Roger Federer versus Rafa Nadal in the final? It may be considered a safe bet given the magnificent duo's recent domination of the sport, but the fact is Nadal has only reached the final of the Australian Open once throughout his career, and the event down under offers reward for UK internet customers looking to back their own Andy Murray to at least repeat his run to the final in 2010.
Betting on Murray to achieve the results needed to challenge Federer in 2011 starts in Australia, but predictions he will finally win a first grand slam event must be tempered by recent history. Federer's career has been a highlights reel and taking advantage of the odds which point to the Swiss reaching the final for the sixth time in eight years could be richly rewarded.
Nadal and Federer aside, the early tournament fixtures will offer best value for odds of upsets. Although the likes of big names Novak Djokovic or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga have contested the final in recent years, too much down time over Christmas could mean that despite their impressive positions in the standings, they could be ripe for an early fall. Predictors who concur might be inclined to support their gut feeling by utilising one of the free bets available from online bookmakers.
As one sports writer said: "There's nothing guaranteed to remind us of the joys of a British winter more than the Australian Open in the sunshine. But if you are looking from value from your bets, then Federer would seem to be your man.
"Every year we think he is going to start to wane, but every year he gets the results to keep him at the top of the standings and he rakes in the big prizes. His form highlights how much work Andy Murray is going to have to put in if he wants to be one of the fixtures at the very top of the world rankings.
"A bet on who the two finalists will be is always an interesting wager and for those punters who can utilise a free bet supplied by an online bookmaker, odds upwards of 12/1 are not unusual in this market – even when supporting some of tennis’s biggest names. . Meanwhile, the UK-based punter who fancies betting on Murray to win might be best served looking at such an outcome without either one of the big two in the field.
"There are any number of bets available, from winner to beaten finalist to who will drop the fewest sets or serve most aces throughout the tournament. There's plenty of fun to be had to keep the winter blues at bay. And in the UK in January, you can bet that that is something we’ll need."