It is that time of year again (finally). I have missed this for two years. A special time of year as a tennis fan and especially a British tennis fan. Another mad dash to get this over the line and for that reason, I would love to give a massive shout out to myself. Levels! Probably not what I will be thinking if these selections fall by the wayside early. Let’s hope not! I have given you punters a mixture of main bets, the value bets/run for your money and some fantasy bets if you just want some interest (you choose which category your punting falls into).
Ladies First Quarter
Ash Barty is the top seed and though she says she is ‘fit and firing’ she hasn’t committed to saying she is totally fit. Is it a bluff? I obviously don’t know but my gut is that it is worth taking this on board at 9/4. Bianca Andreescu (9/1), Vika Azarenka (9/1) and Jo Konta (16/1) are also in here. I actually backed Vika at 50s on the outright a week or so ago. Daria Kasatkina (16/1) is back in good form and I always look out for Coco Vandeweghe (40/1) at this time of year. Jelena Ostapenko has just won in Eastbourne and has a decent record here including a semi-final in 2019. It is not one I will be getting right stuck into but I might as well stick with Vika and the Eastbourne champion.
Equally divided bets on Victoria Azarenka at a general 9/1 and Jelena Ostapenko is 10/1 with Victor Chandler and 9/1 with Hills. The more I think about it though I am starting to slightly favour the Latvian but will be backing both. If you want a bigger price then take the 33/1 Coco Vandeweghe with Skybet (or 28/1 with VC/Bet365/Hills if not). She is a mixed bag, she could be gone in the first round, she could go deep. You have been warned.
Ladies Second Quarter
Serena (11/5), Coco Gauff (5/1), Belind Bencic (10/1), Angie Kerber (11/1) Elina Svitolina (12/1) are in this quarter. I will probably back Serena (nothing new there) but I can’t work out who I will back for a cover. Bencic and Kerber have both shown form coming in but don’t always replicate. Coco proved in Paris that she is still very much on a learning curve and considering her age there isn’t anything odd about that. It has put me off backing her this time though. Svitolina has never grabbed my fancy much and certainly not on grass. Karolina Muchova made the last eight a few years ago and I might have a small bet on her too. Camila Giorgi was playing well in Eastbourne but an injury picked up on her thigh doesn’t sound overly positive.
Recommendations Main bets on Serena Williams at 11/5 with Boyles and a cover on the 10/1 Karolina Muchova (10/1 Skybet and a fair bit of 9/1 about elsewhere).
Ladies Third Quarter
I find this quarter exceptionally competitive as shown by Petra Kvitova being the 7/2 jolly. It is pretty much a dead heat five ways for the second favourite with Madison Keys, Elise Mertens, Sofia Kenin, Ludmilla Samsonova and the bang out of form Karolina Pliskova, all pretty much between 15/2 and 9/1. Samsonova might look like a misprint but after her performance of big serving and painting the lines in Stuttgart, she has been given a wildcard here. The question is will she able to maintain that level. Further down the list are the grass-court pedigree of Donna Vekic, Alison Riske and Sloane Stephens who will play Kvitova in the opener. I am going to go with Jessica Pegula who is relatively new to grass but just seems to put in some solid efforts and a complete Wildcard in Tereza Martincova who went quite well in Eastbourne.
Recommendations – Small bets on Jessica Pegula at 25/1 with Bet365 (or 22/1 with Boyles) and the smallest of bets on Tereza Martincova at 150/1 (quite a general price apart from Skybet who have ducked her at 33s, please only take 150/1 here to get a true reflection of your chances).
Ladies Fourth Quarter
Another very competitive section. Aryna Sabalenka is the 3/1 favourite and faces a nasty opener against qualifier Monica Niculescu. Iga Swiatek is unproven on the surface but is next in at 5/1, Heather Watson should probably have beaten her this week, Daria Kasatkina did. Garbine Muguruza is a similar price. Then there is the section of players that I am liking here in Elena Rybakina, Maria Sakkari and Ons Jabeur. I do like the Tunisian who won her first tour title recently in Edgbaston, she looks to play well on grass from what we have seen in the last few years. Rybakina is generally a 6/1 poke and the fact I can back Sakkari around 8/1-9/1 means that looks a bit better value in the same section of this quarter. She is impressing me the more I see here and was unlucky not to make the final in Paris. Queen V is also in this section. Venus will play mixed with Kyrgios apparently. Amazing.
Recommendations – Ons Jabeur at 11/1 with Skybet or else it is 17/2 with Bet365 and Boyles. Maria Sakkari is 9/1 with Skybet and 8/1 general. I will divide my stakes up equally between these two.
For this, I will back Jelena Ostapenko and Maria Sakkari both at around 33/1 each-way, plus my standard bet on Serena at 7/1. I am tempted with Jabeur but have given the edge to Sakkari in that section.
Recommendations – Serena at 7/1 with Paddy Power/Betfair Sportsbook and then each-way bets on Jelena Ostapenko at 33/1 with Bet365/Betfred, I have actually had to take the 28/1 with VC. I will also back Maria Sakkari each-way at a general 33/1.
Men’s First Quarter
It is difficult to see Nole getting beat if I am honest. Normally I would think Kevin Anderson could be nasty in the second round but the South African hasn’t looked right with hip and adductor injuries since returning. Monfils and Davidovich Fokina are two of the seeds and with Monfils really struggling of late and the Spaniard seeming to have niggles after the French plus a nasty opener against Denis Kudla, it looked best to leave them alone. Andrey Rublev is the biggest name after Djokovic but he is still relatively unproven on grass (though he recently made the final in Halle). At single finger quotes, I just can’t get involved. Jannik Sinner has even less experience on the surface at the moment but recently lost to Jack Draper at Queens, Draper is Djokovic’s first opponent. I like the Brit and I hope he gives a good account of himself and I think he will. The winner of Schwartzman v Paire might go well. Paire is the better player on the surface but has lost his last five matches and only won two all year. Schwartzman is improving but it will still be a big ask to get past Djokovic on a grass court. Djokovic is around 2/7 – 1/4 to win this and you can see why. Schwartzman is as big as 33s with Skybet and Paire 200s with 365 and BetFred. It has to be a no bet here, doesn’t it?
Recommendation – Keep it in your pocket, difficult to see past Nole at 2/7 but I can’t back it or tip it up.
Men’s Second Quarter
Stefanos Tsitsipas is obviously the clear favourite for this section and based on ability nobody can argue with that. He hasn’t played an event since coming off the clay, which isn’t surprising but the poor lad lost his grandmother recently. In his past three attempts at Wimbledon, he hasn’t made it past the last 16. That will no doubt change but it’s not really in my DNA to put a top-priced 7/4 poke in when the circumstances are like they are. His first opponent Frances Tiafoe won the first challenger in Nottingham this year so it is not a nice start. Roberto Bautista Agut was my hero winning his quarter at 22/1 when I tipped him up two years ago and he gave Nole a real game in the semis. RBA is half the price this year and not in that same rich vein of form, though I wouldn’t rule him out. Andy Murray and Denis Shapovavlov are both in here and both singles figure quotes (Murray is as big as 10/1 with Coral and Skybet) which doesn’t tickle my fancy for many reasons right now. It is a great chance for Shapovalov but 8/1 (13/2 general) just isn’t big enough right now. Alex De Minaur is playing well and we all know Dan Evans is my boy! So yes, I am biased. The 20s Evo looks a better bet than the 11/1 De Minaur. Though Feli Lopez is another rough draw, I wasn’t too happy when I saw that. De Minaur has Sebastian Korda which also looks nasty. I wonder whether it is worth taking a punt on the 40/1 Miomir Kecmanovic. If RBA isn’t at his best he might capitalise. Mackenzie Mcdonald is a stupid price at 200/1. The American plays well on the grass and made the last 16 here a few years ago and has just won three rounds of qualies to make the main draw.
Recommendations – Small go on Dan Evans at 20/1 (Bet365 and Hills) and then an even smaller go on Miomir Kecmanovic at 40/1(Skybet). Fantasy bet at 200/1 on Mackezie Mcdonald (Bet365 and BetFred).
Men’s Third Quarter
Matteo Berrettini (2/1) leads the betting for this quarter by a fine margin from Alexander Zverev (11/4) . Felix Auger-Aliassime (10/1), Ugo Humbert (16/1), Nick Kyrgios (14/1) John Isner (18/1) and Casper Ruud (66/1) are also in this section as well as old-timers Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Kei Nishikori. I actually like Matteo Berrettini, not necessarily due to winning Queens but the surface should suit him. My worries are that I am underestimating Zverev here and Isner could be a nasty third-round matchup. I am going to go with this though. Ugo Humbert would be by mid-priced flutter at 12/1 (tough opener against Kyrgios) and my huge price fantasy bet would be Taylor Harry-Fritz at 150/1.
Recommendations – Main bet on Berrettini at 2/1 (Coral) with a decent cover on Humbert at 14/1(Skybet/Boyles/Betfred). Your 50p bet on Taylor Fritz at 150/1 (Hills).
Men’s Fourth Quarter
I am once again going to have to take on the first few in the market. Daniil Medvedev is a 7/4 favourite from Roger Federer at around the 9/4 mark. Medvedev has Jan-Lennard Struff in his opener and he recently lost to him in Germany on grass. I have always wanted to keep close tabs with the Russian for Wimbledon but the cat is well and truly out of the bag. Federer hasn’t looked quite match fit though he did get what he wanted from his trip to Paris. The draw is reasonably kind for Federer early on when you take into consideration his head to head records and the grass-court experience of some of the players around him. Cam Norrie (20/1), Pablo Carreno Busta (22/1), Marin Cilic (10/1) and Grigor Dimitrov (14/1) are the other seeds in this section. Norrie has played well all year and his run to the final of Queens should put him in good stead. Cilic is unpredictable at the best of times but when the former finalist is double figures he starts to become a decent proposition on the surface. He won the title in Stuttgart recently too. If Adrian Mannarino didn’t have a 0-6 record against Federer I would like his chances a lot more at 100/1, he does have grass-court pedigree though. As does Sam Querrey, who looks a reasonable price around the 22/1-25/1 mark.
Recommendations – Going to have Marin Cilic at 10/1 (Betfred) and Sam Querrey at 22/1 (Hills or 25/1 Skybet if you can) as my main bets and a tiny saver on Norrie 18/1 (general). Mannarino 100/1 is a bit of a fantasy bet, especially with Federer first but you never know, worth the smallest of stakes (general).
I am finding it difficult to look past Djokovic for this too but at a shade of odds on I simply don’t fancy the risk of a freak performance or injury etc. Best to scatter the money elsewhere and I will go with Berrettini, Cilic and Humbert and those pure fantasy bets on Dan Evans and Sam Querrey.
Recommendations – Main bet Matteo Berrettini each-way at 12/1 (general), smaller bets on Marin Cilic at 66/1 and Ugo Humbert 100/1 (general) both each-way. The pure fantasy bets on Dan Evans 250/1 (Bet365 and Victor Chandler) and Sam Querrey at 200/1-250/1 (Bet365, Skybet and Victor Chandler). I will even back these two each-way for very small amounts.
All that remains to be said is happy punting but most of all enjoy the tennis. Tune in for my daily blog of the Championships. Let’s ave it!!
Andy Del Potro (Al Davies).