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Aug 1, 2016
Aug 1, 2016

Tennis betting: ATP rankings vs. tennis Elo ratings

Tennis betting: ATP rankings vs. tennis Elo ratings
With the ATP Rankings used to determine the entry and seeding of tennis players in all tournaments, it is usually the number one list bettors look at to determine a player’s value. What about its predictive power for betting purposes though? We put tennis Elo ratings and ATP rankings to the test and we found a clear winner.

ATP rankings

The ATP Rankings, otherwise known as “the world rankings”, is the list according to which Novak Djokovic is said to be the No.1 player in the world or a player who is No.8 is considered to be within the Top 10 players. 

Beating strong opponents gains more points, whereas losing to weak opponents loses more points, which makes the Elo ratings an accurate way to predict winners.

The ATP ranking system was introduced in 1973 with the intent to objectify tournament entry criteria, which was controlled by national federations and tournament directors.

Since it was introduced, the method applied to calculate a player’s points has changed several times with the current Emirates ATP rankings covering the immediate past 52 weeks.

The year-end calculation of a player’s ATP ranking is based on the total points he accrued from the  four Grand Slams, the eight mandatory ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals of the ranking period, and his best six results from all ATP World Tour 500, ATP World Tour 250, ATP Challenger Tour and Futures tournaments. 

Tennis Elo ratings

Relatively unknown to sports bettors, the Elo rating system was originally invented by Hungarian master level chess player and physic professor Arpad Elo, with the purpose to be able to predict outcomes of future games.

The method has since been adapted for several sports and is now widely used in assessing the performance of tennis players. Unlike the official rankings, Elo ratings directly account for the opposition strength, by giving credit for who a player is confronting and not the round or tournament in which they play them.

Beating strong opponents gains more points, whereas losing to weak opponents loses more points, which makes the tennis Elo ratings a way to accurately predict the probability of winning.

Top 10

ATP rankings vs. Elo ratings

ATP rankings vs. Elo ratings

No

ATP rankings

Points

Elo ratings*

Points

1

Novak Djokovic

16,040

Novak Djokovic

2565.1

2

Andy Murray

10,065

Andy Murray

2371.0

3

Roger Federer

5,945

Roger Federer

2345.5

4

Stan Wawrinka

5,035

Rafael Nadal

2302.7

5

Rafael Nadal

4,940

Kei Nishikori

2265.2

6

Kei Nishikori

4,845

Milos Raonic

2202.6

7

Milos Raonic

4,465

Dominic Thiem

2188.4

8

Tomas Berdych

3,660

Stan Wawrinka

2174.6

9

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

2,995

Tomas Berdych

2147.4

10

Dominic Thiem

2,865

Juan Martin Del Potro

2136.6

Updated on August 1, 2016

*According to tennisabstract.com

ATP vs. Elo: And the winner is…

When comparing the two lists, it becomes obvious that although the top four places are identical in both the ATP ranking and the Elo ratings, the discrepancies start to jump out from No. 5 and below, with the most notable difference in rankings regarding the Juan Martin Del Potro.

A 100-point difference in Elo ratings implies that the favorite has a 64% chance of winning; 200 points implies 76%, 300 points implies 85%, 400 points implies 91%, and 500 points implies 95%.

According to Elo ratings, the Argentinian player is the last player to be included in the world’s Top 10, while according to ATP rankings he is a mere No. 145 at the time of writing. The huge discrepancy is a result of Del Potro cutting short both his 2014 and 2015 seasons due to a chronic left wrist injury that required three surgeries.

Following the Argentinian’s impressive win over Stan Warinka in Wimbledon , the 2009 US Open champion  is expected to climb the ATP ranking ladder all the way up sooner rather than later, while the Elo rating have him already priced in.

With the 2016 US Open around the corner, the Elo ratings is one of the best tools a tennis bettor can use in order to decide where to bet. A 100-point difference in Elo ratings implies that the favorite has a 64% chance of winning; 200 points implies 76%, 300 points implies 85%, 400 points implies 91%, and 500 points implies 95%. 

Get the best 2016 US Open odds online at Pinnacle, the ultimate bookmakers for your tennis betting needs. 

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