ATP Wimbledon – Semi-Final – Tomas Berdych vs Andy Murray
The ATP semi-finals take place at Wimbledon this afternoon and from neutral and bettor alike, the two clashes – Milos Raonic vs Roger Federer, and Tomas Berdych vs Andy Murray – are mouthwatering clashes.
From a handicap betting perspective, it is rare that bookmakers make mistakes pricing up matches with players with such well known abilities, form and trends, but I feel that there is an opportunity to take some value in the second match, between Berdych and Murray, scheduled not before 3pm (but likely to start considerably later) this afternoon.
Throughout their careers, Murray – as evidenced by an 8-6 head to head lead over Berdych – certainly hasn’t held a big advantage over the Czech, compared to his elite peers, who have viewed Berdych as a virtual walkover, based on results.
Without doubt, Berdych’s woeful record against top 10 players is well documented, but this doesn’t necessarily justify market prices of around 1.14 about Murray reaching the final on Sunday.
The shortest price Murray has ever been available against Berdych was 1.25, in the Paris Masters quarter-final in November 2011. All other of their 11 head to head matches from 2010 onwards priced Murray between 1.36 to 1.88, so backers of the Scotsman need to be extremely confident before parting with their money at such a short price today.
My model disagreed with the market sentiment, pricing Murray at 1.22, and that was after taking into account the world number two won their last four head to head clashes, as well as Berdych’s previously mentioned awful record against top 10 opponents.
However, it’s also worth considering the impact that the 233 minute (almost 4 hour) quarter-final victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has had on Murray.
It is without doubt that someone as astute as Murray on the subject of game/body management will be extremely disappointed that he didn’t make life much easier for himself having won the first two sets of the match, and I would like to make the point that following a similar epic victory where he was pegged back when two sets up against Tsonga’s compatriot, Gael Monfils, in the French Open quarter-finals in 2014, Murray had nothing left in the tank against Rafa Nadal in the semi-finals.
Berdych’s record against the best players in the world is what puts me off a more ambitious recommendation, but he certainly provides us with some solid handicap betting options.
In four matches in his career in Grand Slams when priced 6.00+, he won at least a set on twice, and covered +6.5 games on three occasions, with only a 6-3 7-5 6-3 defeat to Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros this year failing to cover this line.
In Grand Slam matches from 2012 onwards, priced between 1.10 and 1.18 (four ticks above and below the current market price), Murray has won in straight sets just four times in ten matches in the last three years, and covered -6.5 games on five occasions.
It’s reasonable to say that historical results indicate that this match is not likely to be won in a dominant manner by Murray, and backing Berdych on several handicaps looks to be a viable option this afternoon.
Tennis Handicap Betting Recommendation: Tomas Berdych +2.5 sets at 1.85, +6.5 games at 1.78 (split stake)
Prices correct at the time of writing.
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