David Caraviello for Bookies.com

By David Caraviello | | 7 mins

Australian Open 2021 Odds: How to Bet Tennis in a Pandemic

Australian Open 2021 Odds: How to Bet Tennis in a Pandemic
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Well before it even starts, the 2021 Australian Open has already produced more drama than a five-setter on Centre Court. The year’s first Grand Slam, typically a festive affair, was instead engulfed in anger, frustration and sadness before any competitors even played a point. For those who enjoy betting on tennis, it has made wagering more difficult.

The reason? COVID-19, of course. Disgruntled players and their entourages had to quarantine for two weeks in their hotel rooms. There were disputes over protocols and practice time, players reduced to tears after learning they’d traveled on the same aircraft as someone with a positive test, and local fears of a renewed coronavirus outbreak in a city that had implemented one of the country’s most rigid lockdowns.

For sports bettors, the pandemic has presented a host of issues – football games rescheduled, college basketball games canceled, players ruled out. Tennis has been no exception; the most recent Grand Slam, the U.S. Open, saw a bevy of top players withdraw and the entire field bubbled at the National Tennis Center. Australia is a different animal, given the travel it takes to get there.

The Australian Open, beginning Feb. 7, always presents wagering unknowns: Questions over player form, the typical unrelenting heat, the fact that news typically breaks in the middle of the night U.S. time. The virus adds another wrinkle, although it doesn’t diminish the enthusiasm tennis bettors have for the first Slam of the year. So, how do you bet tennis in the middle of a pandemic? First, a look at the latest tennis futures odds.

2021 Australian Open Men’s Odds

PlayerOdds
Novak Djokovic+125
Dominic Thiem+400
Daniil Medvedev+450
Rafael Nadal+550
Stefanos Tsitsipas+1200
Alexander Zverev+1400
Andrey Roblev+2500
Jannik Sinner+2500

Odds current as of publication. Get the latest men’s Australian Open odds here.

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2021 Australian Open Women’s Odds

PlayerOdds
Naomi Osaka+700
Ashleigh Barty+800
Serena Williams+900
Bianca Andreescu+1000
Simona Halep+1000
Aryna Sabalenka+1000
Sofia Kenin+1200
Iga Swiatek+1200

Odds current as of publication. Get the latest women’s Australian Open odds here.

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3 Tips For Betting On Tennis Majors In a Pandemic

Stay Up to Date

As the tournament approaches, we’re likely to learn more about which players have tested positive prior to the event. According to Reuters, Paula Badosa of Spain is the only to player to have confirmed a positive test, but expect more such admissions to follow given reported transmissions on player flights to Melbourne.

Thankfully, most players who test positive will show only mild symptoms if any at all, though a positive test – or even association with someone who’s tested positive – can prompt another hard quarantine that restricts practice time. And at least one former Grand Slam winner, Andy Murray, withdrew because of a recent positive test.

Watch the Warm-Ups

To make up for the lack of practice, the WTA has set up a pair of women’s tournaments to run concurrently at the same Melbourne Park facility that hosts the main event. One is open only to players forced into a hard lockdown due to someone in their retinue testing positive.

These tournaments, which kick off Jan. 31 and conclude Feb. 6, offer women’s players a chance to prepare while remaining in the tournament’s semi-protective bubble. And for bettors, they offer a great chance to scout player form in as close to an ideal environment as the coronavirus allows.

The men will have a similar setup in a national team event running through Feb. 6. But the women’s tournaments may prove more enlightening for bettors, given that the men’s Australian draw has proven far more top-heavy – world No. 1 Novak Djokovic has won eight of the last 13 titles – while the women have seen seven different winners in the last eight years.

Diversify Your Portfolio

As all sports have shown, the coronavirus can knock out any athlete at any time. This Australian Open is not the time to stack bet upon bet on one player, even a heavy favorite like Djokovic, who is +125 to win.

Like navigating the stock market, you want to diversify your portfolio. Tennis offers an excellent opportunity to do just that, with wagers available not just on men’s and women’s players, but also on tournament progress as well as head-to-head matchups.

Remember: This has been a grumpy two weeks for a lot of players, many of whom haven’t had nearly the amount of practice they’re used to prior to a Slam, and some who’ve been cooped up in their hotel rooms for two weeks or more. Many haven’t competed in months. Bettors should expect the unexpected, and perhaps wait a little closer to the tournament before laying action given all the unknowns surrounding the event.



5 Australian Open 2021 Bets & Props To Back

Simona Halep to Win, +1000 (PointsBet)

In a women’s draw that’s a free-for-all, why not a player who has done everything in Melbourne but win? Halep has reached the Australian quarters or better in four of the last seven years, made the final in 2018, and lost in the semis last season. She fits the mold of several recent women’s champions, including 2020 winner Sofia Kenin, who carried similar odds into last year’s event.

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Serena Williams to Lose in Quarterfinal, +575 (DraftKings)

The seven-time Australian winner is always popular among bettors. But she hasn’t reached beyond the quarters in Melbourne since 2017, and in her most recent match she was ousted by the world’s No. 157 player in the French Open round of 64. Williams hasn’t won a title anywhere in nearly four years.

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Andrey Rublev H2H Jannik Sinner, +125 (DraftKings)

A big-hitting hardcourt specialist, Rublev is coming off a breakthrough 2020 that included five tournament titles and quarterfinal runs in the French and U.S. opens. Rublev beat Sinner in their previous meeting and is the better bet to progress further in the tournament.


Novak Djokovic to Win, +125 (BetMGM)

The Joker is dominant in Australia, so there’s no need to get cute. But for a temper tantrum at Flushing Meadows, he’d own four of the last seven Slams. Djokovic is 75-8 in Melbourne, and barring another run-in with a linesman, everyone else should be playing for second.

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Ashleigh Barty to lose in final or semifinal, +400 (DraftKings)

She’s the No. 1 player in the world, she reached the semis last year, and she hasn’t had to quarantine. Barty, an Australian native, has remained in her home country for the duration of the pandemic. That also means she hasn’t competed since February, but she’s far from the only elite player coming off an extended layoff.

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About the Author

David Caraviello for Bookies.com
David Caraviello
Veteran sports journalist David Caraviello has covered college football, college basketball, motorsports and golf, covering all three US golf majors, the Daytona 500 and SEC football.