2017 ATP Finals: Odds on the Top Ten

Grand Slam season is over, but don’t think there’s no more tennis until the 2018 Australian Open. The Laver Cup was a very fun diversion from the norm, and now we’re looking ahead to the ATP Finals (Nov. 12-19), an eight-player postseason tournament that features the best players competing for a ranking-points and prize-money haul roughly equivalent to making the final of a Grand Slam.

Eight players make the tournament, and spots are decided by the ATP Race to London (essentially, ranking players over the age of 21 in the current calendar year). Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have locked up spots by winning two slams apiece and a handful of other titles.

This year’s ATP Finals will be particularly interesting, because the players that have dominated the tournament in the past are almost all out with injury. Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, who have won the last five tournaments, are both sidelined, leaving Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to duke it out with each other and a talented lineup of youngsters eager for a big win.

Let’s run through the top-ten in the rankings and their chances of winning the ATP Finals.

Rafael Nadal (Clinched)

The world #1 locked up his spot at the Finals with his third US Open victory and tenth French Open. He’ll undoubtedly be a favorite at the Finals, just due to experience: with Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic out, Nadal is one of just two likely participants to have made the final of the tournament before. His run of form in 2017 has been astonishing, he’s clearly as comfortable on hard courts as anyone in the world, and (unlike Federer) he has no lingering injuries that the tennis world is aware of.

Odds to make the semis in the 2017 ATP Final: 1/3

Odds to win the 2017 ATP Final: 7/3

Roger Federer (Clinched)

Roger Federer also clinched his berth in the Finals by winning two slams this year. He played unbelievably well coming back from the injuries that sidelined him in 2016, winning the Australian Open in dramatic form, and then added another Wimbledon title to his resume. Later in the year, his storybook season became a little more realistic; Federer would be a likely favorite at the ATP Final if it weren’t for the persistent back problems that limited him towards the end of the year. Federer was seriously diminished at the US Open, and while he looked fine at the Laver Cup, that was a glorified exhibition where he played two singles matches and a doubles match. How he’ll stand up to as many as five higher stakes matches will be a huge factor in this tournament.

Odds to make the semis in the 2017 ATP Final: 3/7

Odds to win the 2017 ATP Final: 3/1

Alexander Zverev (3rd on points, 4220)

Zverev hasn’t technically secured a spot in the Finals just yet, but is third on points and a couple thousand ahead of some other hopefuls. He is the top seed and the favorite (3/2) to win in Shenzhen, which would net him another 250 points.

If Zverev were to make it, he’d be hoping to end up in Federer’s group rather than Nadal’s. The gangly German has fared much better against Federer, winning two of their four matches including their most recent in the finals of the Canadian Open. He’s lost all three of his matches against Nadal, and being placed in the same group as the world #1 would be an unfortunate draw.

Odds to qualify for the 2017 ATP Final: 1/9

Odds to make the semis in the 2017 ATP Final: 1/1

Odds to win the 2017 ATP Final: 17/3

Dominic Thiem (4th, 3715)

Dominic Thiem is looking great heading into the finals. He’s the favorite to win in Chengdu and has wins against both of the top two seeds and a winning record against both Federer and Zverev. Thiem hasn’t been so successful against Nadal, losing five of their seven matches, but all seven were on clay. Getting two wins off Rafael Nadal on clay is a record to be proud of.

Thiem made the finals last year and beat Gael Monfils in the round-robin stage. This tournament could line up really well for Thiem, and have him in the knockout stage. He’s risen to become one of the very best players in the world, and will likely remain a fixture at the Finals for some time.

Odds to qualify for the 2017 ATP Final: 1/4

Odds to make the semis in the 2017 ATP Final: 13/7

Odds to win the 2017 ATP Final: 9/1

Photo: Michael Frey (CC License)

Stan Wawrinka (5th, 3150)

Stan would be a great pick; he’s occasionally an unbeatable opponent on whatever surface you chose. He is unfortunately also injured, preventing him from making his fourth finals appearance.

Grigor Dimitrov (6th, 3105)

Dimitrov is starting to convert on what everyone could see was incredible talent, winning his first ATP title since 2014 in Brisbane and his first Masters 1000 title ever in Cincinnati. He’s in good position to make his first appearance in the ATP Finals, sixth in points (fifth when you subtract Wawrinka) and on an incredible run of form.

Unfortunately, Dimitrov doesn’t match up well with the other likely competitors. He’s lost fourteen of his fifteen matches against Federer and Nadal, hasn’t beaten Zverev since 2014, and has a losing record against Thiem. In fact, the most likely player to make the Finals that Dimitrov has a winning record against is Sam Querrey, who’s somewhat on the bubble. Dimitrov will have to make something of a breakthrough to get out of the round-robin stage.

Odds to qualify for the 2017 ATP Final: 1/3

Odds to make the semis in the 2017 ATP Final: 6/1

Odds to win the 2017 ATP Final: 30/1

Marin Cilic (7th, 2995)

A huge portion of Marin Cilic’s points come from his run to the final at Wimbledon where, hobbled by a nasty blister, he wasn’t able to overcome his physical limitations or his opponent. It was a crushingly disappointing match for all involved: Marin Cilic didn’t get a chance to display his best at one of the biggest moments in his career, fans weren’t treated to the genuinely intriguing matchup that is Federer/Cilic, and Federer’s storybook Wimbledon ended on a rather sad note.

All that said, Cilic’s power and recent form makes him a good match for even the big two at this tournament, and a real challenge for the younger players.

Odds to qualify for the 2017 ATP Final: 2/3

Odds to make the semis in the 2017 ATP Final: 4/1

Odds to win the 2017 ATP Final: 20/1

Pablo Carreno Busta  (8th, 2595)

On the bubble, with a narrow advantage over Kevin Anderson and Sam Querrey, is US Open semi-finalist Pablo Carreno Busta. Busta’s not a huge figure on the tour — 2017 is his first year inside the top 10 — so he’s something of an unknown quantity. We know that his preferred surface is clay (both of his finals this year have been on the surface) and that after a meteoric rise in 2013 (winning ATP Newcomer of the Year) he sort of faded out of the spotlight. We know that his play is typical of his preferred surface, a patient and defensive style, which doesn’t make a lot of highlight-reel footage but can win a lot of matches.

Seeing PCB play in London would be a treat. Despite reaching the semis of the US Open, we still don’t know if he can stack up to the best in the world. He’s played all the other likely finalists (save for Zverev) and lost to all of them, only recording wins against Grigor Dimitrov. Was his success at the US Open indicative of a breakthrough in form, or (as some say) the result of a historically easy draw?

Odds to qualify for the 2017 ATP Final: 2/3

Odds to make the semis in the 2017 ATP Final: 6/1

Odds to make the semis in the 2017 ATP Final: 30/1

Novak Djokovic (9th, 2585)

Novak has made the last five consecutive finals of this event, and won four. He’s also injured, which opens up the tournament in a huge way. The absence of the world’s most dominant indoor hard-court player will be, in all likelihood, the defining feature of the tournament.

Sam Querrey (10th, 2435)

Listed 10th and on the bubble is Sam Querrey, who earned his points by making the Wimbledon semi-final and defeating Rafael Nadal, Nick Kyrgios, Dominic Thiem, and David Goffin to win his tenth career title at Acapulco. His game isn’t hugely complicated: he has perhaps the best serve on the tour and will roll through you if you can’t return it consistently and match it with your own. He has wins against all the best players on tour, has ruined the hopes of some of the best players in history at various points, but has yet to break through and get a slam title of his own.

Querrey has a very narrow lead over the others vying for the last spot in London. Kevin Anderson is only a hundred points behind, and some a strong finish from David Goffin could bump Querrey out of his finals debut.

Odds to qualify for the 2017 ATP Final: 2/3

Odds to make the semis in the 2017 ATP Final: 3/1

Odds to make the semis in the 2017 ATP Final: 30/1

Geoff Johnson

MTS co-founder Geoff Johnson is a lifelong Mets fan, something he can't do anything about. He has a great track record when it comes to wagering on baseball – largely because he's more than willing to bet against the Mets. His career profits are impressive, but not quite as good as his handsome friend Frank Lorenzo. He wishes he hadn't let Frank write his profile.