All lines from DraftKings Sportsbook and are of course subject to change.
Welcome to the terrifying world of mid-pandemic sports betting. Normally we’d have a half season of results, trends, injury concerns and match stats to assess, but right now we have nothing. Unless you are betting on Dominic Thiem, who played an absurd 28 matches in 52 days during the extended hiatus.
There’s an element of mystery to almost every player’s current form and confidence level. Sure, plenty of players took part in various exhibitions, but we aren’t going to place any stock in meaningless matches, most of which were played with abbreviated scoring formats. We have to go with what we know for sure.
The WTA is back this week in Palermo, and we know for certain they are playing on red clay. Although surface specific records are notoriously difficult to find for the WTA, we still have a good idea of who excels on the dirt.
Top-seed Petra Martic plays with exceptional variety and athleticism, which translates well to clay. She owns one of the best kick serves on tour, along with a heavy forehand and a fantastic slice backhand that she uses to keep her opponents off-balance. At -315 she is perhaps the safest bet on the board to defeat the flat-hitting, clay-court averse Alison Van Uytvanck.
Martic wreaks havoc with her exceptional kick serve, especially on clay. (Getty Images)
Last year Martic reached the quarterfinals of Roland Garros and Madrid, the semifinals of Charleston, and won the title in Istanbul. In all, she racked up a 16-3 record on clay, while Van Uytvanck’s best clay-court win came against current world No. 154 Pauline Parmentier. A $100 bet on Martic would win you $32. It’s not the most lucrative wager, but at least it’s safe.
If your bankroll needs a play with a little more juice, Rebecca Peterson to defeat Camila Giorgi at -112 is worth a look. Going back to what we know for sure, Giorgi hasn’t played a clay-court tournament since the 2018 French Open. This match is a pick 'em, meaning Giorgi has the same odds as Peterson. Anytime the odds are in the -100 range, the oddsmakers believe it’s a toss-up, but Peterson’s clay UTR rank of No. 35 compared to her all-surface rank of No. 45 is promising.
Giorgi is as unpredictable as they come, but betting against a player who hasn’t played on clay in over two years—and has never made it past the third-round of any Premier tournament on clay—seems like a good place to put your money.