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Analyzing the ATP World Tour Finals results

The year-ending event in London has finished. We couldn’t but pay attention that there most of the matches turned out to be unpredictable. A number of players gained heights and failed too fast. Not only our team, but also the bookies faced difficulties in setting betting lines and predicting the outcome.

Let’s start with the Djokovic – Thiem example. That match finished with the scoreline 6:7 6:0 6:2. The Serb prevailed with the 9 games advantage. Meanwhile, the largest handicap the bookies offered was -5. It means that the difference between the predicted outcome and the real one made up 4 points.

According to this difference, we evaluated the quality of the prediction.

  1. If the difference between the real advantage and the offered handicap was 0, 0.5 or 1.0, we think that the bookies offered a GOOD prediction. Why these numbers, not any others? Let us explain. In most cases when the difference is 0.5 it means that the one who served first, closed out the match. Do you remember the Djokovic-Muller match in Paris this year? The handicap market was -4.5 games on Djokovic. As Novak was the first to serve, he converted a break point in every set and won the first set 6:3 and the second one with 6:4 on the scoreboard. Consequently, if Muller had served first, the outcome would have been 6:4, 6:4 and the handicap bet would have lost.
  2. If the difference was 1.5, 2.0 or 2.5 the line was a MEDICORE one. Such variation is possible but you wouldn’t win a lot choosing the line.
  3. If the difference was 3.0 points, 3.5, 4.0 or 4.5, the line is obviously a BAD one. Generally the clay matches are hard to predict or when there are two bad servers playing. But this is another story.
  4. Finally, if the difference has been 5.0 and larger, it is a VERY BAD prediction. Djokovic – Nishikori match finished up 6:1 6:1. The Serb prevailed with 10 games advantage, while the bookies predicted a -4.5 games handicap. Fail.

Now let’s see how all matches in London finished and let’s evaluate the betting line quality. 

ATP World Tour Finals 2016, handicap betting market

Match Result Advantage Handicap set by the bookies Difference Betting line quality
Nishikori - Wawrinka 6:2 6:3 -7 -1.5 5.5 Very bad
Murray - Cilic  6:3 6:2 -7 -4 3 Bad
Murray - Nishikori 6:7 6:4 6:4 -3 -4.5 1.5 Mediocre
Wawrinka - Cilic 7:6 7:6 -2 2 4 Bad
Murray - Wawrinka 6:4 6:2 -4 -6 2 Mediocre
Nishikori - Cilic  6:3 2:6 3:6 -2 4 6 Very bad
Djokovic - Thiem 6:7 6:0 6:2 -9 -5 4 Bad
Raonic - Monfils 6:3 6:4 -5 -1.5 3.5 Bad
Monfils - Thiem 3:6 6:1 4:6 0 -2 2 Mediocre
Djokovic - Raonic 7:6 7:6 -2 -3.5 1.5 Mediocre
Djokovic - Goffin 6:1 6:2 -9 -5 4 Bad
Raonic - Thiem  7:6 6:3 -4 -3.5 0.5 Good 
Murray - Raonic 5:7 7:6 7:6 0 -4 4 Bad
Djokovic - Nishikori  6:1 6:1 -10 -4.5 5.5 Very bad
Djokovic - Raonic 3:6 4:6 -3.5 5 8.5 Vary bad


As you see, only one line Raonic – Thiem was a good one. Four lines were normal ones. Summing up, only 5 matches out of 15 could have brought you some value. 

What was the situation like last year? 

ATP World Tour Finals 2015, handicap betting market
Match Result Advantage Handicap set by the bookies Difference Betting line quality
Djokovic - Nishikori  6:1 6:1 -10 -5.5 3.5 Bad
Federer-Berdych 6:4 6:2 -6 -3.5 2.5 Mediocre
Berdych - Nishikori  5:7 6:3 3:6 -2 2.5 4.5 Bad
Djokovic - Federer 5:7 2:6 -6 3.5 9.5 Very bad
Federer - Nishikori  7:5 4:6 6:4 -2 -4.5 2 Mediocre
Djokovic - Berdych  6:3 7:5 -5 -5.5 0.5 Good 
Murray - Ferrer 6:4 6:4 -4 -4 0 Good
Wawrinka - Nadal 3:6 2:6 -7 -2 5 Very bad
Murray - Nadal 4:6 1:6 -7 1.5 8.5 Very bad
Wawrinka - Ferrer 7:5 6:2 -6 -2 4 Bad
Nadal - Ferrer 6:7 6:3 6:4 -4 -4.5 0.5 Good
Murray - Wawrinka 6:7 4:6 -3 2.5 5.5 Very bad
Nadal - Djokovic  3:6 3:6 -6 -5 1 Good
Federer - Wawrinka 7:5 6:3 -5 -3.5 1.5 Mediocre
Djokovic - Federer 6:3 6:4 -5 -3 2 Mediocre

In total, there were 4 good lines and 4 mediocre. In other words, 8 lines of 15 were valuable. 

Now let's take a look at the betting lines on the Paris Masters 2016 second-round matches. 

Paris Masters 2016, Round 2, handicap betting market
Match Result Advantage Handicap set by the bookies Difference Betting line quality
Djokovic - Muller 6:3 6:4 -5 -4.5 0.5 Good
Cilic - Karlovic  7:6 6:2 -5 -2.5 2.5 Mediocre
Mahut - Goffin 6:7 3:6 -4 -3.5 0.5 Good
Wawrinka - Struff 6:3 6:7 6:7 -1 -4 3 Bad
Isner - Ferrer 7:6 7:6 -2 -1.5 0.5 Good
Gasquet - Johnson 6:4 7:6 -3 -3 0 Good
Sock - Thiem 6:2 6:4 -6 1.5 7.5 Very bad
Nishikori - Troicki 6:2 7:5 -6 -4.5 1.5 Mediocre
Ramos - Tsonga 3:6 4:6 -5 -4.5 0.5 Good
Cuevas - Lorenzi 6:1 6:2 -9 1.5 10.5 Very bad
Carreno Busta - Raonic 4:6 6:7 -3 -3 0 Good
Berdych - Sousa 6:3 3:6 7:5 -2 -4.5 2.5 Mediocre
Simon - Bautista Agut 2:6 6:1 7:6 -2 -1.5 0.5 Good
Pouille - Lopez 6:7 6:3 6:4 -4 -1.5 2.5 Mediocre
Verdasco - Murray 3:6 7:6 5:7 -4 -5.5 1.5 Mediocre


You see? 7 lines were GOOD ones and 5 more were of mediocre value. Summing up, we get 12 valuable lines out of 15.

Our resume.

When betting on the year-ending event, it's better to place a wager on the less probable outcomes. If bookies offer to bet on the -3 games handicap betting market at the odds of 1.97, it's better to choose a larger or samller hadnciap (either -4.5 or +1.5).

The same holds true for the Totals betting market.

How can we explain it? In the group round it may be possible to lose a match or two and progress further. Also, sometimes the final event features players who have alerady run out of power by the end of the season but can't miss such a prestigious event.

Share your questions and observations in the comments! 

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