WTA Montreal – Final – Madison Keys vs Simona Halep
The Masters/Premier Mandatory events in Canada signal the final preparation for the Olympics for most players, but Simona Halep has withdrawn from Rio de Janeiro, so today represents her last match activity for several weeks.
Today the Romanian takes on the promising American, Madison Keys, who has began to add consistency to her power, and whilst a mediocre return game may hamper Keys in her bid to reach the absolute peak of the women’s tour, it is also possible that this deficiency will be compensated by a lack of quality opponents currently in the women’s game.
The market, typical of its behaviour this week, has made Halep favourite tonight with no value whatsoever, with it over-valuing very recent results as opposed to long term player quality and improvement. This is a dangerous market trait given that variance is apparent in all sports and, particularly in women’s tennis, it is rare for a player to be able to maintain a high level on a regular basis.
This market trait was almost punished in yesterday’s semi-finals, with Halep clearly no value against Angelique Kerber priced at 1.51 and the Romanian found herself a break down in the final set before rallying round to win the decider. Effectively the market over-valued Halep because she had impressed more than Kerber this week, but this is what Kerber does – she makes it hard for herself frequently and often scrapes through several rounds to reach the business end of events.
Market prices have given us a solid handicap betting opportunity tonight, with the big-serving Keys well respected by my model, which priced her at 2.14 in what is almost a 50:50 match. Keys is currently available at 2.62, so this represents strong value.
Statistically, there is very little to split the players in the last 12 months on hard court, with combined hold/break percentages almost identical, whilst Halep has a marginally higher opponent quality in those matches.
This under-valuation of Keys as an underdog has been quite consistent throughout her career, where she has frequently beaten the bookmakers when priced between 2.00 and 3.00, with a highly impressive career record of 25-16 in this price range.
On hard court in this price range, her data is impressive too – since 2014 on today’s surface she has taken at least a set in all but one of her completed matches, whilst since 2014 across all surfaces in this price range she is 13-4 for achieving this feat. Indeed, she’s won 11 of those 17 matches and this opens up a further possibility, given that she has also won all but one of those matches by at least a 2.5 game margin.
Considering this, I’m quite happy to recommend a split-stake back of Keys +1.5 sets at 1.61, and a more ambitious back -2.5 games at 3.20.
Recommendation: Back Madison Keys +1.5 sets at 1.61, and -2.5 games at 3.20.
Prices correct at the time of writing.
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