This will be the 11th meeting between Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev and the fifth in 2021. None of the prior meetings this year have seen a straight-sets winner and I imagine we’re in for another battle today. Here are our Djokovic versus Zverev picks.
Djokovic and Zverev have both played a lot of tennis this year and it would be an understatement to say they’ve had strong seasons. Djokovic very nearly achieved the Grand Slam, while Zverev won the Olympics, two Masters titles, and a couple of 500s.
They’ve both looked in form so far this week and this matchup has been a recipe for long matches. They are both elite counter punchers and Zverev tends to raise his game against the best. He has the power to hit through Djokovic on top form.
The head-to-head is 8-3 to Djokovic, but that doesn’t tell the whole story – he’s dropped six sets in four matches so far this year, none of which ended in straight sets. Zverev can be unplayable on serve if he gets into a rhythm, and usually has his moments even when he loses.
Here are my picks and predictions for Saturday’s ATP Finals matchup between Djokovic and Zverev. (Odds via SBK; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
Djokovic vs. Zverev Match Info
Date/Time: Saturday, November 20, 3 p.m. ET
TV: Tennis Channel
Location: Centre Court, Turin, Italy
Djokovic vs. Zverev Odds Analysis
Zverev opened between +175 and +200 with most bookies and has since drifted to +230. The market support makes sense, Djokovic has looked clinical this week and has for most of the year.
However, I see no reason for the drift overall. The original pricing was closer to correct, I would have Zverev at around +200.
Djokovic vs. Zverev Picks
Zverev (+230) ★
Over 22.5 games (-116) ★
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Djokovic vs. Zverev Predictions
Zverev (+230) ★
It's rarely a confident pick when I take on Djokovic, but Zverev likes this matchup. He has won seven of the last 15 against Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer and you would have made money having him on side.
Zverev is also excellent on indoor hard court with a 20-percent return on investment over his last 50 on the surface. He's won 26 of 49 against the top 20 on indoor hard and 17 of 41 as the underdog for a 27-percent ROI.
Djokovic, by contrast, has a 35-15 record and -1-percent ROI priced -500 to -101 against the top 10. He is at his best on hard courts and he has a -9-percent ROI over his last 50 as a favorite on indoor hard. The quicker courts make it just a little easier for Zverev to hit through Djokovic.
Djokovic also hasn't won the year-end championships since 2015 and he has a poor (by his standards) record of 39-16 at the event for a -3-percent ROI. He's not generally been his best at the year-end events, largely, I think, because he is worn out.
He may buck that trend this year, but given recent fitness concerns, a long match could push him too far.
Over 22.5 games ★
Zverev has covered the Over in 15 of his last 25 priced +100 to +500 against the top 10. This week, he lost to Daniil Medvedev 3-6 7-6 6-7 and played at a very high level for periods of that match.
The Over has only lost in 18 of the last 50 for Djokovic priced -500 to -101 against the top 10.
Quick conditions and two players with a history of long matches suggests that the Over is worth a go.
Djokovic-Zverev picks made on 11/19/21 at 9:03 p.m. ET.