2018 Davis Cup Outrights: Is USA Actually a Good Bet?

  • Davis Cup betting is here, and it’s completely unique in the tennis world.
  • France and Spain are the favorites, but will have to get past each other on the way to the finals.
  • The US has an easier path and might actually be a good bet.

The Davis Cup stands out in the tennis world. It’s a team event in an otherwise individual sport. Players wear uniforms. Matches are called “rubbers.” Series are called “ties.” The home team selects the surface.

It’s unique, is what I’m driving at, and among the most interesting events on the tennis calendar. It’s almost not really tennis; at least, it exists outside of the ATP tour and is a wholly unique exhibition. It also just started (you missed the first round; the quarterfinals run April 6-8) and there are outright odds available at Bet365 (Read full Bet365 review) All odds are from February 15, 2018.

Davis Cup Outright Odds

  • France: 11/4
  • Spain: 3/1
  • Croatia: 7/2
  • Germany: 6/1
  • USA: 6/1
  • Belgium: 10/1
  • Italy: 12/1
  • Kazakhstan: 25/1

Defending champion France is the favorite at 11/4. They defeated Belgium 3-2 in last year’s final and cruised through their first-round matchup with the Netherlands. By Davis Cup standards, their team is stacked, meaning that you’ll probably recognize most of these players. Adrian Mannarino, Nicolas Mahut, Richard Gasquet, and Lucas Pouille are all big(gish) names, but not big enough to skip the tournament. Pouille is currently ranked 17th in the world and Mannarino is 25th. Only a handful of players in the world would be favored to beat them, and the bulk of those players are too busy or too injured to play in the Davis Cup at this stage. France will meet Italy in the next round, and while Fabio Fognini is certainly good for a match, the rest of the Italian squad doesn’t really compare.

Next in line is Spain at 3/1, which just polished off Great Britain and now meet Germany in the quarterfinals. No team has more players in the top 25 of the ATP singles rankings (four) or the top 50 (seven), and that depth is valuable in a format where matchups and surfaces are everything. Spain has a deep, versatile, and talented squad, the perfect Davis Cup recipe.

Germany (6/1) is mid-pack on the odds sheet at 6/1, even though they just beat Australia in the first round and have the potential to assemble one of the best teams. Alexander Zverev is the highest-ranked player in the tournament, and one of the most promising young players in the world. Yet, there are some questions about his abilities in five-setters — he hasn’t yet seen the success you would expect in longer matches — and his supporting cast won’t exactly blow the doors off anyone. The only other German player inside the ATP top 50 is Philipp Kohlschreiber, who was notably absent in the first round. The team could call on Mischa Zverev, currently ranked #51, but he’s reportedly recovering from a viral infection. Despite all the talent the German tennis federation produces, this might not be the year they win a Davis Cup.

Jack Sock at the Citi Open in 2017
Jack Sock’s return to form could very well decide the US team’s Davis Cup’s prospects. (Photo credit: Keith Allison (Flickr) (CC License)

The United States (6/1) have emerged as a more and more formidable Davis Cup team in the last few years, and beat Serbia even without their top-ranked singles player, Jack Sock. Beating Belgium (10/1) will take some doing; David Goffin is often the highest-ranked player in the tournament and thrives in this format.

Croatia (7/2) owes their standing on the odds sheet to two things: Borna Coric and the Kazakhstani tennis federation. Switzerland lost in the first round in to Kazakhstan (25/1), leaving Croatia with by far the most attractive path to the final. After their tie with Kazakhstan, Croatia will face either the US or Belgium. While a run to the final certainly isn’t guaranteed, that road is a lot smoother than everyone else’s terrain.

If favorites win the next round, France will meet Spain and Croatia will met the US. Beating the US will probably mean getting Marin Cilic onto a singles court, as the Croatian team doesn’t have anyone else that measures up to the top American singles talent. Coric is a fantastic player, but will struggle.

France vs Spain is an interesting matchup, and if their teams stay the same, there will be five top-25 players in one tie. Clearly, the winner of that potential tie would be the favorite to win the tournament, and the odds for each (at this stage) are long only because of the huge obstacle the other represents.

Betting Advice

For my money, the United States at 6/1 could be the best bet. The talent/opposition ratio is better than any other team in the tournament. If Jack Sock returns to form, and to the team, that could change the whole calculus of the tournament.

I’d stay away from France and Spain; it’s hard to overstate how tough that tie will be if chalk holds, and then they would still have to win the finals.

Geoff Johnson

MTS co-founder Geoff Johnson is a lifelong Mets fan, something he can't do anything about. He has a great track record when it comes to wagering on baseball – largely because he's more than willing to bet against the Mets. His career profits are impressive, but not quite as good as his handsome friend Frank Lorenzo. He wishes he hadn't let Frank write his profile.