Serena Williams vs. Naomi Osaka: Bettors Backing Underdog in Australian Open Semifinal

Serena Williams vs. Naomi Osaka: Bettors Backing Underdog in Australian Open Semifinal article feature image
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Vaughn Ridley/Getty Image. Pictured: Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams.

Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka meet for the fifth time Wednesday in an Australian Open semifinal at Rod Laver Arena.

This will be the fifth career match between the stars, with the series tied at 2-2 entering this highly anticipated showdown. Osaka is the favorite to take the lead, but bettors are lining up on Williams to get another step closer to her 24th major championship.

Serena already holds the record with 23 career majors in the Open era, which is one more than Steffi Graf. A 24th would match Australian tennis legend Margaret Court for the most overall major titles in women’s tennis history.

At BetMGM, Osaka is the -150 favorite, but that is down from the -160 opening number. Williams has seen her line move to +115 from +125.

That movement is because Williams is seeing the majority of bets and dollars. BetMGM reports 63 percent of bets are backing Serena, along with 53 percent of the dollars wagered. That 63 percent is down from 80 percent over the last 24 hours, as bets have come in on Osaka.

“The public is backing Serena as an underdog, but sharp money is on Osaka,” BetMGM VP of Trading Jason Scott said. “Serena losing would be a good result for the book, as more than 40 percent of the handle is on her to win the tournament.”

Williams, 39, opened the tournament at +1000 to win it all, and with four players remaining in the field, is currently at +275 odds. Osaka, 23, was +550 pre-tourney and attracted 23 percent of the betting handle. She’s currently the betting favorite at +135.

Osaka won the first two career meetings against Williams, including in the 2018 U.S. Open final. However, Williams has taken the last two head-to-head matchups.

The attention is on this matchup between the Osaka, the No. 3-ranked player, and No. 11 Williams, but a pair of underdogs meet on the other side of the bracket.

No. 22 Jennifer Brady is a -185 favorite over No. 25 Karolina Muchova (+140). Muchova took down top-seeded Ashleigh Barty in the quarterfinals.

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