Canadians Raonic and Shapovalov are Longshots
It was the tale of two Canadian tennis stars in 2017. Former world no. three Milos Raonic dropped out of the top-20 following a year mired in injuries and disappointing results. After a marquee 2016 that saw him reach the Australian Open semifinals and Wimbledon Finals, Raonic could only make it as far as the quarters before bowing out of the US Open due to a wrist injury.
The 18-year old Denis Shapovalov filled the tennis void in Raonic's absence by surprising the tennis world with his upsets of Juan Martin Del Potro, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and the great Rafael Nadal during the fall. Shapovalov became the youngest player to advance to the fourth round since Hall of Famer Michael Chang in 1989. 2018 will be a year of redemption for Raonic and a year of expectation for Shapovalov as Canada's two biggest tennis stars gear up for what should be another awe-inspiring year. We break down their odds for this year's big four tournaments:
*All odds courtesy of SportsInteraction.
Australian Open (January 15-28)
- Milos Raonic's Odds: +2400
- Denis Shapovalov Odds: +5300
The Australian Open is a solid bet for Raonic's first Grand Slam title. The heavy-handed Canadian has an all-time 23-7 record (77 per cent), which is his best among the big four tournaments. Since 2015, he has reached the quarterfinals or better although he'll have to be fully healthy if he hopes to return to prominence.
Shapovalov has never qualified for the Australian Open and he'll be making his debut this January. As a junior, this is the major tournament he struggled with most only reaching the second-round in singles competition and being ousted in the first in doubles. Always improving, Shapovalov could win a match or two depending on his draw.
French Open (May 27 - June 10)
- Milos Raonic's Odds: +6200
- Denis Shapovalov Odds: +5100
As a player who is powerful but has limited mobility, clay surfaces are where Raonic struggles. In six tries, Raonic has only advanced as far as the quarterfinals and made it to the fourth round in his last two appearances. He holds an all-time record of 14-6 (70 per cent) in the Roland-Garros.
Interestingly, Shapovalov has better odds to win the Roland-Garros than his older counterpart despite never getting past the qualifiers. Shapovalov has two junior titles on the clay surface, however, and he reached the semifinals of the 2016 French Open. His quickness and youthful vigour are better suited for this tournament than Raonic but he still remains a longshot.
Wimbledon (July 2-15)
- Milos Raonic's Odds: +1350
- Denis Shapovalov Odds: +4500
Per odds, this is the major tournament bookies give Raonic the best chances of winning. In 2016, he reached the Finals, his first and only Grand Slam, where he promptly got swept by Andy Murray. He has seemingly taken a step back recently mostly due to injuries. His power-based style is best suited for tournaments like this. If he's healthy, watch out for Raonic here.
Shapovalov won his only junior grand slam title during Wimbledon when he rallied after losing the first set. He qualified as a wild card in the real tournament but was eliminated in the first round. Like Raonic, oddsmakers lined this tournament as Shapovalov's best shot to win.
US Open (Aug. 27 - Sep. 9)
- Milos Raonic's Odds: +2400
- Denis Shapovalov Odds: +4700
Even though Raonic's hard-hitting style should bode well for the hardcourt, the US Open has been his weakest tournament among the big four. With a 12-6 all-time record (67 per cent), Raonic has only gotten as far the fourth round. His high-risk high-reward style hasn't boded well. He missed last year's tournament due to injury and dropped out of the top-20.
In his first US Open, Shapovalov already got as far as Raonic has with a fourth-round appearance. The young buck broke out in this tournament and upset no. 8-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second before bowing out to eventual semifinalist Pablo Carreno Busta. It's unlikely Shapovalov repeats last year's surprise but the teenager should never be underestimated.
Betting on Tennis
Canada is quietly becoming a tennis hotbed with stars like Raonic and Shapovalov and women's player Genie Bouchard, all in the top-100. The Rogers Cup remains a premier tournament. Canadians also get involved on the betting lines and turn to online sportsbooks, which all offer tennis lines. Sign-up offers are available, which is perfect for new players just getting into it.
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