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2021 Australian Open Tip Sheet: Best Bets, Value, Gambling Insight
Now that the dust has settled and players are tuned up, we examine the 2021 Australian Open draw from a betting perspective.
February 07, 2021
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Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook and are subject to change.
Oddsmaker’s Favorite: Ashleigh Barty (+500)
Ashleigh Barty is a freak of nature. Despite having not competed in nearly a year, she showed almost no rust in her title run at the Yarra Valley Classic. I’m still of the belief that you shouldn’t get to skip a year of competition and win your first major tournament back, but after Barty beat a red-hot Garbiñe Muguruza in Saturday’s final, I’m less sure.
Barty’s draw is fantastic. She’ll avoid the two best players in her half of the draw—Sofia Kenin and Victoria Azarenka—until the semifinal, and, barring a serious mental letdown, should advance through her quarter. If you want to back Barty to win the tournament at +500, I can’t argue against it.
Prior to the draw, it appeared Osaka was far and away the best bet on the board. She’s become the gold-standard on a hard court and has won three majors in her last eight Grand Slam appearances. Thanks to a nightmare section of the draw she is a much riskier bet, but that doesn’t change the fact that she is the best player in the tournament—and the world.
Osaka’s first opponent, 12-time WTA title winner Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, has reached the quarterfinals in Melbourne three of the last four years. Her likely second-round foe, former No. 4 Caroline Garcia, is one of the more dangerous first-week opponents you can face. Last year’s quarterfinalist Ons Jabeur also looms in the third round. Heading into the second week she will likely face either Angelique Kerber or Muguruza, both of whom own at least two major titles. Osaka’s draw may have been forged in the fires of hell, but thanks to the guaranteed off-days she’ll receive after each victory, she should be up to the challenge.
Dark Horse: Ons Jabeur (+10000)
No matter her section of the draw, Ons Jabeur is by far the most talented player with at least 100 to 1 odds to win the tournament. Jabeur’s talent level is undeniable; her combination of raw power and finesse is unlike any other on tour. Her trending UTR rates her at the ninth-best competitor in the tournament, while DraftKings lists her as the 25th overall favorite. Jabeur loves the conditions in Australia, and even with her improved fitness, she will undoubtedly benefit from the extra days rest allotted at Grand Slams.
In the past six months, Jabeur’s only hard court losses have come to Azarenka, Kenin, Maria Sakkari, Aryna Sabalenka, and, most recently, Kerber. She is smack dab in the middle of the draw’s toughest section, but she’s proven that she is a player nobody wants to face.
Oddsmaker’s Favorite: Novak Djokovic (+120)
The Australian Open is Novak Djokovic’s tournament. He won it seven times in the last 10 years—eight times in total—and owns a career record of 75-8 (57-3 since 2011).
You have to think Djokovic will be more motivated than ever to gain some ground in the all-time Grand Slam race, and judging by his ATP Cup singles wins over Denis Shapovalov and Alexander Zverev, he’s already in mid-season form. While his +125 odds offer less return than any futures bet besides Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros, it’s tough to imagine him losing a best-of-five-set match in Melbourne. If you have the capital to support an outright futures bet with minimal return, by all means place the bet.
After a down year, it appears that the big Italian is back. With the exception of an in-form Daniil Medvedev, Berrettini dismantled his ATP Cup competition, posting straight-set wins over Dominic Thiem, Gaël Monfils and Roberto Bautista Agut.
Thanks to his disappointing 2020 where he went just 9-6, Berrettini’s value has increased, and a $10 bet will net you $810. He’s in great form, will be well-rested thanks to a Tuesday start, and has the firepower to defeat anyone in the tournament on a good day.
Thanks to the Big Three era, you’d be better off playing the lottery than betting long-shots and dark horses at the men’s majors. The last unseeded major champion was Gaston Gaudio in 2004, and the thought of an unseeded player winning the Australian Open feels like an utter impossibility.
But at +70000, or 700 to 1, the Canadian is worth a flier. He’ll likely lose his first round to Medvedev, but of all the unseeded players, he has the best chance of upsetting the Russian. If he somehow pulls off the upset, he’ll replace Medvedev’s slot in the draw as the No. 4 seed.
Pospisil has the firepower and net prowess to trouble Medvedev. He beat him last year in Rotterdam, and lost in a deciding third set in Vienna. Finally healthy, Pospisil is fitter than ever and playing with awesome confidence. Since a true long-shot hasn’t won a major in over 15 years, you may as well go big or go home, and 10 to win 7000 is very big indeed.