Monday, 8 December 2014

How To Use A Players Age In Your WTA Tennis Betting

Tennis bettors may not consider the age of a player when deciding to back them. This article assesses whether the age of players in the WTA has any influence, and if there is generally any tennis betting value backing younger players.

WTA Rising Stars offer value
In last week’s article which looked at the ‘choke’ factor – whether heavy underdogs choke when playing more illustrious opponents – we found that the WTA had a much better record for underdog wins than the ATP.

One possible reason given was that there is a bigger talent pool of young players in the WTA with nine players under 23 inside the top 50, and 29 inside the top 100. With the latest rankings this has changed to 10 inside the top 50, and 25 inside the top 100 – compared to just one ATP player in the top 50 and six in the top 100.

Simona Halep (current rank 7) leads the young WTA players, with Sloane Stephens (18) and Eugenie Bouchard (19) also having a top 20 ranking currently.

These young WTA players clearly are relatively more talented than their young ATP counterparts and when breaking through on the main tour, may well be underestimated by the betting markets. Therefore they may have the potential to cause an upset at a large price.

The following table shows the records of WTA players inside the top 100 in WTA matches in the last 12 months (data correct at 26th February 2014). Because of the potential for upset wins to come via retirement (hence there would be no relevant choke factor) only completed matches were assessed. All prices were Pinnacle Sports’ closing prices, and level £100 stakes were applied for all matches.

Player
Rank
Best Win (Opponent)
Best Win (Price)
WTA Matches
12 Month W/L
Win %
12 Month P/L
ROI
Halep
7
Radwanska
3.394
74
58-16
78.38
2265
32.4
Stephens
18
Sharapova
5.023
52
32-20
61.54
10
0.2
Bouchard
19
Ivanovic
4.859
61
40-21
65.57
373
6.2
Pavlyuchenkova
22
Sharapova
5.289
56
35-21
62.50
602
11.4
Muguruza
36
Wozniacki
4.859
49
36-13
73.47
1076
22.4
Keys
38
Li
13.000
53
31-22
58.49
1010
19.8
Jovanovski
42
Petkovic
6.355
48
28-20
58.33
830
17.7
Svitolina
44
Oprandi
4.077
48
23-25
47.92
38
0.8
Nara
48
Zakopalova
3.945
35
23-12
65.71
829
25.1
Beck
49
Safarova
4.809
58
30-28
51.72
-252
-4.5
Pliskova
51
Petrova
4.859
50
23-27
46.00
-425
-8.5
Robson
56
Radwanska
7.025
34
15-19
44.12
-272
-8.2
Puig
58
Errani
7.446
44
24-20
54.55
557
13
Davis
64
Kuznetsova
4.489
47
25-22
53.19
690
15
Cepelova
65
Stosur
6.386
36
17-19
47.22
97
2.7
Flor
66
Erakovic
3.178
42
19-23
45.24
-570
-14
McHale
70
Hercog
2.538
40
20-20
50.00
-724
-18
Schmiedlova
72
Cornet
4.322
45
27-18
60.00
308
7
Tomljanovic
74
Pervak
4.165
35
21-24
60.00
651
19.1
Mladenovic
76
Halep
6.068
43
15-28
34.88
-1264
-30
Ormaechea
81
Schmiedlova
3.188
36
19-17
52.78
-673
-19
Giorgi
82
Wozniacki
6.402
34
20-14
58.82
671
20.3
Pfizenmaier
84
Petrova
2.855
30
17-13
56.67
355
12.3
Babos
94
Ivanovic
8.634
31
12-19
38.71
-176
-5.9
Doi
97
Lepchenko
2.912
36
15-21
41.67
-972
-28
Overall
1117
625-492
55.95
5034
4.51

Halep undervalued by the market
We can see from the above table that overall there was a positive return blindly backing under 23 WTA players who are currently in the top 100 with a return of investment of 4.51% being generated.

Unsurprisingly, the top ranked player, Simona Halep, performed the best, with a stellar season seeing her with the highest win percentage (78.38%) and the highest ROI (32.4%) with Garbine Muguruza and Kurumi Nara also seeing high win percentages and return on investments.

What is also interesting to see is how many players won as a heavy underdog. 22 out of the 25 players (88%) had wins priced over 3.00, whilst 18 (72%) had wins priced over 4.00 and 10 (40%) had wins priced over 5.00. Only Madison Keys, with a win over Na Li (priced 13.000), had a win when priced over 9.00.

Interestingly, higher ranked players were victims several times – Agnieszka Radwanska, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, Caroline Wozniacki and Nadia Petrova all suffered this ignominy.

It may not be initially obvious but another statistic is vital. Only Annika Beck (ranked 49) had a negative return on investment from the 10 players inside the top 50 and this return was very small – just -4.5%.

Do rankings have an influence?
Therefore it is logical to assess whether ranking have an influence on the sample, and the tables below illustrate this: -

Top 50 Rank
Matches
P/L
ROI
534
6781
12.70

Rank 51-100
Matches
P/L
ROI
583
-1747
-3.00

Clearly the top ranked players performed best here, although this is logical as they’ve almost certainly had a rise in ranking in the past 12 months. Therefore it’s natural that their results will be strong. As previously mentioned, Halep’s results were superb, but overall backers of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Garbine Muguruza, Madison Keys, Bojana Jovanovski and Kurumi Nara in the past 12 months would have enjoyed double figure returns.

However, it’s certainly interesting to see that blindly backing young WTA players ranked between 51 and 100 did not have a horrific return on investment by any means, and with careful research there should be no reason why selective positive expectation betting opportunities could not exist amongst these players as well – certainly Monica Puig, Lauren Davis, Ajla Tomljanovic, Camila Giorgi and Dinah Pfizenmaier may be under-rated by the market currently.


Whilst the age of a player, particularly an underdog, may not be considered a viable option by many bettors, this article shows that it should be part of a tennis bettor’s pre-match research, along with many other factors.