Australian Open Women's Final Betting Guide
The first tennis Grand Slam of 2023 wraps up this weekend with two fantastic matchups. The women's final of the Australian Open is set for 3:30 am ET on Saturday morning, and what better way to get in on the action than by making some wagers on the tennis odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Where can we find the most betting value tonight?
Elena Rybakina vs. Aryna Sabalenka
Over 22.5 Total Match Games (-126)
Over 2.5 Total Sets (+108)
Aryna Sabalenka Moneyline (-124)
Most of America will be asleep for this one, but if you happen to be up late (or early) in the wee hours of Saturday morning, this is final that's worth checking out. Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina have played some fantastic tennis at this tournament and are arguably the two most deserving players to be in this final.
For Sabalenka, this is her first time in a Grand Slam final following three semifinal appearances over the past two seasons. Despite being the No. 5 player in the world and reaching as high as No. 2, a major title has eluded the 24-year-old to this point.
She's certainly looked the part of a top-five player to begin 2023, boasting a perfect 10-0 record -- she hasn't even dropped a set -- behind a much-improved serve that often let her down in 2022. So far this season, she's posted a 9.9% ace rate and 6.8% double-fault rate, which are both significant steps up from the 6.2% ace rate and 10.4% double-fault rate she produced last year. Overall, it's helped her win 74.5% of her first-serve points and 54.5% of her second-serve points, both improvements from 2022 and stellar marks overall.
That isn't to say Sabalenka's double-fault woes have completely left her, though. Her double faults have crept up in the latter stages of this tournament, most notably getting her into trouble in the quarterfinals against Donna Vekic. While Sabalenka would ultimately win in straight sets, she put up an ugly 11.5% double-fault rate and won just 35.3% of her second-serve points. She needed to save 12-of-14 break points faced to get through, which isn't exactly a situation you want to find yourself in. She did right the ship in the semis, though, logging a mere 3.2% double-fault rate against Magda Linette.
On the other side, we have the defending Wimbledon champion, and there's little question that she's had the tougher path to these finals. While Sabalenka has two wins over seeded opponents in this tournament, Rybakina has had to defeat four straight between Danielle Collins (No. 13), Iga Swiatek (No. 1), Jelena Ostapenko (No. 17), and Victoria Azarenka (No. 24). Collins was last year's Australian Open finalist, and the other three are Grand Slam winners. Remarkably, despite the opposition, she's dropped one set all tournament.
Rybakina is one of the elite servers in the women's game, and she's used that weapon to great effect in 2023, crushing opponents with an 11.9% ace rate while only double faulting 3.8% of the time. She's winning a whopping 79.0% of her first-serve points and 50.9% of her second-serve points.
All of this is to say that both of these players are at the top of their games, and this should be a close matchup. Although Sabalenka is 3-0 in their head-to-head, all three matches have gone three sets, and they haven't played since 2021. I like the chances of this one going the distance, which is why taking the over on total match games or total sets is the best way to go. Note that over 22.5 games gives us a little more leeway -- we could still hit the over in straight sets -- which explains the difference in odds.
Based on current form, picking a winner is a little trickier, and I'm more inclined to stick with the above wagers.
But if we're looking to take a side, Tennis Abstract's Elo ratings -- which takes the last 52 weeks into account -- still give Salalenka a fairly substantial advantage, pegging her for a 63.2% win probability. Her odds have shortened to -124, which implies just 55.4% win odds.
That points to Sabalenka being the better value here. She's dominated their head-to-head and produced the better win percentage on hard courts over the last 52 weeks (68.2% vs. 59.5%). She's also the better returner historically, and that's been the case in 2023, winning 46.0% of her return points compared to 41.5% for Rybakina. Assuming Sabalenka can keep those double faults in check, she should be able to prevail for her first Grand Slam championship.