Tennis: Wimbledon Preview & Betting Picks

Novak DjokovicThe most prestigious tennis tournament of the grand slam season, the Wimbledon Championships, begins June 29th and continues through July 12th and here previews both men’s and women’s sections with our picks and predictions.

Pre-tournament odds favor men’s defending champion, Novak Djokovic (pictured) to take home his third Wimbledon title. In the women’s section, Serena Williams is favorite to win her first championship at the All-England Lawn Club since 2012. In-form Williams has won both majors so far this year.

Women’s Wimbledon Championship Preview

  • Betting Lines: Serena Williams 7/4; Petra Kvitova 7/2; Maria Sharapova 7/1; Victoria Azarenka 9/1; Simona Halep 12/1.

There’s a reason why Serena Williams (7/4) is favored to go three-for-three in slams this year. It’s because right now, there really is no one playing better in the women’s game.

Williams is in the middle of a career resurgence that goes back to 2010. In the past five years and over the course of the last 18 majors, Williams has won nine of them, exactly half. She has been dominant in her recent stretch of matches as well, doing so having held the number one ranking since January 2014. She entered the year defending seven titles including the US Open Championship, an event that will see her looking for a four-peat later this summer.

But in the meantime, she’ll have to conquer Wimbledon, a tournament that has indeed been friendly to her over the years.

If Roger Federer is the King of the Grass courts, then Williams is the Queen. In her career, she has won at Wimbledon five times, the most among active females. There is no reason to believe that 2015 won’t be number six.

Williams’ record on the year is 32-1 with two withdraws as well. She has played well but not perfectly. In fact, sloppy play at the French Open almost cost her but her opponents’ inability to take advantage in key points of the matches made the difference. Williams rebounded to win each of those matches, including in the final against Victoria Azarenka, who was at one point, up a set and a break.

While the draw has not yet been released, seeding seems to indicate that (1) Williams, defending champion (2) Petra Kvitova, (3) Simona Halep and (4) Maria Sharapova will dominate their sections of the draw. Unsurprisingly, these four, with the addition of Azarenka, who is seeded just 23rd, make up the top five favorites in the sportsbooks’ betting odds.

Williams is the pick to win for sure but watch out for Azarenka. Her low seeding makes her a dangerous opponent in the draw for whoever gets the unfortunate job of facing her. Others to keep an eye on are Angelique Kerber (40/1), who is coming off a big win and who has had success on the grass in the past and Sabine Lisicki (20/1), whose serve has been doing very well on the grass this year. Overall though, the field for the ladies is shaky with only Williams really emerging as a clear cut favorite.

  • Pick Serena Williams, currently best odds at 7/4 with Bovada Sportsbook (slightly shorter with BetOnline and 5Dimes), to take home her sixth title and her third major in three tries this year.

Men’s Wimbledon Championship Preview

  • Betting Lines: Novak Djokovic 5/4; Andy Murray 11/4; Roger Federer 6/1; Rafael Nadal 10/1; Stan Wawrinka 14/1.

It is the Big Four of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as the favorites to win the championship. Wait; stop me if you’ve heard that one before.

It goes without saying that for the past decade, tennis has been utterly dominated by four men. These four won every major from 2006-2013 save for one, the 2009 US Open which was won by Juan Martin del Potro. Most of these titles belong to Federer, Djokovic and Nadal with Murray being responsible for only two. And that being the case, maybe it is time to call them the Big Five as Stan Wawrinka deserves to be in the conversation as well.

Wawrinka’s first major may have been considered a fluke but in defeating Djokovic earlier this year and spoiling his pursuit for his first French Open, Wawrinka may have opened a few eyes. No longer simply known as the guy playing second fiddle to Federer, Wawrinka has established himself as a guy who can win majors and a player who the big four would be wise not to underestimate.

Entering Wimbledon, it is possible the decade-long dominance of four men may be fading. Three of the last six majors have been won by the field, including Wawrinka’s two and the 2014 US Open won by Marin Cilic.

That said, if there is a changing of the guard on its way, it is not quite here yet. Federer, Murray and Nadal are all coming off tournament wins in the lead-up to Wimbledon and Djokovic looks as good as he has for the past two seasons. The world No. 1 is primed for yet another title and yet another title run.

Djokovic is the favorite but don’t count out Murray, who won his first Wimbledon crown just two years ago. There is something extra special to the hometown Murray that has seen him perform his best at the All-England Club. This year should be no different, especially given he has a new coach and a new vigor to return to the top. He has reached the semis both at the Australian and French this year and is an easy choice to return to that stage.

And then there is the guy you seemingly can never count out when it comes to a grass court in Federer. The seven-time Wimbledon winner may not have won a title since 2012, but that title was won at his favorite major of the season. He enters this year’s tournament once again healthy and looking in good form. If ever there was a title he had left in him to win, it would certainly be this one.

Other guys in the draw to watch out for are Kei Nishikori (25/1) and Tomas Berdych (28/1), two players who have been in the semifinal mix for the last handful of tournaments. Both Berdych and Nishikori have managed big wins over the top guys and are primed to win that first major sooner rather than later.

All things considered however, my money is on Djokovic. He’s been the guy the past couple of years and he is certainly in the right place physically and mentally to add some more hardware to his growing collection.

  • Pick Novak Djokovic, currently at best odds of 7/5 with 5Dimes Sportsbook, to win his third Wimbledon title and his second major win of the season. He is 5/4 with Bovada and BetOnline.