Andy Murray-Novak Djokovic Australian Open Final Grand Slam Tennis Betting Preview

It is testament to the scale of the task that Andy Murray faces in attempting to overcome Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open Final on Sunday that bookmakers price the Scot as long as 4 to 1 to lift the trophy with Djokovic trading as a 1 to 6 favorite.

In many respects this pricing seems logical.

After all, Djokovic was victorious on the occasion of 21 of the players’ previous 30 meetings, he has beaten Murray 18 times in 25 hard-court matches, won six of the players’ last eight Grand Slam meetings and has not lost in the final of the Australian Open in five previous appearances.

Murray, meantime, has finished as a runner-up at Melbourne Park four times in the last six seasons and each of his last three Australian Open Final defeats came at the hands of Djokovic. Indeed, the Scot went down 7–6 (7–5), 6–7 (4–7), 6–3, 6–0 in this same fixture 12 months ago and the fact that Murray went on to lose five of six subsequent meetings with Djokovic in 2015 hardly bodes well for his chances of springing an upset on Sunday.

The value in backing Murray is further diminished when one accounts for the historically good form that Djokovic has been in for more than a year now. The 28-year-old won 84 times through 91 matches in 2015 (including 50 of 54 on hard-court), he progressed to the final of 15 of the 16 ATP Tour events that he entered (winning 11 times), won six Masters 1000 Series titles, and came within one match of completing a season slam.

In fact, Djokovic has now won 33 of his last 34 Grand Slam matches, he has lost one of his last 40 at the Australian Open and triumphed in nine of the 20 Grand Slam tournaments contested over the last five years, finishing as a runner-up six times. This level of dominance is almost historically unprecedented in the men’s game and Djokovic’s 89.29 win percentage at the Australian Open (win-loss: 50-6) is even superior to that of Roger Federer at Wimbledon.

That said, Djokovic showed real glimpses of vulnerability in both his last 16 and semi-final matches against Gilles Simon and Federer over the past week.

Simon, seeded 14, took the Serb to five sets last Sunday in a match in which Djokovic made 100 unforced errors, butchered 15 drop-shots off his backhand side, and converted only six of 25 break-points. Any player ranked inside the world’s top-20 should be beating an opponent guilty of such profligacy and Federer came very close to taking Djokovic into a decider from two sets down on Thursday.

It is also notable that both Murray’s U.S. Open triumph in 2012 and his Wimbledon win a year later came at the expense of Djokovic in the final and the Scot’s record of having won 77 times through 91 matches in 2015 (win-loss: 34-8 on hard-court) is second only to that of Sunday’s favorite.

If Murray is to win the Australian Open Final, he will have to play at his absolute best and hope that the favorite drops below his top-level. For if Djokovic performs to his potential on Sunday, he will win regardless of how well Murray plays and the odds reflect that.

The fact that just one of the players’ four previous Australian Open clashes have ended in straight sets (the 2011 final) makes backing the final to top the 3.5 set mark a saver at 8/13 while backing Djokovic to overcome Murray in four sets as he did in 2015 and 2013 looks good value at 5/2.

[Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images]

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