Nov 7, 2017
Nov 7, 2017

ATP World Tour Finals betting preview

Do the favourites offer value?

The benefit of handicap betting

Which outsiders have a chance?

ATP World Tour Finals betting preview

Credit: Getty Images

With the ATP World Tour Finals starting on Sunday at the O2 Arena in London, there is no better time to look at detailed statistics proceeding the event, and how these statistics can helo bettors find value in the ATP Tour Finals odds. Read on for some expert ATP Tour Finals betting insight.

ATP Tour Finals betting: Court conditions

The ATP World Tour Finals has taken place on indoor hard courts in London since 2009, and conditions at the O2 Arena have often been tough to interpret. Across the eight seasons from 2009 onwards, 80.5% of service games were held, similar to the ATP Tour mean for indoor hard over that time period. 

However, it’s worth noting that in the last three years, 87.5% of service games were held in 2015, and just 72.8% in 2014, so data fluctuates annually. It seems pretty reasonable to grade the anticipated court speed at the venue as medium, given only two ATP Tour Final events in the last eight years had over 82% of their service games held.

ATP Tour Finals odds: Past winners

In recent years, the cream has risen to the top in this event. Roger Federer (1.666*) has taken the title six times since 2003, and Novak Djokovic has won on five occasions from 2008 onwards.

There have been 50/119 completed matches going the distance (42.02%), a much higher percentage than a typical ATP Tour match

With Andy Murray triumphing last year, the last seven winners have come from the Federer, Djokovic, Murray triumvirate, indicating that top players have a big advantage at this event and should be heavily considered in the ATP Tour Finals odds. Only Nikolay Davydenko (2009) won the event from outside the top four seeds in the last ten years.

Since the event moved to London, favourites have thrived. As seen in the table below, 88 of the 119 completed matches (with one walkover) were won by favourites:

2-0 favourite 50 41.67
2-1 favourite 38 31.67
2-0 underdog 19 15.83
2-1 underdog 12 10.00
Walkover 1 0.83

The fact that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2011 was the last non-elite runner-up adds further weight to the elite dominance of this event - probably due to both the large financial and ranking point rewards that this tournament offers, and the elite competition planning their schedules in order to peak at the event.

The outsider’s chance?

Despite the elite’s dominance of past ATP Tour Finals, this year could be the perfect opportunity for outsiders to break the mould. Of the traditional elite four only Federer and Nadal (4.500*) are in the field this year, and Nadal’s participation is questionable, given the knee injury which forced him to withdraw from last week’s Paris Masters. 

With Andy Murray triumphing last year, the last seven winners have come from the Federer, Djokovic, Murray triumvirate.

When underdogs have won in London, they have been more likely to do so by a 2-0 scoreline, with 19 straight sets wins to the underdog, as opposed to via a 2-1 scoreline (12 occasions). In deciding sets, 38/50 (76%) were won by the favourite; giving weight to the argument that the bigger name players are better prepared for this event.

There have been 50/119 completed matches going the distance (42.02%), a much higher percentage than a typical ATP Tour match and should be considered when in the ATP Tour Finals betting markets. There should be less of an ability differential between the top eight players on tour as opposed to a match featuring two random players - not to mention the obvious motivation that the ATP Tour Finals offers.

Heavy favourites

There were also several other notable dynamics, with there being a very interesting split between favourite success when the favourite’s starting price was also taken into account (P&L calculated by a hypothetical €100 flat stake bet at Pinnacle closing prices):

Match win<1.401.40-1.701.71-2.00
Matches 65 34 21
P/L 528 -80 -310
ROI % 8.12 -2.35 -14.76

As evidenced by the table above, there was a clear split between the success of heavy favourites (sub 1.40 starting price) compared to higher prices, with the performance of favourites worst when they were a marginal 1.71-2.00 starting price.

Given this split, we can assert that historically at the World Tour Finals in London, the heavier favourites (the traditional big names) have tended to get the job done, which again is demonstrated by the aforementioned bias towards them getting to finals.

ATP Tour Finals betting: Handicaps

Whilst the elite have fared well at the ATP World Tour finals in recent years,  they certainly haven’t had their own way when it comes to getting victories with minimal fuss. Perhaps understandably, given the high number of three-set matches in London, favourites struggled to win and cover the -1.5 set handicap:

-1.5 sets<1.401.40-1.701.71-2.00
Matches 65 34 21
P/L -1098 97 -319
ROI% -16.89 2.85 -15.19

The table above demonstrates how poorly favourites have performed when looking to cover the -1.5 set handicap, with shocking double-digit negative ROIs occurring when blind-backing favourites to cover this line. With there arguably being less definition between the elite and the rest this season and results being more bizarre than previous years, it would be a brave bettor to go against this trend.

Finally, an assessment of the game handicap also made for interesting analysis. The Pinnacle game handicap line closest to even money was used for this analysis, and the results of this are below:

Game handicap<1.401.40-1.701.71-2.00
Matches 65 34 21
P/L 637 1 -95
ROI% 9.80 0.03 -4.52

Interestingly, sub 1.40 priced favourites (despite being unable to cover the -1.5 game handicap line as much as anticipated by the market makers) were able to cover the game handicap much more frequently - as evidenced by the 9.80% ROI generated by blind-backing them on the game handicap in the event since 2009. 

Based on historical data, bettors looking to back favourites on some sort of handicap would look to be better off doing so on the game handicap as opposed to the set handicap, with many results showing favourites dropped a set but were then able to win a dominant set, enabling them to cover the game handicap.

Hopefully this assessment of historical data at the O2 will have enabled bettors to gain some valuable insight into the trends of the event in an attempt to generate profits in the ATP World Tour Finals odds.

Odds subject to change

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