The 2014 Grand Slam season is over. Instead of lamenting that fact let’s look ahead to the future tennis odds for the upcoming 2015 Australian Open. Early though it might be, as unpredictable as the women’s front is, it follows the best value tennis picks are found in early markets.
Early Australian Open Odds in full swing
Sportsbooks have released a smorgasbord of 2015 Australian Open odds for the women’s front. It’s not a comprehensive selection yet, but a healthy one nonetheless, with some familiar names, popular figures and established favourites trading on the tennis-betting floor. Let’s look at some of these players and discuss their odds of winning the Australian Open.
Before we dip into the Australian Open odds on offer, we’d like to give a mention to several players that have raised eyebrows this season, players such as Belinda Bencic, Karolina Pliskova, Caroline Garcia, Tereza Smitkova and Alexsandra Krunic to name a few. These make up the “Outsiders” at a major event – players that have the ability to shake up a draw, take out a seeded player and favourite in the early rounds.
There are no tennis futures currently available for any of these players. Yet, when each one has in one way or another stepped up at a major event this season, we feel they are worth the mention for tennis bettors to keep in mind. Krunic, for example, broke through the qualifying rounds at the 2014 US Open only to navigate a successful run all the way to the R16 (l. to Azarenka), no less at the expense of Madison Keys and Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova. Belinda Bencic, meanwhile, defied the odds to reach the US Open quarterfinals, taking out Yanina Wickmayer, Angelique Kerber and Jelena Jankovic along the way. Tereza Smitkova is an unheralded player that burst onto the scene when she reached the Wimbledon R16, while Caroline Garcia is a player that many experts have long earmarked for greatness.
The likelihood that any of these players would win the 2015 Australian Open in four months is slim to none. But these ladies (and others not mentioned above) are proven threats to the favourites, which will be worth noting when the draws are out and the event is all but set to get underway.
This group consists of the players that have the game to challenge for a grand slam title, but that haven’t quite put it together yet –be it because they are still young and inexperienced, mired in the maturation process, or seasoned players developing slower than their peers and saving the best for late in their careers .
Of the former group, players such as Garbine Muguruza, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys (+6600), spring to mind. Muguruza beat Serena Williams at the French Open and backed it up with a run to the quarterfinals (l. to Sharapova). She’s ranked as high as No.22 this week, but looks to make some significant moves in the WTA rankings following a semi-final finish in Tokyo this week (26 September 2014). Most interesting is how odds makers merit her worth: there is a huge discrepancy in her odds from sportsbook to sportsbook as she’s listed as low as +2000 at William Hill and as high as +3300 at Bet365 to win outright.
Stephens reached the Australian Open semis two years ago, beating Serena Williams along the way. This season has been a right struggle for the American rising star. She’s fallen out of the top 20 behind poor results, largely down to her inability to handle the pressure of expectation and instability on the coaching front. Undoubtedly, Stephens has the game to win a major, especially a hard court major. If she can find a way to put it all together again, she’s a pretender to watch. Not unlike Muguruza’s odds, Stephens’ odds are oscillating between +4000 to +5000 depending on your online betting platform of choice.
Seasoned veterans that could be late bloomers – not unlike reigning Australian Open champion Li Na was – include Ekaterina Makarova (+5000 to +6600), Dominika Cibulkova (+6600), Andrea Petkovic (+15000), Jelena Jankovic (+6600), Flavia Pennetta (+10000), and Lucie Safarova (+10000), amongst several others. Each one of these players has advanced deep into a major event in her career at one point or another and has had some notable victories or close enough calls that show an inherent ability to compete against the best in the game. Given the chance, a good draw and some luck going their way, one or another has a notional shot to win and that is nothing to scoff at at all. Not to take anything away from Marion Bartoli and the credit she deserves for winning Wimbledon in 2013, but her run was proof-positive of exactly such conditions converging in her favour.
This group consists of players that appear to be ready to take the next step, push for a major title. Leading the charge in this group is fan favourites Simona Halep (+900) and Eugenie Bouchard (+1000). Both rising stars have soared up the rankings and reached the final of a major last year (Halep the French Open and Bouchard the Wimbledon Championships), which underscores their favourable odds. While Halep deposited a rousing performance in her final with Sharapova, pushing the Russian to three sets and very nearly pulling off the upset, Bouchard was blown off the court in her final with Kvitova.
Other contenders include players such as Agnieszka Radwanska (+2500), Carolina Wozniacki (+2000), Angelique Kerber (+3300), Ana Ivanovic (+4000), Samantha Stosur (+6600), Venus Williams (+10000) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (+15000), to name a few. The first three names on this list are players yet to win a major while the latter triplet have accomplished the feat. Radwanska and Wozniacki have reached a final while Kerber has reached the penultimate round. Of the latter triplet, Ivanovic has a French Open (2008) to her name and was once a finalist at the Australian Open that same year. She fell off the radar for a long time (she admitted the burden of expectation proved too much) but, recently, she has been playing extremely well; most notably, she beat Serena Williams last year in Oz. Australia’s Samantha Stosur won the 2011 US Open, and although she’s never handled the pressure of playing before her home fans well enough, who’s to say she won’t next year. Finally, multiple champions Venus Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova are players that are always considered contenders, especially when they are competing well. Both have had some memorable moments in 2014, which could spill forth into the coming season.
The Proven Champions
The proven champions simply rule the WTA Tour and they include the usual suspects – from perennial favourite Serena Williams to Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova. Of this quartet, the natural inclination is to lean towards Serena Williams obviously. If 2014 revealed anything, it’s that Serena Williams went from seemingly unplayable to virtually beatable. That’s a striking revelation that sets up a rather interesting 2015 Grand Slam betting platform.
Williams enters the Australian Open futures market as the favourite at +188 at Bet365 (+175 at William Hill). But the shine has come off her tennis odds somewhat in the minds of many tennis-betting enthusiasts. After failures at three of the four grand slams – not reaching a quarterfinal never mind not winning outright – she finally broke her duck at the US Open, marking her 18th Grand Slam title.
Despite an injury-filled 2014 season, Victoria Azarenka is the second favourite to win the Australian Open at +550. In many circles, she’s the player to spot on your tennis picks because she is not only twice a champion in Melbourne, but she’s also considered one of few legitimate threats to a healthy, in-top-form Serena Williams. Maria Sharapova rounds out the top favourites at +750 to win outright. She’s a five-time Grand Slam champion after picking up her second French Open title last year and she’s one of the fiercest competitors on the tour, bar Serena Williams.
Finally, we’re including Petra Kvitova in this section even though most sportsbooks have her listed as the +1200 tennis pick. To date, Kvitova has only been able to put it together at Wimbledon where she’s won twice, but there’s absolutely no reason why she can’t pull off the feat at any of the other slams. This season we’ve seen some promising signs from the Czech – she’s fitter, healthier and quicker on the court than she’s ever been before. What’s more, she was a semi-finalist in Melbourne two years ago.
Tennis Betting Verdict: Well, there you have it. A rundown of some of the players and their odds (where applicable) for you to consider on your early 2015 Australian Open Picks.