Ivo Karlovic vs Victor Estrella – ATP Quito – 2nd Round
The ATP Tour resumed this week with two indoor hard events in Montpellier and Sofia, while the South American clay court season commences in Quito, and it is in the Ecuadorian capital that we find some handicap betting value today.
There is no doubt that the first aspect that bettors looking to bet matches in Quito this week need to appreciate is that the venue is around 3,000 metres above sea level, and this altitude has a profound effect on match dynamics.
Effectively, conditions mean that servers are greatly assisted, and this is evidenced by the data from the two years that the tournament has been running. In those two events in 2015 and 2016, 81.3% of service games were held (4.9% above the ATP clay court mean) and there were 0.53 aces per game, significantly higher than the 0.37 ATP clay court mean.
Considering that the entry list for this tournament is typically weak, and features many mediocre servers, these numbers indicate the dramatic effect that the altitude in Quito has on matches, and yet again the bookmakers have failed to appreciate the extent that conditions change these match dynamics.
Karlovic is the narrow favourite for the match, at current prices just shy of the 1.80 mark, which I found a little surprising, for several reasons.
Firstly, the Croatian veteran’s numbers on clay are average at best, with him winning just five from 14 clay court matches in the last 24 months, holding serve a strong 89.8% but breaking opponents just 10.5% of the time (combined 100.3%).
Opponent Estrella has better clay court stats, winning 20 of 31 ATP main draw matches in the same time period, holding serve 78.2% and breaking opponents 24.3% (combined 102.5%).
Bearing this data in mind, it would seem fair to assume that the oddsmakers are over-valuing Karlovic, either due to ranking, reputation, or a subjective judgement that the previously mentioned altitude at the venue will help Karlovic.
Given Karlovic’s serve-orientated dynamic, it is likely that conditions will indeed help him, particularly on serve, but this is also the case for Estrella, who has taken the title in the last two tournaments in Quito, and has amassed an unbeaten 11-0 venue record. There is no doubt that the Dominican loves conditions here and if conditions are likely to be of assistance to Karlovic, it is as good as guaranteed that they will be of assistance to Estrella.
The effect of these conditions also has a huge effect on projected service hold percentages today, and both players have figures for this in the mid 90s today, and these numbers create our handicap betting proposition today.
My model calculated the chances of no breaks of serve in the first set at 53.31% for this match, and given that there is a very small chance of the players breaking each other once in the set too, this would generate around a 55% chance of there being a first set tiebreak here (implied odds of 1.82).
However, the oddsmakers, as is quite usual, have not considered the dramatic effect of conditions, and by dutching the two 7-6 scorelines at 5.5 and 5.75, it is possible to get 2.81 on the first set tiebreak.
A number of bookmakers are still to open their lines for this market as well, so it is also possible that there may be a huge mistake offered later on in the day, but several are offering 2.25-2.30 on this bet, which is still value as well.
I fully expect these prices to shorten and it wouldn’t be a shock at all if this price moved towards the even money mark when the match starts.
Tennis Handicap Betting Recommendation: Back First Set Tiebreak (Dutch 7-6 on both players) at 2.81
Prices correct at time of writing.
Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage, winners welcome!