Italian Open Betting Picks: Saturday 5/18/24

Kenyatta Storin
Kenyatta Storin@KenyattaStorin
Italian Open Betting Picks: Saturday 5/18/24

Tennis' clay season continues as we work our way to the 2024 French Open later this month.

The Italian Open is underway, and what better way to get in on the action than by making some wagers on the Rome betting odds at FanDuel Sportsbook?

Where can we find betting value in the women's final?

Italian Open Best Bet

Iga Swiatek vs. Aryna Sabalenka

Over 2.5 Sets (+152)

Iga Swiatek continues to demolish the opposition on clay, and not even world No. 3 Coco Gauff could win a set off of her in the semifinals. Swiatek has now won 11 matches in a row and is 13-1 on clay this season. She's been taken to a third set just three times over this stretch, too.

The last player to take her three sets just so happens to be Aryna Sabalenka, who narrowly lost the Madrid final to Iga 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 just two weeks ago. The match went three hours and 11 minutes -- the longest WTA final so far in 2024 -- and Swiatek needed to save three match points to secure the win, showing just how narrow the margins were.

While Sabalenka has faced much more adversity in her Italian Open run compared to Swiatek, she could be finding peak form at just the right time after straight-set wins over 10th-ranked Jelena Ostapenko and 15th-ranked Danielle Collins. Sabalenka faced just two break points across the two matches, and her win over Collins was particularly impressive given that the American has been perhaps the hottest player in tennis lately. Collins has won 19 of her last 21 matches -- but both losses have come against Sabalenka.

Despite Aryna's strong play, Iga remains a massive favorite to win (-390), which implies a 79.6% win probability. While that might not be giving Sabalenka enough credit, it speaks to just how dominant Swiatek is on this surface, as the world No. 1 has a ridiculous 88% career win rate in clay matches, per Tennis Abstract.

Models at Tennis Abstract and Massey Ratings are firmly in Swiatek's corner, too, projecting a 70% and 77% win probability, respectively. Iga also carries a 7-3 advantage in their head-to-head and is 4-1 against Aryna on clay.

That makes it tough to back Sabalenka despite her inviting +290 odds to win, but banking on another three-set thriller while still getting plus odds is intriguing. Dating back to the 2022 US Open, four of their six most recent head-to-head matches have gone three sets, and their last two clay matches (2024 and 2023 Madrid) have gone the distance.

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