2018 U.S. Open: Who Are the Best Bets to Win at Flushing Meadows?

Despite not having won a tournament since the 2017 Australian Open, Serena Williams is +600 to win this year's U.S. Open. On the men's side, Juan Martin del Potro (+1400) and Kevin Anderson (+3300) offer intriguing value for bettors.
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Last year, Roger Federer was the favorite to win the U.S. Open on the men’s side at +125. He had just won Wimbledon—and the Australian Open at the beginning of the year—and was in the midst of a renaissance season for the ages. But Rafael Nadal was the one that ended up winning it all. Nadal will be back to compete with Federer once again—along with other big names like Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro, Alexander Zverev, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic.

On the women’s side, Sloane Stephens is the defending champion in Flushing Meadows. The American, who had only just returned from injury before the U.S. Open, was a massive +4000 to take the title last year—which is proof of just how open things are here. There could be some value to be had when looking to take a winner, but it’s worth noting that Serena Williams is back in the fold, and she looked pretty close to the top of her game at Wimbledon. The 23-time Grand Slam champion is the favorite to win on the women’s side at +600, but players like Angelique Kerber, Simona Halep, Stephens, Caroline Wozniacki (the past four Grand Slam champions) and other talented contenders will all have their chances.

With that being said, here are the picks that could make you some money as summer comes to a close:

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The Men

Odds to win:

Novak Djokovic +225

Rafael Nadal +350

Roger Federer +500

Alexander Zverev +900

Juan Martin del Potro +1400

Marin Cilic +1600

Andy Murray +2500

Nick Kyrgios +2500

Stan Wawrinka +2500

Milos Raonic +2800

Kevin Anderson +3300

Grigor Dimitrov +4000

Kei Nishikori +4000

Stefanos Tsitsipas +4000

David Goffin +5000

Denis Shapovalov +5000

Dominic Thiem +5000

John Isner +5000

Pick to win: Juan Martin del Potro +1400

While Djokovic (+225), Nadal (+350) and Federer (+500) are the names that most people will be backing this year, del Potro is being overlooked. The big Argentine has just one Grand Slam title in his career—at the U.S. Open, in 2009—but he has enjoyed a major bounce-back season. Del Potro won his first Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells back in March, when he beat Federer in a tense three-setter, and he then followed that performance up with a nice run in Miami. Both of those events are played on hard courts, the same surface in New York. With his backhand looking more like the one he was ripping before undergoing multiple wrist surgeries, del Potro is going to be as tough an out as there is at this year’s U.S. Open. When he’s on his game, he’s as dangerous as any player in the Big Four, and all of those players—even the resurgent Djokovic—have questions right now.

Best value: Kevin Anderson +3300

Anderson might not have been able to get the job done against Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, but a lot of that had to do with the marathon match he played against John Isner just two days earlier. Anderson was fatigued when he finally took to Centre Court for the championship, but he ended up playing a lot better as he started to settle in. Who knows what would have happened if both players played at 100% health. Either way, Anderson has performed well enough this season to show that he is an excellent value at these odds. When he is serving well, it’s not easy to find a rhythm against him. He reached the U.S. Open final last year, and nobody will be excited to see him on the other side of the net this time.

Stay away: Andy Murray +2500

Murray is a three-time Grand Slam champion and won the U.S. Open back in 2012, but his name is the only reason he’s listed with these odds. Murray could find his game at some point in the near future, but it’s hard to imagine it happening at the U.S. Open, where he’ll need to win best-of-five-set matches. The 31-year-old just recently returned from a long layoff, as he was recovering from significant hip surgery. The Brit came back at the Queen’s Club event in June, which was the first time he played in nearly a year. And while Murray has played some solid tennis in recent weeks, he hasn’t been able to stay on the court for an extended period of time. Asking him to win a tournament as big as this one is just too much.

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The Women

Odds to win:

Serena Williams +600

Simona Halep +600

Angelique Kerber +750

Sloane Stephens +1000

Petra Kvitova +1400

Elina Svitolina +1600

Garbine Muguruza +1600

Karolina Pliskova +1800

Madison Keys +1800

Caroline Wozniacki +2200

Daria Kasatkina +2500

Kiki Bertens +2500

Maria Sharapova +2500

Jelena Ostapenko +3300

Victoria Azarenka +3300

Aryna Sabalenka +4000

Johanna Konta +4000

Caroline Garcia +5000

Elise Mertens +5000

Julia Goerges +5000

Naomi Osaka +5000

Venus Williams +5000

Pick to win: Serena Williams +600

It’s not exciting to take the favorite to win a tournament, but Williams’s odds are still favorable to win Flushing Meadows—which is something the 36-year-old has done six times in her career. While Serena hasn’t won the U.S. Open since 2014, there are plenty of reasons to believe that she’ll snap that streak this year. Her ongoing process of feeling fully comfortable on the court will be helped by having the crowd at her back, in what will likely be many appearances at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Williams was rolling at the French Open earlier in the summer, but a pectoral injury forced her to drop out of the tournament; she then struggled to find time to practice before Wimbledon. But Serena made it all the way to the final at the All England Club anyway, and she has also stayed in great shape since. Look for her to come out and play some inspired tennis, and don’t be afraid to back her.

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Best value: Madison Keys +1800

Keys might not have a Grand Slam title yet, but it was at the U.S. Open last year where she reached her first Grand Slam final, falling to her good friend Stephens. So why not Keys this time? The 23-year-old is one of the most talented players on the WTA tour, and she has both the power and skill to hang with whatever opponent she plays. The biggest issue for Keys has been mental toughness, as the American is capable of taking herself out of a match once things start going even the least bit south. But at these odds, it’s still worth backing her. Keys will feed off the energy of the crowds in New York, and she comes into this event playing some solid tennis. She tends to defy expectations one way or another, so it would be in character for her to make a run here while her odds are low.

Stay away: Garbine Muguruza +1600

Like Murray, Muguruza’s absence of value is due to her lack of play leading up to this event. The two-time Grand Slam champion recently hurt her arm, which caused her to withdraw from events in San Jose and Montreal. She then lost in the first round of the Premier event in Cincinnati in August. The Spaniard might be one of the more talented players on tour, but it’s not easy to find your A-game when you aren’t playing enough matches. Expect an early exit from Muguruza in New York, and definitely wait until you’ve seen her on the court more before backing her in another big tournament.