The Australian Open is a highlight of the sporting calendar.
It is a chance to watch Grand Slam tennis when the sunny days of Wimbledon and Roland Garros seem so far away during the bleak days of mid-winter in the northern hemisphere.
The Men’s Australian Open has been dominated by two men in recent times. Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are tied with Roy Emerson for the most titles with six apiece.
It is no surprise to see Djokovic and Federer atop the Australian Open betting odds on 888sport.
Federer won his sixth Australian Open in 2018, defeating Marin Cilic in the final. The greatest to play the game won in 2017 too, beating Rafael Nadal in a five-set epic.
Djokovic won the tournament in five of the previous six years. The Serbian beat Andy Murray in four of those finals.
This is when Djokovic was at his most dominant, but we have seen him return to those heights over the last year or so, which is part of the reason he is the 23/20 tennis betting favourite this year.
Djokovic competed in Qatar earlier this month but lost to Roberto Bautista Agut in the semi-finals after a tough three sets.
Last year ended in a couple of disappointments for the world number one, too. He was stunned by Alexander Zverev at the ATP Finals and lost in two sets to Karen Khachanov in the Paris Masters.
These were all hard court defeats, which makes the 23/20 look a little short for Djokovic to go all the way in Melbourne.
Federer is currently ranked third in the world. The 37-year-old Swiss also fell to Zverev in London and lost to Djokovic in the semi-finals in Paris. His shock US Open defeat to John Millman will be what damages some bettors’ confidence in him, though.
With every Grand Slam loss, the concerns arise about Federer’s ability to play long matches for a fortnight. He has crushed these doubts in the past – it would be no surprise if he went all the way again.
Slip ups are possible, of course, but it is worth remembering that Federer did not drop a set until the final at this tournament in 2018.
Federer is the third seed and will not face Djokovic until the final. He has an okay draw – the 5/1 price on him winning a seventh Australian title is worth consideration.
Rafael Nadal is in Federer’s half of the draw, meaning a semi-final matchup is on the cards. Nadal lost just four matches in 2018, but he has not played a match since retiring from the US Open with injury.
His 9/1 price is obviously impacted by his return from a lengthy lay-off, making him the riskiest of the big three to back.
Zverev joins Nadal on 9/1. The 21-year-old took a big step to cementing his spot as the world’s fourth best player with his win in London.
His Grand Slam performances have still been very disappointing, however, having been eliminated in the round of 32 at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Zverev’s price is on the short side considering his track record under the brightest lights.
The odds lengthen out to 25/1 after Zverev. Cilic, who made the final last year and could meet Federer in the quarters, and Khachanov are at that price.
Khachanov’s win in Paris might have been a breakthrough of sorts. He took Nadal to five sets in the US Open and was knocked out by Djokovic at Wimbledon. It’s a big ask, as the odds show, but he’s a decent outside bet.
Cilic had a terrible end to 2018, including defeat in the ATP Finals round robin. Losses to Jan-Lennard Struff, Nicolas Jarry and Marius Copil followed a gruelling five-set defeat to Kei Nishikori at the US Open.
Khachanov is the better value of the pair at 25s for Australian Open glory.
Australian Open 2019 Women's
Caroline Wozniacki is the reigning Women’s Australian Open champion. It was a shock after Wozniacki’s career struggles in Grand Slams. She had not even made it into the last eight in Melbourne since 2012.
A disappointing WTA Finals and second round loss in Auckland contributes to Wozniacki’s 30/1 price to defend her title.
The Dane also disappointed at the US Open and Wimbledon. Her form is not good. Wozniacki has a favourable draw, though, which could attract some interest in her at 30/1.
Serena Williams is 4/1 favourite to win her eighth Australian Open. Williams has not played since the US Open, when she lost in the final to Naomi Osaka.
Having been seeded 16th for the tournament, Serena will face either world number one Simona Halep or her sister, Venus, in the fourth round. It’s a harder draw than she would have liked, but if she makes it past that stage, the draw will look good for a deep run.
Halep, partly because of her draw, is out at 17/1. She faces Kaia Kanepi in the first round, who knocked her out at the same stage of the US Open last year.
That disappointment was followed by defeats in Wuhan and Beijing to close out the year. Halep could well be knocked off top spot in the rankings after the Australian Open – few will expect her to get past Serena if she makes it that far.
Osaka, who is up to number four in the world, is 9/1 to win consecutive Grand Slams. A rematch of the US Open final with Serena is probable for Osaka, though the 21-year-old comes into the tournament off a loss to Lesia Tsurenko in Brisbane.
Osaka did beat Anastasija Sevastova prior to that defeat, however. Her three losses in the WTA Finals could make some bettors cautious about backing her.
Osaka deserves to be considered a favourite to go all the way. She was superb in the US Open final and will fancy her chances that she can beat Serena again if they meet in the semi-finals.
Angelique Kerber separates Osaka from Serena in the betting. The German left-hander is 8/1 to win the fourth Grand Slam of her career after making the semi-finals in Melbourne in 2018.
Kerber had a dreadful run of results after her Wimbledon glory. She has a decent set of opponents through to the last eight, but her price is way too short considering her form.
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*