Wimbledon Final Betting Tips: Statistical volatility points to Djokovic, maybe

The metrics in this final are hard to fathom, writes Jack Houghton, who thinks an in-play strategy is likely the best route to profit...

A difficult task

For the second grand-slam final running, my brief - to provide an in-depth statistical look at previous head-to-head matches of the finalists, identifying value bets in the match's side markets - has been scuppered by how few times the finalists, Novak Djokovic (1.26) and Nick Kyrgios (4.7), have played each other.

Two matches in 2017, amounting to four sets, is all that we have. Kyrgios, surprisingly, won both in straight sets. The four sets themselves were all relatively keenly contested, producing two tie breaks.

We might surmise, then, that backing Five Sets at in the Number of Sets market was the way to go, or that we should ignore the Match Odds market and focus on 3-2 score lines in the Set Betting market.

That might all well be wise, but I'll be honest, it's hard to know where to start when it comes to pricing up those markets or determining value.

A few key statistics can point us in the right direction, though.

Statistic 1: Djokovic is my far the better player, even now

Much of my pre-tournament previewing in recent seasons has focused on the decline of Djokovic and his generation of fellow greats. Indeed, prior to Wimbledon I revisited the subject again, highlighting that the ease of Djokovic's draw gave Djokovic a chance at Wimbledon that his recent form didn't warrant.

That view has been borne out by the obscurity of those players Djokovic has beaten to reach this final. Aside from tennis devotees, few would have recognised the names of his opponents before the semi-finals, and even then, Cameron Norrie was hardly a household name before the tournament began.

Nonetheless, Djokovic is a far better player than Kyrgios, who has somehow navigated the more torrid half of the draw to find himself in the final.

According to my ratings, Djokovic should be around 1.15, with Kyrgios 8.0 shot. If looking at grass-only figures (not the most reliable approach, given the reduced sample size of matches, but nonetheless interesting) the gap widens furthers in Djokovic's favour.

And yet there's that head-to-head record: two matches, both going Kyrgios's way.

It's a strange matchup, then. The declining force versus the accidental finalist. And this strangeness is compounded by the volatility of Kyrgios.

Statistic 2: Crucial second-serve statistics point to Djokovic, sort of

As explored before, the most important metrics when looking to explain tennis performance are the percentage of second-serve service points won, and the percentage of second-serve returns won.

In other words, the game boils down to how well you can hold up when your serve is under pressure, and how severely you punish your opponent when they find themselves in the same situation.

On both metrics, Djokovic is the model of consistency. Second serves delivered and returned, he nearly always wins more than half, and is often up in the high 60s percentage-wise.

Kyrgios, on the other hand, produces metrics whose inconsistency is hard to fathom. It's not unusual for him to excel - with second-serves delivered and won in the high 70s, for example - but for that figure to drop 30% in the following match.


Statistic 3: First serves might well be an early indicator

Kyrgios's inconsistency is replicated in his first-serve statistics. His ace count can be extraordinary, winning nearly 30% of his points through aces, especially on grass. These are figures that Djokovic could never replicate.

Much like the rest of his game, though, that service dominance can rapidly disappear for Kyrgios, and might prove the best early indicator of which Krygios has turned up in the final: the possible winner, or the self-destructive caricature of a fiend.


Having to recommend a bet in this final before it starts is difficult. So, it is no more than a tentative recommendation to back Djokovic to win 3-0 in the Set Betting market at 2.7.

More dynamic advice is to watch Kyrgios's first service game intently. If those first serves start firing immediately, he may well be the value bet.

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