2021 WTA Wimbledon Futures Betting Preview: Grand Slam Action Returns to All England Club
Sarah Reed/Getty Images. Pictured: Ashleigh Barty.
If you want another sign that sports are getting back to normal, we will actually have a Wimbledon this year. We unfortunately missed out on the grass slam last year due to COVID-19. However, the field will not include defending champion (2019 winner) Simona Halep, who pulled out late last week with a calf injury. You also won’t find Naomi Osaka in the draw either, as the World No. 2 decided to take some personal time away from the game.
That leaves us with a fairly wide-open draw — which has become the norm in the women’s game in recent years. So, where does the betting value lie? Well, before I get into a quick breakdown of each quarter and share my three futures, here’s a high-level look at this year’s field, starting with a wagering cheat sheet for all 32 seeds.
Former Wimbledon Winners
In 2021 Draw
- Angelique Kerber (’18)
- Garbine Muguruza (’17)
- Serena Williams (’16, ’15, ’12, ’10, ’09, ’03, ’02)
- Petra Kvitova (’14, ’11)
- Venus Williams (’08, ’07, ’05, ’01, ’00)
Only five women in this year’s draw have won Wimbledon — and those five have combined for 16 of the past 20 singles titles.
Recent Wimbledon Semifinalists
- Serena Williams (3)
- Anqelique Kerber (2)
- Venus Williams (2)
- Garbine Muguruza
- Elina Svitolina
- Johanna Konta
- Jelena Ostapenko
- Elena Vesnina
- Magdalena Rybarikova*
- Simona Halep*
- Julia Goerges*
- Barbora Strycova*
*Not in field this year
2021 Grass Court Titles
- Johanna Konta d. Zhang Shuai (Nottingham)
- Liudmila Samsonova d. Belinda Bencic (Berlin)
- Ons Jabeur d. Daria Kasatkina (Birmingham)
- Jelena Ostapenko d. Anett Kontaveit (Eastbourne)
- Angelique Kerber d. Katerina Siniakova (Bad Homburg)
Wimbledon Futures Lounge
The two odds-on favorites to win Wimbledon are Ashleigh Barty and Serena Williams — both at around a price of 6-1. That’s despite the fact that neither woman has played any grass matches this season.
Serena is always obviously a threat here, having won seven previous Wimbledon titles and making the final in each of her last two appearances at the All England Club, but I’d need a better price than 6-1 to get involved considering her form in 2021.
Meanwhile, Barty is the best grass-court player in the world for my money at the moment, but she hasn’t seen any action since pulling out of the French Open with an injury. The uncertainty regarding her hip is enough to keep me far away at such a low place. The Aussie also has never made it past the fourth round here for what it’s worth.
The next tier of women in the 10-1 to 15-1 range include Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek, Petra Kvitova and Garbine Muguruza. Interestingly enough, the first two have never made it past the second-round here at the All England Club. They each have fairly favorable draws, but I don’t see value in backing either.
Conversely, Muguruza and Kvitova have each previously won a Wimbledon title. And while they’ve each flashed some recent form during the grass swing leading up to the tournament, I still just don’t trust Petra enough at this point in her career to win seven straight matches. And most importantly, I just don’t see any value in her odds.
Garbine is actually the most intriguing option of the four to me, but the Spaniard has been dealing with some injury issues in recent months. The Spaniard did look fairly healthy in Berlin, but those fitness concerns could pop up again over the next two weeks. That’s enough of a concern for me to pass.
Top Seed: Ashleigh Barty
Barty does have a fairly easy early draw, but I’m most concerned about her fitness level. The question then becomes who can take advantage of a potentially less-than-100% healthy Barty?
Hometown favorite Jo Konta (66-1) is an intriguing name in Barty’s half of the quarter. The Brit finally broke through here a few years ago by making a semifinal after years of first-round exits. She also comes in with good form, having won a grass title in Nottingham earlier this month to become the first British woman to win a home title in 40 years.
Can Jo back that up with another title at Wimbledon? It’s definitely possible, but she will first have to get by a very tricky first-round opponent in the in-form Katerina Siniakova. Konta did defeat Siniakova in straight sets here in 2019, but that’s a brutal first-round draw.
I have no interest in the other seeds in the top-half of Barty’s quarter. Reigning French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova (33-1) has never even played a main draw Wimbledon match and actually hasn’t played a Tour match on grass since 2017. And the out-of-form Kiki Bertens (400-1) doesn’t warrant much consideration.
I’d rather focus on the bottom half of this quarter which contains a few vulnerable seeds. Victoria Azarenka (40-1) has shown some decent grass form in the past few weeks, but there are major fitness issues surrounding the Belarusian, who had to pull out of Homburg last week. The bottom half also features 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu (25-1), but the No. 5 seeded is not in peak form and has never advanced past the first round at Wimbledon. The Canadian also has a precarious first-round showdown with an in-form Alize Cornet.
That leaves two other seeds: Daria Kasatkina (66-1) and Annett Kontaveit (40-1). Both arrive in London with confidence on this surface after some positive results during the 2021 grass swing.
Kasatkina, known to most as a clay specialist, actually has a fairly underrated game on grass and made a quarterfinal here a few years back. That said, she has a very tricky potential second-round matchup with an in-form Jelena Ostapenko, who just got the better of Daria last week in a heated match. I ultimately don’t trust Kasatkina’s serve to hold up, but she’s an intriguing long shot.
I chose to invest in Kontaveit at a price point I think is worth buying on the Estonian. This is her best surface and she arrives at the All England Club in peak form, having made the final in Eastbourne. When on, she can go on major runs on the grass. The draw is also manageable early on, so let’s hope she can finally break through past the third round here.
Top Seed: Elina Svitolina
The top half of this quarter is stunningly wide open. I just can’t trust Svitolina (50-1) at a major at this point, especially on grass, which is her worst surface. The same can be said for the other three seeds, who won’t wow you on this surface. The most intriguing unseeded dark horse in the top half is Camila Giorgi (90-1). The Italian loves the grass and can bash her way past almost anybody on Tour. The problem is she can also hit herself off the court against almost anybody. Plus, she was dealing with an injury this past week that forced her to retire mid-match.
The bottom half has much stronger seeds with games that can excel on this surface. It wouldn’t shock me to see either of the four (Serena, Angelique Kerber, Coco Gauff, Belinda Bencic) come out of this quarter, but I’m ultimately rolling with Bencic at 40-1. That shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody who has followed me for an extended period of time. I’m still convinced the now healthy Swiss will win at least one Wimbledon title. This is her best surface, and she’s flashed enough form over the past two weeks (made the final in Berlin) for me to buy in this year.
If you needed a push, I was very close to throwing some on Kerber for what it’s worth.
Top Seed: Sofia Kenin
In the top half of this quarter, Karolina Pliskova (50-1), who has not looked great of late, has a few potential land mines — even if No. 28 seed grass-specialist Alison Riske isn’t fully healthy. If the Czech can win a few matches, an in-form two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova looms in the fourth round which is the furthest Pliskova has ever advanced here.
The longshot worth considering in what looks like a fairly wide-open top half is Ludmilla Samsonova (66-1). The 22-year-old unseeded Russian has a game suited for this surface as she demonstrated en route to a grass-court title in Berlin earlier this month. She can make some noise if she can fend off the always tricky Kaia Kanepi in the first round.
The bottom half looks even more wide open than the top. None of the four seeds (Madison Keys, Sofia Kenin, Veronika Kudermetova, Elise Mertens) really scare you on grass at the moment. That said, none of the unseeded players pique my interest. I’m avoiding this section like the plague.
Top Seed: Aryna Sabalenka
In the top half of this quarter, I’ve already mentioned I have no interest in either Muguruza or Swiatek. Although if I were to fill out a bracket, I’d have them facing off in the fourth round. Venus Williams is way past her prime — even on the one surface she can still have marginal success – and I’m not sure grass-loving Ons Jabeur can hold up for two weeks.
In the bottom half, Sabalenka benefited from a high volume of qualifiers in her section, but there are some potential tricky opponents along her projected path.
I’m more interested in Elena Rybakina (25-1), whose game I love on grass. Her big serve and flat groundstrokes can carry her to a deep run here, especially since she’s currently in excellent form.
The Kazakh is brimming with confidence after a run to the quarterfinals at the French Open followed by a deep run on the grass at Eastbourne. I think she can keep that momentum going with a fairly favorable early draw, and then hopefully her game can carry her even further. She did have some minor back issues in her semifinal loss on Friday, but it’s nothing too serious from what I gathered.
Wimbledon Futures Betting Recap
- Elena Rybakina 25-1 (0.4 units)
- Belinda Bencic 40-1 (0.3 units)
- Anett Kontaveit 40-1 (0.3 units)
I think this is a pretty wide-open draw based on uncertainty surrounding a number of the top seeds. As a result, I ended up rolling with three medium longshots for a total outlay of 1 unit. All three arrive in Wimbledon in good form on grass and have games that work well on this surface. I also think each of their respective draws set up for some relatively easy success early on.
As always, make sure you shop around. You can find drastically different futures prices on certain players depending on the book, which is why it’s paramount to have multiple outs.
Good luck and let’s hope the tiebreaks are on our side.