Djokovic shines brightly as the hot favourite
Last week, tennis bettors were given a handy preview of what to potentially expect at the Barclay’s ATP World Tour Finals when the entire field of eight headed to London secured a spot in the quarterfinal rounds of the Paris Masters (a rare feat indeed). Tale told in short, Djokovic emerged the victor defeating defending champion David Ferrer in the final, 7-5, 7-5, after the Spaniard masterminded the upset over Rafael Nadal in the semis.
Fast forwarding to London and Djokovic – surprise, surprise—leads the charge of the top four favourites with tennis odds of +100 to win outright, a healthy 150 point-edge in the market over second favourite Rafael Nadal, listed at +250 at Bet365 to win outright. Juan Martin Del Potro is listed as the third favourite at +650 while Roger Federer nips at his heels at +700.
Stanislas Wawrinka leads the charge of the outsiders at +2000 to win outright followed by David Ferrer at +2500. Berdych and Gasquet meanwhile are the quintessential long shot bets at +5000 and +6000, respectively.
Clearly, odds makers are tipping Djokovic as the best choice for your sports picks of this elite ending-eight to win outright and odds are they are right. Or better yet, it’s understandable why they would cast him so – his form to end the season despite losing the No.1 ranking to Rafael Nadal has been sublime, better than his form to start the season one might argue.
But are the bookies right? Keep in mind this event is unique, entirely different from all ATP events on the calendar in that it’s a hybrid event with draws that aren’t as straightforward to dissect, as one would think. In fact, the very nature of the round robin format suggests that there is potential for surprise. So in order to determine where the smartest choice for our tennis picks is to be had or if an outside pick has a chance, one has to look at the draw for this event.
It takes just one glance at the draw to determine which group is the proverbial “Group of Death.” Group B that contains Djokovic, Federer, Del Potro and Gasquet – just THREE of the short-odds-on favourites to win this title lumped together. So still think Djokovic is the best pick of the lot?
In the absence of Andy Murray (back surgery), it was obvious either one of Nadal, Djokovic or even Roger Federer would benefit from an easier (in theory only) group. Now that we know the beneficiary is Nadal as he draws Ferrer, Wawrinka and Berdych, doesn’t that set him up as the value pick?
A Preview – Nadal, Ferrer, Wawrinka and Berdych
Arguably, Nadal has his best shot to win this event. He has failed in five attempts, which is an important incentive for a player as competitive and conscious of his place in tennis history as he is. Added incentive comes from the fact that two wins in round robin action alone will sew up the year-end No.1 ranking. The sum of all this makes him stand out as a value pick at +250 to win it all.
He’s also the hot favourite at -200 tennis odds to win Group A with Ferrer a distant second challenge at +400 to win Group A. Wawrinka, who is listed at +2000 to win it all, has already one win under his belt having beaten Tomas Berdych on opening night. If there were a dangerous floater in this group, it would the Swiss also tipped at +400 to win Group A that could throw a spanner in the works.
Tennis Betting Verdict: Not to hastily diminish the double threat of Ferrer and Wawrinka, but both have repeatedly failed to close the deal at big events, when it matters the most; as such, they don’t leap off the page as the smart picks. Keep in mind as well Ferrer is going to be exhausted after his Paris deposit and might not have much left in the tank.
Tennis Free Picks: Nadal to win Group A, Wawrinka to advance in second
B Preview —Djokovic, Federer, Del Potro and Gasquet
This is going to be a tough group to handicap because of the depth and the various back-stories involved, namely the year-end No.1 ranking that Djokovic still (surprisingly) has a shot to clinch. Since losing it to Nadal, Djokovic has been on a mission to reclaim it, reeling off three straight title victories to close the gap. The flames will be fanned further if Nadal suffers a dramatic setback in group action. As it stands, the Spaniard need only secure two wins and the ranking is his to keep for the foreseeable. If Nadal pulls it off it could knock the wind out of Djokovic’s sails.
Djokovic is the undisputed favourite to win outright across all sportsbooks at +100 and the hot favourite in group-betting markets. But Roger Federer seems to have found his form of late and he could give Nole a serious run for his money – in the group and for the title, if it comes down to it. The value in Federer is his success at this event in past seasons. Finally, unlike Wawrinka, Ferrer, Berdych and Gasquet, Del Potro is the only player of the lot that can challenge for this title – or rather be taken as a credible threat. He’s a clutch player that has proven he can rise to the occasion in big matches.
Tennis Free Picks: Nothing about this group is straightforward and there is a slight danger that advancing into the knockout stages could come down to maths, head-to-head tiebreak when all is said and done, in which case all bets would be off as it would be anybody’s game.
Tennis Free Picks: Djokovic to win group and Del Potro to qualify secondBonus Free Picks: Rafael Nadal at +250 to win title outright.