Jun 25, 2014
Jun 25, 2014

ATP Grand Slam tennis correct score betting strategy

ATP Grand Slam tennis correct score betting strategy

With the best of five set format, ATP Grand Slam Tennis betting is a completely different proposition to normal ATP Tour Tennis betting, with those matches being the best of three sets. This article examines the Grand Slam statistics for the four tournaments, to give bettors an insight into correct score betting and how often favourites win in Grand Slams.

As has been mentioned in previous articles, the best of five set format in Grand Slams gives favourites – the player perceived to be better – a higher chance of winning an individual match than in the normal three set ATP Tour format.

This is because the favourite has more time to recover from a poor start and with fitness often being a big facet in why a player is highly ranked, the longer format gives the favourite a better chance in longer matches.

If a player wins the first set in the best of three set format, he’s won 50% of the sets required to take the match win. However, if that player wins the first set in the best of five set format, this figure drops to 33.3% of sets required. Therefore taking an early lead in the match has much less impact on the likelihood of winning, due to the lower time decay of the match.

If a cross-section of the Tennis betting and watching public were surveyed and asked how often the various correct score scenarios occurred in Grand Slams, it’s highly likely the answers would be extremely contrasting, with it being probable that the percentages of 3-1 and 3-2 correct scores being over-estimated.

This is due to the fallacy whereby people subconsciously remember notable events, such as long, epic, five set matches. Even casual tennis fans would be able to recall Nicolas Mahut’s defeat to John Isner at Wimbledon in 2010, where the big-serving American took the final set 70-68, with that set alone lasting an incredible 8 hours, 11 minutes. It is far less likely that tennis fans and bettors have longstanding memories of a routine 3-0 win for the likes of Nadal or Djokovic in the early rounds.

ATP: Correct score betting & Favourite win %

The following table illustrates the correct score percentages for Grand Slams from 2011-2014, including the recent French Open:

Overall Grand Slam statistics
Correct Scores2011201220132014
3-0 55.1 46.9 53.2 56.7
3-1 29.6 31.2 26.6 27.3
3-2 15.3 21.9 20.2 16.0
Favourite win %2011201220132014
% 80.5 78.5 78.8 80.7

As can be seen in the above table, the figure for the 3-0 correct score is generally just over 50% of the completed Grand Slam matches, with 3-1 being generally more likely than 3-2, and these figures may be of some surprise to readers.

It can also be seen that favourites consistently won a high proportion of matches in comparison to other tournament types. For example, a three set 250 level tour event has around just 63% of favourites winning, and this figure rises to around 70% in 500s and Masters 1000 events. This is clear evidence that the five set format benefits the favourite.

Certainly the lack of five set wins in the recent French Open contributed to the low 2014 figure. This event was notable with just 13.9% of matches ending in this scoreline – the second lowest in the 14 Grand Slams surveyed. The lowest was 12.9% in 2011 – also in the French Open.

The French Open percentages can be viewed below:

French Grand Slam statistics
Correct Scores2011201220132014Overall
3-0 54.0 49.6 55.8 61.5 55.2
3-1 33.1 28.9 24.2 24.6 55.2
3-2 12.9 21.5 20.0 13.9 17.0
Favourite win %2011201220132014Overall
% 79.1 83.1 80.8 86.1 862.2

It’s clear that the French Open has less matches ending in a 3-2 scoreline than the average Grand Slam. Comparing the two tables above, the French Open had a lower percentage of matches than the ATP mean ending in five sets every year. However, it also generally had higher win percentages for favourites (it has been the best overall tournament for favourite success since 2011), and this would indicate that the clay surfaces exaggerates the ability difference between favourites and underdogs.

The following percentages for Wimbledon will be of great interest to bettors:

Wimbledon Grand Slam statistics
Correct Scores201120122013Overall
3-0 54.1 43.4 61.7 52.9
3-1 31.1 34.4 24.3 30.1
3-2 14.8 22.1 13.9 17.0
Favourite win %201120122013Overall
% 82.0 75.8 77.6 78.5

Compared to the French Open, there is a notable rise in the percentage for 3-1 correct score wins. The most likely reason for this is the faster grass surface giving more tiebreaks and one-break style sets, which increases the chance of several key points deciding the outcome of a set. This gives the underdog a bigger chance of taking a set, and the ‘choke factor’ of them failing to serve out a break lead is reduced due to the advantages that the surface gives to servers.

The favourite win percentage at Wimbledon was the second highest across the four Grand Slams, although it was very similar to both hard court events – the Australian and US Opens – and the statistics for these events can be seen below:

Australian Open Grand Slam statistics
Correct Scores2011201220132014Overall
3-0 57.0 50.8 50.8 51.7 52.6
3-1 25.6 26.3 24.6 30.2 26.6
3-2 17.4 22.9 24.6 18.1 20.8
Favourite win %2011201220132014Overall
% 80.0 76.9 81.1 75.0 78.3
US Open Grand Slam statistics
Correct Scores201120122013Overall
3-0 55.2 43.9 45.9 48.2
3-1 28.4 35.0 33.6 32.4
3-2 16.4 21.1 20.5 19.4
Favourite win %2011201220132014Overall
% 80.9 78.0 75.4 78.1

One statistic immediately noticeable is the lower 75.0% win percentage in the Australian Open in 2014. This was the lowest favourite win percentage across all Grand Slams from 2011-2014, and there is little doubt that this figure was related to the oppressive heat that the players endured in Melbourne this year.

It will also be interesting to see whether the US Open continues its downward trend of lowering favourite win percentages when the event takes place in August, and it can also be seen that this event has the lowest percentage of 3-0 correct score results, with it being the only Grand Slam to have an average below 50%.

With the five set format of Grand Slams making for very different conditions to the normal three set ATP format, bettors should treat the events very differently, and as can be witnessed from the statistics above, all Grand Slam events are also not equal. A detailed knowledge of likely conditions and trends is vital for successful correct score betting.

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