Bienvenidos a Miami! It’s been 2 whole years, but we’re back, baby! We’re going to party in the city where the heat is on, all night, on the beach till the break of dawn. Well, probably not, but we’ve got tennis! Much has been made of all the men dropping out of the ATP draw, but the WTA hasn’t had that problem. The entire top 20 is here and there’s plenty of other great players in this big draw. Let’s breakdown each player’s chances and hopefully find some value in the outright betting markets.
Quarter 1, Top Eighth
*See the glossary at the end for explanation of table headers*
This section is likely comes down to a match involving two of the game’s very best. Ashleigh Barty is the defending champion and has a great game for these slower hard courts. Her first serious challenge won’t come until round 4 when I expect her to face Victoria Azarenka. It might be Angelique Kerber who has played well on these courts, but has looked less than her best this season and holds a 2-8 record against Vika. Azarenka won this event in 2009, 2011, and 2016 with a semifinals appearance in 2018. Although some of those results are over decade old, it shows us she knows what it takes to win on these courts. Her draw isn’t as easy as Barty’s, but I’m hard pressed to see anyone except a qualifier on a hot streak keeping us from a Bart/Azarenka match. I’d favor Barty in that match, but she’s 9-1 to win this event vs. the 25-1 odds available on Azarenka. There’s another wrinkle that concerns me about Barty. This will be her first tennis match outside of Australis since February of 2020. She’s traveling to what is effectively the other side of the world for the first time in a long time. I definitely can’t bet her at 9-1 to win this event and at 25-1 in the same section, I think I’ll wager on Vika instead.
Quarter 1, Bottom Eighth
The bottom part of the 1st quarter looks like Aryna Sabalenka’s to lose. She generally prefers a faster surface, but she’s only lost on hard courts 4 times this year. She will face a few players that will make her play longer points than she wants, but unless Belinda Bencic or Marketa Vondrousova find a level not seen for over a year there is no one in this section to trouble Aryna. Bencic did make the final in Adelaide, but has been poor in the little tennis she’s played since then. Marketa should love the slow conditions and did make a quarterfinal here in 2019. She’s 66-1 to win this event which did catch my eye, but not worth a wager. Sabalenka is among the favorites at 9-1 and based on who she might have to face just to win the quarter I can’t play that either.
Quarter 2, Top Eighth
I love how this section is set up for Simona Halep. Yes, Iga Swiatek is at the bottom, but Iga should see 2 tougher opponents in Barbora Krejcikova and Madison Keys before she even gets to Halep. Simona has never won this event, but hasn’t lost before the quarterfinals in her last 4 appearances. The slow conditions are perfect for her. Swiatek is a great player, but her draw is harder and at 16-1 versus the 13-1 you can get on Halep there’s no value in the Polish player. I will be betting Simona though at 13-1. This numbers looks even better when you compare it to women in the next section and other parts of the draw.
Quarter 2, Bottom Eighth
Petra Kvitova is 12-1 to win this event. She does have a bye, but will challenged in almost every match the rest of the way. She has made the quarterfinals twice, but I think that was mostly due to an easy path and not her aptitude to play in these conditions. Whether it be Elina Svitolina, Nadia Podoroska, or Ekaterina Alexandrova she’s going to be challenged just to make the quarterfinals let alone win her own quarter even at 12-1. Svitolina is 30-1 and much as I expect her to give Kvitova all she can handle, she has an even tougher draw than Petra and is likely a dog in that match. There’s just no value on these players based on what I’m seeing.
Quarter 3, Top Eighth
Garbiñe Muguruza sits at the bottom of this section and is the second favorite in the betting markets which is preposterous to me. Her first few matches should be comfortable wins, but with Bianca Andreescu at the top of the section and the bottom half of the quarter stacked with talent I can’t justify her number. I’d bet some Andreescu at 20-1 or better out of respect, but 17-1 is the best number I’ve got. She has a soft start and was arguably the best hard court player on tour when she last played, so if you find a 20-1 or better, go for it, but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t exist.
Quarter 3, Bottom Eighth
What a great quarter? Jennifer Brady, Elena Rybakina, Ons Jabeur, Jil Teichmann, Paula Badosa, and Sofia Kenin are all women I love to back, but not when they’re all in the same eighth. Kenin at 33-1 is the best number on the board, but it’s just no good when you consider all the players she’d have to beat just to win her quarter. Rybakina at 66-1 also look appealing, but she’s had little to success this season and would have to beat Brady and Kenin just to win her section. Brady might just outclass everyone as she continues to ascend into the top tier of the WTA, but at 14-1 I’ll just watch and see instead of wagering on that happening.
Quarter 4, Top Eighth
I bet you’re expecting another few sentences from me about how easy this section is for Karolina Pliskova. NOPE. Kiki Berten is playing her 3rd match of the year and won only 7 games combine din her first 2. Sitting right in the middle is one of my favorite players and someone having as good of a season as anyone, Jessica Pegula. She has a bye, a winnable next match, and then faces Pliskova in the 3rd round who she was a favorite against in Dubai in a match she won 0 & 2. Jessica is 30-1 to win this event and I’m happy to take a piece of that number. I think she’s the clear favorite to win this section and the favorite in the next section could be vulnerable than expected.
Quarter 4, Bottom Eighth
Will all do respect to Elise Mertens, there is only 1 name that matters in this section. Naomi Osaka is the favorite to win this event at 5-1. I think she has a winnable section, but likely faces Pegula to win the quarter, the winner of a loaded 3rd quarter to make the finals, and then Halep/Barty/Sabalenka in the final. She’s never made it past her 2nd match in Miami. This could be because she generally plays well in Indian Wells the week before, but I think it has to be the slow conditions. She is likely a favorite in every match she plays until the finals where is she still likely a favorite, but I can’t bet on her at 5-1. I mentioned the hard end to the draw already and that come after possibly facing players like Mertens and Yulia Putintseva who will make her work and build up fatigue.
Quarter 1 – Azarenka over Sabalenka
Quarter 2 – Halep over Kvitova
Quarter 3 – Kenin over Muguruza
Quarter 4 – Osaka over Pegula
Final – Azarenka over Osaka
RECAP OF WAGERS
1U – Halep 13-1 or better
0.55U – Azarenka 25-1 or better
0.45U – Pegula 30-1 or better
GLOSSARY OF DATA HEADINGS
Avg Rk – This is the average rank of opponent’s faced over that period.
Avg Spread – This is the average games more(or less) the player wins than their opponent. For example, 1.3 means that player averages 1.3 games per match more than their opponent.
Avg Total – This is the average total games in matches this player has played
Hold% – % of total games won on service
Break% – % of total games won on return