Reilly Opelka vs Milos Raonic ATP Picks Against the Spread - 7/5/2019
Reilly Opelka vs Milos Raonic
5 am EST, 5th July 2019
By getting into the third round, Reilly Opelka reached his career best when we talk about Grand Slam tournaments. He's done that by beating Stan Wawrinka from Switzerland, being a massive underdog. But if we'd look more closely into his history at this event, we might not be as surprised by this upset victory. He had a very successful career as a junior, during which he was also a Wimbledon champion. On the road to that title, he beat out players like Alex De Minaur, Yosuke Watanuki, Taylor Fritz, and Mikael Ymer. And in the doubles event the same year, he was the runner-up, partnering Akira Santillan from Australia (played under Japanese flag back then). Knowing those results is crucial for understanding his real strength on this surface, because his professional 0-2 grass court record (before Wimbledon), was not revealing the entire story. After having no problems with Cedric-Marcel Stebe in the first round whatsoever, his second round match might be one of his biggest wins as a pro so far. He defeated a very good player in Stan Wawrinka and the way he did it was even more impressive. Fighting back from 1-2 down and winning 8-6 in the deciding set was amazing. His serving performance had a lot to do with it, scoring 23 aces in the match with only 2 double faults. It proved most helpful in some crucial moments of the match, like facing break points, because he managed to save 10 out of 12 of those, mostly helped by that booming serve. He also wanted no part of Stan in baseline rallies, coming to the net as often as possible and winning 43 out of 72 points there.
The draw is not doing him any favors either. After eliminating a seeded player in the previous round, he is going to play another one in his third match of the tournament. Milos Raonic was always a force to be reckoned with in these playing conditions. He has a strong game that suits the grass courts and the record proves it (46-20). Still, I was not that impressed with his play lately. He was alright in Halle, before pulling out just before the semifinal match vs Auger-Aliassime. And then lost to Feliciano Lopez in quarterfinals of Queen's Club. There were no bad losses, but he played Popyrin and Tsonga extremely close in matches that could have gone both ways and failed to beat anyone important.
Looking at the stylistic matchup, you might think this is just another clash of the big serves. But these two guys have so much more to offer besides their serve. Whoever watched Opelka play in some of the matches, knows what I'm talking about. He is a surprisingly solid from behind the baseline. Has great timing on both wings, that allows him to pick the ball up while rising and hit it very flat which is always difficult to deal with on grass. He also knows how to construct a point, keep the ball low and move towards the net and use his huge wingspan to make passing shots problematic for his opponent. Raonic is slightly less versatile in my opinion. He relies on his serve more and is very dependent on that 1-2 punch that follows it.
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Betting odds & prediction
That is why I think he'll have a bunch of problems with Opelka in this one. They both have big serves that are not easy to break, while Raonic has very little or no edge in other areas of the game. With all that being said, I have no other choice but call for an upset in this one. Opelka opened as a 3 to 1 underdog and that got bet down into the +250 range, which in my opinion still offers lots of value.
Josh's Pick: Reilly Opelka +250
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