Incumbency bias might somewhat account for the disparity in odds on men’s tennis titans Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in Wimbledon betting futures.
Federer, who has won the Grand Slam championship in London a mind-bending eight times, is listed as the +150 favorite on the Wimbledon men’s champion betting futures, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Nadal, who has split the last six Grand Slam titles with Federer 3-3, is the second favorite at +500.
Thanks to his superior record on grass courts, Federer is the No. 1 seed with Nadal at No. 2 on the opposite side of the draw, which is the inverse of their overall rankings.
It is understandable if bettors want to stick by the seemingly ageless wonder Federer, who skipped the clay court season to focus his energy on dominating on grass at the All England Club. However, it’s worth remembering that upsets and injuries to upper-echelon players aided his path to the 2017 championship and the law of averages would suggest that’s unlikely to happen twice in a row.
Nadal has not made a Wimbledon final since 2011 but getting the No. 1-ranked player at 5-to-1 odds has some high-risk, high-reward appeal.
Beyond the big two, a good tack for bettors seeking value might be drawing a bead on results rather than reputation – the big names who go high on the board. Novak Djokovic (+650) is getting some respect on the tennis odds, but the elbow problem that cut his 2017 season short makes him a chancy pick.
Alexander Zverev (+800) has had minimal grass-court time this spring, while home-country rooting interest Andy Murray (+900) has also been contending with injury problems.
Value-minded bettors might want to look at 2017 Wimbledon finalist Marin Cilic (+1200), who won the Queen’s Club tune-up tournament (in a bit of foreshadowing, he was the 2017 runner-up before having the same result at Wimbledon). Juan Martin del Potro (+1200) has not played on grass this season, but the hulking Argentinian has beaten Federer this season and, as the No. 5 seed, should be on the same side of the draw.
Inconsistency probably strikes taking a flier on either Nick Kyrgios (+1600) or Grigor Dimitrov (+2000) on the 2018 Wimbledon odds while Milos Raonic (+2000) has also been injury-prone over the last year.
Wimbledon begins at the All England Club on Monday, with the women’s final scheduled for July 14, followed by the men’s final on July 15.
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