Novak Djokovic the Odds-On Favorite to Finish as ATP #1

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic finished the 2018 season on a massive run of form, and is rightfully the favorite to dominate 2019. Photo by Carine06 (Wikimedia Commons)
  • At the end of the ATP calendar, there’s odds for who will finish on top of the rankings in 2019
  • Novak Djokovic is almost certain to lock up the #1 spot
  • Which longshots can sneak into the top 8?

The 2018 ATP season has come to an end, and the 2019 season is about to start. Online sports betting sites have odds available for who will finish the next year on top of the rankings. Let’s take a look.

Odds to Finish 2019 as ATP #1

Who Will Finish 2019 as the ATP #1? Odds
Novak Djokovic -225
Rafael Nadal +350
Alexander Zverev +800
Roger Federer +1000
Andy Murray +2000

Odds to Finish 2019 in ATP Top 8

Player Odds
Novak Djokovic -3300
Rafael Nadal -800
Alexander Zverev -800
Roger Federer -300
Karen Khachanov -120

Is Novak Djokovic a Lock?

In a word, yes. Towards the end of 2018, he was almost entirely unbeatable, winning 34 of 36 matches before falling to Alexander Zverev in the ATP Finals. Zverev was able to take advantage of a weakness in Djokovic’s serve, and played an almost entirely perfect game.

It was good television, in the way that watching an underdog play out of his mind against a favorite always is. It’s not likely to presage the immediate future, however: Zverev won’t always be able to win off the bulk of Djokovic’s second serves. At this point, it’s almost certain that Zverev will be the #1 player in world one day, but before then he’ll need Novak Djokovic to stop winning everything. He’ll also need to solve whatever problem is holding him back in Slams, a trend that’s growing more and more concerning for his fans.

Who Else Could Finish #1?

It’s Djokovic or Nadal, realistically. Roger Federer’s strategy of cherry-picking tournaments he likes and skipping clay court season altogether is great at getting him the wins he most values, but terrible for accruing ranking points. Nadal is the odds-on favorite to win the French Open, as well he should be, and haul in all 2000 of those points.

Anyone else finishing the year in the #1 spot would be a huge story and nobody’s odds reflect how crazy it would be.

Value Bets to Finish in Top 8

You don’t get great odds betting on top players to finish in the Top 8. Novak Djokovic gets to -3300, which is not a lot of payout for a bet that will take a year to pay out. Similarly, Marin Cilic (now #7) will get you +150, which might present value but is extraordinarily boring, and still a long wait.

The smartest thing to do with this bet is to stay away. The second smartest thing is to pick a young player you like (if you look at the full odds sheet, you’ll find #12 Borna Coric at +400), place a modest bet on them, and hope they have a great season. Denis Shapovalov (#27) is at +1000. Hyeon Chung (#25) is at +800. All are extremely fun tennis players, and could feasibly work their way into the top 8 by year’s end.

Here’s some other longish-shots: Nick Kyrgios (currently #35 after shutting down for 2018) is listed at +300, and is perpetually just around the corner from being one of the very best players in the world. Milos Raonic was a perennial top-8 player and is listed at +275.

Stan Wawrinka is the fifth Beatle of top-tier tennis, and after coming back from knee injuries in 2018. He’ll be back among the absolute best soon, and is listed on this odds sheet at +250. Making that bet while rooting for one of the most exciting players in the game seems like a good play.

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