyrgios is a value play? 

Yes. 

As one who has kept careful tabs on the Aussie’s endless string of disappointing results across a nearly decade-long career, it feels bizarre just to type the words. But Kyrgios has become a value play. He probably won’t win the US Open, but he has a real shot, and the same cannot be said of any player whose odds are anywhere near as long.

For 20 years, men’s tennis has been dominated by a tiny handful of all-time greats, and long shot bets on Grand Slam winners have been reserved for suckers. Now, perhaps for the first time this century, a player at +4000 has a legitimate chance. That player is Kyrgios. He probably won’t win. But he might. And anyone who might win at +4000 is worth an awfully close look. 

 
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