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The Australian Open is scheduled for January 18th to January 30th, 2010 so it is only about 5 to 6 weeks away. But even while the ATP is in their short off-season, you can still bet the favorites in the futures market.
Here are the best prices for the top players who are expected to be in the draw in Melbourne:
Here's my list of the top 10 favorites at the Australian Open, independent of their prices:
1. Novak Djokovic
2. Andy Murray
3. Roger Federer
4. Nikolay Davydenko
5. Juan Martin Del Potro
6. Robin Soderling
7. Rafael Nadal
8. Andy Roddick
9. Fernando Gonzalez
10. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
The best value clearly appears to be with Novak Djokovic, the 2008 champion, and Nikolay Davydenko, the champion of the ATP World Tour Championships. Those are the two players with a realistic shot of winning whose odds are significantly longer than their true odds of winning and you have to like both of their prices.
As far as longshots go, Robin Soderling, Fernando Gonzalez, and Jo-Wilfriend Tsonga are your best bets.
Soderling has no significant history of success at the event but he is at a career high for ranking as the world's number 8 and he may still be surging. Making the US Open quarterfinals and winning two matches at the ATP World Tour Finals have to make you optimistic about this player at odds of 33 to 1.
Fernando Gonzalez is a dangerous player on tour that should, based on age, be tapering off soon. However, he is still playing tough and he has made the finals in Melbourne before. At 100 to 1, he has value as a longshot.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga did not do enough with his 2009 season to warrant consideration as a favorite. However he has done well at the Aussie in the last two years (runnerup 2007, quarterfinalist 2008) and he can be considered to be an outside threat. At 33 to 1 to win, this player's odds could really shorten.
If you feel that you are spread out too much, then drop Gonzalez and Tsonga and concentrate more on Djokovic and Davydenko.
Keep in mind that the US Open was won by a longshot as Del Potro cashed in so don't be afraid to go with players not named Federer or Nadal. 2010 looks like it could be a 'change of the guard' type year on tour.