Should Novak Djokovic be an underdog in the 2018 Australian Open?

The first Grand Slam of the year is upon us, with this year’s Australian Open set to be a hotly contested affair. There is a plethora of dark horse contenders who will be looking to upset, such as 2018 Hopman Cup finalist Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, Juan Martin Del Potro, and even Australia-native Nick Kyrgios is in the running make waves at the 2018 Aussie Open.

Next, we turn to the headline contenders. With Andy Murray still suffering from injury troubles, the elite class of the Australian Open this year is boiled down to three star players – two of which are returning from injuries. After an almighty 2017 campaign which saw him win the Australian Open and Wimbledon, the ever-youthful Roger Federer kicked off 2018 by winning the Hopman Cup on the 4th January. Then comes Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who have recently recovered from a knee injury and an elbow surgery, respectively.

Having won so many Australian Opens in recent years, you would be forgiven for thinking that Djokovic would be the shoe-in favourite to win this year’s Grand Slam, but that is not the case. Having missed the majority of 2017 after finally having elbow surgery, the Serbian superstar competes in the Kooyong Classic prior to the start of the Aussie Open to test his fitness. Despite winning the Grand Slam in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016, Djokovic comes in as the third-favourite to win it this year, sitting at 5/1 in the tennis betting, behind the 9/2 Nadal and 7/4 Federer.

It appears as though experts in the field are doubting Djokovic’s ability to return to his trademark intensity and elite-level of play so quickly after such major surgery, but he may prove them wrong, and come back stronger than ever. Without an injured elbow to play through and having had plenty of time to recover, once Djokovic has shed the rust, he should be one of the favourites to win any given Grand Slam in 2018.

Coming in as the second-favourite this year is Rafael Nadal, who will also be competing in the Kooyong Classic to shed some rust, is still a major doubt for the Australian Open. While he’s expected to compete in Melbourne, his coach has claimed that they are very wary of any potential aggravations on his recently recovered knee injury. Nadal shared the glory of 2017 with Federer, with the two splitting the four Grand Slams, but the start of his 2018 campaign looks to be in jeopardy.

                                                                Source: Roger Federer, via Twitter

Finally, the favourite to win the first Grand Slam of 2018, Roger Federer. With two Grand Slam wins in 2017, Federer kicked off 2018 on the right foot. The Swiss maestro alongside Belinda Bencic won all three of their Hopman Cup group stage games 3-0 before emphatically beating German wunderkind Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber 2-1 in the final. Unencumbered by injury and in a fine run of form, Federer is certainly the man to beat in the 2018 Australian Open.

It’s set to be a superb tournament to kick of this year of tennis, and while Federer is expected to win it all, if Novak Djokovic returns to form quicker than expected – now injury free – his initial underdog status could be seen as misplaced as he guns for a sixth Aussie Open win in eight years.

France favourites for Davis Cup final

France have been made this year’s favourites by the bookmakers for the 2017 Davis Cup when they take on Belgium in the final later this month.

Yannick Noah’s team have been a step above their opponents in reaching their third final in eight years, defeating Japan 4-1, Great Britain 4-1 and Serbia 3-1 earlier this year.

Opponents Belgium have been very impressive in upstaging Germany in the first round, Italy in the quarter-finals and Australia in the semis to reach only their third-ever final.

This year’s final takes place at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Villeneuve d’Ascq, France between 24-26 November.

Noah has a wealth of talented players to pick from in his French side, including Gilles Simon, Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Belgium on the other hand have current world number 8 David Goffin.  The 26-year-old is having the year of his career and has won all four of his singles rubbers in the Davis Cup this year.

However, Belgium have not won any of their doubles matches to reach the final and it would be a shock if they were to overcome Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in the final.

Those who bet on tennis will find France as the short favourites with odds generally around 1.25, suggesting that France are going to win their first Davis Cup since back in 2001. Continue reading

Grand Slam Tennis

When we hear the word grand slam in tennis, we are actually hearing reference to winning each of the four major tennis competitions. These events take place in France, Australia, England, and the US. The tournaments themselves bear the titles:

  • French Open
  • Australian Open
  • Wimbledon
  • US Open

Aside from their respective locations, one of the chief differences among these tournaments is actually the surfaces in which matches are played upon. For example, the French Open is played upon a clay court, while its English counterpart, Wimbledon is waged upon grass. Both the Australian and US Open(s) are conducted upon hard courts, which offer a greater uniformity to subsequent ball bounces.

In order to achieve a grand slam a player (or team) must have won top marks at all four tournaments within the same calendar year. This is to say that they must be completed in order with the Australian Open coming up first in January, followed by the French Open and Wimbledon (May –  July), and of course followed up by the US Open in the fall. If for instance, a player was to win Wimbledon, then the US, Australian and French open(s), it would be considered a non-calendar year grand slam, and wouldn’t really count. Continue reading

Exchange Betting Guide

“What is exchange betting?”

Exchange betting is a relatively new phenomenon. It is made possible only by advanced web site technology. Exchange betting web sites, together with some great betting tips and predictions, offer bettors a greater chance of winning than do traditional bookmakers. The reasons are explained in a separate section below.

In brief, exchange betting web sites allow punters to bet against each other, acting as either bettors or bookmakers by making a ‘Back’ bet or a ‘Lay’ bet respectively. The prevailing ‘Lay’ bet odds are always more than the prevailing ‘Back’ bet odds (obviously). The difference, however, can vary greatly, depending on how ambitious (or greedy) the bettors are.

If you want better odds that are available at any given moment, you can request your desired odds and state the amount of money you want to bet at those odds. If, at any time thereafter, another punter accepts your offer, your bet is ‘matched’. You can cancel your request at any time, but as soon as it is matched by another punter you can no longer change your mind. You can do this as many times as you like, both BEFORE and DURING the event, right up until the instant when the final result is known.

To meet the expense of the technology, the web site provider takes a commission on the net winnings of all punters on each event. This means that, if you make a ‘Back’ bet on an event at certain odds and a ‘Lay’ bet on the same event at different odds that enable you to make a net profit from the result, you’ll pay a commission on only the net profit, not on the amount you actually won. This is a very fair arrangement, as your loss mitigates your winnings.

As a simple example, if you make a ‘Back’ bet of 10 on player A at odds of 4 (3/1) and offer a ‘Lay’ bet of 20 on the same player at odds of 2 (1/1) which is matched later in the event as the players’ fortunes change, you’ll win 10 (less commission) if either player A or player B wins. If player A shows no sign of threat to player B at all, your ‘Lay’ bet will not be matched, and you’ll lose 10 when player B wins. If you do not offer a “balancing” ‘Lay’ bet, you’ll lose 10 if player B wins, and win 30 (less commission on 20) if player A wins.

“What events are most suitable for exchange betting?”

The greatest chance of winning occurs in events where the scoring is fairly continual and steady, and where there can be small “swings” towards the likely result. Events such as tennis, golf, snooker, martial arts, baseball, cricket, American football, darts, rugby, pelota, volleyball, handball, basketball, etc. are suitable; hockey, boxing less so; soccer is unsuitable, because scoring is so rare, and a single goal creates a huge swing in favour of the scoring team.

Logically the fewer the possible outcomes are, the greater are your chances of winning on the event. This is another reason why soccer is harder to win on than tennis, for example; a soccer match can end in a draw, whereas in tennis there can be only a winner and a loser. Horse-racing is hardest of all because any one of a number of runners can win. Despite this irrefutable logic, horse-racing and soccer are the most popular sports events for exchange betting.

A close third in popularity, however, is tennis. Because there must be plenty of money in the “pot” also, tennis therefore ticks all the boxes for the best chances of winning at exchange betting:

There are only two opponents, and any change in the odds on one has a directly corresponding effect on the other’s;
There can be small swings to one side or the other during the event;
There can be only one winner and one loser, no draw or tie;
There’s plenty of money being bet by punters.

The best summer sport to place your bets on

Unless you’re a football fan, the summer is a fantastic time for sports. While the football season has wound down for a few months, fans of other sports are enjoying the sun while watching their favourite sports and even placing a few bets. If you’re a betting enthusiast that primarily bets on football, then you’re missing out on some exciting summer sports where you have the potential to make a few more quid.

Cricket is probably the first thought of many people when it comes to summer sports. Although the cricket ‘season’ starts at in March, it isn’t until the summer where the majority of games are played. Throughout the summer of 2017, there are numerous competitions and large matches for you to place some bets. In England, fans can look forward to the NatWest t20 Blast. With multiple games a day on almost every day, betting fans can look forward to placing plenty of bets. If 20:20 cricket isn’t your ideal form of cricket, the County Championship is still ongoing throughout the summer for test match betting enthusiasts. If that still isn’t enough cricket for you, the Women’s World Cup is still ongoing for the rest of July. In other summers, cricket fans also have the joys of the Ashes, the ICC Champions Trophy, and even the ICC Cricket World Cup!

Another good ‘summer sport’ to place your bets on is tennis. Although tennis is played all year round, it isn’t until summer where the majority and largest tournaments are played. Between May and July, two of the biggest Grand Slam tournaments are played – The French Open and Wimbledon. In recent years, it has become expected that one of the ‘Big Four’ win the Grand Slams and it doesn’t seem like that dominance will end any time soon. However there have been some major shock in recent years – the most notable being Rafal Nadal’s shock second round exits at Wimbledon in 2012 and 2015. It’s not just the Grand Slams which fans and punters can look forward to. There are tournaments such as the German Open and the Washington Open over the summer to place some more bets. Continue reading

Benefits of Tennis on Old Age

Being physically active throughout life is important in maintaining your overall health, especially as we get older. Taking up a sport and staying fit reduces your risk of both heart disease and diabetes, can help keep your weight under control, strengthen your bones and been known to have a positive effect on mental health across all ages. Keeping active is an easy way to alleviate mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and stress.

Sports like Tennis increase positive mood enhancers in the brain and have been known to reduce feelings of physical and mental fatigue. Not only does this positively change your body, but can also help you feel less lethargic and low in life. Of course, tennis is a difficult sport to play alone, so the social aspect of tennis can also help you socialize with new people and make friends, which can be uplifting.

Even at amateur level, tennis is a fast spaced sport, requiring plenty of snap decisions, quick movements and lighting fast reflexes. At all times, you need to consider your body movements, the direction of the ball and even your opponent’s movements. If this is kept up regularly, it will help keep you sharp throughout the years and help you make quicker, snappier decisions under pressure.

Although the general vibe at a pro tennis match often seems rather relaxed in comparison to say a football or rugby game, the speed, power and intensity required to play is often underappreciated. The average serve speed for pro tennis players is around the 140mphmark, and even at lower tier levels, the power and speed required is still intense. This helps build strength, overall muscular development and join strength, without having to resort to things like dumbbells or free weights if that’s not your scene!

If you’re looking for an easy sport to take part in to get fit, healthy and active, tennis is perfect with hundreds of clubs across the UK, and millions of players of all levels across the globe.

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5 Wimbledon Records You Won’t Believe

Home to one of the greatest tennis grand slams of the season, Wimbledon has provided us with its fair share of sporting entertainment. The highly anticipated tournament is eagerly awaited by participants and fans every year, as they follow and play their way through the beginning of the season.

Arguably, over the years Wimbledon has come to represent not only tennis but all that is considered to be quintessentially English. A firm fixture in the summer sporting calendar, Wimbledon delivers high class tennis and is symbolised by English strawberries, cream, Champagne and Pimms.

The Championships are responsible for showcasing the highest levels of tennis on grass courts, played over two weeks during midsummer.

As an event, Wimbledon has set records you wouldn’t believe, not only in tennis but also in other aspects. With the 2017 Championships fast approaching let’s take a look at some of the records that have been set over the years.

1) Food and Drink Consumption:

Wimbledon is easily the largest catering operation at a sporting event within Europe. Taken from the 2016 championships, these figures relate to the total consumption of food and drink at Wimbledon – the figures are simply astonishing. The numbers include food and drink consumed on site only, they don’t include food and drink that is included in off-site Wimbledon hospitality.

Last year 177,135 glasses of Pimm’s were served, to quench the thirst of visitors and spectators, 139,435 portions of strawberries were dished up for fans to enjoy, 133,800 traditional English scones were served and a whopping 2772 kilos of bananas were provided for players in the competition.

Strawberries at Wimbledon are so iconic that nothing other than the best will do. Provided the crop is plentiful, Grade 1 Kent Strawberries are considered to be of the finest quality and are specifically chosen for the championships. In order to make sure that the strawberries are as fresh as possible they are picked the day before they are served to consumers, and arrive at the gates of Wimbledon at 5.30am!

2) Longest Ever Match:

The Longest ever match at Wimbledon went on for an astonishing eleven hours and five minutes, over three days, and consisted of 183 games.

It was late in the day on Tuesday 22nd June 2010, when American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut strolled out onto court number 18 to begin what was to be the ultimate tennis match. The match was unremarkable to begin with, with Isner winning the first set followed by Mahut winning the next two. The fourth set was won by Isner then at 9.07pm the match was suspended until the following day. The following afternoon the fifth and final set began with both players determined to move through to the next round. Anticipation grew as it became clear neither one of the rivals was willing to lose the set. Points were scored one after the other without any hesitation from either player. At 5.45 pm the match officially became the longest in history, but it wasn’t over yet.

At 9.09 pm the match was suspended for a second time, with the score of the fifth set reaching an astonishing 59-59. The following day play resumed and finally ended with Isner winning 70-68.

Unsurprisingly, due to the length of the match more than one record was broken. John Isner etched his name in history again, having served a massive 113 aces, during the game.

3) Most Singles Titles:

With an equal number of titles to their names, William Renshaw, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer all have equal rights over the most singles titles record at Wimbledon. Each player has an impressive seven titles to their name at the grass Grand Slam. Considering the professional lifespan of a tennis star, this achievement is astonishing. Continue reading

Australian Open run could give Nadal new Lease of Life

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal produced a classic in the final of the Australian Open, with the Swiss prevailing over his old rival to secure his 18th Grand Slam title. Both men had struggled with injuries and a lack of form in the 2016 season, but were able to roll back the years in the tournament reaching the final to produce a match reminiscent of their former selves.

Rafael Nadal 2009 Melbourne” (CC BY 2.0) by Brett Marlow Melbourne Australia

Federer enhanced his legacy by pulling further away of the Spaniard and Pete Sampras on 14 titles apiece, but Nadal gave himself hope for the future after coming through a number of intense contests to challenge for the crown. At the age of 30 he could remain in a strong position to challenge the Swiss for the all-time record should he maintain his standard of play.

The next Grand Slam will provide Nadal with a chance to hit straight back at Federer and continue his level of excellence at the French Open. The Spaniard is a dominant force on clay and is backed in the latest tennis betting odds at 11/4 to win his 10th crown at Roland-Garros.

The 30-year-old has been troubled by a number of injuries over the past two seasons since winning his last Grand Slam in Paris in 2014. His problems began at Wimbledon when he was dominated on the court by Nick Krygios, while his fitness issues took hold to rule him out of action at the US Open.

He failed to find his rhythm at all the following year suffering only his second defeat in the quarter-final stage at Roland-Garros, while also exiting Wimbledon and the US Open in the second round.

His issues were even worse in 2016, failing to make an impression at any of the four major tournaments, although he did triumph over Murray at the Monte Carlo Masters before claiming the title by defeating Gael Monfils. However, the win would be the high point of his year.

Rafael Nadal” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by y.caradec

A wrist injury prevented him from competing at the ATP Tour Finals at the 02 Arena, giving him time to recuperate ahead of the Australian Open. In Melbourne, the 30-year-old eased through the opening two rounds of the competition, defeating Florin Mayer and Marcos Baghdatis in straight sets.

His first challenge came at the hands of Alexander Zverev and the young German took a 2-1 lead advantage over Nadal, but the Spaniard rallied to win the final two sets with ease to advance. The result proved that he still had the resilience and quality to win points at the crucial moments as well as being able to go the distance.

The confidence gained from his win over Zverev helped the Spaniard brush aside Monfils in four sets, while Milos Raonic was dispatched in straight sets in the last eight. Grigor Dimitrov awaited in the semi-finals, and the 30-year-old needed all his resolve to overcome the Bulgarian.

Momentum turned one way then the other, but once again Nadal rolled back the years to win the crucial points when it mattered the most in the deciding fifth set to clinch his place in the final. He battled well against Federer on the Rod Laver Arena to get the crowd out of their seats, evoking memories of their famous clash at Wimbledon in 2008.

The Swiss claimed the victory, but Nadal proved that he can last the distance in a Grand Slam while playing multiple five-set matches. His fitness and form held up throughout the competition and going into his favourite slam he should be fired up to regain his crown and push on for more to challenge Federer’s all-time record. He proved again there’s still life in him.

How to place a Sure Bet on a Tennis Match

Obviously there is no such thing as a sure bet, but it is possible to predict quite easily who may win some tennis matches. For example, the Wimbledon final this year was between Andy Murray, a past champion who was playing in his third Wimbledon final and had the home crowd advantage and Raonic who had never even reached a semi-final at Wimbledon before, was ranked lower and had been beaten by Murray on grass at a final a few weeks before. This means that betting on Murray would be what most people would do if they were betting on the outcome of that match. However, to get a better return on your bet, you can place a bet at the beginning of the championships. It is then far harder to know who might win. You would probably have been tempted, before Wimbledon started to bet on Djokovic who was the number one in the world and had a great record, but he got knocked out in one of the early rounds, something no one predicted. Therefore meaning that it was far harder before the contest to predict the winner, than it was to predict the winner of each match.

rio 2016 tennis

The next big tennis contests coming up are the US Open and the Olympics in Rio, both taking place this summer. Many people will be wanting to place a bet on these events. The Olympics is probably easier to predict than the US Open for a number of reasons. In the Olympics countries can only send two male and two female players which means that there will be less people taking part. There have also been several players dropping out due to the Zika virus risks which means that there are even less players to choose from. Anyone wanting to place a bet will need to wait until the final player list has been confirmed as some countries are still planning their teams.

Placing a bet is so easy, even if you have not placed a bet before. There are many online places where you can do this such as m88 sport. You just have to register and then you can put some money into your account and use it to place bets. You can choose whether to bet early and choose who you think may win the Olympic tennis before the contest starts or wait to see the draw and find out who plays who or you may decide to place a bet on specific matches where you think that you will be more easily able to predict the outcome. It all depends on how much risk you are willing to take as if a match is easy to predict, then the odds will be set so that you do not get a good return on your bet, but if it is harder to predict you are likely to get more money if you win. This means that the higher the risk you are willing to take when you bet, the higher the return that you are likely to get on your bet.

Here’s 5 quick Tennis terms You should know

The smart handicapper is one that can evolve past pre-determined sports picks. We’re not trying to pick on anyone, and we recommend sports picks all the time. But if you want to increase your handicapping skills, you have to know more about the sport that you’re trying to play. In our opinion, this brings us right back to the jargon of tennis, the vocabulary that we use to describe the game. The more you dig into the past performance of a player or even a set of players that you’re really interested in, the more important that it will be to know this type of information.  Without further delay, the list of terms is displayed below.

1. Rally

When you hear the sports commentator say “rally”, you know that you’re in for a real treat. This is where there is a very long series of shots. It could be a 22 shot rally, or even just a 7 shot rally. But it’s exciting because the players are literally battling to see who will miss that shot.

Tennis terms

2. Set

Understanding what a set is will help you when you go to place your bets. While the match is the whole tennis game, a set can be seen like a slice of that game. A set is played best out of six, and you have to win three sets to win the match. Sometimes it’s also five sets.

3. Fault

Faults really eat away at a player’s ability to score. It’s simply a missed serve, but if you double fault you lose the point and the other person gets a chance to serve. If one tennis player double faults against a seriously good server, it can change the nature of the game.

4. Game Point

This is where the heat really kicks up about a thousand degrees, turning a tame match into a blazing inferno. The game point is what ends the game if the person out in front wins the point. It’s when people can make silly mistakes that end up costing them their game. As good as Serena Williams is, she’s made many a mistake in this critical moment.

5. Lob

Players that lob shots are aggressive, and handicappers should embrace aggressive players. This is a shot that swings up high in the air, often going over a player’s head completely.

Now that you’ve got the terms down, do you have a place to put down all of your tennis wagers? If you don’t, now is the time to find the right sportsbook to play at. We’ve discussed this in the past, so check through our archives and see what we recommend for a sportsbook. Have fun and happy punting!