ItÂ's time to bring out the hats, the PimmÂ's and the strawberries: Wimbledon is here.
For those betting on the action at SW19, there are plenty of tempting selections to choose from. Even if the recent British sunshine decides to withdraw, meanwhile, there are two roofs in place this year to ensure bettors can get all the action they need.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic is favourite to win the menÂ's singles at Wimbledon, priced at 6/4 with a number of bookmakers and a four-time winner of the event this decade. The chances, as always, favour one of the Â"big threeÂ" going all the way Â– and Djokovic justifies his place as world number one and top seed.
Since winning the Australian Open in January however, the Serb has not looked as dominant as in previous years. A third-round defeat to Philipp Kohlschreiber Â– in straight sets Â– at Indian Wells was followed up by a fourth-round loss to Roberto Bautista Agut in Miami. He lost to Daniil Medvedev in Monte Carlo, Rafael Nadal in Rome and Dominic Thiem in Paris, though he did claim victory at the Madrid Open.
Three titles since the Australian Open Â– including a record-extending 10th win at Halle Â– give Roger FedererÂ's chances a different complexion. Playing at the French Open for the first time since 2015 will also serve the Swiss with a huge confident boost, many considering his Roland Garros run among his best-ever exploits in Paris.
If either Djokovic or Federer backers feel supremely confident, Paddy Power is offering 20/1 and 50/1 respectively for them to lift the trophy without dropping a set.
Nadal, at a best price of 5/1, has not won Wimbledon since 2010. His close five-set loss to Djokovic in last yearÂ's semi-finals though, combined with his French Open victory and reaching the Australian Open final this year, should be of encouragement.
Outside the Â"big three,Â" itÂ's difficult to see any realistic contenders. But a fun market for North Americans could be who serves the most aces. Paddy Power ranks Milos Raonic as 9/4 joint-favourite, with John Isner a little further back at 4/1.
Isner holds the record for most aces in a Wimbledon match (113) and in a single tournament (214). Novibet offers 87/100 for the American to average over 35 aces per match.
Not for the first time, the womenÂ's draw is filled with uncertainty. The pre-tournament favourite has only won Wimbledon six times since 2000, which bad news for Ashleigh Barty (79/20 favourite with Novibet).
The Australian won the French Open in June but, Serena Williams aside, the last time a Roland Garros winner claimed the Wimbledon title was in 1996 (Steffi Graf). Williams achieved the feat in 2002 and 2015. That shows the calibre of player needed to win both in one summer. Is Barty, at 23, really that player?
Williams herself is second-favourite at a best price of 13/2. Outside of that however, anyone could win it. In 2013, Marion Bartoli triumphed at pre-tournament odds of 225/1; the inconsistency of the womenÂ's game means rank outsiders effectively have as much chance as several shorter-odds picks.
The best US hopes are Madison Keys (25/1 with William Hill) and Sloane Stephens (33/1 with Bet365), while British number one and French Open semi-finalist Johanna Konta is 20/1 with Ladbrokes.
Two-time champion Petra Kvitova reached this yearÂ's Australian Open final and the Czech is 12/1 with Bet365 to complete a Wimbledon hat-trick. Last yearÂ's winner, Angelique Kerber, is 11/1 with Ladbrokes to make it two in a row.
By Tim Poole
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