Game, Bet And Match: US Open Rounds Out Grand Slam Season

Written By Russ Mitchell on August 27, 2021 - Last Updated on July 22, 2022
Bet on 2021 US Open

There’s good news for Iowa customers who like to bet on tennis. Main draw play for the time-zone friendly US Open begins Monday.

Fans can avoid the overnight vigils to track Australian Open bets. And, there are no early-morning wake-up calls to get wagers in for the European grand slams.

Disney has exclusive rights for  “first-ball-to-last-ball” US Open coverage. Matches will be found on:

  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • Streaming options like ESPN3 (free) and ESPN+ (the subscription tier).

Televised overage begins at 11 a.m. most days in Iowa, though some early-round matches start an hour earlier. Those earlier matches should be a streaming option.

And, bettors in Iowa will need to check both ESPN and ESPN2 programming grids. Disney moves the coverage around based on overlaps with other sports. Aside from a break as day sessions end and night sessions begin, the early rounds should offer about 12 hours of coverage each day.

Tennis Channel is the sport’s devoted spouse, but it’s a little handcuffed by the exclusive ESPN rights. They’ll still have daily “Tennis Channel Live” US Open preview shows from 9-10 a.m. and match encores starting at 11 p.m. In between, they fill out a lot of their broadcast schedule with tennis classics from the past.

DraftKings Sportsbook has an extensive partnership with Tennis Channel and the studio analysts are known to throw in some odds advice.

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Tennis prop bets make US Open debut

A new betting wrinkle for Roland Garros and Wimbledon works for the US Open, too: The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) on May 5 added tennis prop bets to the list of approved wagers in Iowa.

Different sportsbooks will offer different options. Some examples of newly-approved bets in Iowa include:

  • Will a game go to deuce?
  • Does a set end with an even or odd number of games played?
  • Will there be a tiebreak in set 2?
  • Who will win just the first set?

You’ll see in-game odds change at many of the legal sportsbooks in Iowa as well.

IRGC Administrator Brian Ohorilko told PlayIA this spring that some tennis bets in Iowa are prohibited, including:

  • Player injuries or arrests (considered an objectionable bet)
  • The outcome of a player’s challenge on a line call
  • Will a player hit her/his first serve out?

Players or chair umpires could easily manipulate those kinds of bets, so Iowa keeps them off the list of approved betting options.

Injuries shuffle US Open women’s field

America’s most recent grand slam tournament winner and its most established grand slam champion won’t be stepping up to the service line in New York.

Serena Williams announced Wednesday that the right hamstring tear she sustained at Wimbledon will keep her from the 2021 US Open. That removed a major contender from the 128-player main draw. The world No. 22 reached the semifinals or better in each of her past 11 US Open appearances. She said in her announcement:

“New York is one of the most exciting cities in the world and one of my favorite places to play — I’ll miss seeing the fans but will be cheering everyone on from afar.”

Serena’s US Open record is 106-14 and she has six titles at the tournament.

US Open organizers got more bad news Wednesday when Serena’s sister, Venus Williams, also withdrew as a result of a leg injury. Venus said she tried to work around the ailment, but “this time, I couldn’t just make any miracles work.” Venus won the US Open in 2000 and 2001.

Sofia Kenin, the 2020 Australian Open winner was the No. 4 seed this year at Wimbledon. The world No. 5 will miss the US Open because of a COVID-19 diagnosis. Kenin said she was vaccinated and her symptoms are fairly mild.

“I plan to spend the next several weeks getting healthy and preparing to play well this fall. I want to wish all the players the best of luck in New York.”

Remember, picking a champion is only one way to bet on tennis and your pick has to win seven straight matches for a payout. Sportsbooks carry head-to-head match options, including in-match odds. Many offer prop bets as well.

Top contenders in women’s field

The US Open announced its seeds Thursday. The top five are:

  1. Ashleigh Barty (Australia)
  2. Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus)
  3. Naomi Osaka (Japan)
  4. Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic)
  5. Elina Svitolina (Ukraine)

The American seeded players are:

  • (13) Jennifer Brady
  • (21) Coco Gauff
  • (23) Jessica Pegula
  • (26) Danielle Collins
Player — Odds to win US OpenDraftKings SportsbookCaesars SportsbookFanDuel SportsbookBetMGM SportsbookBetfred SportsPointsBet SportsbookBally Bet
Ashleigh Barty (AUS)+330+350+360+350+400+375+350
Naomi Osaka (JAPAN)+600+450+600+550+450+550+450
Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)+1400+1000+1400+1400+1000+1200+900
Simona Halep (ROM)+1600+1200+2600+2800+1400+2000+1100
Iga Swiatek (POL)+1700+1200+1400+1600+1200+1600+1100
Karolina Pliskova (CZE)+1700+1400+1800+1800+1800+1600+1600
Barbora Krejcikova (CZE)+1700+2000+2200+2000+2500+2200+2500
Coco Gauff (USA)+2000+1600+1800+2000+1600+1600+1600
Garbine Muguruza (ESP)+2500+1600+2600+2800+1600+2500+1600
Bianca Andreescu (CAN)+3000+1200+2200+3300+1200+2000+1100

Djokovic tops the men’s draw … again

Injuries lurk in the men’s draw as well, but the prohibitive favorite will be ready to go. Novak Djokovic will be going for the calendar grand slam when he returns to New York. He may have some fences to mend with the US Open crowd.

Djokovic blew up the US Open bracket and a lot of betting slips with a default in his round of 16 match vs. Pablo Carreno Busta a year ago. Trailing 6-5 in the first set, Djokovic drilled a tennis ball in frustration toward a wall behind his service line. The swatted ball struck and injured a line umpire, so US Open Referee Soeren Friemel ended Djokovic’s run:

“His point was that he didn’t hit the line umpire intentionally. He said, ‘Yes, I was angry, I hit the ball, I hit the line umpire. The facts are very clear, but it wasn’t my intent. I didn’t do it on purpose,’ so he said he shouldn’t be defaulted for that. We all agree that he didn’t do it on purpose, but the facts are still that he hit the line umpire and that the line umpire was clearly hurt.”

The Djokovic default opened the door for Austria’s Dominic Thiem to win his first major championship in Flushing, NY, a year ago. A wrist injury will keep him out of this year’s draw, however. A lingering foot injury will keep four-time champ Rafael Nadal out of the US Open. Five-time champion Roger Federer pulled out of the tournament with ongoing knee issues.

Top contenders in men’s field

Fans can pick and choose multiple underdogs in the men’s draw for a big payout. Some sportsbooks also offer Djokovic vs. “anyone else” options. For example:

The top 5 men’s seeds are:

  1. Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
  2. Daniil Medvedev (Russia)
  3. Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece)
  4. Alexander Zverev (Germany)
  5. Andrey Rublev (Russia)

Two American men earned US Open seeds:

  • (19) John Isner
  • (22) Reilly Opelka
Player — Odds to win
US Open
DraftKings SportsbookCaesars SportsbookFanDuel SportsbookBetMGM SportsbookBetfred SportsPointsBet SportsbookBally Bet
Novak Djokovic (SRB)-125-150-150-135-150-141-135
Daniil Medvedev (RUS)+400+400+430+450+400+400+400
Alexander Zverev (GER)+650+550+650+550+600+600+600
Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)+1300+900+1200+1100+900+900+1000
Matteo Berrettini (ITA)+4000+1600+2900+3300+1800+2000+2500
Andrey Rublev (RUS)+6000+2500+4500+3300+2500+2800+2200
Jannik Sinner (ITA)+6000+2500+5000+4000+2000+3300+2000
Photo by AP / Aaron Doster
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Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell has been covering news and sports in northwest Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most acclaimed community newspapers in the state. He looks forward to keeping readers up to date on the growing sportsbook industry in Iowa.

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