2020 Australian Open Betting Odds and Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Tennis Futures Bets
Justin Setterfield/Getty Images. Pictured: Daniil Medvedev of Russia.
The first Grand Slam of the 2020 Tennis season has finally arrived. The first round of the Australian open kicks off this Sunday in Melbourne with Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka looking to defend their 2019 titles.
Djokovic enters the tournament as a strong favorite (+120) to repeat, while Serena Williams (+440) is the favorite on the women’s side to win her eighth Aussie Open title and first since 2017.
Here’s how our staff is betting the futures market.
Odds as of Friday and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
I have been all-in on Medvedev since last summer when he made three consecutive hard court finals (Washington, Rogers Cup, Cincinnati) en route to his epic five-set final with Rafa Nadal at the US Open; where he battled through fatigue and injuries to push an all-time great to the limit.
He’s likely going to be the next player, outside of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal, to win a major.
Medvedev is significantly more well-rested coming into the Australian Open than he was in New York, and he appears to have carried his 2019 form over into this season.
I have two units (at +900) on the Russian to win this tournament, but there’s a countryman in his quarter who worries me.
Andrey Rublev has also made significant noise since the middle of last summer when he upended Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios at the US Open. And he’s reached another level to begin this season, winning the Qatar open (without dropping a set) last week, before coasting to the final this week in Adelaide (where he’s a -350 favorite).
Thus far in 2020, Rublev has held serve at 92.1%, and broken serve at 29.9% – a combined rate which places him, on paper, level with the big three and Medvedev.
By Hard Court Elo Rating, Rublev is currently the World No. 6 — just behind Medvedev and Tsitsipas.
Tennis Abstract gives Rublev a 1.8% chance of winning the tournament — implied odds of +5500 — but his listed odds (as low as +8000) suggest a 1.2% chance.
Moreover, those projections think Rublev wins his quarter 20% of the time with implied odds of +400. Still, you can find him in various markets as high as +900 (implied 10%), making this wager the perfect compliment to any Medvedev outright bets.
I added a half unit on Rublev to win quarter 2 (+900) and half a unit on him to win the tournament (+8000) – as I believe he’s in the more comfortable half of that quarter and I expect the quarterfinal to come down to Medvedev vs. Rublev (unless Stan Wawrinka can upset the former).
But while I wouldn’t play the outright number below +8000, I think Rublev’s quarter price is worthwhile down to +600.
The Bet: Daniil Medvedev 9-1 Outright (2U) | Andrey Rublev 9-1 to Win Quarter 2 (0.5U) | Rublev 80-1 Outright (0.5U)
In my opinion, only two men can win this tournament: one, being the World No. 1 Djokovic and the second being Medvedev. With Djokovic’s price around even money and Meddy’s at 9-1 — and both players sitting on opposite halves of the draw — that makes our decision rather simple (I’ve always been one for “bang for your buck”).
And, honestly, I’m not even sure how big the gap between these two players is anymore. Medvedev and Djokovic met earlier this year during the ATP Cup and it took three sets and almost three hours to separate the two. Consummate dogfight.
While it was Djokovic who prevailed in that encounter, something tells me Meddy will bring an even higher level to Australia. Not to mention, had Medvedev won that match, it would’ve been three in a row for the Russian over the Serb and perhaps this line would be priced quite differently.
Deeper than that, a big problem for younger players — once it gets to Grand Slams — is transitioning to the best of five format and hanging with the big dogs (whose games are built for longer matches).
Well, it’s gotten to the point where I believe Meddy is actually benefited by the best of five — and we saw it last year at the US Open where he forced a fifth set (and put the pressure on Nadal) after going down 0-2 in Flushing.
Theoretically, the quicker conditions should better suit Medvedev’s game: his booming flat serve and his short late take back on the backhand, which is compact and gives him an extra beat or so to run shots down.
Love where his head is at. Love where his game is at. Think this is a worthy shot and price on a player I deem the second favorite in the tournament.
The Bet: Medvedev 9-1
Have you seen Djokovic’s path? Give me +120 on the Serb, who I see taking this home for the eight time. As for a long shot, I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Denis Shapovalov so far this season, so I threw a dart on the Canadian at 50-1 as well.
The Bet: 0.75 units: Novak Djokovic +120 | 0.25 units: Denis Shapovalov 50-1
Given the nature of the weather and brushfire across Australia and near Melbourne I lean towards this being a chalky tournament. There’s a strong chance of multiple delays due to the smoke and the weather is not supposed to be great either. This should benefit the “stars” and mainly favorites.
I have no idea how Djokovic loses his quarter, but -400 is a fair price.
Ultimately my favorite play is the enigmatic Nick Kyrgios at +2800 to win the tournament. The draw doesn’t matter for Kyrgios; his attitude matters. In the ATP Cup he was a saint, especially compared to Zverez, Tsitsipas and Medvedev. Hopefully his injured friend, Alex De Minaur, transferred some of his fighting spirit to Kyrgios for a Grand Slam break through.
Nadal and Thiem loom in the Round of 16 and quarterfinal, but Kyrgios performs versus high level competition and neither player is at the peak of their games currently. Price of +2800 is fair or you can wait to see if he faces Nadal in the Round of 16 and start a rolling parlay.
Honorable mention to Andrey Rublev +900 to win his quarter. Impeccable form, young talent and a great draw to the quarterfinal.
The Bet: Nick Kyrgios +2800
Andrey Rublev started 2020 in style, winning a 250-level title in Doha but his good form extends back about six months. The 22-year-old Russian eemed to be on the cusp of making a big leap during the second half of 2019 but never really took the final step to launch himself to the heights of his countrymate Daniil Medvedev.
Even though Rublev only ended 2019 with one win, a 250 title at Moscow, he defeated the following players between August and December on hard courts:
- Roger Federer
- Stan Wawrinka
- Nick Kyrgios (best-of-5)
- Stefanos Tsitsipas (best-of-5)
- Gilles Simon (best-of-5)
- Borna Coric
- Marin Cilic
- Roberto Bautista-Agut
The point I’m making is that Rublev can hang with the big boys and if he can get a kinder draw this time around, he should be able to make a run.
The Bet: Andrey Rublev (55-1)
Novak Djokovic looks primed to win this thing. But with the Serb as an odds-on favorite at some shops, I’m looking to the other half with a longshot.
Rublev is on a rocket ship to the top-10, and I don’t think the market has caught up to his progress yet. After a lower back fracture stunted his initial development on tour, the Russian’s game is clicking.
He takes the ball early, brings high-margin aggression off both wings and gets free points off his first serve. Melbourne’s speedy hard courts should suit the 22 year old.
I’m definitely not complaining about his draw either. If he gets past 11-seeded David Goffin in round three — Rublev defeated him in straight sets at the 2017 US Open — a quarterfinal berth should be little problem with Alexander Zverev in his eighth.
He’s in Medvedev’s quarter, which is good, because Medvedev doesn’t rhyme with Djokovic. My biggest qualm with Rublev is the heavy match play he’ll come in with.
He’ll go into the Happy Slam having played 12 matches in the two weeks. I’ll roll the dice on this young gun holding up physically, and making some serious noise.
Gill Gross is the host of “Monday Match Analysis” on YouTube.
The Bet: Andrey Rublev (+5500)
You’ll rarely see me consider the favorites at a WTA Slam, meaning I will almost automatically throw out all of the women priced at under 10-1 unless I have an extremely strong conviction or see something as egregiously mis-priced. Well, that’s the case here as well, so I’ve thrown out Serena Williams, Ashleigh Barty, Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep and Karolína Pliskova.
So, who could take advantage? The natural choices are either Madison Keys or Petra Kvitova in the bottom half of this quarter. I think Keys has looked better to start the season and is less likely for a clunker early on in the tournament.
Yes, her first round opponent Daria Kasatkina has a ton of talent but this is not her preferred surface and her serve struggles should be her demise. Keys has made it to at least the fourth in round in four straight appearances here.
Meanwhile, Kvitova has been much more boom or bust here. In regards to who could beat Barty, Kvitova actually leads the head-to-head 5-4 (although she’s dropped three straight) with a number of three setters while Keys trails 2-1. Either player could beat Barty when at their best.
All in all, I’d give the slight edge to Keys in a market where they are both priced at almost the exact same odds at most books. If you find one or the other at 25-1, take that.
Now, moving on to the third section, this is the most wide open and the one I wanted to throw a dart in as I think you could see quite a few upsets throughout this quarter. I settled on Muchova at 80-1. I love her variety and think she’s still sliding under the radar in the market. She made a slam quarterfinal last year and has some big wins under her belt on the biggest stages.
Not my favorite major futures card of all time, but hopefully one of the three I landed on can come through as Bianca Andreescu did for us at the US Open. Three smaller investments that I likely won’t be hedging at any point before the final.
The Bet: 0.5 unit: Keys 20-1 | 0.25 unit: Kvitova 20-1 | 0.25 unit: Muchova 80-1
Elina Svitolina at 28-1. This is a pure value play based on her talent level and draw. Out of all the seeded players in the draw, Svitolina has the most advantageous draw.
Yes, she’s only played one match on the year and get absolutely trucked by Danielle Collins, but that’s been a common refrain in January. At +2500, it’s too hard to pass up one of the more talented and accomplished players on Tour.
Her first match versus a recovering Katie Boulter shouldn’t cause much trouble and allow her to play into form a bit. After Boulter, she gets Lauren Davis or a qualifier. Svitolina will be able to work up her match fitness.
She’s also a high enough seed that she should benefit from a normal schedule and the ability to play in indoor arenas some.
I found it difficult to find much value in the women’s draw, but a top talent like Svitolina at +2500 is the best on the board.
The Bet: Elina Svitolina +2500