This tennis betting article investigates the impact of home advantage on ATP players participating in tournaments on home soil. Players are often considered to have an edge at home compared to normal matches by tennis bettors. This article assesses whether the markets take this into consideration, or even overvalue it.
Home Field Advantage in tennis betting
Recent articles have had a focus on the WTA so this article moves back to the ATP Tour as we look at whether there is home advantage in Tennis. Analysing this is particularly relevant with the two March US Masters events at their infancy, as so many US players receive Wild Card entries to events – none more so than Jack Sock, who has received an incredible 12 Wild Cards since January 2013 and three already this year.
Anyone reading forums or following social media will notice that a player participating in a match in their home country is considered to have an advantage. This may be for several reasons – firstly they can count on support from the crowd, which may be more partisan in some countries than others, and secondly, the courts and surface may suit them more.
Bettors that indicate players have an advantage in their home country are almost certainly making subjective assessments and making assertions that may or may not be true. It is highly debatable whether they have researched this in any detail and are probably basing their thoughts on notable events which stick out in their mind, such as Andy Murray winning Wimbledon, or Bernard Tomic playing his best in the pre-Australian Open warm-up events.
Successful bettors cannot afford to make blasé subjective assessments and a quantitative approach is advised. Therefore, this article’s purpose is to see whether there is indeed a home advantage to be had for a player, and if the market either doesn’t take it into account enough, or perhaps, too much.
What the statistics highlight
There were 746 matches played by home players in 2013 on the ATP Tour and just 13 players won at prices bigger than 5.00 – those are listed below (all prices quoted are Pinnacle’ closing prices):-
Karen Khachanov managed two late wins at big prices in the latter part of the 2013 season in Russian events as a wild card, and hasn’t done a great deal besides that since. It’s also worth noting that Filip Peliwo’s win over Jarkko Nieminen was done via a 3rd set retirement. Jack Sock’s win over Milos Raonic was the biggest priced win by a considerable margin.
The table below illustrates the overall results of home players on the ATP Tour in the 2013 season, sorted by region. All prices used were Pinnacle’ closing prices and all bets applied were using £100 level stakes.
Is HFA a fallacy in Tennis?
We can see from the above table that only in North America did the home player have a positive return on investment. This is in line with previous research which shows that North American ATP players have strong records at home and very weak records abroad. Five of the 13 players who recorded wins priced over 5.00 were North American.
Despite having a higher win percentage, European players in their home country had a worse return on investment than North Americans, with a -6.33% figure being generated from 418 matches. Clearly there is not a significant home advantage for Europeans, although it’s worth mentioning that the research showed German players did well in their events last year.
Whilst European players fared badly in their home countries, their results paled into insignificance compared to South American players, and those from the Rest of the World. Both recorded horrific win percentages and huge losses from their matches sampled. Despite the sample sizes being fairly small for these regions, it is apparent that the markets hugely over-rated these when at home.
Overall, from the 746 matches sampled, a very poor -7.78% return on investment was recorded and this clearly shows that the markets give far too much benefit to those players playing in their home countries. Indeed, disregarding North American events, a blanket strategy of opposing all players playing at home can be considered, and without doubt this information can be used as part of a balanced betting strategy.
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