3rd Round – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs Sergiy Stakhovsky
The US Open moves into the third round this evening and followers remain in good heart following Hyeon Chung’s easy cover of the 7 game handicap line last night against Stan Wawrinka. We were unlucky that the Korean prodigy was unable to claim a set for the double win, losing in three consecutive tiebreakers.
However we continue in good heart with another handicap betting recommendation where a player with a terrible record of covering game handicap lines starts as a heavy favourite.
This player is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, whose game has evolved slightly with age into a more serve-orientated style. His return stats have declined markedly – he has broken opponents 19.0% in the last 12 months on hard court, compared to 22.8% in both 2008 and 2009, for example.
This 3.8% drop-off doesn’t sound much, but it makes it much harder for him to cover large game handicap lines as a heavy favourite, simply because he will play more tie-breaks and not win as many sets by a double-break margin.
He’s certainly a heavy favourite for today’s clash with Sergiy Stakhovsky, starting at around 1.08, and my model makes him bigger at 1.16. The Ukrainian is nothing special on hard (or any) court at this level, holding 77.4% and breaking 18.5% in the last 12 months on hard court, but these stats are enough to warrant a bigger model price on the Frenchman.
The game handicap certainly looks the way forward for this match – Stakhovsky +7.5 games is available at 1.67 and historically, Tsonga has major issues moving from 6.5 to 7.5 games on hard court when priced as a heavy favourite below 1.20.
Since 2012, in Grand Slams, Tsonga has completed 16 matches, but has only won six by greater than 7.5 games, and these were frequently against woeful opponents on hard court – Frederico Gil, Karol Beck and Filippo Volandri amongst others. Opponent Stakhovsky may be a journeyman, but he is much better on hard court than this trio.
On this basis, backing the Ukrainian to cover the 7.5 game line looks a very solid proposition indeed, and is today’s recommendation.
Tennis Handicap Betting Recommendation: Back Sergiy Stakhovsky +7.5 games at 1.67
Prices correct at the time of writing
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