ATP Kitzbuhel – 2nd Round – Nicolas Almagro vs Jurgen Melzer
The final clay event of the ATP 2015 calendar is this week’s event in Kitzbuhel and the alpine venue gives us a solid handicap betting proposition this evening.
Starting at around 5:30pm UK time (the last match on court in Austria today), 34 year old Austrian veteran Jurgen Melzer takes on the inconsistent Nicolas Almagro, and despite Melzer’s ranking now being outside the top 100, I like the home favourite’s chances of at least keeping this match closer than the market thinks.
Almagro, since returning to Tour this year after a 6 month absence with a foot injury curtailed his 2014 season, has underwhelmed, winning just 15 of his 31 matches in 2015. In these matches, across all surfaces, he has held serve 80.3% and broken 15.5% (combined 95.8%), figures which are not even top 50 level.
Despite these statistics, the markets have priced him as a 1.34 favourite against the ageing Melzer, who has held serve 75.0% and broken opponents 21.6% this year (combined 96.6%).
On clay in the last 12 months, Almagro has amassed a 14-11 record on his favourite surface, holding 81.2% and breaking 17.4% (combined 98.6%) whilst Melzer’s activity stretches to just eight matches, of which he has won four – holding 73.0% and breaking 22.7% (combined 95.7%).
These statistics do give the Spaniard the edge but not nearly as much as a 1.34 favourite would have, and my model priced him at 1.66 against an opponent who will surely be motivated in front of his home crowd.
Backing Almagro this year has been a road to the poor house, generating a horrific -30% ROI based on Pinnacle closing prices, and priced between 1.20 and 1.49 this year, he has covered the -4 game line three times from seven matches, with two pushes. Increasing this sample further, to the start of 2014, he covered -4 games just 5/15 times, losing seven and pushing three times.
These statistics illustrate Almagro’s inability to generally get the job done easily, a fact which has been bemoaned by bettors and fans alike for a number of years. Given the hold/break statistics and historical handicap tendencies, this match has an excellent opportunity of following this trend and I like Melzer to keep it close at least this evening.
Handicap Betting Recommendation: Back Jurgen Melzer +4 games at 1.90
Prices correct at time of writing.
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