2019 WTA Australian Open Odds, Betting Preview: Serena Williams Favored in Melbourne

2019 WTA Australian Open Odds, Betting Preview: Serena Williams Favored in Melbourne article feature image
Credit:

Geoff Burke, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Serena Williams

  • WTA Australian Open betting action will get underway on Sunday night (EST) in Melbourne, Australia.
  • Serena Williams (4-1) enters the tournament as the betting favorite, but I have my eyes on some other futures.
  • Stuckey also chimes in with his two primary futures in addition to two long shots worth considering.

Staying up through the night and fighting sleep the next day at work, there aren’t many betting events for an American tennis gambler than the Australian Open.

With the new year comes fresh players and, at the time of writing, all players inside the top 50 are in the draw.

Most draws for Grand Slams come out pretty uneven, and give players major advantages over others, but this one was pretty even.

Women’s Grand Slams have been wide open for the past two-plus years since Serena Williams fell off her peak play. And this year is no different — although Serena, who has more Australian Open titles (7) than the entire field combined (5) enters the tournament as the betting favorite at 4-1.

I believe up to 16 players can win this title and that’s making a few cuts that may be a bit ambitious. There’s plenty of value all over the draw.

Here’s our cheat sheet for the 32 women’s seeds.

Former Australian Open Champions

In 2019 Draw

  • Serena Williams (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2017)
  • Victoria Azarenka (2012, 2013)
  • Maria Sharapova (2008)
  • Angelique Kerber (2016)
  • Caroline Wozniacki (2018)

Recent Australian Open Semifinalists

Since 2016

  • Serena Williams (2016, 2017)
  • Angelique Kerber (2016, 2018)
  • Johanna Konta (2016)
  • Venus Williams (2017)
  • Simona Halep (2018)
  • Elise Mertens (2018)
  • Caroline Wozniacki (2018)

*Semifinalists Aga Radwanska (2016), CoCo Vandeweghe (2017) and Mirjana-Lucic Baroni are not in this year’s field

Unseeded Past Quarterfinalists

Among 2019 unseeded players

  • Venus Williams (1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2015, 2017)
  • Victoria Azarenka (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
  • Ekaterina Makarova (2015)
  • Genie Bouchard (2014)

Notable Hard Court Titles Since US Open

  • Caroline Wozniacki (Beijing — October)
  • Dayana Yastremska (Hong Kong — October)
  • Aryna Sabalenka (Wuhan – September, Shenzhen — January)
  • Elina Svitolina (WTA Finals — October)
  • Ashleigh Barty (WTA Elite Trophy — November)
  • Karolina Pliskova (Brisbane — January)
  • Julia Goerges (Auckland — January)
  • Sofia Kenin (Hobart — January)
  • Petra Kvitova (Sydney — January)

Seeds With Injury Concerns

  • Simona Halep (25-1) — Dealing with back injury from last fall.
  • Caroline Wozniacki (28-1) — Wrist issues (rheumatoid arthritis).
  • Garbine Muguruza (30-1) — Pulled out of Sydney last week with a gastroenteritis issue.
  • Maria Sharapova (66-1) — Retired vs Sabalenka in Shenzhen with a thigh issue.

Futures Lounge

I’ve targeted one player here since mid-summer last year. Unfortunately, the generous 40-1 odds that were offered then are long gone, and Aryna Sabalenka is now the third-favorite to win at +1200.

Sabalenka is one of the most talented and powerful players on Tour. Though only playing once in the main draw in Melbourne (and losing last year to Ashleigh Barty in three sets), the quicker courts suit her game perfectly. Plus, she’s only 20 and her game has greatly improved since last year at this time.

Her draw is neither easy nor difficult. She potentially faces Petra Kvitova in the fourth round, who she lost to last week in Sydney. However, after winning a title and a goal of winning the Australian Open, it would be fair to assume Sabalenka’s motivation was not high for Sydney.

There are other potential land mines in her quarter, but I make her the clear favorite to reach the semis. And if she’s on her form, she can beat anybody on any day.

My other main play is the woman I can never NOT play in Grand Slams even though she has failed at them her whole career, Elina Svitolina at +1400.

Somehow  —despite all of her talent, tennis IQ and work ethic — she’s only made a Grand Slam quarterfinal three times (0-3). I have no idea how that’s possible, but she still is only 24 and coming into the prime of her career.

Despite a disappointing 2018 season relative to expectations, she closed with the most impressive result of her career by winning the year-end finals in Singapore. Svitolina beat five top players on a hard court in very impressive fashion. A performance like that will give her a much needed confidence boost for the biggest stages and puts her in prime position to win Melbourne.

She struggled in her only match so far this season, losing to Aliaksandra Sasnovich in Brisbane 6-4 0-6 6-3. However, her relatively easy early draw should get her going before a potential 2018 Australian Open quarterfinal rematch with Elise Mertens in the fourth round. I am hoping she can play into form over the first few rounds like many of the greats do at Grand Slams.

The middle and bottom of the card is littered with intriguing names — but due to the depth of the WTA Tour right now, it’s so difficult to get through seven straight matches without being an elite talent. As a result, I’m avoiding any long shots and rolling with just Aryna and Elina.

2019 Australian Open WTA Futures

  • Aryna Sabalenka (12/1)
  • Elina Svitolina (14/1)

Stuckey Says

Those that follow me on twitter know I rode Svitolina all the way to the bank in Singapore and bought her Australian Open future around the same time. Hopefully, she makes it back-to-back winners for us in Melbourne after Caroline Wozniacki came through last year.

I also have to play Karolina Pliskova at 18/1 given her draw. I think she will make her third-straight appearance in the quarterfinals and can beat anybody when her serve is peaking.

In regards to the longshots, I love Qiang Wang’s game on a hard court and think 66-1 is too high. I also like the form of Donna Vekic, who still remains under the radar in the market. The price is just too crazy to pass up.

Futures

  • 1 unit on Elina Svitolina (14/1)
  • 1 unit on Karolina Pliskova (18/1)
  • 0.5 unit on Qiang Wang (66-1)
  • 0.5 unit on Donna Vekic (250-1)

*All odds from 5Dimes as of 10 p.m. ET on Jan. 10