Australian Open Best Bets | Kasatkina vs Stephens, Kalinskaya vs Rus (Wednesday Jan. 17)

Australian Open Best Bets | Kasatkina vs Stephens, Kalinskaya vs Rus (Wednesday Jan. 17) article feature image

Robert Prange/Getty. Pictured: Daria Kasatkina.

Looking for Thursday Australian Open picks? Click here for our full Thursday betting guide.

The second round of the Happy Slam wraps up on Wednesday night. As one would expect with a shrinking field, we're starting to see some more high-profile matchups.

One of those also has some room to bet into it, while another more under-the-radar type match is also worth betting.

Find picks for Kasatkina vs Stephens and Kalinskaya vs Rus in my latest Australian Open Best Bets.

Match times are subject to change. Read here for advice on viewing Australian Open matches.

Australian Open Best Bets

Daria Kasatkina (-160) vs Sloane Stephens (+130) 

9 p.m. ET

One of the better matches of the second round features the former grand slam champion Stephens take on the relentless, top-15 Kasatkina.

I was prepared for this spread to come out in the -3.5 game region and contemplate whether there was any value in laying the games with the feisty Russian, but the market has this at just -2.5 games and for me that's an easy bet to pull the trigger.

There are a few reasons I think this line is off, with Kasatkina deserving of more respect.

For starters, I'm going to have to assume that the head-to-head history between these two is factoring into the market evaluation. Stephens does lead it 3-1, but with only one of those matches taking place in the last five years and no match on a hard court since 2018 (Kasatkina's lone win), it's hard to see the relevance. You'd be fooling yourself to think Stephens is close to the same player she was in 2018.

Secondly, the matchup has shifted drastically in Kasatkina's favor. The last few years have seen Stephens' decline coincide with her work rate and movement steadily regress. She's late to her spots, often makes a meal of forehands and commits far too many unforced errors — something Kasatkina is elite at waiting out and exploiting.

Unless you're going to punish Kasatkina's underpowered game by hitting through her with raw power, she's awfully tough to beat. Her lone defeats this year have come to Jelena Ostapenko and Aryna Sabalenka — two of the most aggressive and hard-hitting players on the women's tour.

Stephens is at a big disadvantage with moving around the court and consistency, all while she doesn't possess the requisite game to trouble Kasatkina.

Pick: Kasatkina -2.5 (-110 via Caesars)

When betting Kasatkina, register with Action Network's Caesars Sportsbook promo code today for a sign-up offer.

Anna Kalinskaya (-200) vs Arantxa Rus (+160) 

7 p.m. ET

After backing a pair of underdogs from the women's draw for Day 4, I'm going to go with a pair of favorites on Day 5.

I love getting Kalinskaya here at anything under four games on the spread against someone like Rus. Sure, the 33-year-old Rus has picked up four wins already this season, despite being far more proficient on clay courts thanks to the heavy spin on her serves and forehand, but I'm not totally convinced by those victories.

Malene Helgo, for all intents and purposes, is a relative no-name. Linda Fruhvirtova is underpowered, has a very weak serve, poor forehand and also grew up playing more on clay than hard courts. Finally, Varvara Gracheva has been playing erratic tennis for a few months now and Anhelina Kalinina was clearly far from her best.

Kalinskaya doesn't have an attackable backhand for the lefty veteran to exploit with her forehand, she is far more natural on hard courts than Rus, can generate her own pace when the situation calls for it and — at least for my money — has been the more impressive player so far in 2024.

Pick: Kalinskaya -3.5 (+100 via PointsBet)

Check out Action’s PointsBet promo code offer before placing your bets on Kalinskaya.

Phone With the Action App Open
The must-have app for sports bettors
The best betting scoreboard
Free picks from proven pros
Live win probabilities for your bets

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.