Join this tennis betting expert in reviewing the overarching futures odds for all three coveted Grand Slam titles in the coming months of the 2015 ATP season: Australian Open, French Open & Wimbledon.
The 2015 Australian Open (January 19th)
Tennis Odds-on Fave: Novak Djokovic +100
Defending Champion: Stanislas Wawrinka
Winner: Novak Djokovic over Andy Murray 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-0
Betting Recap: From the start, Novak Djokovic was the odds makers fave to win outright in Melbourne, an assessment aided along by his standout finish to the 2014 season that culminated with the Barclay's ATP World Tour Final victory. In the mix of top contenders was Rafael Nadal (+500), Roger Federer (+600) and Andy Murray (+650) – essentially, a tennis betting menu comprised of the four most dominant players at the majors over the last decade, also commonly known as the Big Four. The quartet wasn't ranked in the top four In the lead up to the Australian Open, which opened the door on various lines of speculation. Namely, whether a seasoned pretender or young gun would burst through the draw to win it all.
It wasn't a stretch after 2014 yielded a couple of seasoned players winning their maiden Grand Slam titles: Stanislas Wawrinka (2014 Australian Open) and Marin Cilic (2014 US Open). Of the group of up-and-comers, Kei Nishikori struck the most attractive pose, a player that many tennis experts believe will be the first of the young guns to enter the prestigious, exclusive winner's circle.
Tale told, Djokovic came through on market expectations at the Australian Open and for backers on their tennis picks. And, importantly, the Big Four re-established the tennis order (No.1 Djokovic, No.2 Roger Federer, No.3 Rafael Nadal and No.4 Andy Murray) in the game, a fact that could have serious implications for the next Grand Slam on the menu.
Indeed, if the tennis odds for the remaining three (below) Grand Slams were any indication, it's more likely than not the champions are contained within the Big Four.
The 2015 French Open/ Roland Garros (May 25th)
Tennis Odds-on Fave: Rafael Nadal +125
Defending champion: Rafael Nadal
Betting Preview: The French Open (or Roland Garros) has become synonymous with Rafael Nadal over the last decade. That's what winning nine out of the last ten amounts to. Indeed, Nadal is the first man in the history of tennis to win nine titles at the same Grand Slam championships. The only hiccup came in 2009 when he lost to Robin Soderling in the R16. (That year, Roger Federer won his first French Open to complete a career Grand Slam).
Since 2009, Nadal's grip on his beloved principality strengthened. Reeling off five straight wins in Paris, beginning with an avenging win over Soderling in the 2010 French Open final in straight sets. And extending in the ensuing years with wins over Federer in four sets (2011), Djokovic in four sets (2012 and 2014) and David Ferrer in straight sets (2013), the Spaniard hasn't looked back. Nor is it likely that he'll slow down. When it comes to betting on the men's French Open, it begins and ends with Rafael Nadal. There have been players that have tested Nadal, but aside from the loss to Soderling, nobody has been able to overcome the Spaniard on his beloved clay.
Even Federer in his heyday never could come quite close enough to threatening Nadal's dominance at the French Open: in four finals and one semi-final, his best effort amounted to four sets. Djokovic, arguably, came the closest when he took Nadal to five sets last year in the semis, save for a late rally by Nadal to take the dramatic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7(3), 9-7 win. Djokovic is priced at +163 to win his first-ever French Open, a market price that harks back to the 2014 semi-final in which he gave Nadal a serious run for his money. If there were a player that could derail Nadal for his tenth French Open title (or La Decima) and that tennis bettors might consider as an alternative tennis pick, it would be Djokovic.
2015 French Open Top Five Faves: Nadal (+125), Djokovic (+163), Juan Martin Del Potro (+1600), Stanislas Wawrinka +1600 and Roger Federer (+1800).
The 2015 Championships, Wimbledon (June 29th)
Tennis Odds-on Fave: Novak Djokovic +175
Defending champion: Novak Djokovic
Betting Preview: Djokovic's win at the All England Club marked his first major victory with Boris Becker in his camp, It took the better part of the 2014 season before their partnership, which was struck at the start of the season to reinvigorate Djokovic at the majors, was finally anointed with the ultimate prize, a Grand Slam title.
Djokovic beat Federer in an epic five-set final 6-7(7), 6-4, 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-4 to win his second career Wimbledon title and, in turn, deny Federer an unprecedented eighth Wimbledon title. Given Djokovic's form to start the season, it's not surprising that he tops the Wimbledon betting charts across sportsbook platforms. That said, for bettors looking to put down early tennis picks for Wimbledon, there are plenty of good options to be had. Since Federer's run of five straight ended at the hands of Rafael Nadal in 2008, there have been no repeat champions.* What's more, the Big Four have tidied up nicely at the All England Club with Federer, Nadal and Djokovic all winning a pair each and Andy Murray breaking into the mix with his historic win in 2013 that ended an excruciating 77-year drought for an English champion.
Given the revolving door at the All England Club, any one of the Big Four smacks a value tenis pick for your early Wimbledon betting thrills, particularly Murray at +350.
2015 Wimbledon Top Five Faves: Djokovic +175, Murray +350, Federer +550, Nadal +650 and Dimitrov (+1000)
*Nadal, in missing the 2009 Wimbledon Championships because of injury, is the closest to a repeat champion at Wimbledon we've had over the last seven years, with title victories in 2008 and 2010 marking back-to-back titles on his resume.
2015 US Open (31 August)
Tennis Odds-on Fave: Novak Djokovic +150
Defending champion: Marin Cilic
Betting Preview: The tennis betting world fell off its axis when Marin Cilic emerged as the 2014 US Open champion. To say that few expected the Croatian to come through at the time is the understatement of the decade. When the potential of an unlikely champion (outside of the Big Four) was ever the focus of discussion, names such as Tomas Berdych and Stanislas Wawrinka usually were bandied around amongst the experts, gaining more favourable consideration than Cilic ever did to be the first to make a breakthrough on the Grand Slam stage. Tale told, Wawrinka accomplished the feat Down Under in the first Grand Slam of the season and Marin Cilic emerged as the winner over Kei Nishikori (another unexpected finalist) in New York in the final Grand Slam of the season.
It's a long way to the US Open. A lot can happen before the ATP Tour descends on the American hard court swing this summer that culminates with the final major at Flushing. But as our above previews reveal, tennis odds makers are harking back to the Big Four on the Grand Slam stage in various order of favouritism yet again. It's hard to find fault with such an outlook at this point in time. So, if you are looking for a tennis pick, look no further than the Big Four at early doors. Leave any dark horse picks for later in the season when form and mometum are more apparent.
Top Five Faves: Djokovic +150, Nadal at +400, Murray at +500, Federer +900 and Wawrinka +1400.