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Monday marks the first day of Wimbledon, which means two weeks in betting heaven. I've got a couple of matches picked out on the men's side that you can sweat shortly after having your traditional strawberries and cream, and without further ado I'll run through them now.
Andy Murray (-105) vs. Nikoloz Basilashvili (-120)
The thought of fading Andy Murray at Wimbledon isn't a fun one, particularly when he's flashed his old form a few times in the last two years, but this line is just a little bit ridiculous. We're talking about a guy who's 34, has a relatively new hip and who has gone just 9-8 over the last two seasons, including the Challenger level.
He's hardly played tennis this season, taking a three-month break before winning a match on the grass against Benoit Paire (who is essentially an auto win) and then getting dismantled by Matteo Berrettini. Oddsmakers and the public have teamed up to give him a very unfair line; I'd be interested in Murray as a bigger underdog against a slightly worse opponent, but I hate this spot.
Basilashvili is a guy who recently was No. 16 in the world, and currently sits inside the top 30. He's widely regarded as one of the most talented players on tour who's virtually wasted his talent, but this season he's started to put it together again. He's taken home a title on the hardcourts in Doha and won on the clay in Munich, and most recently ran to the semifnials in Halle where he took a set off of Andrey Rublev. He's playing at a high level right now, and his sheer power off of the forehand wing should be too much for the slower Murray to handle.
It's also worth mentioning that Basilashvili is one of the better returners around right now, and his issues generally stem from his inability to hold serve. That shouldn't be an issue against Murray. I think this should be a comfortable win.
Edge: Basilashvili -120
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Mackenzie McDonald (+128) vs. Karen Khachanov (-160)
These two met back in Marseille this year, where Khachanov came through in two tight sets, culminating in a second-set tiebreak win for the Russian. I see this matchup telling a similar story, with not much separating the two. With that, the value is all on the American.
McDonald, a talented youngster out of UCLA, has nearly got himself back in the Top 100 after a devastating hamstring tear at Roland Garros two years ago set him back massively. He's been grinding for two years now at the Challenger level, and on the main tour, to recover the ranking points he lost from his time away from the game. He's playing as well as he ever has, and he always manages to show up at the Grand Slams.
Karen Khachanov is as seasoned as you can be at 25 as a former Grand Slam quarterfinalist and top 10 player, but sometimes it seems his best years are behind him. He's barely hovered above .500 over the last two seasons, which is a massive disappointment considering his talent and early success on tour.
McDonald's style as a pusher fits perfectly on the grass in London, which is why the last time he played here he went to the Round of 16 in 2018. His style should also be bothersome for Khachanov, forcing him into lazy backhand errors.
I expect this to be a long, tight match, but one that McDonald, who feels right at home on the grass, will come through.
Edge: McDonald +128
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