Australian Open Tennis Odds and Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 1/13/2011
Tennis hasn’t really been relevant to bettors since the U.S. Open finished up on September. It gets back onto the sports betting radar this week, though, with the first of the grand slam tournaments. The event runs in Melbourne from Jan. 17-30. Here are some predictions for the men’s and women’s draws from my betting perspective (all odds are from Bodog):
On the men’s side you really only have one decision to make -- are you going to believe in the Big Two, or are you going against them? Roger Federer (7/4) and Rafael Nadal (2/1) are so much better than everyone else that it’s ridiculous -- they have combined to win 21 of the last 24 slams, with Federer the defending champ in Australia and Nadal being the most recent winner of the other three events.
The odds on the two are so low that if you like one or both of them then you can’t really justify looking elsewhere. Personally, I’m a big Federer guy, and don’t see a reason not to be here. He has won four of his last five events, and a coaching change has led to stronger play since playing three underwhelming slams in a row. He’s smart enough to know his window is getting smaller, so he’ll be motivated to win while he can. This is a draw he can win -- especially with some health concerns surrounding Nadal. The best bet concerning the two might be betting that they will meet in the final.
If those two somehow falter, then who could pick up the pieces? Here are four names and prices I have my eye on:
Andy Murray (6/1) - Sooner or later Murray, or any Brit for that matter, is going to come through when it matters. I’m not convinced that this is his time, but he’s probably the best of the rest.
Novak Djokovic (8/1) - You can’t seriously look at a tournament without giving a nod to Djokovic. He’s flirted with passing one of the top two from time to time, and he won this tournament two years ago. He’s been pretty flat lately, but he’s younger than Federer by far and could be a force later on in the tournament.
Robin Soderling (16/1) - He’s probably the last of the five guys with a legitimate shot at winning. He comes here in good form -- he won at Brisbane last week -- and he has had some luck against Federer. I’m not buying into his chances, but at the odds I like him better than the two before him.
Juan Martin Del Potro (20/1) - The 2009 U.S. Open champ is the last guy other than the top two to win a slam. The downside is that he missed almost all of last year due to injuries, and it’s far from certain that he will be okay here. If he were healthy he’d be at a much lower price, so you could argue that there is some value here.
The women’s side is a bit of a mess right now. Defending champ Serena Williams is out with an injury, so the field is wide open. The clear favorite is Kim Clijsters (15/8), but she has never done particularly well in Australia, the surface is not suited to her game, and she lost worse than she has ever lost a match before at this tournament last year, so anything could happen. I’m tempted to bet against her, but who does that leave?
Justine Henin (6/1) - She has won seven slams before, so she obviously can do it. She’s coming back from retirement, though, and if you believe her words her confidence isn’t exactly high. It’s hard to be in love with a bet on her. Sadly, though, she may be the best choice at this price.
Caroline Wozniacki (9/2) - Wozniacki is No. 1 in the world, but that’s more due to the convoluted ranking system than any dominance -- no one could convincingly argue she is the best in the world. She’s a solid player, but she doesn’t have a grand slam, and seems to play her best when one isn’t on the line. I’ll pass at this price.
Samantha Stosur (14/1) - Since you need a good price to justify a bet in a field as wide open as this one I’ll look towards Stosur. She’s an Aussie, so she’ll have the crowd firmly behind her. She has two Grand Slam wins in doubles, so the pressure won’t bother her, and she has shown repeatedly she has the game to be at the top -- she has beaten eight different players who have been ranked No. 1 in the world. She played very well last year, and I feel like this could be her real breakthrough year. No better place to start that than at home.
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