In no particular order, Live-Tennis.com takes a look at the top five hottest betting offers ahead of the 2013 Australian Open.
1. Back Lleyton Hewitt to finish as top Australian (3/1 with BetVictor)
Bernard Tomic has been capturing the headlines this week with his performances in Sydney and Hewitt's had some of the attention diverted from him which could work well for the veteran in Melbourne. The Australian Open is a pressure cooker atmosphere for the nation's top tennis stars and with less expectations, Hewitt may surprise a few people, just like he did last year. He's been looking extremely sharp this week, beating Tomas Berdych in straight sets to make the Kooyong final and with the crowd behind him, he'll fancy his chances against anyone outside the top three.
2. Back Nikolay Davydenko to finish as top Russian (7/4 with BetVictor)
We're a little confused why the bookies are still insisting on placing Mikhail Youzhny as the favourite in this category. They evidently didn't watch ATP Doha last week. Davydenko was in scintillating form and he pulverised David Ferrer to make the final. It was the kind of tennis we last saw from him when he was ranked in the top three. He's made the semis in Melbourne in the past and he's perfectly capable of going deep into the second week once again.
3. Back Richard Gasquet to finish as top Frenchman (4/1 with BetVictor)
We'd normally be favouring Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in this category. Tsonga has a fabulous record down under, making the 2008 final but he's struggling right now with a hamstring injury and in the sweltering heat, that's gonna be tested to the max. Instead the smart money looks to be on Gasquet who's made the last sixteen several times in recent years and won the Doha title last week.
4. Back Ryan Harrison to finish as top American (4/1 with BetVictor)
The bookies are heavily backing Sam Querrey to win this category but despite his good form in Auckland this week, Querrey's recent record down under suggests he might yet struggle. He hasn't got further than the second round in five years. Instead it might be the talented Harrison who surprises a few people. He has all the tools to be a top player and it's about time we saw something from him in a big event.
5. Back Maria Sharapova to win the women's singles (11/1 with Bwin)
Ok it's hard to look further than Serena Williams to win the Australian Open but strange things can happen in the heat of Melbourne. She looked impressive during the first week last year and then bombed out against Ekaterina Makarova of all people. 11/1 odds seem far too long for someone like Sharapova who performs better here than at any other of the slams. She won the title in 2008 and made the final last year. Her only issue could be a lack of match practise but if she gets through the first week she'll be hard to stop.