Should Bettors Back Federer, Nadal or Youth at 2017 ATP Finals?

What a difference a year can make!

In 2016, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic dominated men’s tennis and entered the 2016 ATP Finals as the heavy favorites. Murray closed out the season with a stellar straight-set win over Djokovic and pinched the no. 1 ranking in the process. Roger Federer failed to even qualify and Rafael Nadal was forced to pull out due to injury.

This year, it’s just the opposite. Federer (13/7 odds) and Nadal (7/3) will arrive at the O2 as the overwhelming favorites on November 13th, while both Murray and Djokovic watch from the stands after cutting their seasons short due to injury. Stan Wawrinka, who also ended his season early, will sit this one out as well.

Federer and Nadal swept the Grand Slams this year, with Federer picking up the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and Nadal claiming the French and US. They opened the season in spectacular fashion and defied their critics (and their ages) by continuing their run all season. Most recently, the pair met in the finals of the Shanghai Masters, where Fed edged his Spanish rival 6-4, 6-3.

They will undoubtedly close the year as the top two male players in the world. The domination of Fedal has not prevented others from having great seasons, however.

I’ve raved about Alexander Zverev (9/1) before, but it’s hard to overstate what a momentous year the 20-year-old has had. He’s claimed a whopping five singles titles this year, including the Italian Open and Rogers Cup where he defeated both Djokovic and Federer. He still has significant room to grow, of course, as he failed to advance past the fourth round at all four Grand Slams. Still, he’s likely to finish the year as the third-ranked player in the world and he’s shown that he’s capable of beating any player on any given day.

Also in the running at the ATP Finals are Marin Cilic (10/1) and Dominic Thiem (25/1), who both qualified for the event last year but failed to advance past the round-robin portion. Grigor Dimitrov (19/1) and Juan Martin Del Potro (40/1) are yet to be guaranteed qualification, and even if they do crack the field, they’ll still face very long odds.

When it comes to wagering, it’s hard to look past Federer or Nadal given the year they’ve both had. But at 13/7 and 7/3 odds, respectively, the value pick is lower on the list. We’ve seen Zverev grow by leaps and bounds over the course of the season, and we shouldn’t be too surprised if he caps off the year by cleaning up in London. I recommend betting on youth.

Alexander Zverev. Photo credit: Steven Pisano (Flickr) CC License

2017 ATP Finals Odds

Roger Federer: 13/7

Rafael Nadal: 7/3

Alexander Zverev: 9/1

Marin Cilic: 10/1

Dominic Thiem: 19/1

Grigor Dimitrov: 25/1

Juan Martin Del Potro: 40/1

Nick Kyrgios: 50/1

 

Value Bet: Alexander Zverev: 9/1