There's something wrong with everyone, except Djokovic.
When you look at the field of key players at the Australian Open for 2010 you get the feeling that this Grand Slam is more wide open than Grand Slams have been for awhile. At all previous Grand Slams for the past few years, pre-tournament, it has always felt like it was going to be the Rafael Nadal and/or the Roger Federer show.
However this year the Australian Open feels a lot more wide open than it has in past years.
However since only one player can win, let's look at what's wrong with everyone, except for my top pick, Novak Djokovic.
Roger Federer, +300 (3/1), Sportingbet
The problem with Federer is actually simple and straight forward.
A lot of bettors are still in denial, as evidenced by the fact that Federer is still on top of the futures market for the Aussie, but quite simply, Fed has lost his best game to aging and/or to family life.
That's the only way to explain all of the losses that he has suffered to opponents that he has always otherwise pummelled. Nikolay Davydenko has taken his matches off of Federer, Robin Soderling has beaten Fed (exhibition play), and even Julien Benneteau got his licks in.
If Federer gets an unlucky draw, meaning Marin Cilic is in his section before the quarters, Federer could go out early in Melbourne.
When it happens, don't be shocked.
Rafael Nadal, +350 (7/2), bet365
The problem with Rafael Nadal is that he hasn't won a title since Rome way back in April. During that time period he has played like the 8th best player on tour although he has held onto a high ranking because of points earned in the early part of 2009 - points that are soon to be threatened.
Very recently Nadal has looked a lot better than he did even just two months ago, but there are other players that have looked at least just as good.
If you got Nadal a couple weeks ago when he was about 7 to 1, you have to be happy with that now, but at +350 leave Nadal alone now against this field.
Juan Martin Del Potro, +500 (5/1), Blue Square
The only real problem with Del Potro is his odds look just a little too short to bet. There's nothing wrong with Del Potro's game at this point and he is the reigning champion of the other hard court Slam but you don't generally want to pick a player to win his first Aussie at such short odds.
In order to pick Del Potro you need him to drift just a little more to get some serious value.
Andy Murray, +600 (6/1), Ladbrokes
News flash: Andy Murray has never done all that well at the Australian Open.
He's played the event 4 times, gone out in the first round twice, and he's never made it past the 4th round.
He's won a total of 6 matches at the event in those 4 years and he can't seriously be expected to more than double that total this year - not at +600, not at +1000.
Murray is going to have a high seed and looks great for the quarters but he could be in over his head after that.
Novak Djokovic, +600 (6/1), Ladbrokes
Djokovic is the correct pick to win the Aussie.
He's been on great form post-US Open, he's won the Australian Open before, he's still well within his tennis prime, there hasn't been much of a whisper about injuries in a while, and his odds with Ladbrokes can lead to a great payday.
He is my top recommendation for the Slam.
Nikolay Davydenko, +1000 (10/1), Paddy Power
Nikolay Davydenko has never won a Grand Slam and nor has he ever made the final of a Grand Slam. His supporters will point to his recent impressive results on tour, many of which were new achievements for Davydenko, and there are certainly worse picks out there, but overall Davydenko has failed in way too many Slams to risk betting.
Robin Soderling, +3300 (33/1), Sportingbet
Robin Soderling has been playing exceptional tennis since the French Open last spring and he has surged into the top 10.
However, in that time frame since the French Open, Soderling has only taken down 1 title and that was at Bastad, a 250 level tournament where Soderling was the crowd favorite in his home country.
Soderling is a dangerous player that could do damage at the Aussie and he could even take out a player seeded higher than himself, however he just doesn't quite have what it takes to win a Slam. If he did he'd have more titles at the lower levels already.
Andy Roddick, +3300 (33/1; Boylesports) and Marin Cilic, +3300 (33/1; Sportingbet)
There are no serious contenders for the Australian Open after Roddick and Cilic. Both of these players have such long odds that they can be sprinkled very lightly, with very little risk, and still possibly produce a big payday.
Roddick and Cilic are both coming off of titles in the South Pacific and they are both below the radar at this point.
Roddick needs a draw with good match-ups to win the Aussie, while we're simply waiting for the young Cilic to burst on the scene.
To summarize, here are your picks:
Novak Djokovic at +600 (pound)
Andy Roddick at +3300 (sprinkle)
Marin Cilic at +3300 (sprinkle)
Go to Ladbrokes to bet on the Australian Open.