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2021 Australian Open Preview & Betting Picks




The 2021 tennis season will get its official start on Sunday night as first-round matches at the Australian Open begin in Melbourne. Nearly every player from both the WTA and ATP, as well as many Challenger players, have endured a drama-filled quarantine inside hotel rooms in Melbourne and Adelaide for the past month. So, while there may be some conditioning issues, I’m expecting this group to be more focused and well rested than we usually see at this tournament. Let’s take a look at tennis betting picks and odds for the 2021 Australian Open. 

Here’s a look at what my model is expecting from this tournament for both tours.

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Tennis Betting Picks: Australian Open

Men’s Tennis Betting Picks

Andrey Rublev +2000: Rublev continues to improve at every major tournament he plays in. He lost in the Round of 16 at this tournament last year and then made it to the quarterfinals in both the U.S. Open and the French Open. Now he gets a cupcake draw, as he will smoke Yannick Hanfmann and Thiago Monteiro in the first two rounds. Then it’s Lorenzo Sonego, who Rublev dominated in Vienna at the end of 2020, and then probably Roberto Bautista-Agut. This quarter makes it look like the tournament organizers in Australia did whatever they could to make sure we get to see the Battle of Russia between Rublev and Daniil Medvedev in the quarterfinals. I think there’s a great chance of that happening, but I see a couple trouble spots for Medvedev in this bracket. If he’s healthy, Vasek Pospisil can force Medvedev into coin-flip tiebreakers in the first round. Filip Krajinovic is 1-0 against Medvedev after beating him at Indian Wells in 2019. Then it’s David Goffin or Borna Coric, both of whom can be tricky to play against. Should Medvedev get upset at any point before the quarterfinal round, Rublev would be a big favorite against anyone else in this bracket.

Rafael Nadal +550, Reach Final +250: These Nadal prices feel like an overreaction to him sitting out of the ATP Cup this week. While he did cite a sore back as the reason for the withdrawal and mentioned that it is still stiff headed into this tournament, we’ve also seen a slew of withdrawals on both the men’s and women’s tours in the warm-up tournaments over the last week. It’s entirely possible I’m underrating the severity of his back issues, but +550 on Nadal where he only has to beat one of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer is too good of a price. Since his only win at this tournament in 2009, Nadal has reached the final four times and lost each time. Considering how much time he’s had to rest over the past year, I think we’re going to see the hyper-focused version of him as he tries to capture his 21st major title and win this tournament for the first time in 11 years.

Milos Raonic +5000, Quarter +1400: At some point it just has to happen for Raonic. His serve is too dominant and he’s too good of a returner for him not to make a deep run in one of these majors. He obviously drew the short straw by getting stuck in the bottom half of Djokovic’s quarter. Yet I have a strange feeling about Djokovic in this tournament. He backed out of the Adelaide kickoff exhibition match against Jannik Sinner because of “severe” hand blisters, even though he was quarantined in his hotel room for the two weeks prior to the match. Novak also attempted to bargain with the tournament organizers, demanding better accommodations for players stuck in quarantine. He also completely lost his mind after he lost in a doubles match at the ATP Cup, smashing his racket and pouting in a way that would even make Nick Kyrgios blush. I really wonder where his head is at for this tournament and would not be shocked to see a bizarre early exit like we saw at the 2020 U.S. Open.

Women’s Tennis Betting Picks

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Garbine Muguruza +1200: Muguruza futures are not for the faint of heart. For every major final appearance, there’s a horrific flameout in the first or second round. Considering her recent form and draw, this tournament is set up as well as any has for her since her last major title. This also means that she’ll look lifeless and get swept by Margarita Gasparyan as a -2500 favorite. Yet I can’t get away from her with how dominant she has looked in the warm-up tournaments. She has beaten three of her four opponents in under an hour and won over 70% of points. The lowest dominance ratio she has posted in any match was 1.57 against Sofia Kenin, which is still an absurd number. I love where Muguruza’s head seems to be, and I can’t get away from getting double digits on her outright in her current form. 

Marta Kostyuk Outright +6600, Quarter +2800: I’ve been debating how to attack the last quarter of this bracket. The top two seeds are Aryna Sabalenka and Simona Halep, both of whom are capable of winning the entire tournament or getting upset in the first round. The next highest seed is Serena Williams, but I simply can’t trust her to make a two-week run in a tournament anymore. After that is the 2020 French Open champion (and my personal favorite) Iga Swiatek, but she just won her first major, changed rackets headed into the new season and is way overpriced. Swiatek is going to threaten — if not surpass — double-digit major wins in her career, but this does not feel like the time for her after her dominant and surprising run in Paris. I’m very intrigued by Kostyuk at this price. She’s already posted some really nice wins in her brief career and made a run to the Round of 32 at the U.S. Open last year. At that tournament she even gave Naomi Osaka a scare and really had her against the ropes before blowing three consecutive break points in the third set and falling apart from there. We’ve seen so often on the WTA tour these longshot, talented teenagers make deep runs into majors, and it would not shock me to see Kostyuk put her name on the map with one here.

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Round 1 Bets

Vasek Pospisil +831: I mentioned earlier I think Pospisil can give Medvedev a real challenge in the first round. The head-to-head favors Medvedev 2-1, but all three matches were close. While it’s impossible to tell how healthy Pospisil is, I still love the idea of taking him and his serve as a first-round flier before the wear and tear of playing in five-set matches takes a toll on him.

Norbert Gombos +118: This has been bet down to a pick-’em at some places. Both my model and Elo models have Gombos as the favorite here, and I think oddsmakers are giving Alex Bolt too much of a home field advantage. 

Jordan Thompson -121: I disagree with the line movement in this match. After opening Thompson at -121, it’s now down to Thompson -103. Casper Ruud is on a five-match losing streak and hasn’t really lived up to the potential he has shown. Thompson isn’t nearly as talented, yet he has maximized his gifts and has been much more consistent. 

Maxime Cressy -108: My model really loves Cressy because of the statistics, specifically his serving numbers, he has posted in a limited sample. He should be able to serve his way through Taro Daniel.

Zarina Diyas +115: I’m not a huge fan of Tamara Zidansek on this surface. She has a great win over Jennifer Brady in January and has generally looked better to start this season than she has since her best form in 2019. Diyas is a low-upside player who simply does not possess the tools to make a deep run. However, she is a much more consistent player, and I believe she’ll be able to capitalize on Zidansek’s mistakes.

Alison Riske +134: Other people seem to be much higher on Anastasia Potapova as a prospect than I am. She seems to always be priced better than my model would have here. I have Riske priced as roughly a -150 favorite, and I can’t reduce that price down to +134 after factoring in rust.

Yuichi Sugita -134: God bless the people who are still backing Bernard Tomic. Tomic should not be less than a +150 underdog until he proves he cares one iota about tennis anymore. Since reaching a career-high rank of 17 in 2016, his career has been a bigger disaster than an NBA Top Shot pack drop.

Moneyline Favorite Parlay Pieces

Tomas Machac, Thiago Monteiro, Elisabetta Cocciaretto, Tsvetana Pironkova, Dominik Koepfer, Tommy Paul, Naomi Osaka, all the big favorites over -1000 except Pliskova and Medvedev

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Blaine Jungwirth contributes expert tennis and data analysis to Blaine's work in quantifying fantasy production in tennis is amongst the tops in the industry and his tennis projections are a must-have for any fan of the emerging field of tennis DFS. You can contact Blaine by emailing [email protected].

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