This article is part of our Tennis Picks series.
Men's tennis action continues Thursday on the clay courts of the Madrid Open with the Round of 16. Some of the game's brightest young stars are poised to continue their respective marches through the draw, but those looking ahead to the future should consider betting on an accomplished veteran to go all the way here. All match odds are taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.
Using players' results thus far in this tournament coupled with their recent form coming in and historical results can help pinpoint intriguing betting opportunities, both among favorites likely to cruise to victory and underdogs ready to pull off upsets. The aforementioned underdogs are highlighted in the Upset Alert section, the Lock It In section covers players who can safely be considered overwhelming favorites, while the Value Bet section recommends enticing options in matchups that are considered closer to toss-ups.
These two have a surprisingly competitive head-to-head, as they've split four meetings since 2020. If you go back further and include matches on the challenger tour, they're 3-3 against each other. Evans has proven capable of stepping up on clay before, as he beat Novak Djokovic in Monte Carlo last year and is coming off a quality 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (2) win over Roberto Bautista Agut. Meanwhile, Rublev was far from his best in his previous match, escaping with a 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 win over Evans' countryman Jack Draper.
Lock It In
There's a reason Alcaraz is heavily favored in this match against Norrie despite them being seeded just two spots apart. Alcaraz already has two clay-court titles this year in addition to the Masters 1000 he won on hard courts in Miami. With a rare combination of power, touch, defense and feel for the game, the Spanish teenager is quickly ascending towards the top of the sport. Look for Alcaraz to celebrate his 19th birthday in style Thursday with a win over Norrie, whose 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-4 win over John Isner on Tuesday was Norrie's first clay-court victory over a top-50 opponent in three tries in 2022.
Tsitsipas is 3-1 against Dimtrov overall, but he has won all five sets the two have played on clay, including a 6-1, 6-4 drubbing less than two weeks ago in Barcelona. Clay is arguably the best surface for the world No. 5 and almost certainly the worst for the 20th-ranked Dimitrov. Advantage: Tsitsipas.
In Thursday's only men's match without a clear favorite, Sinner is well positioned to come out on top. This is the first of what will likely be many career meetings between the 20-year-old Sinner and the 21-year-old Auger-Aliassime, who are ranked 12th and 10th, respectively. FAA's clay-court game is still a work in progress, as evidenced by his 5-4 record on the surface this year. Conversely, Sinner has shown greater all-court prowess, as his 21-4 record in 2022 includes a 5-1 mark on clay.
Rafael Nadal (+275) to win the Title
Nadal "only" has five Madrid titles, but he has a great opportunity to add another here. The undisputed clay-court GOAT got off to a 20-1 hard-court start this season, with the one loss coming as he attempted to play through injury in the Indian Wells final against Taylor Fritz. After taking some time off to heal, Nadal should get the job done in his first clay-court action of 2022. Three other players have title odds in his ballpark: Novak Djokovic (-350), Carlos Alcaraz (-350) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (-400). Djokovic is rounding back into form but is still far from peak match fitness, both in the physical and mental aspects of the game. Alcaraz is 0-2 against Nadal and unlikely to get that first win on clay, while Tsitsipas' 2-7 career record against Rafa doesn't inspire much confidence. At +275, you're getting great odds considering taking Nadal against the field works out more often than not on clay.