Response to Tennis Email:

I received a response from a friend of mine that handicaps tennis regularly….I hope this helps.

“”Also, it is my opinion that the books that cap tennis matches put their greatest emphasis on H2H record and past history in each particular tournament.”

I agree this is mostly the case. There, obviously, are signficant factors that would make these statistics relevant. The issue would really be to determine whether someone actually plays better on Indoor clay, as an example, or versus a specific opponent, or is it mostly just ‘noise’? If you can find the spots where there’s mostly noise, I think you’ll likely be able to extract significant value. It will certainly help that you’re familiar with the sport and the factors that would go into determining these issues. Its a small market and still inefficient enough to find profitable spots like this. The question is how? I think this is one important way. The reverse is also siginficant. Does an individual actually have a reason to struggle with one particular opponent or type of opponent or on a particular surface and are the books adjusting enough in these cases?

“They obviously consider many more factors, but these are the factors that your typical casual tennis fan or even those willing to do a little stat research will usually use to guide their bets. Seeing as how that info is always priced in already, I was thinking modeling more on stats like %service points won, % return points won, % break points won, an adjustment factor for surface speed, winner to error ratio off each wing, aces to double faults ratios, and other congregate stats that books may not be likely to include in their capping. Do you have any thoughts on this?”

I think service points won/return points won or any other very basic serve/return stats are typically figured in. I think % of break points won is extremely relevant because it provides a measuring stick of how well these individuals play big points (and may actually vary depending on how well they’re playing) and, at least at the top of the men’s game, this is often the difference between winning and losing. An adjustment factor for surface speed/surface type and understanding who plays well on what surface is paramount to success, in my opinion. Im not much of a stat guy myself. I cap largely empirically, so I dont put into specific categories what your’re attempting to, but winner to error ratio off each wing is absolutely what I look for, but more generally. That is to say, is one opponent capable of exploiting another opponent’s weakness or is one opponent going to play into another opponent’s strength, or unable to counter another opponent’s strength.
I also think that first serve % is likely the most important factor in determining success on the men’s side. The first serve win %s are likely somewhat consistent, but considering how big of a weapon the first serve tends to be and the general lack of breaks at the top of the men’s game, first serve %/how well someone is serving (and it does fluctuate) goes a long way to determine how successful one might be.

Another quick note, if I may. We all tend to focus on the grand slams/year end events because of the ability to get down more money on the matches and because they’re, by definition, higher profile. However, I think in the men’s game you will find a higher degree of success extracting value on small/mid-range dogs in the smaller tournaments. Not only do the top players gear up for the grand slams, but theres more variability in the best of three-set matches as opposed to the best of five-set matches. Obviously, the shorter the trial the increases likelihood of success for an underdog. That is to say, theres a way better chance that somehow wins one point from Roger Federer’s serve at Wimbledon than one game, and a greater chance that they win one game than one set, and a greater chance that they win one set than two sets, and a greater chance that they win two sets than five sets. Specifically related to the best of three-set matches on the men’s side, so many go to tiebreaks that tiebreak success is likely another factor in determining which men will do well in those types of matches. Im not sure how predictive those stats are, in all honesty, but it might be something to look into.

Hope this helps.”

If anyone else has anything they would like to add….let me know.

Rick

10:50 Update

I may not make it back by 3:30 this afternoon so I am going to post the one play that stands out tonight in the NBA.

Monday NBA Plays

1 Unit Play
Charlotte +14

Sunday we won our 1/2 unit play on Florida +120 in the NHL as they won 4-3.

Today not much to report as except for college totals I am not going to put out overnight or early plays. The lines are just too tight right now in college hoops to not take advantage of every tool in my arsenal!

Looking over the games tonight as of 8:00 A.M. nothing looks promising in college hoops or the nhl…but there is a game that if the numbers hold up looks pretty good in the nba.

I will update most likely around 3:30 P.M. pst.

Meanwhile I receive an email a few days ago :

“Hi Rick,

I’ve been a long time 2p2er with a background in SSNL/MSNL cash games and have lurked your threads and blog for several years now.

First of all, thanks for providing your insight on such a consistent basis. For me, it’s interesting to occasionally read how a winning capper thinks and responds to questions – even more so than the picks themselves.

I have always been a huge tennis fan and have followed the ATP tour rather closely. I have also been an avid tennis player since my youth. Now, as I am finishing up my last year in medical school in Miami, I have a good deal of time on my hands and have been exploring the idea of attempting to create a capping model for ATP tennis matches (not WTA at this point because I feel like the match-to-match variability and frequent breaks of serve on the womens’ side makes things much more difficult). My best friend, who was my undergraduate roommate at Washington University in St. Louis, has been poring over some of the limited tennis stats with me in an effort to identify useful information that can fit into a model. We are first timers to this though and I was wondering if you would be able to provide any sort of guidance for how to get things started. I know you have never posted tennis picks and may not know anything about the sport, but your knowledge with systems and modeling is obviously tremendous so any help would be greatly appreciated.

Also, it is my opinion that the books that cap tennis matches put their greatest emphasis on H2H record and past history in each particular tournament. They obviously consider many more factors, but these are the factors that your typical casual tennis fan or even those willing to do a little stat research will usually use to guide their bets. Seeing as how that info is always priced in already, I was thinking modeling more on stats like %service points won, % return points won, % break points won, an adjustment factor for surface speed, winner to error ratio off each wing, aces to double faults ratios, and other congregate stats that books may not be likely to include in their capping. Do you have any thoughts on this?

I realize this got a little long and I thank you greatly in advance if you got all the way through it. I look forward to hearing some of your thoughts and conversing further!

Thanks,

You are very correct in your assumption that I know nothing about handicapping Tennis! But there are a few handicappers that follow this blog that do. Would you be kind enough to give a response. I am sure it would be helpful to all.

RickJ
Rickjshandicappingpicks.com
Twitter: rickjsportplays
Twitter: rickjswingtrade

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