This article is part of our Tennis Picks series.
The third Grand Slam of 2022 begins Monday on the grass courts at Wimbledon. After all the off-court drama surrounding who won't be playing in this tournament, it's time to shift our focus inside the lines and onto those who are able to participate. Some of the top values on the first day of the tournament are players who have dealt with injuries recently but should be healthy enough to play here, though one top men's player who recently returned from injury could struggle due to a particularly difficult first-round draw. All match odds below are taken from DraftKings Sportsbook, but you can sometimes find more favorable odds on some of these matches by checking other mobile sportsbooks such as FanDuel, BetMGM or Caesars.
Grass-court form can be notoriously hard to judge given the rapid transition from the slower clay to the faster grass, but recent results on all surfaces coupled with historic grass-court results and a look at playing style can usually provide an accurate approximation of a player's ability on this surface. The stakes are highest at the Grand Slams, and the men play best-of-five set matches rather than the best-of-three seen at other ATP Tour events. Conditions vary from tournament to tournament, and even from day to day, but the fast pace and low bounces of grass generally favor more aggressive players, and especially those that possess big serves. Using this context 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.
Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam that Wawrinka hasn't won, but he's a two-time quarterfinalist at this tournament and has the firepower off both wings to control rallies, even against a big hitter like Sinner. While Wawrinka's well past his prime at age 37, he's still an uncomfortable early matchup for Sinner, whose only match since retiring with a knee injury at the French Open was a loss to Tommy Paul last week in Eastbourne. Wawrinka has proven time and again that he has what it takes to beat top players on the biggest stages, and this first-round clash against the No. 10 seed presents another such opportunity given Sinner's lack of grass-court preparation.
If Raducanu were healthy, she would be a comfortable favorite in this match. Even as it is, it wouldn't be too surprising to see the British faithful will the teenage US Open champion to victory on Centre Court as full crowds return to Wimbledon for the first time since 2019. The 10th-seeded Raducanu has dealt with a side strain recently but claims to be back to full fitness just in time for this first-round match against the 46th-ranked Van Uytvanck.
Lock It In
Alcaraz doesn't have much grass court experience, but you could put the teenage sensation on the moon and he'd still find a way to beat the vast majority of opponents given his complete package of power, touch, movement and tennis IQ. The 158th-ranked Struff is just 2-10 this year and 5-8 at Wimbledon in his career, so he's unlikely to trouble Alcaraz, even given the fifth-seeded Spaniard's lack of grass-court preparation as the result of a recent elbow injury. It's important to note that unlike Sinner, Alcaraz wasn't forced off the court at the French Open by his injury.
Isner couldn't have asked for a better first-round draw, as the 27-year-old Couacaud has won only one ATP Tour-level match in his career and has never been ranked inside the top 150. With a nearly unbreakable serve that becomes even tougher to handle on grass (just ask Nicolas Mahut about their 70-68 fifth set here in 2010), Isner should cruise through his service games and do just enough damage in the return game to get through this match without too much difficulty. The 6-foot-10 American is seeded 20th here and made the Wimbledon semifinals in 2018, so he's no stranger to grass-court success.
Tauson is a surprisingly modest favorite here against Hontama, who has never been ranked inside the top 120 and currently sits 139th in the world at age 22. Tauson's already ranked No. 53 at just 19 years old and is considered one of the game's brightest young stars. A back injury has sidelined Tauson since late April, but assuming she's back to match-level health, the Dane should get through this favorable matchup comfortably.
Majchrzak comes into Wimbledon with a 1-4 record in his last five matches, including a 1-2 mark on grass. Given that context, it's surprising that Kokkinakis is a slight underdog here despite being ranked nine spots ahead of Majchrzak at No. 82. While Kokkinakis lost his only grass-court match this year, the Australian's big serve should allow him to find success on this surface, though the reigning Australian Open men's doubles champion hasn't done much of note in Grand Slam singles competition on any surface up to this point.