- The 2019 Australian Open begins on Sunday, Jan. 13th.
- Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams are the favorites.
- The men’s bracket has only four legitimate contenders, but the women’s side is wide open.
Death. Taxes. The big three in men’s tennis. For a generation, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic have been dominant forces with few others given a chance to win major titles. It’s 2019, and the more things change in the world, the more they remain the same in tennis. Federer (age 37), Nadal (32), and Djokovic (31) remain the prime contenders in this month’s Australian Open.
On the women’s side, it continues to be Serena’s world. That said, Williams missed most of last year for the birth of her first child, and at the age of 37, has not won a major since the Aussie Open in 2017. The 23-time major champ is a solid favorite on the women’s side, but that is more an indictment of the competition than anything else.
Let’s look at the odds for this year’s first grand slam at Bovada. If anyone outside of the big three and Serena wins this tournament, it will pay handsomely.
Men’s 2019 Australian Open Odds
|Player||Odds to Win the 2019 Australian Open|
Handicapping the Men’s Draw
To a large degree, this is Djokovic’s event. he has won it six times, including five of the last eight years. But things have been different of late. Nole was sent packing in the second round in 2017, and the fourth round last year. He is playing well right now, and at least one rival agrees that Djokovic is a clear cut favorite.
Arguably the greatest player of all time, Federer’s best tennis seemed behind him when he went all of 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 without winning a major title. However, he won the Australian Open in 2017, added Wimbledon that year, and won in Melbourne for a sixth time last year. He has 20 major titles, and counting him out has cost people money before.
Though Nadal has won 17 major championships, 11 have come at the French Open. His lone victory in Australia came in 2009. On the plus side, he has reached the finals three times in the last seven years, and despite recent injuries, has declared himself ready and a threat to go all the way.
As for upstarts, the prices are intriguing on youngsters Alexander Zverev and Karen Khachanov. Zverev is ranked no. 4 in the world and was playing really well before injuring his hamstring late last week. He may give it a go, but it is hard to invest in someone with uncertain health.
Kachanov, a 22-year-old Russian, has never been past the fourth round of a major in six tries, and is 2-2 all time in Australia. He may represent the future of the sport, but he is merely a longshot dart at this stage.
Women’s 2019 Australian Open Odds
|Players||Odds to Win the 2019 Australian Open|
Handicapping the Women’s Draw
With a million reasonable options and no decisive favorite, you can get value on anyone that you think has a good shot of winning. The difficulty is in determining who is going to be around late in the tournament.
Serena is a reasonable favorite. A seven-time champ, she won in Australia most recently in 2015 and 2017. While we know you’ll get ultimate effort and a championship pedigree, she is a short price for someone on the down side of her career.
After reaching the fourth round in Australia last year (her deepest run at a major), Osaka got to the third round of the French Open and Wimbledon. She then shocked Williams in the U.S. Open final. While the match was tarnished, her performance should not be overlooked.
Halep started last year strong, losing in the Aussie Open finals to Wozniacki and then beating Stephens to capture her first major at the French Open. She seems healthy now after a back injury towards the end of last year.
While Kerber is a bit of a journey-women, she has played her best tennis the past three years. During that span the 30 year old has won three majors, including the 2016 Aussie Open. Last year, she reached the semis in Melbourne, the quarters at the French Open, and won Wimbledon.
Twenty-year-old Aryna Sabalenka is unproven, playing in just her sixth major, but she has a ton of game. She reached the fourth round in the US Open last year, is playing very well, and knocking on the door of the top 10.
Wozniacki is the defending champ. During a career that has seen a lot of time among the highest ranked players, her win last year was the first major of her career. The smiley 28 year old has reached the finals at just two other career majors, both U.S. Opens.
Both of Azarenka’s major titles came in Australia. However, they were in 2012 and 2013. She has worked her way back from pregnancy, injury, and a prolonged custody battle. While her most recent tuneup for the Aussie Open didn’t go great, she seems to be more focused than the past couple years and in a much improved frame of mind.
How to bet the Australian Open
It isn’t fun, or really even that profitable, but one of the big three will emerge on the men’s side. As a two-time defending champ, Federer offers the best cost-benefit proposition.
As for the ladies, since uniting with coach Darren Cahill, Halep has been more focused. She has always been talented. She seems healthy now and is a worthwhile gamble in a wide-open field.