Australian Open Fourth Round Odds, Best Bets & Picks: Favorites to Cruise on Saturday
Robert Prange/Getty. Pictured: Jessica Pegula.
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The second week of the Australian Open is here! The deluge of matches that can be overwhelming at times in the opening week of Slams has passed us by, and we're down to the final 16 men and 16 women at the Australian Open.
With four matches on the women's side taking place on Saturday night, I've got my eye on a pair of them.
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Australian Open Odds, Best Bets & Picks
Victoria Azarenka (-715) vs. Lin Zhu (+500)
5 a.m. ET
What a second and third set recovery from the two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka.
Not only did she recover from a poor 1-6 start, but she did so against Madison Keys – a player that outside of the now-retired Ashleigh Barty is the most in-form woman of the last few years in Australian summer play.
Her reward? Being a massive favorite against Lin Zhu in the fourth round with a spot in the final eight up for grabs.
The 28-year old from China is in uncharted territory making the second-week of a Slam, and it was evident how much that third-round win meant to her as she broke down in tears during the on-court interview post-match.
Her problem now? Azarenka is in the best form we've seen in years.
Her patented power on the serve and forehand never deserted her, but on the wrong side of 30-years old, it looked like she was becoming more and more one-dimensional as the years went by,
This year, she's been moving much more efficiently than she has in some time, and has been incredibly impressive results-wise, especially considering how tough her schedule has been.
We've seen strong returning, the usual power and plenty of lopsided sets from the 33-year old.
We know she loves the conditions down under, and I'm not sure what Zhu does that will trouble her.
Her serve isn't elite, the forehand is a massive liability and the backhand is decent, but far from a weapon.
I'll back Vika on the under here, considering I have the proper number being a juiced 18.5.
Pick: Under 19.5 (-120 via DraftKings)
Jessica Pegula (-200) vs. Barbora Krejcikova (+160)
1 a.m. ET
Well, the undervaluation of Jessica Pegula on hard courts continues, as she's once again priced up at least a half game – and probably closer to a full game – shorter than she should be on the spread.
When her offensive game is playing up on quick courts and her elite consistency, counterpunching and court coverage are able to set her apart defensively, she's one of the toughest players to beat on the women's tour.
I'm a big fan of Barbora Krejcikova (and a ticket holder from before the draw came out of a Krejcikova future), but this is a brutal matchup for the woman from the Czech Republic.
She's added some aggression and pace to her game, but not the elite power that can hit through or rush Pegula.
Krejcikova is consistent in her own right, but her point construction and consistency don't provide her with as much of an advantage as they normally would, thanks to Pegula's court coverage.
Statistically, as impressive as Krejcikova has been to start the year, Pegula blows her out of the water. Whether it be hold percentage, break percentage, first serve points won, second serve points won or even return points won, they all favor Pegula by a wide margin.
The American has also played tougher competition in amassing that edge.
I just can't see a way this spread should be lower than four. From the matchup, to form to the quantitative side of things, Pegula deserves more respect.
I'm happy to back her rather cheaply in this spot.
Pick: Pegula -3.5 games (-105 via PointsBet)