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Australian Open 2017: Women’s Singles Winner Betting Tips

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  • Where: Melbourne Park. Melbourne, Australia
  • When: January 15, 2017 7:00 pm EST
  • Moneyline: S. Williams (+200), Kerber (+350), Halep (+800) & Muguruza (+800)

Unless you’re an MMA prognosticator, the winter months offer relatively few opportunities to wager on individual sports. Golf is still firmly entrenched in its silly season, despite overtures about moving the PGA and/or Players’ Championships to March. South Korea will host a 2018 Winter Olympics full of chances to bet on solo athletes, but what about 2017?

Hooray for down under! The 2017 Australian Open offers a Grand Slam hard-surface tournament with futures odds set on the world’s top tennis professionals, including a women’s bracket full of young talent, colorful stars and potential epic clashes.

Serena Williams is the money line favorite, still talented and agile enough for a run at the Aussie title. But the veteran has been in the news often recently, and not always for the right reasons. Engaged to be married soon, the younger of two legendary sisters has been showing off her new ring and pontificating about social issues in the media – just the type of distractions which make coaches sigh and bury their heads.

And wouldn’t you know it – Serena was upset in her first appearance of the year by unheralded Madison Brengle in the Auckland Open. Williams coughed up a horrid 88 unforced errors in the match, for which she placed blame on herself before slyly mentioning the Kiwi breeze. But both players competed in the same windy conditions, with the #2 ranked player falling to #72. Is Meka finally cracking?

Meanwhile, defending champ Angelique Kerber continues to quietly improve her game, having bested Serena in the 2016 Aussie final. A cunning defensive player with super-human reach and recovery speed, Kerber has ascended to the World #1 ranking but is still a money line underdog to Serena in Melbourne.

Serena Williams – a Rousey type situation?

Futures betting at Aussie Open 2017Ronda Rousey was considered one of the greatest female athletes in the world until external pressures began to wear her down. It only took Rousey about a calendar year to go from World Bantamweight Champion, to WWE side-show, to lowly 1st-round knock-out victim. All the while, the prize-fighter has talked about focus and a lack of distractions…as distracted competitors often do.

Could it be much the same for Serena? Chris Evert was recently quoted in Sports Illustrated that in her opinion, the 35-year old is beginning to burn out. If the 2016 Aussie final was any indication, Evert could be right. After dominating Kerber in past matches, Williams was flustered and ushered off the court three sets to love.

Externals or no, Meka will bring energy to spare for the bracket. But her tourney-favorite odds of (+200) must be called into question.

Kerber – Flash in the pan or new superstar?

In a landscape dominated by power-forehand players and modeling stars, Kerber is a breath of fresh air. Her unique defensive style drew criticism in 2015, and many doubted the 28-year old’s ability to rise above her ranking as a perennial also-ran.

The 2016 Australian Open changed all that. In 2015, the German talent worked with her coach Torben Beltz to develop an opportunistic attacking style and sneaky down-the-line forehand winner while building on her famed defensive skills. The work paid off in spades.

Following her stunning Grand Slam upset of Serena Williams, Kerber won the 2016 U.S. Open, reached the finals at Wimbledon and medaled in the Olympics. Her odds at (+350) pose a definite value bet for those not trapped in the Williams mystique.

Stock in long-shots?

Most of the long-shot money line wagers in the women’s bracket are problematic. For instance, Romanian Simona Halep had a promising 2015, but meekly pulled out of the Olympics and later lost to Kerber in straight sets, winning only four games in the match. It is doubtful that Halep could advance through a bracket full of developing young talents and reach the final, let alone knock off Williams or Kerber in a re-match.

Garbine Muguruza recently reached #3 in the world, but injuries nearly prevented her from entering the tournament in Melbourne, and most pundits predict a quick exit for the Venezuelan.

Finally, there is Venus Williams, age 36, giving it one last try after years plagued by injury and slowing foot speed. Venus is an almost-tempting futures bet at astronomical 6000+ odds. On one hand, any play on Queen V is likely to lose in the early rounds. On the other hand, somebody out there wagered on Tom Watson to win the 2009 British Open…and nearly made a fortune on a 1-unit bet.

An angel of a value wager

Place your futures wager on World #1 Angelique Kerber (+350) at Bovada Sportsbook.

Odds-makers are skeptical people, which serves them in good stead most of the time. But establishing Serena Williams as the favorite going into Melbourne ignores the tale of the tape – and the psyche.

Serena is nearing retirement age, planning a wedding, playing like a duffer in tune-up sets, and likely about to square off with a younger, faster, focused defending champion in Angelique Kerber.

The match-up is not power vs power but rather the endurance of the aging Williams against a frustrating, stubborn World #1. That makes Kerber a strong value bet at hefty-payout odds.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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