WE might be a little biased, but the best grand slam of the year, the Australian Open, is set to serve up a smorgasbord of betting from next Monday.
All the biggest guns will converge on Melbourne – and its sweltering heat – for two weeks of the classiest hard court tennis on the planet.
And the major bookies simply cannot separate the two best tennis players in the world, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.
The world number one and world number two share the top of the betting at CrownBet.com.au (+165 each of two), Sportsbet.com.au ($2.63) and WilliamHill.com.au ($2.60).
Djokovic has the history at the open, having won the tournament six times, including the past two incarnations.
But Murray has the form, the Brit having recently usurped Djokovic as the number one tennis player in the world – despite being vanquished by the Serb in the past two Australian Open finals.
Can the Brit, who was recently knighted by the Queen, knock over the Djoker, or will the winner come from elsewhere?
Ageing legends Roger Federer ($21 with CrownBet.com.au) and Rafael Nadal ($13) are not without their hopes, as is big-serving world number 10 Milos Raonic ($17), but big Stanislas Wawrinka ($13) and controversial Aussie firebrand Nick Kyrgios ($41) loom as massive hopes in a men’s draw that is more wide open than it has been in years.
On the women’s side of the draw, Williams is the deserving favourite, but she’s drifted out a little to +280 with WilliamHill.com.au.
Usually you’d find her in the $2-3 mark at the start of betting, but she softer form, coupled with inspired play from the likes of Angelique Kerber ($4.40), Garbine Muguruza ($8) and Karolina Pliskova ($8) has made things just a little tighter.
Australian Open men’s tips
Stanislas Wawrinka ($13 with CrownBet.com.au)
The last man not named Djokovic to win the Australian Open has a great chance of claiming his fourth career grand slam in Melbourne. Ranked number four in the world, Big Stan has been a terror at the open over the past four years, winning the title in 2014 and losing in the semi final in 2015, before missing out in the fourth round last year. He has all the tools and has won a grand slam in each of the past three years. Can he make it a fourth in four?
Nick Kyrgios ($41 with CrownBet.com.au)
Fresh off a season-ending suspension for his bizarre tanking effort at the Shanghai Masters last year, this open could be Nick Kyrgios’ road to redemption. The Australian tennis public has been crying out for a hero, with the likes of Bernard Tomic, Kyrgios and Thanassi Kokkinakis all abrasive personalities. Kyrgios is by far the most talented of the lot. If he puts it all together at Rod Laver during this tournament, no one can stop him.
Australian Open men’s winner market
Andy Murray ($2.65)
Novak Djokovic ($2.65)
Stan Wawrinka ($13)
Rafael Nadal ($13)
Milos Raonic ($17)
Roger Federer ($21)
Kei Nishikori ($26)
Grigor Dimitrov ($34)
Nick Kyrgios ($41)
Marin Cilic ($51)
Tomas Berdych ($67)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ($67)
Dominic Thiem ($81)
Alexander Zverev ($81)
Gael Monfils ($101)
Lucas Pouille ($101)
Jack Sock ($101)
Bernard Tomic ($101)
Odds provided by CrownBet.com.au
Australian Open women’s tips
It would be foolish to write an Australian Open preview and leave Serena Williams out of the tips. The most dominant woman in women’s tennis, Serena – like Djokovic – has won the Australian Open six times. One of the most recognisable faces in women’s sport and a beast on the court, Williams only won the one grand slam last year, claiming Wimbledon. Some think, at age 35, her career might be in its twilight, but writing off Serena Williams will be your first and fatal punting mistake. She has the skill, experience and ability to add yet another Australian Open to her bursting list of grand slam accolades, which currently stands at 22.
Daria Gavrilova ($101 with WilliamHill.com.au)
Ranked number 25, the Aussie is just four spots away from claiming the title of top Australian women’s tennis player from the fast fading Samantha Stosur. She made it all the way to the fourth round last year, knocking over dual Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the process and has steadily risen up the ranks. At 22, maybe she is too green, but would prove a massive bolter if she managed to take out the title. She is also $26 to make the semi finals, which could be a more prudent bet.
Australian Open women’s winner market
Serena Williams ($3.80)
Angelique Kerber ($4.40)
Garbine Muguruza ($8)
Karolina Pliskova ($8)
Simona Halep ($11)
Dominika Cibulkova ($26)
Agnieszka Radwanska ($26)
Caroline Wozniacki ($29)
Johanna Konta ($34)
Belinda Bencic ($34)
Sloane Stephens ($51)
Eugenie Bouchard ($51)
Lucie Safarova ($51)
Elina Svitolina ($51)
Svetlana Kuznetsova ($67)
Venus Williams ($67)
Ekaterina Makarova ($67)
Caroline Garcia ($81)
Kristina Mladenovic ($81)
Carla Suarez Navarro ($101)
Sabine Lisicki ($101)
Daria Gavrilova ($101)
Coco Vandeweghe ($126)
Roberta Vinci ($126)
Sam Stosur ($126)
Odds provided by WilliamHill.com.au
Who to watch for the WilliamHill.com.au Chase the Ace promotion
If you’re going to bet on the Australian Open, WilliamHill.com.au is the place to do it, purely for its hugely popular chase the ace promotion.
A massive success last year, chase the ace pays you for your players aces. More details are still to emerge on this year’s promotion, but the men to follow to maximise this promotion are Ivo Karlovic, John Isner and Nick Kyrgios among the most prolific ace servers in the game. In the women’s division, who else but power hitter – and superstar Serena Williams. One to watch is Kristina Pliskova, who fired down a remarkable 41 aces in her two matches at last year’s open.
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