Australian Open: Rafael Nadal (-300) vs. Denis Shapovalov

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(AP Photo/Hamish Blair)
Chase Kiddy @chaseakiddy Jan 24, 2022, 2:08 PM

Be sure to check out BetMGM’s Australian Open tennis boost token – available right now for all eligible bettors. More on this at the end of the article.

Today marks the beginning of the second week of the Australian Open, which means the tennis is starting to get very serious down under. The draw table is no longer a mad rush to find a few valuable tennis betting opportunities every day – it’s tournament-tested, top-20 players enduring long, exhausting matches.

Fortunately, today’s slate of Australian Open odds includes an intriguing match between the master of clay, Rafael Nadal, and rising Canadian star Denis Shapovalov. 

So if you’ve recovered from the weekend shenanigans from the world of NFL odds and want to take a shot on some profitable tennis odds, then here’s your chance.

Australian Open Betting Preview: Rafael Nadal vs. Denis Shapovalov

Anyone who knows anything about tennis betting knows that Nadal is one of the biggest names in the sport. The wizard of clay has won 13 of the last 17 French Open tournaments; his 81 consecutive clay wins from 2005-07 remains the longest single-surface winning streak of the Open Era.

But here’s the thing about Nadal: he’s just a mere mortal outside of clay season. He’s also set to turn 36 in June.

The Australian Open is arguably the most challenging major tournament for Nadal. It’s the only major tournament that he’s only won once, with that win coming back in 2009. He’s made the finals four times since then, losing all four matches. In three of the last four years, he’s been bounced in… the quarterfinals.

That segues us nicely into tonight’s contest, a quarterfinals contest against 22-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov. The No. 14 seed is playing sharp tennis right now, underscored by an early pile of impressive wins. 

Prior to the start of the Australian Open, Shapovalov won the ATP Sydney draw, which serves as a smaller hard court warm-up tournament immediately prior to the major. The winner is often tabbed as a potential favorite for the Australian Open.

And it’s not just that Shapovalov won in Sydney – it’s who he beat and how he beat them. He scored a top-20 win over Pablo Carreno Busta (6-4, 6-3) in the title game. 

A week later, Shapovalov took down 23rd-seeded Reilly Opelka (7-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3) before scoring a huge win over No. 3 Alexander Zverev in straight sets (6-3, 7-6, 6-3). It was that momentous win that sent Shapovalov into the quarterfinals against Nadal. 

By contrast, Nadal has barely been challenged at all this month. He played an early warm-up in Melbourne where he didn’t face a player ranked in the current top 90. His Australian draw has mostly been light work, outside of one four-setter against No. 28 Karen Khachanov.

A peek at the head-to-head reveals that Nadal has played Shapovalov four times, currently holding a 3-1 advantage. However, two of those matches were on clay. Nadal won an indoor hard court match against Shapovalov in 2019 in his home country as part of the Davis Cup; Shapovalov won on his home turf in the 2017 Canadian Open. 

Australian Open Odds: How to Bet Rafael Nadal vs. Denis Shapovalov

Monday night’s match won’t feature Nadal in his prime, nor will it feature Nadal on clay. This is not an automatic spot for one of the tennis world’s Big Three. 

If you don’t believe me, just check BetMGM’s odds to win the Australian Open. Nadal isn’t even the favorite. It’s Daniil Medvedev, with -110 odds. Nadal is +240.

Nadal is one of the greatest professional tennis players ever, but this is a clear spot to go against him. 

Shapovalov is showing superior form, as evidenced by the highly-ranked scalps he’s already collected this month. 

Tennis betting regulars might argue he’s the superior hard court player. 

Nadal has a tendency to struggle in this tournament, typically exiting the tournament during this round.

With Shapovalov currently priced at +240 at your favorite online sportsbook, this is an excellent opportunity to take a shot on an upset that’s probably a lot closer to 50/50 than the tennis odds market would have you believe.

And as a last note on this match: if you’re betting at BetMGM – which you obviously should be – make sure to take advantage of the tennis boost token available for all Australian Open betting odds right now. It’ll boost your payout by 20 percent, which is pretty spectacular for a line that’s already +240.

Bet: Denis Shapovalov +240 (Boosted to +308)

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About the Author

Chase Kiddy

Read More @chaseakiddy

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.