No. 1-ranked Serena Williams is the 7-4 favorite to win her sixth Wimbledon title, but World's No. 2 Petra Kvitova looks like the better tennis pick at twice the payout.
When all is said and done, Serena Williams will likely go down as the best women's tennis player of all-time, at least until the Next Big Thing comes along. The World's No. 1-ranked female has won pretty much everything there is to win, including five singles titles at the sport's most prestigious event, the Wimbledon Championships. And Williams is the 7/4 favorite to do it again on the futures market at Bovada.
We wouldn't bet on it. As one of the most famous athletes on the planet, Williams is naturally prone to being overbet on the market, draining the value out of her tennis odds. Meanwhile, there's at least one woman out there who looks more likely to win this particular tournament, chalk or no chalk. And she happens to be the defending champion.
Who Does No. 2 Work For?
Depending on how closely you follow women's tennis, you may or may not have heard much about Petra Kvitova. She doesn't have nearly the same media profile as Williams or Maria Sharapova, but Kvitova definitely has the skills. She's the World's No. 2 ranked player, a 6-foot Czech with a blistering serve – and she's a southpaw, too. Kvitova's aggressive and creative style is best suited for the grass courts at SW19; this is where she won her only two majors thus far, in 2011 and again last year.
Still not convinced? As we go to press, Kvitova is the second favorite at 7/2 on the Wimbledon tennis odds list. That's twice the payout that Williams would generate. And while Williams has a 5-1 career record against Kvitova, including two victories at Wimbledon, they haven't met at the All-England Club since 2012, which was also the last time Serena took home the Rosewater Dish. By the way, Kvitova's lone win over Williams was in their most recent match, and that was on clay last month in Madrid.
They Mean To Win Wimbledon
Before Williams even makes it through to her projected finals matchup with Kvitova, she'll have to navigate a very difficult draw in the top half of the women's bracket. There's a potential fourth-round matchup with her sister, No. 16-ranked Venus Williams (66/1), who's also a five-time champion – although winless since 2008. Then Serena could face either Victoria Azarenka (14/1) or Ana Ivanovic (66/1) in the quarterfinals, followed by Sharapova (8/1) in the semis.
It's not exactly a cakewalk for Kvitova, but her half of the draw isn't littered with quite as many landmines. There's a potential third-round matchup with former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic (200/1), but her best days are well behind her. Then there's Agnieszka Radwanska (33/1) in the fourth round, and perhaps Madison Keys (33/1) or Eugenie Bouchard (50/1) in the quarters. Looking at the semis, the toughest competition would come from either Simona Halep (16/1) or Caroline Wozniacki (33/1). None of these potential opponents carries the same tennis odds as Sharapova or Azarenka.
Alive at 33
None of this to say that Williams can't win her sixth title. None of this is to say that Williams can't win her sixth title. She's still the No. 1 player on the circuit, even at age 33, and she'll no doubt be motivated to improve on last year's performance, where she lost to Alizé Cornet (400/1) in the third round. However, Williams also lost in the fourth round to Sabine Lisicki (20/1) in 2013. Maybe this surface is just too fast for Serena now.
Not that she was ever a big fan of grass courts. “To be perfectly honest, I've never really liked grass and I don't know how I did so well on it,” Williams told reporters after winning her third career French Open – and her second in three years on the much slower clay surface. All the more reason not to put Williams in your tennis picks this week.
Free Tennis Pick: Take Kvitova 7/2 at Bovada