Tennis Betting Advice - January 2019

Australian Open: Outright Winner picks…

Sunday 13th January 2019

Australian Open - Bets of the Day

In your Ones to Watch email today:

  • Australian Open – play starts at Midnight…
  • Outright Winner picks…
  • Two men, two women…

Invest in youth…

The wait is over. The first Grand Slam of the year is here. The Australian Open starts at Midnight, UK time. We’re all set for two weeks of thrills & spills in Melbourne…

The 1st Round is spread over the opening two days. Day One looks short of standout shock potential to me, but I’ve got two or three matches circled on tomorrow’s schedule.

We’ll kick off in the proper manner this evening then by getting our tournament Outright Winner picks down before the first balls are hit.

If you’ve been following my Ones to Watch emails for any length of time, you’ll know the plan:

We’re taking on the favourites, because the favourites don’t always win.

And in the search for a big price outsider, we’re often backing young & improving players. View my Ones to Watch in 2019 list here.

Outright Winner picks:

Two men…

Starting with the Men’s event, the Australian Open 2019 Outright Winner market has World No.1 Novak Djokovic clear at the top of the pile. Novak is 6/5 (2.20) to land a third successive Grand Slam title, having scooped up the Wimbledon & US Open trophies back-to-back last summer.

Djokovic is in the top half of the draw. Other names of interest in that half include Aussie hope Nick Kyrgios. File Nick under ‘temperamental.’ The bookies can’t make their mind up, and that’s understandable. He can be brilliant, or disinterested. Ladbrokes & Coral go 28/1. Paddy Power & Betfair Sportsbook go 66/1. Hard to call that one. Evidence so far would suggest Kyrgios is more likely to blow it than to succeed – but there are plenty of knowledgeable people in tennis who believe Nick can (one day) rip the seven straight match wins needed to take a Grand Slam title.

Alexander Zverev is another young player with big expectations on his shoulders. He’s in the same quarter of the draw as Kyrgios (Quarter Two). Zverev is much more reliable than the Aussie, but odds of 12/1 (13.00) reflect that.

Kei Nishikori (28/1) could be on a collision course with Djokovic in the quarter finals. The Japanese star has had a great 12 months after coming back from injury. He made the quarters at Wimbledon, then the semi finals at the US Open… However, Kei has never been at his very best in Melbourne, so that extra leap to the Australian Open final still looks slightly out of reach. Not by much though.

In the bottom half of the draw, reigning champion Roger Federer is 5/1 (6.00) at best, and World No.2 Rafael Nadal is 9/1 (10.00). The TV broadcasters would love a Roger-Rafa semi final, but that’s no given…

Federer’s price gives little to no room for Each Way backing. And while Roger sometimes appears superhuman, he is 37 years of age and in sporting terms that has to be significant – no matter what species you are.

Nadal’s fitness is a talking point as usual, and something of an unknown quantity to all except those really close to him. What we do know is he pulled out of his Aussie Open preparation tournaments. And Rafa also retired injured in the quarter finals here last year, as well as in the US Open semi finals.

Kevin Anderson is the man many fancy to take advantage of a Nadal wobble or withdrawal. Big Kevin is no stranger to us here at Ones to Watch. I like him – and I love his attitude. However, we got 50/1 on Kevin at Wimbledon last year (runner-up). And he was 150/1 when making the US Open final in 2017. This time odds of 28/1 at best suggest the bookies have already trimmed away some of the value. Also, the formbook says Melbourne is not a happy location for Anderson. He’s never been past the 4th Round here, and gone out in the 1st Round in six of his 10 previous visits.

So, with a few names dropped – who are the men for us? I’m going for two youngsters…

Between them, Federer, Nadal & Djokovic have claimed the last eight Men’s Grand Slam titles. Sooner or later, that stranglehold will be broken. And it could be now…

What’s more, at the big prices we’re betting at, a runner-up trophy represents an attractive Each Way payout. And those last eight Grand Slams have featured finalists priced at 28/1, 33/1, 50/1 and 150/1.

In the top half of the draw, the 22-year-old Borna Coric catches the eye at 50/1 and 40/1. The Croatian appeared on our Ones to Watch in 2017 list. More recently, in October I flagged Borna up as a name to look for in this year’s Grand Slams – with some triple-figure odds available. Read what I said about Coric here.

He’s a classy young player, and looks to have a real steadiness and reliability about his game now, serving well and displaying supreme agility and athleticism. He already had big, big talent. This year Coric could move towards becoming the full package.

Sticking with the big-price strategy, in the bottom half the young man at a price for me is Karen Khachanov at 28/1 and 25/1. The Russian was also on our Ones to Watch list back in 2017, and is now starting to deliver on the big stage. Last season Khachanov won ATP Marseille at 66/1, Moscow at 5/1 and then the Paris Masters at 40/1. The tall, big-hitting 22-year-old is going places. He gave Nadal a hell of a match at the US Open, and won’t fear taking it to the big boys here.

Two women…

The Women’s Grand Slam events usually have more of a ‘wide open’ feel to them than the Men’s, and this year’s Aussie Open is no different…

Serena Williams is dangerous, as ever. She’s the 9/2 (5.50) favourite. But Serena has only won one of the last eight Grand Slams – and those last eight Women’s Majors have all been won by different ladies. Like Federer, Serena is 37 years old.

The fact that reigning champion Caroline Wozniacki and World No.1 Simona Halep are both priced as 25/1 shots shows you just how open the Women’s game is right now. As it stands, any one of 11 players could be the new world No.1 at the end of this tournament.

Current Wimbledon champ and 2016 Aussie Open winner Angelique Kerber is alongside Serena at single-figures in the betting (7/1). US Open holder Naomi Osaka is 12/1 in general, but she was much bigger at 50/1 in New York – and no woman has done the US Open & Australian Open double since 2011.

Halep and Serena are in the top half of the draw. At outsider prices, one name that is flying under the radar is last year’s Australian Open semi-finalist, Elise Mertens. At as big as 100/1 and 66/1, the 23-year-old Belgian is well worth our attention. I also backed her at fancy prices for the last Grand Slam in New York.

Elise is a real hard worker, one of the fastest around the court (she never gives up on a ball) – and has plenty of power and precision at her disposal in her ground strokes. In 2018 Mertens won three WTA titles, all in the first half of the year. Now ranked at a career-high No.12 in the world, these prices don’t do justice to Mertens' ability or potential here.

Talking of ability and potential, Aryna Sabalenka is very high on our list. The 20-year-old from Belarus burst on to the scene last season, with just the brand of aggressive, no-fear tennis needed to take Women’s Grand Slam titles these days…

Sabalenka made four finals last season, winning the last two (on hard courts). She started 2019 with another trophy win, taking the title at WTA Shenzhen earlier this month. Aryna features in our Ones to Watch in 2019 list, and I want to back her at every opportunity we get at double-figure prices. We can get 12/1 here. She’ll be in the Top 10 soon, and looks on the cusp of doing something very special, very soon.

I could also give mentions to several other outsider contenders in the bottom half of the Women’s draw – Anett Kontaveit (50/1) and Kiki Bertens (25/1) in particular. But seeing as those two are on course to meet in the 3rd Round we’ll bide our time for a few days and see how the early form is looking, and how the draw is shaping up.

Sabalenka plays her first match tonight, and I expect her to open up with a statement of intent.

Overall, we’re kicking off with four Outright Winner picks, two men and two women – with one player in each side of the respective draws.

Today’s Ones to Watch picks are:

Men’s – Outright Winner:

BET: Borna Coric @ 50/1 Each Way
BOOKIES: 50/1 (51.00) William Hill, NetBet, 10Bet, 40/1 (41.00) Bet365, Ladbrokes, Coral, Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook, Boylesports

BET: Karen Khachanov @ 28/1 Each Way
BOOKIES: 28/1 (29.00) Boylesports, NetBet, 10Bet, 25/1 (26.00) Bet365, Ladbrokes, Coral

Latest Men’s odds here >>

Women’s – Outright Winner:

BET: Elise Mertens @ 100/1 Each Way
BOOKIES: 100/1 (101.00) Skybet, 66/1 (67.00) Bet365, William Hill, Paddy Power, Boylesports

BET: Aryna Sabalenka @ 12/1 Each Way
BOOKIES: 12/1 (13.00) Skybet, Bet365, Betfair Sportsbook, Paddy Power Boylesports, NetBet, 10Bet

Latest Women’s odds here >>

  • Each Way terms: 1/2 odds 1-2 places

I’ll be back by 9pm tomorrow with your Bets of the Day email for Day Two of the Australian Open.

The Grand Slams are the big ones. The fun starts tonight.

Enjoy the tennis…

Best wishes,

Oliver Upstone

Tom Wilson

Ones to Watch