The final Grand Slam of the year is upon us with Novak Djokovic seeking to get back on track after disappointment at Wimbledon and in Rio. Djokovic looks to be one of the worst value favourites in history. The world number one says he has wrist problems and personal issues so anyone backing him at 5-4 should not be let loose with a betting account.
Andy Murray is the obvious alternative and I find it hard to see him not reaching the final of the tournament he won back in 2012 after taking Olympic gold. You could make a case for taking the 2-1 but it's a bit short for my liking.
There has to be each-way value but I'll start by saying where it isn't – del Potro went to the final of the Olympics but I am stunned to see him as short as he is. For one, his backhand does not work nearly as well as it did before his wrist injuries. And secondly, Rio was best of three sets until the final and only lasted a week. This is two weeks of best-of-five and the Argentine hasn't reached the second week of a Slam for three years. I would be surprised if he went a long way here.
The third quarter looks ripe for an upset with Stan Wawrinka, del Potro and clay court specialist Dominic Thiem heading the betting. Nick Kyrgios is a threat to anyone and looks too big at double figures.
I make a slight apology for recency bias but Marin Cilic is my main outright pick. I would have preferred him to be in the opposite half to Djokovic (the Serb is 14-0 in head-to-head) but there is a chance the world number one won't make it to their projected quarter-final. Cilic ended Murray's 22-match unbeaten run to take the Cincinnati final last Sunday which was amazingly the first time the Croat had ever reached a Masters semi-final and came just after he linked up with new coach Jonas Bjorkman. He has been playing well all season and he, of course, won at Flushing Meadows two years ago. I would have him as third favourite and, at the prices, he has to be worth an each-way punt as well as a good bet to win the first quarter.
My other outright bet is Gael Monfils who has been in fine form apart from a choke against Kei Nishikori in Rio. He recently beat Milos Raonic who is his main rival in the second quarter of the draw and, despite pulling out of his last 16 clash with Dominic Thiem as a precaution, I think he is one to keep on side. The 6-1 about him winning that second quarter looks fair too.