Tennis Betting Advice - February 2021
Australian Open: Day 2 - knocking on the door at 50/1...
Monday 8th February 2021
In your Ones to Watch email today:
Welcome to Day 2 of your Ones to Watch Australian Open daily service…
We’re up and running in Melbourne. There are fans in the stands. It’s great to have bigtime Grand Slam tennis back on our screens…
It’s see-you-in-round-two for our three Outright Winner picks from yesterday’s Day 1 email.
As anticipated, Bianca Andreescu’s price was trimmed a little, after making a winning return to the court.
Playing her first competitive match since the end of 2019, the 20-year-old dropped a set, which is understandable. But was ultimately impressive in her first runout for such a long time. It’s good to have you back, Bianca.
From a top-price 20/1 on Sunday night, Andreescu’s price has now settled at 16/1 pretty much across the board. I wouldn’t be taking many players in the women’s event at that kind of price – but I’d take this one.
As I said yesterday, the Canadian youngster is the real deal. And she loves the big occasion.
Elsewhere in the bottom half of the women’s draw, 40/1 Elena Rybakina and 200/1 Veronika Kudermetova are both through to the 2nd round.
You can still get 40/1 for Rybakina. Kudermetova is 125/1 with Bet365 & Skybet as I write, and 100/1 with Boylesports, Betfred, and BetVictor. With Unibet & 888 Sport in-between, at 120/1. All attractive outsider prices.
Men v Women…
New Ones to Watch member Thibault writes in to ask, will I be backing any men in the Outright Winner market? The answer is yes. But with no-where near the same level of anticipation as in the women’s event.
If you want to distil the difference between recent men’s and women’s Grand Slams into a couple of bullet points, then these two make a pretty clear case:
Of course, the giants of the men’s game can’t go on forever. And Federer isn’t even in Australia this time…
If you’re looking for a few ideas of the young guns that could surpass Djokovic, Nadal & co in the years to come, then check out my Ones to Watch in 2021 report here.
Outright Winner picks…
The 1st round continues tonight. With the bottom half of the men’s draw in action, and the top half of the women’s…
From those sections of the drawsheet, here are the names & prices I’m adding to the outsider-hunting Outright Winner book today.
In the 1st Quarter of the draw, it’s hard to look too far beyond the two Russian winning machines, 24-year-old Daniil Medvedev and 23-year-old Andrey Rublev.
Medvedev is in with the tournament favourites, at 9/2 (5.5) and 4/1 (5.0). Rublev is 20/1 – 25/1. Medvedev has gone further in Grand Slams so far, and crucially, has a comprehensive 4-0 head-to-head record v his compatriot. Those two could well meet in the quarter finals.
The bookmakers are all over Medvedev. He’s odds-on to win the 1st Quarter (eg. to reach the Semi Finals), at just 10/11 (1.91) at best.
In the 2nd Quarter, Rafael Nadal is the leading man. Rafa is around Evens (2.0) to take that section and reach the Semis. And in the overall Outright Winner market, the Spanish legend is 8/1 for the Australian Open title.
Legend he may be, but Nadal hasn’t actually lifted the trophy in Melbourne since 2009. On the flipside, he’s reached four finals in his last 10 visits. So, he’s not exactly a long-shot here.
As is so often the case at hard court events though, how is Rafa’s body? He missed the ATP Cup international team event here in Melbourne last week. An event where Medvedev and Rublev helped guide Russia to the title.
Was Nadal just getting in some rest, and making sure he was ready after quarantine and the off-season? Or is there something wrong? I’m happy to take him on.
Indeed, a couple of years ago, in 2018, we were on Marin Cilic at 33/1 Each Way in Australia. Nadal pulled out injured during their quarter final match. Cilic went on to reach the final.
Here are two players that might plot an underdog route through Rafa’s side of the draw this year…
De Minaur has Major potential…
At the end of 2019, Alex De Minaur was an early-bird 80/1 pick of mine for the Australian Open 2020. The young Aussie ended up getting injured, and missing his home Grand Slam. He’s here this time…
In the shortened 2020 season, De Minaur reached the US Open quarter finals – his best showing yet at a Grand Slam. And was only beaten by the eventual champion, Dominic Thiem.
After that, Alex went on to reach the final on indoor hard courts at ATP Antwerp in October. Onto 2021, and the 21-year-old started the new season with an ATP title win on outdoor hard courts at Antalya.
As is the case with many young players that feature in our regular Ones to Watch write-ups, the next step for Alex is to make a big breakthrough at a Major. He has the talent and attitude to go far in the game.
I like De Minaur as an underdog this fortnight, with 80/1 and 66/1 available.
Tonight’s 1st round match v two-time Australian Open quarter-finalist Tennys Sandgren could be tricky. But the bookmakers are in little doubt about who they fancy, with the American a rank 7/1 outsider in the match-day betting.
At really big odds, another young player that could do something in this bottom section of the men’s draw is another former Ones to Watch name, Hubert Hurkacz…
Like De Minaur, Hurkacz has started the year with an ATP trophy win. And like the Aussie, the best way to get a fancy price is to back this guy for a breakthrough run at a Grand Slam…
De Minaur was just 3/1 when he won Antalya last month. Hurkacz was a 4/1 favourite when claiming the silverware at Delray Beach. At massive rank-outsider odds of 300/1 and 200/1, the 23-year-old Pole could outstrip his price here.
Standing 6’5” with a smooth, booming serve, and some clean, powerful (and accurate) ground shots. Hurkacz looks to be improving fast. He’s already broken into the world’s Top 30, and if he stays fit, he can go much higher from now on.
The top half of the women’s draw has World No.1 and home hope, Ashleigh Barty, as the clear favourite. Barty is 11/2 (6.5) in general for the trophy. Ash is in the 1st Quarter.
The 2nd Quarter looks competitive. And by competitive, I also mean wide open…
Our 50/1 winner from last year, Sofia Kenin, is 22/1 this time. The American is yet another player with ‘are they injured?’ questions surrounding them. In this case, a bad leg. We’ll see. The same goes for the multiple Aussie Open champion Victoria Azarenka – also 22/1.
Ones to Watch in 2021 name Jennifer Brady is being well-backed for a big run here, on the back of her US Open semi-final charge last season. She’s 28/1 at best.
Knocking on the door at 50/1…
Slightly further down the list, for bigger prices, a name I’ve had in my thoughts for some time now is Maria Sakkari.
At 50/1 and 40/1, the 25-year-old is very much on the radar as a player that could be the next name in the women’s game to step up and grab a first-time crown at a Grand Slam…
Indeed, I backed the Greek power-hitter for the US Open last year at similar prices. And again at 50/1 for the French Open the year before that.
I’ve got no problem waiting for a winner at these odds. When we landed Kenin last year, she had previously been a seven-time losing Outright Winner selection for me in various tournaments the season before. It’s all worth it when they come good.
Sakkari’s best Grand Slam runs to date both came at the hard-court ‘Slams last year. Here in Melbourne, edged out in a close three-set battle v Petra Kvitova in the 4th round – and not far off making the quarter finals.
And in New York when carrying the cash at 50/1 for the US Open, Maria also made the 4th round. Just squeezed out again by a more experienced Grand Slam performer, Serena Williams – and again, in the full three sets.
In short – Sakkari is getting closer.
And with the Greek community in Melbourne always sure to cheer on one of their own (Maria recently said it was like playing ‘at home’ here). That’s only an extra reason to get behind this super-fit and likeable contender.
I like Sakkari to continue her Major progress this week, and quite possibility into week two.
500/1 and 250/1…
In this quarter of the draw, 5th seed Elina Svitolina – as we noted last week when successfully opposing her for the WTA Gippsland Trophy – is filed under hard-to-trust. Svitolina has a very tough 1st round match against another Ones to Watch in 2021 name tonight, Marie Bouzkova…
At tournament odds as big as 500/1, the Czech player is being overlooked somewhat in my opinion. She’s 2/1 to upset Svitolina tonight, and is well capable of that. And if that happens, then this massive Outright price will likely be slashed, too.
Bouzkova pushed Svitolina the distance to three sets in the WTA Monterrey final last season. And the 22-year-old also took Barty to a final set in the warm-up tournament here last week. I like the match underdog bet tonight, and the speculative Outright ticket for the book.
One more OTW 2021 name that could make a nuisance of herself in this section of the women’s draw is Nadia Podoroska. As I outlined in that 2021 pre-season report, I don’t think last year’s outsider run to the French Open semi finals was a one-off.
The 23-year-old Argentinean (who turns 24 this week) has got bags of energy and desire, and plenty of ability, too. If all is not right with Kenin, then this 250/1 and 150/1 outsider could well give us some excitement at these odds.
Podoroska has already beaten former Grand Slam winner Kvitova this year. Right now, she has the air of someone playing with nothing to lose, and everything to gain. If she can keep nerves out of it, then that makes Nadia potentially dangerous here.
Ones to Watch:
Men’s Outright Winner – Each Way
Women’s Outright Winner – Each Way
Each Way terms: 1/2 odds 1-2 places.
Play starts from Midnight.
I’ll be back at 5pm on Tuesday with your Day 3 analysis, picks and advice. Including a look at the Match Winner prices, as well as our continued monitoring of the Outright Winner markets.
If you have any questions or want to drop me a line during the tournament, I’m on hand via email. You can message me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoy the tennis…