March 20, 2015

Tennis Betting Preview – Friday 20th March by @Tennisratings

ATP Indian Wells – QF – Milos Raonic vs Rafa Nadal from 21:00 live on Sky Sports 5

To say that I’m shocked at the price of 1.56 about Nadal for this match would be an understatement – the Spaniard simply does not get priced like this against non top 4 opponents.

Nadal takes a 5-0 head to head lead into this clash with the Canadian, with three matches since April 2013 particularly relevant as Raonic was ranked around the top 10 in these matches. Two were also on hard court.

In these head to head matches, Nadal has won six sets and lost one, and dropped a mere 18 games in these seven sets. In these he’s held 29 times and been broken just once, so it’s clear that Raonic’s limited return has very little impact on the Nadal serve. Conversely, Raonic’s serve – usually such a strength – is negated by Nadal’s elite level return, and the world number six has held just 18 from 30 service games in these head to head matches.

These statistics are further endorsed by longer term stats in top 10 vs top 10 matches, which I analysed at—atp.

In this article, written at the end of February, we can see that Raonic has won just one of 14 best of three matches in straight sets vs top 10 opponents in the 12 months. On this basis, laying Raonic in-play if he wins the first set seems a very strong position to take.

Even more worrying for Raonic is his hold/break statistics against top 10 opponents. He’s held 85.5% and broken just 5.1% in these matches, again confirming that his very limited return just doesn’t trouble top players. These statistics are 7.2% and 10.1% respectively below his 12 month hard court hold/break percentages against all opponents. It is beyond any doubt that Raonic struggles against top players.

Furthermore, the 12 month surface hold/break statistics combined to generate a model price of 1.28 on Nadal, making the available market prices extreme value.

Raonic’s defeats in best of three set matches priced between 2.00 and 2.99 since January 2013 have come via at least 2 games (50% came via this margin) whilst Nadal’s wins priced 1.50-1.99 have all come by greater than this game margin. Nadal also has a tendency to win these type of matches in straight sets, but given Raonic’s tendencies to keep defeats close and frequently extend these matches to three sets, I prefer taking the 1.83 about Nadal to win giving up 2 games on the game handicap tonight.

Handicap Recommendation: Rafa Nadal -2 games at 1.90

Price correct at the time of writing.

By @Tennisratings

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