The ATP World Tour Finals is the season-ending championships of the Association of Tennis Professionals World Tour and features the top eight singles players and doubles teams.
Unlike most of the other events on the men’s tour, the ATP World Tour Finals is not a knockout tournament from start to finish. The eight qualifiers are divided into two groups of four and play three round-robin matches apiece. The top two players in each section progress to the semi-finals. Only then does the competition become a traditional knockout.
The ATP World Tour Finals is the fourth evolution of an event that began in 1970 as the Masters Grand Prix, with it being known by its current name since 2009 when it moved to London’s O2 Arena, where it will stay until at least 2016.
Roger Federer has won the ATP World Tour Finals and its predecessors a record six times. His 39-7 win-loss record gives him a win percentage second only to Ilie Natase, who went 23-3 in the 1970s en route to taking out four titles.
With Rafael Nadal withdrawing because of ongoing injuries, the eight singles players who will contest this year’s ATP World Tour Finals will be Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin Del Potro, Novak Djokovic, Federer, David Ferrer, Andy Murray, Janko Tipsarevic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Somewhat amazingly, there is only one former competition winner in the field other than 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011 champion Federer and that is Djokovic, who won in Shanghai in 2008.
Naturally, the draw for the 2012 ATP World Tour Finals will have an impact on the tournament but this betting guide was compiled before it was made because, more often than not, draws for tennis events are made just before they begin.
However, this betting guide will assess the prospects of all eight participants in the singles, including presenting their head-to-head records prior to the Paribas Masters.
There is little doubt that indoor hard courts are Federer’s favourite tennis environments and, therefore, he makes the most appeal in this year’s ATP World Tour Finals winner market at odds of around 7-2 prior to the draw.
Federer leads Djokovic 15-12 overall and 11-9 on hard courts, while they are tied at 1-1 on indoor hard courts. Federer trails Murray 10-8 overall and 8-7 on hard courts but he is up 1-0 on indoor hard courts. Federer has good head-to-head records against each of the other five ATP World Tour Finals qualifier, particularly Ferrer. The Swiss has won all 13 of his matches versus the Spaniard, including eight on hard courts, seven of which were indoor ones.
Of the big three – Djokovic, Federer and Murray – it is the Serbian who makes the least betting appeal. He does not have an edge over either the Swiss and the Briton on hard courts and, also, he is down 0-2 to Tsonga on indoor hard courts.
Tsonga is the most interesting of the outsiders. He has at least one hard court victory over everyone else that he has played on the surface, which is the downfall of Berdych (1-10 overall and 0-8 on hard courts against Djokovic) and Del Potro (0-4 on hard courts versus both Djokovic and Murray). The Frenchman is the best chance of an upset.
Blue Square (www.bluesquare.com) has framed several 2012 ATP World Tour Finals exotic markets and, on face value, made a rick or two. The bookmaker is betting on the length of the shortest completed match, length of the longest completed match, number of 6-0 sets, number of tie-break sets and whether specific players will win the tournament without losing a match or a set.
The markets on which to focus one’s betting activities are the number of 6-0 sets and the number of tie-break sets, with Blue Square offering odds of around 2-1 about one or more 6-0 sets and odds of around 5-6 about six or more tie-break sets. The 6-0 sets line is its biggest error.
Of the last 10 ATP World Tour Finals, at which Federer has been the only constant, six of them have featured at least one 6-0 set, with the total number of bagels being 12. One does not have to be a mathematical genius to work out that Blue Square has made a rick in offering odds of around 2-1 about this year’s tournament having a 6-0 set. To put it bluntly, anything bigger than even money is great value.
There have been 69 tie-breaks sets during the last 10 ATP World Tour Finals and punters betting over a line at 5.5 trading at odds of 5-6 would have collected six times and made a 10 per cent profit on turnover to level stakes.
Finally, Federer has won five of his six ATP World Tour Finals titles without dropping a match but no-one has won the event over the last 10 years without dropping a set.
Bookmakers will probably wait to see the draw for this year’s ATP World Tour Finals before coming up with some betting offers but expect to see deals such as refunds if one’s bet loses to a final-point ace and so on.
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Uncover indoor form
Only a quarter of tennis tournaments are played undercover so hunt down indoor form because it tells an interesting story worth knowing before one places their bets.
Respect Fed Express
Federer has won six out of the 10 ATP World Tour Finals in which he has competed, taking out five of those tournaments without losing a match. Indoor hard courts are his thing.
Eat some bagels
Blue Square has made a mistake in offering odds of around 2-1 about this year’s ATP World Tour Finals featuring at least one 6-0 set. Bagels happen more often than not.