ATP Wimbledon – Third Round – Steve Johnson v Grigor Dimitrov
Third round matches at Wimbledon commence today and after our unlucky defeat backing Kei Nishikori -6.5 games yesterday, we are looking to get back on track today with another handicap betting win in an impressive season so far.
The match I’ve selected for analysis and recommendation features a dynamic that my model picks up on quite a lot – an in-form ‘worse’ player against an out of form ‘better’ player. My model will usually favour the better player – form is temporary, class is permanent is a good mantra – and this is the case for the match involving Steve Johnson and Grigor Dimitrov, which is likely to start after 3pm UK time, depending on the weather.
Johnson had a woeful season until the grass season commenced. The American was 6-13 for 2016 away from grass, but has won nine of 11 grass court matches this year, which included a title in Nottingham. Whilst this was undoubtedly an achievement, it’s worth noting that apart from one win at Queens against Richard Gasquet, where the Frenchman imploded from a double break lead in the first set, none of his wins have been as an underdog priced over 2.80 – in short, he’s been expected to win most of the matches he has won.
On this basis, and the fact that those 11 grass court matches have only generated a combined hold/break percentage of 105.1% – solid without being spectacular – it would be reasonable to conclude that the market is over-rating Johnson a little currently.
Opponent Dimitrov has also had a trying year, with a 20-14 record being well below the Bulgarian’s expectations. However, Dimitrov has always excelled on grass, illustrated by 2-year figures of 91.3% service games held and breaking opponents 18.9% (110.2% combined).
In 2014, Dimitrov won the Queens Club tournament, before losing in four tight sets to Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of Wimbledon, after beating Andy Murray in the quarter-finals. Defeats since, on the surface, to the likes of Juan Martin Del Potro, Richard Gasquet and the grass-loving Gilles Muller can be excused, to an extent, although a loss to Janko Tipsarevic at Queens this year was much more worrying.
However, a facile win over the improving youngster Bjorn Fratangelo and a four set triumph over the dangerous Gilles Simon this year at Wimbledon should have boosted Dimitrov’s confidence and my model priced the Bulgarian at 1.53, making the current 1.72 some value.
A decent sample of handicap historical tendencies in best of five set matches on grass is hard to come by, but it’s worth noting that when Dimitrov has won a match in a Grand Slam when priced 1.50-1.99, he’s done so by at least a two game margin on every occasion.
With this in mind, and a tight serve orientated match likely, taking the extra price on Dimitrov -1.5 games at 1.93 makes more sense than the 1.72 available to win the match outright. It also makes more sense than a more ambitious game handicap line.
Tennis Handicap Betting Recommendation: Grigor Dimitrov -1.5 games at 1.93
Prices correct at the time of writing.
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