Australian Open predictions: Three picks for the first Grand Slam of 2024
One of the great betting events on the sports calendar kicks off this weekend.
The 2024 Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the tennis season, gets underway at 7 p.m. Eastern on Saturday and will culminate two weeks later, providing plenty of great sweats for the night owls among us.
Novak Djokovic (-105) is the odds-on favorite to win his 11th Australian Open, but there are murmurs that the 24-time Grand Slam champion is not 100 percent healthy.
If Djokovic is not at his best, the entire complexion of this tournament changes and the door would open even if just slightly for a surprise winner.
Lets take a look at a few players worth a punt Down Under:
Daniil Medvedev (11/1, FanDuel)
Theres going to be plenty of support behind second-favorite Carlos Alcaraz and third-favorite Jannik Sinner with the rumors that Djokovic is hurting, but Id rather take a longer number on Medvedev, who once again seems to be flying under the radar relative to the other headliners.
The 27-year-old Russian is a two-time finalist at this event and has a terrific Grand Slam pedigree with a win (U.S. Open), four runner-ups and seven trips to the semifinals.
Daniil Medvedev of Russia plays a backhand during a training session ahead of the 2024 Australian Open. Getty Images## Andrey Rublev (50/1, bet365)
I just cant quit backing Rublev at these long prices at Grand Slams.
Currently ranked as the No. 5 player in the world and coming off a terrific season in 2023, Rublev is one of the most consistent players on the ATP Tour.
The 26-year-old is the only player male or female to have at least 50 wins in each of the last three seasons and hes made the quarterfinals in five of his last seven Grand Slam appearances (he was prohibited from playing at Wimbledon in 2022 due to the Russian invasion).
If youre a tennis junkie, you know Rublev made dubious history by becoming the first player to lose his first nine appearances in Grand Slam quarterfinals, but I think that hurdle is helping us here.
Had Rublev had better luck in quarterfinals, his odds would be slashed in half.
The simple way to look at this is youre getting the fifth-best player in the world at least by ranking points at a huge price.
Hubert Hurkacz (90/1, FanDuel)
Its been tough sledding for Hurkacz in Grand Slams.
The 26-year-old native of Poland has immense talent and power, but his underwhelming record at themajors is hard to ignore.
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Hurkacz has made one semifinal (Wimbledon, 2021) but that was the only time hes ever made it beyond the fourth round at a slam and hes been eliminated in the second round or earlier in seven of the last 12 slams despite being a seeded player.
Theres clearly some baggage here and maybe the best-of-five format doesnt line up with Hurkaczs game, but hes still the World No. 9 and, most importantly, has a terrific draw in Melbourne.
Hurkaczs path wont see him play a seed until a potential date with No. 21 Tallon Griekspoor and his potential fourth-round opponent would be a struggling Holger Rune.
Theres no excuse for Hurkacz, who finished 2023 with a win at the Shanghai Masters, not to make a deep run over the next two weeks.
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