The 21-time Grand Slam winner doesn’t lose often. That is why she is still the outright favourite to take on Wimbledon despite losing the Australia Open final to Angelina Kerber and more recently the French Open final to Garbine Muguruza.
Currently at 2.55*, Pinnacle odds suggest an implied probability of 39.22% of making it to Wimlbedon glory.
With the tennis world raving about Williams’ decline, paradoxically, she is priced shorter than prior to the French Open, where she opened at 3.50 - an implied probability of 28.57%.
With Williams yet to pick up her first Grand Slam title in 2016, it looks like the more she loses, the more the bettors back her to win.
What is even more notable is that, in spite of the odds reflecting an almost 40% chance of success, there are three rivals currently priced below 10.00, and a further eight below 50.00 - an extreme rarity for a Grand Slam tournament.
After losing in Paris, Williams paradoxically opened lower (2.55) in the WTA Wimbledon winner market than prior to the French Open (3.50), suggesting that the more she loses, the more the bettors back her to win.
In total, there are 23 women’s players priced below 100.00 to win Wimbledon, at the time of writing, and it is difficult to recollect a recent occasion when this many players were priced under the 100.00 mark to win a Grand Slam.
With that seven players seeded outside the top ten reaching the Wimbledon final in the last nine years, such an open market suggests that there is plenty of room for surprises, making hedging an ideal strategy for betting in the WTA Wimbledon.
Williams does boast a strong record in recent years at Wimbledon, with four titles (2009, 2010, 2012 and 2015) in the last seven years and there should be little doubt that the fast conditions assist the world number one’s huge serve.
This is borne out by Williams holding 88.0% on grass in the last two years, and numbers like that - allied with breaking 40.2% (combined 128.2%) make her an incredibly difficult opponent on grass, and the justifiable favourite here.
The newly crowned 2016 French Open champion has somersaulted herself to number two in the world rankings, and has also been priced as second favourite, at a current 6.28*, for the Wimbledon title.
Given that Muguruza reached the final last year (lost 6-4 6-4 to Williams) this looks reasonable, although it’s worth noting that she had very little success on grass previous to last year’s Wimbledon (she lost to Magdalena Rybarikova and Johanna Konta in early rounds of warm-up events in 2015).
In addition to this, her solitary warm-up event on grass failed to give her much match time on the surface, when she lost her opening match in Mallorca to Kirsten Flipkens.
A combined two-year grass 107.7% hold/break percentage, with a particular issue on return, means that Muguruza will need to improve to eclipse her 2015 achievement. Given that she has improved generally since last year, this is certainly not out of the question, but it’s far from a given.
The Czech - almost a grass-court specialist - is third favourite for the Wimbledon trophy at 6.77*, although she will have to turn around a woeful 2016 season, which has seen her fall out of the top ten, to claim the title here.
With titles in 2011 and 2014, it would be reasonable to assume that Kvitova will be overjoyed at the prospect of the grass season starting, and an 11-1 record in the last two years, holding 90.2% and breaking 40.7% (combined 130.9%) marks her out as being superb on the surface.
Kvitova’s performance in warm-up events has not convinced, with her losing in the second round of both tournaments, as a heavy favourite in each match, to Jelena Ostapenko and Johanna Konta. Her performances in the early rounds of SW19 will be the key to assessing her chances of success at Wimbledon this year.
In the early preview, bettors were recommended to keep an eye on Azarenka’s fitness levels prior to the tournament.
This proved to be solid advice, given that the Belarussian has now withdrawn prior to the event.
Available at 20.36*, Halep finds herself priced bigger than in most of her recent Grand Slams, despite having reasonable grass court stats (79.7% holds and 40.7% breaks, 120.4% combined) in the last two years.
Defeat to Eugenie Bouchard in the 2014 semi-final remains the closest Halep has come to Wimbledon success, and that was the only year that she has made it past the second round at SW19.
After a hit and miss 2016, and not playing any warm-up events on grass, Halep will need to improve considerably to threaten the best on the surface.
The Australian Open champion is priced a touch larger than Halep, at 22.94*. Following three consecutive defeats on clay, the world number four has plenty to prove in advance of Wimbledon.
Her best showing in this event was a semi final in 2012 (lost to Radwanska) and it’s worth noting that all six of her main draw defeats since 2010 came when she was a starting price favourite.
In spite of the odds reflecting an almost 40% chance of success for Williams, there are 3 rivals currently priced below 10.00, and a further 8 below 50.00 - an extreme rarity for a Grand Slam tournament.
As mentioned in the French Open preview, a feeling persists that Kerber either loses early in events or gets to the latter stages, and she does have a 15-3 record on grass in the last two years (combined 114.1% hold/break). Keep an eye on her opening match to determine whether her odds offer a good hedging opportunity in the outright market.
At 22.94*, the American prospect is currently the same price as Kerber, despite the fact that she has just broken the top ten in the world rankings for the first time following victory in the grass-court Birmingham warm-up event.
Boasting a big serve, it’s reasonable to assume that the quick conditions at Wimbledon will help Keys, and she does have strong service numbers (82.8% games held) in the last two years.
However, a very limited return game will also hinder the 21 year old and whilst she will no doubt be capable of a good showing, and an upset along the way, it would be a lot to ask to see her in the final on the 9th July.
The Pole has been profiled in previous Grand Slam previews as someone that can beat those worse but struggles with better opponents - effectively she is the female version of Kei Nishikori.
At 24.83*, the world number three will have her supporters, and she did manage to take a set from Serena Williams in defeat in the 2012 final. Indeed, she has managed the semi-finals or better in three of the last four years at SW19.
Radwanska also has a strong grass record in the last two years, holding 78.5% and breaking 44.5 (combined 123.0%), winning 16 of her 20 matches on the surface in that time period.
However, Radwanska only won one completed match in the two grass warm-up events that she entered, losing as a heavy favourite to Coco Vandeweghe and Dominika Cibulkova.
With hold/break statistics in her favour, backers of Radwanska will be looking for an attractive draw and one of the top players in her bracket to be knocked out early, for her to get to the final.
At 29.77*, Bencic is the final player currently priced below 30.00. New to the top ten, and winner of the Eastbourne Premier warm-up event on grass (and finalist in Hertogenbosch) last year, Bencic has shown a liking to the surface and given her age, has plenty of potential to improve further.
With 7 players seeded outside the top 10 reaching the Wimbledon final in the last 9 years, such an open market suggests that there is plenty of room for surprises, making hedging an ideal strategy for betting in the WTA Wimbledon.
Supporters of Bencic will also point to a strong 11-7 record against top ten opponents, showing that she can raise her game against the best players that the WTA can offer, and it’s also worth noting that the Swiss teenager is 19-6 on grass in the last two years, holding 73.0% and breaking 36.2% (combined 109.2%).
Having said all this, fitness issues seem to be causing Bencic problems currently, and a retirement in Birmingham, and subsequent defeat to Elena Vesnina in Eastbourne mean that backers should look to assess her performances in the opening rounds prior to parting with any money.
With this year’s WTA Wimbledon outright market more open than ever, there is plenty of room for outsiders to cause an upset. Below are the key underdogs to keep an eye on.
2014 finalist Eugenie Bouchard is still hit and miss, with some improvement mixed with horror showings (a thrashing by Elise Mertens in Hertogenbosch this week, for example), whilst Karolina Pliskova should benefit from conditions but, by her own admission, seems to perform best in smaller events. Both are priced at 41.03*.
Pliskova lost the final of the Eastbourne warm-up event this week to Dominika Cibulkova, and it will be interesting to see if Cibulkova - another player that is very hit and miss - can bring this form onto the biggest stage.
Sloane Stephens is improving and is available at a slightly larger 45.52*, but the American is 5-26 in her career against top ten opposition - something she will need to rectify to have success in Grand Slams.
Among the players priced over 50.00, the majority are out of form - Sabine Lisicki (who loves grass) (52.11*), Lucie Safarova (52.11*), Ana Ivanovic (63.60*) and Caroline Wozniacki (70.18*) definitely fall into this bracket - whilst the veteran Venus Williams (53.13*) lacks consistency at the highest level.
Brit Johanna Konta (57.32*) has performed well on grass before and has improved in the last 12 months, and can cause an upset against a higher ranked opponent, whilst the likes of Coco Vandeweghe (72.44*) , Kristina Mladenovic (84.65*) and Tsvetana Pironkova (103.19*) have strong historical records on the surface, and look to be favoured by the dynamics of grass courts. Top players will look to avoid this trio in the early rounds.
Now that you have a clear picture about the players competing in Wimbledon, go to How to hedge a bet for guaranteed profit to find out how to make a profit in the outright markets even before the competition is over by using the hedging strategy.