So much for the respect—or the lack of it-- for back-to-back champion Victoria Azarenka, the sportsbooks have installed Serena Williams as the favourite to win the women's singles title in the 2014 Australian Open.
The American is favoured to win the tilt in Melbourne, Australia at betting odds of 1.91, while Azarenka is the second but by a considerable difference being priced at 5.0 to win the first Grand Slam of the year.
For those new to sports betting, the simple formula is as follows:
X (Amount of Bet) times Betting Odds = Total Payout
This means that for every bet of $100 on Williams, that bettor will earn a $191 payout or just $91 winnings. For Azarenka, the same amount of bet will earn a payout of $500.
There is of course some logic in pegging the American as the top favourite. Williams won Down Under five times already. The first one came in 2003 versus sister Venus; second in 2005 vs. Lindsay Davenport; third in 2007 vs. Maria Sharapova; and back-to-back versus vs. Dinara Safina and Justine Henine in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
Simply, the sports books believe that there’s a better chance that Williams get her sixth title—and break the all-time record she holds currently at five titles-- as opposed to Azarenka achieving the three-peat.
Five other ladies achieved the feat since the Open Era namely Margaret Court (1969-71), Evonne Goolagong Cawley (1973-76), Steffi Graf (1988-1990), Monica Seles (1991-93), Martina Hingis (1997-99).
Betting Odds to Win 2014 Australian Open (Women’s Singles) – Top 12 (All lines via sportsbet.com.au) S. Williams (1.91) V. Azarenka (5.0) M. Sharapova (12.0) N. Li (13.0) P. Kvitova (23.0) S. Stephens (31.0) A. Radwanska (31.0) S. Halep (36.0) S. Stosur (51.0) A. Kerber (56.0) A. Ivanovic (67.0) S. Lisicki (67.0) J. Jankovic (67.0) C. Wozniacki (81.0) S. Errani (101.0)
Value on the Dogs
There is also the usual value on betting on the underdogs— wagering on the lower-seeded players (outside the first two) but potential bracket-busters that can serve an upset or two and deliver the bigger payout.
Azarenka knows about it as she won her first title (2012) in Australia as a third seed, duplicating Kim Clijsters’ feat the year before when the latter won also as a third seed. Sharapova won the title coming from a fifth seed in 2008.
Will Azarenka get her three-peat and join the legends list? Can Williams stamp her class and dominance once again in women’s tennis? Or will one of the dark horses steal the crown from the top seeds?