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3/5/2014 3:46:00 PM
Now that the Women’s BNP Paribas Open draw is out and the tournament is set to get underway, let’s look at the damsels that have descended on the Californian desert in order to determine where the best tennis picks are in the futures betting markets.
the player to beat
sportsbook plaftorms were any indication, Victoria Azarenka is the player
to beat. Bet 365 lists the Belarusian at +250 tennis odds. Then Australian Open
champion Li Na comes in as the second favourite but at +450 to win outright, a
considerable distance away from the Belarusian, she cuts a soft second threat.
Finally, defending champion Maria Sharapova rings in as a far-flung third favourite
to win outright at +700 at Bet365.
Just for comparison, William Hill odds makers have issued slightly different odds for
the aforementioned top triplet, although the hierarchy remains the same.
Azarenka leads the charge at +225 and Li Na is tipped slightly closer at +350
while Sharapova comes in at +600. Similar minor discrepancies in prices
permeate throughout the women’s field, with the most notable exception Simona
Halep, a dark horse contender that both sportsbooks offer at +800 tennis odds to win outright.
Without going into the nuances of all the futures odds, the prevailing impression
of the women’s BNP Paribas Open betting
market across all sportsbook platforms is quite clearly that it’s a
wide-open affair. In the absence of the Williams sisters – which is nothing new
really as they are into the 13th year of their boycott of the event
–and incrementally increasing tennis odds suggesting no unanimous concession
exists amongst odds makers, the whole market seems utterly undecided as to
which player is the best tennis pick.
Perhaps the draw will better reveal which
players might be the real contenders then and where tennis bettors should pile their precious coin.
Unlike the men’s draw, which seems entirely
lopsided, the women’s draw seems rather well balanced with both Azarenka and Li
Na facing their fair share of threats.
Top seed Li Na falls into the same section
as Maria Sharapova, setting them on an intriguing course to a potential
semi-final showdown. Prior to that – the final four is ages away – both will
face several noteworthy threats.
Li Na has Klara Zakopalova, Sabine Lisciki
(+6600) and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in her immediate way. The Czech Zakopalova
is coming into this event on good form having won the Florianopolis title and
reaching the Rio de Janeiro final. Pavlyuchenko meanwhile won the title in
Tennis Picks: Odds to Win BNP Paribas Open
What’s more Li Na also has Australian Open
finalist Dominika Cibulkova in her section. The diminutive Slovak is playing
some of the best tennis of her career and she is flush off a victory in
Acapulco that should send her into Indian Wells with measured confidence. At
+2500 at Williams Hill to win outright, the Slovak presents good value as an outside tennis pick.
Others to spot in Li Na’s section are Petra
Kvitova at +1600 at William Hill and +2000 at Bet365 and Ekaterina Makarova.
Veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova is also a player that can’t be overlooked for her
potential to do some damage in the early rounds.
Sharapova’s title defence campaign faces many
obstacles. Flavia Pennetta, an in-form player who is on the wrong side of 30
but playing some of her best tennis and, most notably, reached the quarters at
the Australian Open and in Dubai, is floating in her section. As well as Ana
Ivanovic (+2800) who beat Serena Williams in Melbourne earlier this year.
Also in the Russian’s path is Samatha
Stosur (+5000), Angelique Kerber (+2000) and Sloane Stephens (+5000), although
this triplet has been inconsistent of late.
In the bottom half of the draw (or third
quarter to be exact), finds Azarenka drawn together with Simona Halep, the best
priced dark horse of the tournament at +800. Halep, one of those reinvented
players on the Tour –not unlike Sara Errani a few years ago – comes into Indian
Wells on the back of a big title victory in Doha, a feat that largely explains
her suddenly shorter price than usual. Azarenka and Halep would potentially
meet in the quarterfinals unless another outsider crashes the party, such as
tricky lefty Lucie Safarova (+6600) or rising Canadian starlet Eugenie Bouchard
The fourth quarter by far is the most
wide-open section with Jelena Jankovic (+2800) and Agnieszka Radwanska (+1000)
flanking either side. What’s more, the section is the weakest of the four with
lesser-known names and mostly inconsistent top players in the mix such as
Caroline Wozniacki (+4000), Alize Cornet
(+10000) and Kaia Kanepi (+10000) to name a few.
Betting Verdict: In the absence of the Williams
sisters this tournament is wide open for the taking. The top three players are
struggling somewhat on form (read: a bit up and down) this season. Both
Azarenka and Sharapova have yet to win a title and Li Na has fizzled somewhat
since her win in Oz. Of course, either one could find form in the Californian
desert in order to come through on her favourable odds. Of the lot, however, Azarenka
emerges the best tennis pick on paper while
you can never write off Maria Sharapova.
Simona Halep is a good outside choice but
keep in mind she did suffer an injury in Dubai (Achilles heel) so in lieu of
that injury it remains to be seen whether she’s
worth the risk on your tennis picks. If an outside pick is your leaning, Agnieszka
Radwanska has a good section of the draw to make her a tempting choice at
+1000. As well, Ana Ivanovic and Dominika Cibulkova are two stars to spot.
Free Picks: Top pick is Azarenka to win outright at +250 while outside tennis
pick Radwanska at +1000.