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Novak Djokovic to beat Casper Ruud and under 20.5 games at -121 at PointsBet
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Monday’s order of play at the ATP Finals doesn’t look the most appealing from a betting perspective, sadly.
First up, tournament favorite Djokovic takes on debutant Ruud and it’s no surprise to see the world number one at a very short price – he’s also just 2/5 for a straight-sets win, odds which hardly leave me salivating.
Can some sort of case for Ruud be made? Well, he does have an underrated serve – he sits ninth for service games won on the ATP Tour in 2021, one place above Alex Zverev, and in conditions that are pretty fast he’ll hope to use that delivery to fend off his Serbian foe. A tie-break in the match is offered at around +200 – and there was one in each of Sunday’s matches.
Djokovic has also won just two of his last 11 matches in straight sets so hasn’t been displaying the sort of dominance of previous years ahead of this season-ending tournament.
Yet the top seed is one of the best returners in the game and it is in that department where there is a big difference between the two players. For service games won, there is less than one percentage point between the pair; for return games won, that gaps stretches beyond seven points (27.6% v 34.8%) and it widens even further when the hardcourt filter is applied.
I’d expect Djokovic to get into Ruud’s service games, maybe from the word go given Ruud will be playing at this event for the very first time and will surely bring some nerves.
It’s worth noting that Djokovic out-aced Ruud 12-2 on clay in their only previous meeting, something that doesn’t bode well for the Norwegian in these conditions.
The best value for this match, therefore, looks to be in backing Djokovic to win inside 20.5 games at -121.
The reason this clash makes little betting appeal is the injury cloud hanging over Tsitsipas.
He quit the recent Paris Masters with an arm injury which he later revealed had been bothering him for some time. On Friday’s media day, he said it was still causing him some pain.
The Greek, the winner of this event in 2019, hasn’t been in the best of form – maybe due to the problem – and playing carrying an injury against his fellow top-eight stars is unlikely to improve that situation.
Rublev beat Tsitsipas indoors earlier this season in Rotterdam and given his opponent’s problems, it could easily be argued he is the value pick at odds-against.
Yet the Russian has struggled of late too, losing five of his last seven matches and so I’m reluctant to pull the trigger on him.
My advice for this one would be to look at the live, in-play markets once you’ve had a chance to assess Tsitsipas’ fitness levels.
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|ATP Finals Information
|Nitto ATP Finals
|Sunday, November 14 to Sunday, November 21
|How to Watch
Andy is a sports journalist of more than 20 years’ experience and is a former betting editor of the UK-based website, Sporting Life. He has specialized in tennis for many years, previewing hundreds of ATP Tour events and reporting from tournaments such as the ATP Finals and Davis Cup final. Andy has also covered numerous other sports, with a particular interest in soccer and cricket.More info on Andy Schooler
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