Australian Open – Value bets

Australian Open Tennis

The Australian open is well under way and now that everyone has played at least once it’s a good time to assess who looks good in the betting.

The players have noted that the conditions are faster than usual and the scorching hot temperatures are also proving to be a big factor.

In the men’s draw Novak Djokovic looks like he’s continuing where he left off at the back end of last year. Historically he’s not liked this kind of heat and although he is the most likely winner I certainly don’t see any value in backing him at 1.8 which is his best price currently.

Nadal relishes these kinds of temperatures and he’ll be able to grind down his big serving opponents effectively. The courts are fast though and he will be more vulnerable in any night matches where the temperature is cooler. His best price of 4.7 is fair in my opinion but I’m looking forward to seeing if the newly focussed Monfils can give him a match in the potential third round tie. He has beaten Nadal before and took a set off him again last week.

Now that Andy Murray has played his first round match, I feel confident in suggesting that he’s value. He’s reached the final 3 times before here and comes into this one with much less pressure which I think will help him. I recommend a bet on Murray at 11s.

You may think that Roger Federer is a tempting price at 29s on Betfair but think again. I watched his first round encounter with James Duckworth and although he won in straight sets it was possible the worst I’ve ever seen Federer play. His game has lost his edge now unfortunately with his movement in particular poor.

Outsiders don’t tend to fare well in grand slams in the men’s game but you may also want to look at backing some of the big servers who have good all round games, with the conditions being so fast. Berdych and Tsonga should be there or there about as should Del Potro. Berdych will have to get past Djokovic to get to the final and that looks a tall order considering the head to head record.

In the women’s game Serena is obviously the big favourite but Australia is usually the grand slam she has found the most difficult in the last few years. Maybe she relaxes a little too much during the off season and finds it a bit early to get her full rhythm going.

The women’s tournament is often unpredictable and aside from Serena it’s a very wide open tournament in my opinion. Azarenka won here last year but she’s not as impressive for me. She took a long while to get going in her first round match against an average opponent in Johana Larsson and she seems to struggle more with the pressure in recent times.

Li Na and Sharapova are mentally very strong and it gets them through a lot of matches. If the conditions stay as they are though I think Sharapova’s could struggle with her serve in this tiring heat and I agree with the market that Li Na is the more likely of the two.

WTA can be quite random and there are a lot of players who are capable of beating the top players on their day. Two I like the look of are Sam Stosur and Dominika Cibulkova. Stosur will have to beat Serena Williams in round 3 but she did this in the US open final and has won 4 of her ten meetings with Serena.

Cibulkova seems to be playing her best tennis to date and on her day she’s a match for any of the top players. She’s a huge price at 301.00 and whilst winning is unlikely many would have said the same about Marion Bartoli at Wimbledon. Agnieszka Radwanska is also likely to be in the mix and I think she has a decent chance of beating Azarenka should they meet in a possible quarter final.

Just a reminder that tennis and grand slams in particular see a lot of favourites prevail. Backing favourites at Pinnacle prices in the last 5 years at 10 units per stake would have resulted in a profit in 2 of the last 5 years in the men’s and 2 out of 5 in the women’s. The same stakes on underdogs would have returned a pretty big loss each year. See the image below.


Australian open tennis analysis


In the last 5 years there have been 25 underdogs winning on average (out of 127 matches) in the men’s draw and 30 in the women’s draw. So far we’ve seen in the 21 in the men’s draw (3 were retirements) and 16 in the women’s draw so there’s not likely to be too many more wins for the underdogs. Based on the stats we should expect little more than another 10 underdogs winning in the remaining 50 plus matches in each draw.


Advised value bets:

Murray at 11.2 with Betdaq
Del Potro at 14.1 with Betdaq
Tsonga at 68.0 with Betdaq

Speculative bet: Monfils at 266.0 with Betfair

Li Na at 10.0 with Bet365
A Radwanska at 67.0 with Betfair
Stosur at 67.0 with Betfred

Speculative bet: Cibulkova at 437.0 with Betdaq