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ATP World Tour Finals Betting Preview: Novak Djokovic a Troubled Favorite?

O2 Arena ATP World Tour Finals
O2 Arena is one of the biggest tennis venues in the world, and hosts the ATP's end-of-year tournament. Photo by Adesile [CC License].
  • The ATP World Tour Finals are upon us
  • Is Novak Djokovic a good bet as a favorite?
  • Or is it smarter to take a flyer on an underdog?

The Nitto ATP World Tour Finals start this weekend on November 11th at the O2 Arena in London. It’s a weird, fun event, and one that has produced underdog winners recently.

ATP World Tour Finals Odds

Player Outright Winner Odds at  Bovada
Novak Djokovic -165
Roger Federer +225
Alexander Zverev +1000
Marin Cilic +1200
Kei Nishikori +2200
Dominic Thiem +2500
Kevin Anderson +2500
John Isner +2800

I have serious questions about Roger Federer, and less serious questions about Novak Djokovic. It’s good to remember that this format is friendly to underdogs, and that Grigor Dimitrov won last year without ever blossoming into the beautiful flower we’ve all been waiting for. Maybe take a flyer on an outside player you like (Kevin Anderson?) and hope for the long season to get to Novak and Roger like it did to Rafa.

It’s very funny that odds-on favorite Novak Djokovic will enter this tournament on a 0-1 streak. Does that create value for Novak, or did Khachanov expose his vulnerability?

World Tour Finals Match Odds

Here’s the odds on the first matches of the tournament, also from Bovada:

Kevin Anderson vs Dominic Thiem

Player Spread Win Total
Kevin Anderson EVEN (-105) -105 O 25.5 (-105)
Dominic Thiem EVEN (-125) -115 U 25.5 (-125)

I love the over here, because if Kevin Anderson is good for anything it’s holding serve over and over again. Dominic Thiem is also underrated as a heavy hitter, so I expect a lot of sets to end up 6-4 or 7-5, and since these two are so evenly matched a three-setter doesn’t seem unlikely.

Roger Federer vs Kei Nishikori

Player Spread Win Total
Roger Federer -3.5 (-125) -350 O 22.5 (EVEN)
Kei Nishikori +3.5 (-105) +275 U 22.5 (-130)

There was something visibly wrong with Roger Federer at the Paris Masters, and his placement and consistency on first serve were seriously lacking. That suggests a back problem similar to what ended his season last year, and if that’s true Nishikori could quite plausibly beat him outright.

The odds here are pretty healthy, +275 for Kei Nishikori is a good payout, so that seems like a good bet.

Alexander Zverev vs Marin Cilic

Player Spread Win Total
Alexander Zverev -0.5 (-120) -130 O 24.5 (-120)
Marin Cilic +0.5 (-110) EVEN U 24.5 (-110)

Zverev’s won all five of this pair’s most recent matches, and you have to stretch back to 2015 (when Zverev was still learning to walk) for a Cilic win. I agree that Cilic has made some big strides recently, but I like the spread here.

Novak Djokovic vs John Isner

Player Spread Win Total
Novak Djokovic -3.5 (-115) -800 O 23.0 (-105)
John Isner +3.5 (-115) +550 U 23.0 (-125)

Novak losing to Karen Khachanov was concerning, but two things stand out to me:

  1. Karen Khachanov has won his last four matches against top-10 players, and is really good
  2. Novak Djokovic won the 22 matches preceding that one

Maybe Nole got tired of winning? Maybe he got tired from playing against Roger Federer for three hours? Maybe Karen Khachanov is secretly Marat Safin in a disguise?

Anyway, John Isner has never beaten Novak Djokovic and isn’t about to start. I’ll take the under.

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Alex studied political science in university but spent most of that time watching college football. Started covering sports betting for this site in 2017. Avid tennis player, golf nut, and motorsports nerd. Career .600 against Ryan Murphy in NBA Jam: Tournament Edition.