Tennis: It’s the Unofficial Fifth Major at Indian Wells

darren cooper
Darren Cooper
Tennis News


  • Action is underway at Indian Wells, one of the few events outside of the Grand Slams where the top stars in both the ATP and WTA compete simultaneously.
  • Carlos Alcaraz is the defending champion on the men’s side, while Elena Rybakina is defending champ on the women’s draw.
  • Long-time superstar Rafa Nadal was forced to withdraw Wednesday with a hip injury.

The 2024 tennis season starts to ramp up over the next 10 days with the tournament at Indian Wells, official name BNP Paribas Open.

What everyone calls it: Indian Wells.

With qualifying, a full field for men and women, Indian Wells is the just about the biggest tennis tournament in the world outside of the Grand Slams. It has attracted another big field of current stars and returning champions.

Sports bettors in Michigan know that tennis is one of the most exciting professional sports to bet on. The creativity of markets offered and the opportunity to be on live action is incredible. Let’s break down the odds for Indian Wells 2024 and preview the draw.

What Do the Oddsmakers Say? 

There’s a reason why tennis is one of the most popular sports to bet on at Michigan Sportsbooks. For big events like Indian Wells, it’s almost like a Super Bowl feast of markets and bets.

The Golden Nugget allows players to bet live while matches are underway.

DraftKings has markets on the winners. Novak Jokovic is +175 followed by reigning Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner (+300). On the women’s side, Iga Swiatek is the favorite at +260.

But DraftKings has so much more. You get the option to build a same game parlay, bet winners of each game, even winners of specific points. There are bets on whether a player will win the tournament without dropping a set, or an unseeded player to reach the final (Yes +900). You can even bet on Novak not to win at -250. On the women’s side, you can bet the Big Three (Swiatek, Coco Gauff and Aryna Sabalenka) against the field.

What To Watch in the Men’s Draw 

The Return of Rafa Nadal was the biggest storyline entering Indian Wells, but he pulled out late Wednesday. The 37-year-old may not have many tournaments left in his career.

Jokovic is the top seed and has won at Indian Wells five times before, but this season he may be finally starting to wear down. He’s 7-2 this season, and lost in the Australian Open semis to Sinner.

Sinner has been the hottest player on the men’s tour. He’s 12-0 this season, adding a win in Rotterdam to his Australian Open victory. Alcaraz is No. 2 in the world and has a pair of Grand Slam titles under his belt. American Taylor Fritz won Indian Wells in 2022 and is the hometown favorite.

What To Watch in Women’s Draw 

There is still ridiculous parity at the top of the women’s game. Swiatek is No. 1 in the world and won at Indian Wells in 2022, but her game has been inconsistent.

Sabalenka had the career breakthrough at the Australian Open to win her first Grand Slam title. She always had the talent, now it’s about maintaining her level of play.

Gauff is No. 3 in the world, but has never played particularly well at Indian Wells. Keep an eye on Naomi Osaka who is back on tour after giving birth. She’s a four-time Grand Slam champion. And yes, that is Venus Williams in the draw as a wild card.

The finals are back-to-back on Sunday, March 17.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.