Which lady is the best sports pick and are there any value plays amongst them or elsewhere for that matter?
Since the early Wimbledon futures market went to press Serena Williams was firmly installed as the favourite. The draw reveal, naught has changed save for her odds improving further and those of the rest of the field swelling up. So is Serena the best bet to rule over Wimbledon this year or can another lady ascend the throne?
Market confidence growing in Serena
When we put together our early Wimbledon futures market preview, Serena was listed as the -188 favourite at both William Hill and Bet365. Today, upon the draw reveal, Serena’s odds improved to -225 at William Hill and even further to -250 at Bet365.
This improvement is partly down to the fact that she avoided drawing Viktoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitoa, the only two players who were tipped within a reasonable shot (in the triple digit price range) at the title. Both Kvitova and Azarenka are to be Sharapova’s concern, if it comes to it that is.
Instead, Serena has drawn fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska as a potential semi-final opponent, who although did finish runner-up at last year’s All England Club showpiece, wasn’t ever expected to replicate her run judging by her long shot odds in the early markets. Now that the draw’s out and her odds have swelled upwards of +3300 depending on the sportsbook of choice that opinion has only strengthened.
Sixth seed Li Na is also in Serena’s half and could be an alternative to Radwanska as a potential threat in the semis. But bookies aren’t putting much stock in her chances listing her just as high as Radwanska towin outright. Telling isn’t it?
On a side note: Long prices like those on the fourth and sixth seed respectively suggest that their quarter is wide-open as well, which would make some other long shots in that section appear attractive especially when it comes to match betting through the rounds. Definitely, a section to pay close attention to.
Serena’s immediate quarter would appear to be slightly tougher than it was at the French Open. Samantha Stosur (+5000 betting odds) looms as a potential fourth round opponent. Avid tennis followers will remember Stosur’s impressive win over Serena at the US Open final a few years ago. She also has Sabine Lisicki (+4000) as a potential alternative to Stosur in the fourth round, a player that once reached the Wimbledon semis and that has enough game to stay with Serena. Other threats loom in the quarters as Angelique Kerber, the seventh seed, flanks her quarter. Although when all is said and done bookies have evaluated the stock of each upwards of +4000 to win outright so it’s debatable how much of a threat to Serena or the title they really are.
Sharapova and Azarenka on collision course in the semis
Once the draw revealed both Sharapova and Azarenka were on the same side of the draw their betting odds swelled up and depending on the sportsbook the price increase varies. Sharapova was a +500 play at William Hill and a +550 play at Bet365 a few weeks back. Today she is listed at +600 by both books. Curiously, Viktoria Azarenka was a +550 play at both sportsbook but while William Hill upped her odds to +600 Bet 365 took it a step further and upped her odds to +700 – so a considerable rethink where she’s concerned.
If all goes to plan and seeding, the pair will meet in the semis which means one will cancel the other out if nobody else beats either to the punch.. Where Azarenka is concerned, her path appears tougher with former Wimby champion Petra Kvitova as a potential quarterfinal opponent. Sharapova’s section is much better with Sara Errani as the highest seeded threat who although has been playing sensationally and is tough to beat on clay court (evinced by her run into the French Open semis) can be beaten on grass by a whole slew of players. Therefore, on paper, admittedly Sharapova has the better chance to reach the semis and even to go one better, especially should the unthinkable happen on the other side of the draw.
Are there long shots to consider?
Just about anybody not named Serena is a long shot right now according to bookies. So, take your pick, if you are so inclined. Of the field, outside of the three we’ve already mentioned above – Sharapova, Azarenka and Radwanska, the best long shots tennis picks are Kerber and Kvitova and, to a lesser extent, Lisicki. But given that Kerber and Lisiciki are in Serena’s section, only a bold tennis punter would put down money on either. That means the balance tips in favour of Kvitova at +2200 as far as long shots are concerned. She’s in the opposite section to Serena and would only have to face her in the final, if it comes down to that and that is key. Being in Azarenka’s corner is also an advantage and while she might be an underdog in that match it’s still one she could win. Against Sharapova she also has a probable chance to win – she did exactly that in the final to win her Wimbledon title in 2011. Having said that she’s fluctuating on form recently and so she’s a risky move, make no mistake.
Tennis Betting Verdict:
It’s all about Serena Williams and for good reason. Those that got in on her odds in the early markets will be the ones to enjoy value. Now, not so much as her odds drift away from even money. So, if she’s your favourite to win perhaps throw her into and each way bet with another potential finalist (who’ll have higher odds) and at least that way, more likely than not, you’ll find value in Serena.
For those bold tennis bettors, chancing on an underdog is the only way to go with your tennis picks, but it’s important to be smart about it. Plumping down to Kvitova’s attractive +2200 odds is a tempting option and although she can beat any player on any given day on this surface her mental game is suspect. It’s therefore our opinion that Sharapova, given her consistency and form of late, at a decent +600 is the value play and the convincing at that after Serena Williams.