With the NFL betting calendar now clearly in the rearview mirror, bettors are now gearing up for NCAA basketball lines. Conference tournaments start one week’s time, and Selection Sunday is just 17 days away.
If you follow my analysis, then you know I’m mixing in a heaping helping of tennis betting on top of that. We’re still many weeks away from the true start of clay season and the run-up to French Open odds, but there are plenty of smaller tournaments that tour players are grinding their way through in between major tournaments.
This week, men’s tennis odds are centered in Dubai (UAE), Acapulco (Mexico) and Santiago (Chile). Of particular focus for me are the upcoming matches for Miomir Kecmanovic in Santiago – his -425 money line odds against Matheus Pucinelli De Almeida are woefully underpriced, in my opinion.
However, many bettors – particularly those who are less familiar with tennis betting – may be reluctant to lay such a steep price. With that in mind, I’m recommending another opportunity from the world of women’s tennis odds that offers a much more lucrative price.
WTA Doha Preview: No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka vs. No. 7 Iga Swiatek
WTA Doha, located in Qatar, is not one of the four major tournaments in tennis, but a WTA 1000 event, it is the next closest thing. With the tournament now in its quarterfinal round, the remaining draw features many of the best women’s tennis players in the world: Anett Kontaveit, Jelena Ostapenko and Maria Sakkari, to name a few.
Aryna Sabalenka – the 23-year-old Belarussian tour mainstay currently ranked No. 2 in the world – is Doha’s top-seeded player. After receiving a first-round bye, she cruised past Alizé Cornet (Rk 37) and Jil Teichmann (Rk 41) to reach the quarterfinal.
Iga Swiatek represents Sabalenka’s biggest test not just of this tournament but of the 2022 season thus far.
— wta (@WTA) February 23, 2022
Swiatek – ranked No. 8 in the world and seeded seventh in this tournament – has been terrorizing WTA tournaments for about a year now. She dominated the 2021 clay season and was a heavy favorite in last year’s French Open women’s odds. She’s compiled a 155-49 match record as a professional, even though she’s only 20 years old.
Swiatek doesn’t have the advantage of playing on clay at Doha, but she’s still showing strong form. She dominated Daria Kasatkina (Rk 28) in Wednesday’s third round, 6-3, 6-0. Perhaps because of this form, I actually saw some early lines for Thursday’s match between Sabalenka and Swiatek set at Swiatek -125.
Since then, though, the odds have flipped, with the marketplace pushing Sabalenka into a short favorite position at -135.
Sabalenka, to her credit, has been playing well herself. She also earned a 3-set win over Swiatek at the group stage of last year’s WTA Finals, played on hard court in Guadalajara. Both of these notes are surely a factor in the market movement.
However, I believe Swiatek is the right play here. Sabalenka has a history of losing as a favorite, and my eyes tell me that Swiatek is just playing better right now in the early stages of the 2022 tour. The fact that she was initially favored despite being a lower-seeded player is also telling.
Swiatek made a deep run at the Australian Open and has dominated lesser opponents as expected, in part because she doesn’t make the volume of unforced errors that Sabalenka often does.
I bet Swiatek right out of the gate at -125, and I’m very excited to double down at a more lucrative price. Right now, at BetMGM online sportsbook, Swiatek is available at +105. I’d take that in a heartbeat.
Bet: Iga Swiatek +105