This article is part of our Tennis Picks series.
The first round of the 2023 Australian Open continues Monday evening into the night stateside. The action from the hard courts of Melbourne Park includes a former men's Grand Slam champion who's a significant underdog, as well as a couple of veterans who are still chugging along in their mid-30s. One of the most consistent hard-court players in the women's game is gearing up for another deep run, while a talented youngster offers nice value as an underdog. All Tennis Odds & Lines are taken from DraftKings Sportsbook, but you can sometimes find more favorable odds on some of these matches by checking mobile sportsbooks such as FanDuel Sportsbook, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, or any of the other best sports betting sites. We offer exclusive sign-up bonuses for some of those sportsbooks, including those that just launched in Ohio.
The men play best-of-five set matches at Grand Slams, while women's matches are best of three just like the remainder of the WTA Tour schedule. A mix of players' previous hard court results, recent form and stylistic matchups can help pinpoint intriguing betting opportunities, both among favorites likely to cruise to victory and underdogs ready to pull off upsets. The aforementioned underdogs are highlighted in the Upset Alert section, the Lock It In section covers players who can safely be considered overwhelming favorites, while the Value Bet section recommends enticing options in matchups that are considered closer to toss-ups.
Dominic Thiem (+265) vs. Andrey Rublev
This is arguably the premier first-round match of the tournament, pitting the 2020 Australian Open runner-up and US Open champion against the No. 5 seed. Thiem's 2020 hard-court results show just how good he can be on this surface, but struggles with injuries have made him a non-factor on the big stage over the past two years, as Thiem has barely snuck back into the top 100 at No. 98. The 29-year-old Austrian could announce his return to contender status with a win over Rublev, who has endured his fair share of early Grand Slam exits in recent years, including a third-round loss as the No. 5 seed here last year. Rublev leads their head-to-head 4-2, but they have curiously only played on either clay or indoor hard courts, the latter of which suit Rublev's power game better than the outdoor hard courts of Melbourne Park.
Diane Parry (+165) vs. Taylor Townsend
Parry's an underrated member of the WTA's promising youth movement. The 20-year-old Frenchwoman is a former world No. 1 junior player, and she showed she can hang on the biggest stage with third-round results at both the French Open and Wimbledon last year. Townsend's an excellent doubles player, but the 26-year-old American is just 12-21 at Grand Slams in singles, with her last win coming at the 2020 Australian Open. Given that context, it's surprising that the 107th-ranked Parry is an underdog at all in this match against the 135th-ranked Townsend.
Fabio Fognini (+360) vs. Thanasi Kokkinakis
Lock It In
Karolina Pliskova (-360) vs. Xiyu Wang
Wang's a promising young lefty who is ranked just outside the top 50, but there are questions about her fitness after she retired in Auckland citing an illness less than two weeks ago. Pliskova's ranked No. 31, but that ranking is dragged down by her struggles with injuries last year. The former world No. 1 regained form late in 2022 with a run to the US Open quarterfinals, and it's likely just a matter of time until Pliskova's back in the top 20, if not the top 10. With the balls at the Australian Open apparently favoring flatter hitters over spinnier players, at least in Rafael Nadal's assessment, conditions should be ripe for Pliskova to make another deep run at a hard court slam. In her last 12 appearances at the Australian Open or US Open, the big server has made the quarterfinals or better eight times.
Emil Ruusuvuori (-310) vs. Max Purcell
Ruusuvuori's steadily ascending up the rankings. The 23-year-old Finn was ranked outside the top 80 this time last year but enters this tournament within the top 50, and he should be seeded here next year barring injury. He let a two sets to one lead over Felix Auger-Aliassime slip away in the first round of the 2022 Australian Open, but Ruusuvuori draws a far less challenging first-round opponent in 2023. Purcell will have the crowd behind him, but the 205th-ranked Aussie has never cracked the top 150 in the rankings and has an 8-13 career record in ATP Tour-level matches.
Benjamin Bonzi (-255) vs. Mattia Bellucci
John Isner (-125) vs. Adrian Mannarino
Both of these guys have been on tour for a long time, but the 37-year-old Isner is far more accomplished than the 34-year-old Mannarino. Isner has long been recovered from the fractured left wrist that cut his 2022 US Open short, and the exquisite server should execute his usual game plan of keeping points short and holding with ease. They are separated by only two spots in the rankings, but Isner should be viewed as the clear favorite here, especially given his 8-1 career head-to-head edge over Mannarino.
Richard Gasquet (-145) vs. Ugo Humbert
Humbert was one of the biggest disappointments on tour in 2022, dropping from inside the top 30 to outside the top 100. The 24-year-old Frenchman's just 8-20 since the start of the 2022 season. Two of those losses have come to his countryman Gasquet, including a first-round loss at last year's Australian Open. Gasquet's still carrying the torch for the golden generation of French tennis, which has otherwise been sidelined by retirements or injuries. The 36-year-old won his first-round match at all four Grand Slams in 2022 and is ranked 64 spots ahead of Humbert at No. 42.
Petra Martic (-135) vs. Viktorija Golubic