Australian Open Day 1 WTA Betting Picks & Odds: The Best Way to Bet Madison Keys vs. Daria Kasatkina
Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images. Pictured: Madison Keys.
The Australian Open begins on Sunday and features a host of intriguing matchups in the opening round. We break down the best edges in the first matches of the women’s tournament and analyze the best ways to start betting the tournament.
Odds as of Saturday evening.
Ons Jabeur (+150) vs Johanna Konta
6:50 p.m. ET
This should be a quick match featuring two women that play with very little margin and go for winners.
Jabeur is a very backable underdog when she’s flashed some form and is healthy, which seems to be rare. Last week she went 3-1 with a tough third set tiebreak loss to Garbiñe Muguruza in a high-level match. This is a great opportunity for her.
Konta is 0-1 in her only match in 2020 and has only played one match since the US Open last year. Match fitness may not be 100% for her. When Konta is not in form she tends to string together losses. Timing is a key to her game given her aggressive play of hugging the baseline.
Jabeur has the ability to hit through the court on Konta. If Jabeur can keep her ground strokes deep enough near the baseline, it will throw off Konta’s timing which already may not fully be there.
Jabeur won the last meeting on grass last year in Eastbourne. Jabeur can beat almost anyone on Tour when she’s playing with confidence.
I would play Jabeur down to +138.
Madison Keys -5.5 (-116) vs Daria Kasatkina
8:15 p.m. ET
Keys has dominated Kasatkina over her career, owning a 6-0 record versus the Russian. In four of those matches she has covered a 5.5-game spread.
Couple Keys dominance of her opponent along with her far superior form and Keys should cruise.
Kasatkina is 3-2 this year but her three wins were versus far inferior competition. Versus two decent opponents, Belinda Bencic and Amanda Anisimova, she’s 0-2 and hasn’t won a set. Anisimova blew her off the court and Keys has more power than her.
Kasatkina is a talented player but she’s been in a real funk for over a year now. She’s struggled versus all opponents, but power players have dominated her.
There’s always the chance that Keys’ timing is off, and she starts spraying the ball. She may even lose a close set. But I think she’ll have one or two runs where she rips off 4-5 games in a row which should seal up the game spread.
Shuai Zhang (-155) vs Sloane Stephens
Based on talent levels, this line is quite inflated. Based on current form, this line is deflated.
Stephens’ start to 2020 has been horrific by every measure. She’s 0-2 to two players outside the top 100 in rankings. Her last match against No. 201 Arina Rodionova was a disaster, losing 6-2 6-2.
On the other hand, Zhang started 2020 off well. Last week she made the Hobart finals before losing in a tight two set match. Her two wins over Veronika Kudermetova and Lauren Davis in the semifinals and quarters were very visually impressive.
Stephens is uber talented but has a history of struggling to begin any tournament. If she gets hot, however, she can beat anyone on Tour and win the tournament. She offers way more value at 100/1 to win the tournament then she offers as an underdog in this match.
This match is the nearly the exact scenario that occurred in 2018, though Zhang wasn’t coming in with quite as solid form. Sloane was 0-1 in 2018, coming in off a 6-3 6-0 drubbing to Camila Giorgi. Zhang won the 2018 affair 2-6 7-6(2) 6-2.
Zhang has made it through the 1st round in her last four tries in Melbourne. I think she makes it five in a row Monday.
The line has been steamed a bit and is getting close to a pass for me, but I’d play it up to -165.
Coco Gauff -2.5 (-120) vs Venus Williams
The marquee match in the states should garner all the headlines of the first round of the women’s tournament.
This is a fade of Venus at this stage in her career. The 39-year-old is coming in off a lot of questions marks: age, fitness, and form.
One has to wonder how much Venus has left in the tank. She will always have the drive and competitive nature, but at some point, time catches up to everyone.
Her fitness may also be suspect. There were rumors that she was not even going to come to Australia. This is her first Australian Open with zero tournament prep since 2006.
Her form or lack thereof is telling too. She struggled to end 2019 and she hasn’t played a competitive match since October 7th.
On the other hand, you have the up and coming (she’s already here) Coco Gauff. After capping off an amazing first year run winning her final tournament, Gauff returned to Auckland two weeks ago. She looked solid despite going 1-1. Her loss to Laura Siegemund was more about Siegemund peaking than any worry about Gauff’s game.
Gauff defeated Williams in her breakout match last year, the 1st round at Wimbledon.
Considering how much of Venus’ game is timing and hitting hard from the baseline, I doubt she will be 100% on Monday night.
I’m OK betting Gauff anyway. You can bet her straight ML around -175. She’s available to win 2-0 at +130 too. I settled on her game handicap.