Serena Keeps Books, Bettors on Their Toes: 4th Most Wagered on to Win it All at BetOnline

Written by:
Don Shapiro
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The great Serena Williams sticks around a little longer as she's not quite ready to retire just yet. 

Everybody but the oddsmakers and sports bettors are loving Serena at this point.

With the great Tiger Woods in attendance cheering her on at this year's U.S. Open, Williams upset No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-2, even dominating the third set.

"It's no rush here," she said in a post-match interview. "I'm loving this crowd. Oh my goodness. It's really fantastic. So there's a little left in me."

The tennis superstar beat Danka Kovinic Monday night and was seeing some love from sports bettors ahead of that one but very little of the money was coming in on Serena winning Wednesday night.

"We made Williams a +175 underdog at the outset (Kontaveit was a -200 favorite), and early action came in on the GOAT, dropping her odds as low as +150," BetOnline's Adam Burns said ahead of Wednesday night's match.

That company had seen nothing but steady money coming in on the favorite Kontaveit with 66.5% of the money coming in on her to win. 

- 88.7% of the money is on Kontaveit to beat Williams by at least 4 sets (match spread).

Needless-to-say, BetOnline fared mighty well on Wednesday night.

That's not to say the books are out of the woods just yet.

Williams was listed at 33-1 odds to win the Women's U.S. Open at BetOnline ahead of this big event.  She is among the bigger liabilities for the sportsbook.

For futures bettors, Serena had tremendous value.

"We haven't seen Serena be competitive in a major in quite some, but people are still going to bet on her simply because of the name," Dave Mason, Brand Manager at BetOnline, said. "It's a lot like Tiger Woods in golf. The bettors are going to blindly back these legends no matter what form they're currently in. Serena's true odds should really be around 150-1, but we know we'll get action at half of that so no need to expose ourselves to greater liability."

Williams had seen the fourth-most amount of money wagered on her to win this year's U.S. Open at BetOnline behind: 1. Iga Swiatek 2. Maria Sakkari 3. Coco Gauff. Sakkari has already been knocked out. Kontaveit was not among the top four liabilities at BetOnline.

Williams is expected to retire following play at the U.S. Open. 

“I have never liked the word retirement,” Williams recently wrote. “It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people. Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution.”

The win Wednesday ensures that Williams will play at least one more singles match. 

Her next opponent will be Ajla Tomljanovic, a 29-year-old Australian who is ranked 46th and considers herself a huge fan of Williams. The two have never met before in a match.

“I was playing on Court 7 both of my matches so far at the same time as her, and I could hear the crowd. I’m like, ‘Court 7 isn’t that close.’ I kept thinking, ‘Oh, my God, that’s annoying me and I’m not even playing against her,’” Tomljanovic said. “I don’t know how I’m going to do it.”

Should Serena win Friday, she'll advance to the fourth round.

Below were your opening odds for the Women's U.S. Open at BetOnline (no longer available for betting)

Iga Swiatek                              4-1

Simona Halep                          8-1

Caroline Garcia                       16-1

Cori Gauff                                18-1

Aryna Sabalenka                     20-1

Elena Rybakina                       22-1

Jessica Pegula                         22-1

Ons Jabeur                              22-1

Liudmila Samsonova               25-1

Belinda Bencic                        28-1

Naomi Osaka                          28-1

Daria Kasatkina                       30-1

Beatriz Haddad Maia              33-1

Emma Raducanu                     33-1

Madison Keys                          33-1

Maria Sakkari                          33-1

Paula Badosa                          33-1

Anett Kontaveit                      40-1

Amanda Anisimova                 50-1

Bianca Andreescu                   50-1

Karolina Pliskova                     50-1

Leylah Fernandez                    50-1

Petra Kvitova                          50-1

Qinwen Zheng                        50-1

Serena Williams                      66-1

Veronika Kudermetova           66-1

Bernarda Pera                         100-1

Danielle Collins                       100-1

Jelena Ostapenko                   100-1

Shelby Rogers                         100-1

Victoria Azarenka                   100-1

- Don Shapiro,

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