2018 Wimbledon Preview and Odds: Who is Marin Cilic?

  • With Wimbledon the next grand slam tournament, who are the favorites to win at SW19?
  • No surprises: Roger Federer is a strong favorite
  • Why Marin Cilic is the only good bet

The Wimbledon Championships start on July 2nd and extend to July 15th. With Rafael Nadal fresh off his 11th French Open win, Novak Djokovic a mystery, and Andy Murray just back from a hip surgery, who are the favorites? More importantly, who’s worth betting on?

Roger Federer (+125)

Why not bet on the defending champion, mayor of Wimbledon, and eight times champion? How can you lose?

You can lose because Federer is now 36 years old and his run to the championship last year was… improbable. Skipping the French Open and the entire clay court season helps, but leaves Federer with a scant few tournaments to play himself into fitness. Last year Federer crashed out of the round of 16 at Stuttgart, then played well enough at Halle to get a few matches off good competition. He was still playing himself into shape at Wimbledon, which is a dangerous game to play, even for Federer.

On the plus side, everyone you would ask to beat Federer is mired in question marks. Rafael Nadal isn’t exactly a grass court prodigy and tumbled out of this tournament last year in a five-set struggle with… Gilles Muller. Novak Djokovic looks like he’s been on a juice cleanse for 18 months and has been on a suspiciously poor run of form for about that long. Andy Murray might actually be dead. If Roger Federer isn’t going to win Wimbledon, who’s actually going to do the work of beating him?

Betting Tip: The hardcore Fed fans are ruining your value here, so it’s probably best to look elsewhere. I’ll be thrilled if he wins, but I’m not this confident it will happen.

Rafael Nadal +500

Rafael Nadal just won his eleventh French Open, which is just not a thing an individual player is supposed to be capable of. He heads into Wimbledon fresh off his 17th Grand Slam singles title, and certainly looks unbeatable.

The trouble is that Nadal was in this exact position a year ago, and (as we noted above) was kicked out the tournament by Gilles Muller. Do a little digging into Rafael Nadal’s deeply impressive 17 slam singles titles and you’ll find that 11 of them were won on clay and just two of them on grass. Nadal’s fourth-round loss last year was actually his best result since 2011, so it’s a little surprising to see him listed this short. Brand name and recency bias will do that for you, however, so here we are.

Betting Tip: It’s hard to pass on Nadal after his performance at the French Open, but fortunately he’s done this eleven times before so we kind of know the score. Pass.

Novak Djokovic +650

He still looks awfully skinny, and he crashed out of the French Open to a player nobody has seen before or since. He flashed some of the Old Djokovic though, enough of it at least to have him listed as a favorite at Wimbledon, but no, this is not yet a good bet, for many of the same reasons we’ve been harping on since his injury.

Djokovic also wasn’t certain that he’d be back in time to play on grass, saying after his loss at the French Open that he might not return in time for Wimbledon. While he’s registered for a Queen’s tournament that features its deepest field ever, and has since committed to play Wimbledon, Novak is just too weird to bet on right now.

Betting Tip: Stay away! Nobody knows what’s going on with Novak, but it certainly isn’t winning him anything.

Alexander Zverev +800

The younger Zverev has established himself as the young gun most likely to win a slam, and has thus separated himself from the pack. He had more success at the French Open than he’s had so far in a five-set format, making it all the way to the quarterfinal (with three consecutive five-set wins) before losing to eventual finalist/Rafael Nadal human sacrifice Dominic Thiem. It is his best performance at a slam in his career, and bodes well for the tournament at which he’s been historically the best at. A Zverev win would most likely come, as it did at the Canadian Open, by virtue of a Roger Federer injury.

Betting Tip: Odds aren’t long enough for a guy who hasn’t had success in five sets yet. Pass.

Andy Murray
Andy Murray is coming back from a pretty rough hip surgery, and even his mom says he needs more time. (Photo credit: John Nguyen CC License)

Andy Murray +900

Andy Murray is on his way back from a hip injury that had him off court for months, and laying his way into fitness (particularly five-set fitness) is going to take a lot longer than Wimbledon’s schedule allows. Even if his hip is fully healed and he has a good run in the warm-up tournaments, there simply isn’t enough time for Andy Murray to get into tournament winning shape.

Remember when Andy Murray pledged to donate his winnings from Queen’s a charity, then lost in the first round? That was great. Pass on Andy Murray, especially this year, especially at this tournament, especially on his way back from injury.

Betting Tip: Even if he was healthy enough to compete and win, British fans would ruin the value anyway. Pass.

Marin Cilic +1200

Marin Cilic has been absolutely cooking recently, making the final at Wimbledon last year, the final at the Australian Open this year, and making it as far as the quarter finals at the French Open. He was also the #3 player in the world for a few months there, and shouldn’t be counted out on grass.

At +1200, he’s about the best value you’ll find at the top of this odds sheet, and he looks set for another good run at Wimbledon. I’m not sure why he fetches such long odds, it could be that his completely unmarketable personality and lack of success in recent slam finals scare bettors away, but that’s just value for you.

Betting Tip: There’s a ton of value available in Cilic’s anonymity. Great player, made the final last year, and is now +1200? Love it.

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.