August 21, 2015

Tennis Handicap Betting Preview – Friday 21st August by @Tennisratings

ATP Cincinnati – Quarter Final – Richard Gasquet vs Andy Murray

The ATP Masters 1000 in Cincinnati rolls onto the quarter-final stage tonight and in the third match on court at around 8:30pm UK time, I fancy the chances of Andy Murray to convert a value handicap betting opportunity against Richard Gasquet.

There are two areas which require focus here, as the historical head to head, which reads 5-3 to Murray, is utterly irrelevant.  Gasquet claimed two of his wins in the first two meetings, in 2006 and 2007, when Murray wasnt even a top ten player.  The third was on clay in the French Open in 2012, a surface at the time that the two players were extremely closely matched.

This is an illustration of the dangers in looking at a head to head record in isolation without looking deeper into the detail behind it – advice various media outlets would do well to heed.

The first area I wish to focus on is the service hold/opponent break stats on hard court in the last 12 months, the standard starting point for all of my match analysis.  In these Murray has held slightly less (81.8% to Gasquets 83.5%) but broken opponents much more, doing so a world class 33.1% to Gasquets mediocre 21.1%.  This generated a model price of 1.36 on the Scotsman, making currently available prices around the 1.50 mark solid value.

In addition to this, no discussion regarding Richard Gasquets career could ever fail to mention his atrocious record against top ten players, and in particular, elite level opponents.  The Frenchman frequently appears to be beaten before he walks onto the court against elite players and this is my second point – across all surfaces Gasquet is 10-40 in his last 50 matches against top ten players, returning an abysmal -45% ROI on Pinnacle Sportsclosing prices.  

Gasquet is 6-23 against top ten players when looking at 2013 onwards.  Furthermore, from 2013 onwards, he is 3-13 against top five opponents, with a brace of wins over David Ferrer and one over Stan Wawrinka, hardly players of the average level of the elite four.  Against Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray he is 0-13 in this time period and has taken just two sets – it is clear that he struggles to up his game against the elite, and surely only a performance beset by fatigue from Murray will give Gasquet a reasonable chance.

Based on the head to head against elite opponents just mentioned, a 2-0 Murray win has to be a credible option, although I noted that Murrays win over Gasquet in 2013 featured two dominant sets (6-1 and 6-2) and a tiebreak win for Gasquet, so an ambitious game handicap line was covered but not the set handicap.

In Gasquets matches against top 10 opponents priced 2.00-2.99 since 2013, his losses came by 3 games or more, and this looks a viable option for Murray to cover at 1.96.  I like splitting a stake between this and the Murray -1.5 sets at 2.44 for todays recommendation.

Recommendation: (Split Stakes) Back Andy Murray -1.5 sets at 2.44, Back Andy Murray -3 games at 1.96

Price correct at time of writing.

By @Tennisratings

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