This article is part of our Tennis Picks series.
The 2022 edition of Wimbledon has already become a noteworthy one before any players have even stepped onto the court due to the back and forth between Wimbledon and the ATP/WTA. For those who have not been keeping up, Wimbledon has banned all Russian and Belarusian players from participating, and the men's and women's tennis associations responded to this perceived injustice by stripping Wimbledon of ranking points. Between the significant prize money – a first-round loss in the main draw still nets $50,000 – and the prestige that comes with winning a Grand Slam, all players who are healthy and eligible still plan to participate at the grass court major, even though their ranking won't be affected by their results here.
Notable players that will have to sit out as a result of Wimbledon's decision are Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov and Aslan Karatsev on the men's side, as well as Aryna Sabalenka, Victoria Azarenka, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Daria Kasatkina and a slew of less prominent women's players. Additional absentees due to injuries include Alexander Zverev (ankle), Roger Federer (knee) and Naomi Osaka (Achilles). Other notable players have question marks hanging over their heads as the tournament nears. This group includes Rafael Nadal, who says he intends to play through a foot injury that required a numbing agent in his nerve during the French Open. Emma Raducanu (ribs) had planned to play Eastbourne in the lead-up to Wimbledon but has since withdrawn, raising further questions about her health, while Jannik Sinner (knee) should be good to go for both Eastbourne and Wimbledon. Andy Murray suffered an abdominal injury in the final of Stuttgart earlier this month but is hoping to heal in time to take part in his home slam. Additionally, Serena Williams is expected to play competitive singles for the first time since tearing her hamstring at last year's Wimbledon.
Now that we have covered who's in and who's out, it's time to get into the nitty gritty. The men's side has a prohibitive betting favorite, but that player has just one title in 2022, so there's some great value to be found among the secondary favorites. There's also a clear women's favorite, who has won 35 consecutive matches heading into this tournament but is unproven on grass. Should either of those players falter – and it's quite likely that at least one will – there are plenty of capable alternatives ready to pounce on the opportunity. After each player's name, you will see their title odds from DraftKings Sportsbook (DK), FanDuel Sportsbook (FD), BetMGM Sportsbook (BetMGM) and Caesars Sportsbook (Caesars) in that order. The odds can vary substantially, especially for long shots, so you are encouraged to shop around for the best lines if you have access to multiple betting platforms. FanDuel in particular has some juicy odds.
Novak Djokovic [DK: (-125), FD: (-130), BetMGM: (-125), Caesars: (-120)] - Djokovic has won Wimbledon six times, including each of the last three times it was held, thrusting himself into the conversation with Roger Federer and Pete Sampras as one of the greatest grass court players of all time. With Djokovic's unvaccinated status possibly making him ineligible to compete at the US Open later this year, Wimbledon could represent his last opportunity to win a Grand Slam in 2022 and avoid being held without one for only the second calendar year since 2010. So, what's to stop a motivated Djokovic from retaining the Wimbledon crown? The forced layoff that included missing the Australian Open clearly took a toll on the 35-year-old's form, and Djokovic has gone just 3-3 against top-10 opponents since his return. His aura of invincibility is no longer there, so it's a bit surprising to see Djokovic as a heavier favorite here than Iga Swiatek was for the women's French Open. He's still the man to beat but I'd put the rest of the field even money or better against Djokovic, even without the Russians.
In the Mix
Rafael Nadal [DK: (+650), FD: (+600), BetMGM: (+650), Caesars: (+650)] - Nadal's halfway to a calendar year Grand Slam, and he'll be a tough out at Wimbledon if his body holds up. The grass gets more worn out and favorable to Rafa's game as the tournament goes along, so it will be important to monitor Nadal's draw. If he can avoid an early pitfall while the grass is slippery and harder to move on, Nadal should heat up in the middle rounds and put himself in contention for a third Wimbledon title. Nadal's only loss when not noticeably hampered by injury in 2022 came against Carlos Alcaraz [DK: (+800), FD: (+1000), BetMGM: (+800), Caesars: (+700)], who just missed the cut for this category due to his lack of proven results in Grand Slams or on grass.
Matteo Berrettini [DK: (+600), FD: (+700), BetMGM: (+550), Caesars: (+550)] - Grass courts tend to favor the players derisively referred to as serve bots, and Berrettini is the most effective player of that archetype currently on the tour. There's little question that the serve is the biggest weapon for the 11th-ranked Italian, but Berrettini's proficiency at slicing the backhand to complement his big forehand allow him to be more effective in rallies on grass compared to other surfaces. Since returning from a hand injury, the 2021 Wimbledon runner-up has gone 9-0 en route to titles at Stuttgart and Queen's Club, both on grass.
Hubert Hurkacz [DK: (+1400), FD: (+1800), BetMGM: (+1400), Caesars: (+1200)] - Hurkacz has some serious grass court bonafides. He's the only player to ever serve Federer a bagel at Wimbledon, doing so in the quarterfinals last year before falling in the semis. A grass-court title at Halle just propelled the Pole back into the top 10, and Hurkacz is an excellent mover at 6-foot-5, giving his game more depth beyond the serve and serve plus one (using the serve to set up a winner on the very next shot).
Nick Kyrgios [DK: (+2000), FD: (+2600), BetMGM: (+1400), Caesars: (+1800)] - Kyrgios and French Open semifinalist Marin Cilic [DK: (+2000), FD: (+3000), BetMGM: (+2000), Caesars: (+2000)] are both tantalizing options in this odds range, but the enigmatic Aussie gets the slight edge between these two big servers. He has beaten Nadal at Wimbledon before and is 2-0 against Djokovic head to head, as well as a respectable 3-6 against Nadal overall. Keeping his focus for seven consecutive matches is a feat that has previously eluded Kyrgios, but he claims he has matured at age 27, even if his on-court antics seem to say otherwise. Ultimately, winning the title might be too tall a task, but I would bet on Kyrgios to upset Djokovic should they face off.
Iga Swiatek [DK: (+150), FD: (+155), BetMGM: (+150), Caesars: (+150)] - We are one Swiatek loss away from the women's draw being thrown wide open, and frankly, the field looks much more appetizing against the dominant world No. 1 here than it did at the French Open. Not only is winning the French Open-Wimbledon double extremely difficult due to the proximity of these two Grand Slams, but Swiatek will also be going from her favorite surface, clay, to her least favorite, grass. The 21-year-old world No. 1 is just 4-4 in her career on grass, and while she's a better player now than she was in her previous forays to the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Swiatek's decision to bypass grass-court tournament preparation after winning Roland Garros could prove costly.
In the Mix
Ons Jabeur [DK: (+1100), FD: (+1400), BetMGM: (+1000), Caesars: (+1200)] - Jabeur's surprise first-round exit at the French Open is an outlier, as she has otherwise played phenomenal tennis over her last four tournaments, winning two and falling to Swiatek in the final of the other. The third-ranked Tunisian quietly has one of the most effective serves on tour, and the variety in her game allows Jabeur to be effective on all surfaces. Most notably when it comes to grass, Jabeur may have the most effective slice on the WTA Tour now that defending Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty is retired. Coming off a grass-court title in Berlin, Jabeur offers excellent bang for the buck at her modest title odds, especially considering she defeated Swiatek at Wimbledon last year en route to the quarterfinals.
Coco Gauff [DK: (+900), FD: (+1000), BetMGM: (+1000), Caesars: (+1000)] - Gauff's growing up in front of our eyes and is the oddsmakers' second-favorite to win the title, albeit a distant one behind Swiatek. The 18-year-old American followed up her loss to Swiatek in the French Open championship match with a semifinal result on the grass courts in Berlin, where she lost to Jabeur. The key to beating other top players on grass for Gauff will be her serve, as she can get free points on her first serve but has one of the more vulnerable second serves among top players.
Beatriz Haddad Maia [DK: (N/A), FD: (+3200), BetMGM: (N/A), Caesars: (+2500)] - Odds on Haddad Maia to win aren't even being published at some sportsbooks, which means she should be a substantial longshot when she finally gets added. Nobody has been hotter this grass-court season than the 26-year-old Brazilian, who has rocketed up into the top 30 with consecutive titles on the surface. After winning in Nottingham and Birmingham, Haddad Maia will look to keep going ham at Wimbledon.
Petra Kvitova [DK: (+2500), FD: (+5500), BetMGM: (+2000), Caesars: (+2500)] - Serena Williams [DK: (+1600), FD: (+1800), BetMGM: (+1400), Caesars: (+1600)] is also an obvious sleeper, but there's a lot working against Williams coming off a year-long layoff at age 40 and having experienced a mental block in Grand Slam championship matches before her injury. Instead, let's turn to another multi-time Wimbledon champion in Kvitova. Perhaps there's something about the un-trampled grass that bothers lefties, because Kvitova has experienced some early upsets at Wimbledon but tends to heat up as the tournament unfolds, just like Nadal. In 13 previous appearances at Wimbledon, Kvitova's mode result is a first-round loss. Tied for second at two apiece? Second-round losses, quarterfinal losses and titles. The 32-year-old Czech has had a forgettable season and is barely seeded at this point, but Kvitova has been there before and is one of the few players on the WTA Tour that's capable of playing her best tennis on grass.
Sasha's Wimbledon Betting Tips
On the men's side, it's still Djokovic's tournament to lose, but whether he retains the title is more dependent on his draw and opponents' form than it has been in recent years. Betting on Nadal at Grand Slams has been a winning strategy in 2022, and you'll be hard pressed to find better value in the men's draw than Nadal at his current odds if his treatment regimen is indeed working on his foot. If you can find a Djokovic and Nadal vs. the field bet, lock in the two all-time greats. After all, such a bet would have won for each of the last 12 Grand Slams in which both Djokovic and Nadal played, dating back more than four years.
It's Swiatek against the rest of the women's field, just like Roland Garros, but I expect the field to come out on top this time. Something about Jabeur's recent form and the way her game fits grass makes her a tempting bet, and your loose change is better spent on a small bet on Haddad Maia than under your couch cushions.