Australian Open Men's Semifinals Betting Guide: Thursday 1/26/23
The first tennis Grand Slam of 2023 is already upon us! The men's semifinals of the Australian Open take place on Thursday night, and what better way to get in on the action than by making some wagers on the tennis odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Where can we find the most betting value tonight?
Karen Khachanov vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas
Over 39.5 Total Match Games (-118)
Karen Khachanov is into his second straight Grand Slam semifinals, and it's well deserved after working his way past three seeded opponents in a row (Frances Tiafoe, Yoshihito Nishioka, and Sebastian Korda).
Khachanov has his serve dialed in, posting an ace rate above 12% in all five Australian Open matches, including 19.2% and 16.0% over the last two rounds. Unsurprisingly, that's resulted in him winning at least 70.0% of his first serve points in all five matchups, as well.
That being said, taking on Stefanos Tsitsipas will be a whole different animal. Outside of a grueling five-setter against No. 15 seed Jannik Sinner that went four hours, Tsitsipas won his four other matches in straight sets, typically doing so in comfortable fashion. In those non-Sinner matches, Tsitsipas won over 78% of his first serve points in all four.
While Tsitsipas has had the easier road to this point, with Sinner being the only seeded player he's faced, he's a perfect 9-0 overall to begin 2023 and has a 72% win percentage on hard courts over the last 52 weeks. He's the No. 4 player in the world for a reason, and this is his fourth Australian Open semifinal in the last five years.
And then there's the head-to-head record. Khachanov has never beaten Tsitsipas in five attempts, and four of those losses came on hard courts.
Per Tennis Abstract, Tsitsipas has a 73.9% chance of winning this matchup, but as a -240 moneyline favorite, the price is too steep to pick him to win straight up. On the flip side, Khachanov has played well enough to expect him to give his opponent some problems, but we're not getting enough value out of +200 to back the underdog, either.
Instead, projecting this match to go long looks like the proper play. It wouldn't be shocking to see either player have to go the distance to earn a trip to the final, making over 39.5 total match games an appealing way to attack this spot.
Novak Djokovic vs. Tommy Paul
Under 30.5 Total Match Games (-116)
At least on paper, this matchup looks like the opposite of our previous semifinal. Novak Djokovic has been a man on a mission at this tournament, and it's hard to see Tommy Paul having much of a chance at keeping this one close.
Over the past three rounds, Djokovic has won in straight sets against seeded opponents, and in the last two, he completely annihilated No. 22 Alex De Minaur (6-2, 6-1, 6-2) and No. 5 Andrey Rublev (6-2, 6-1, 6-2). He's faced just 17 break points all tournament; each of the other semi-finalists has faced more than 30.
Djokovic is a perfect 10-0 this season -- taking home the trophy at Adelaide 1 before this event -- and he's a ridiculous 29-1 on hard courts dating back to late September of last year. That time span included making the finals in five straight tournaments and winning four of them -- one of which was the 2022 ATP Finals.
With all due respect to Paul, there isn't anything about his tournament run or recent history to suggest that he can pull off this monumental upset. Djokovic is a -2300 favorite, and Tennis Abstract gives him an 87.2% win probability. Even betting Djokovic to win in straight sets is priced at -190.
Therefore, taking under 30.5 total match games looks like our best option. While that doesn't leave much wiggle room if Paul puts up a better fight than expected, this match should stay under this mark if Djokovic plays as he has in the latter stages of this slam.