Do Young Players Represent Value Early in the Season?


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With the 2017 Tennis season just a few days away, looking at Tennis betting angles specifically based on this stage of the Tennis calendar is always worthwhile.  On this basis, I decided to evaluate the results of young players at the start of the last two seasons, to see if there was a possible edge available.

The logic behind this was pretty straightforward - the Tennis season is long and hard, and this is likely to be more of a shock to younger players than experienced campaigners, and therefore their results have the potential to be worse towards the end of a season.  If this was true, bigger prices would be available on these players at the start of the next season.  

In addition to this, it is also reasonable to assume that younger players get more benefit from a full pre-season, when perhaps they have broken through to the ATP tour or Challenger tour midway through the season, where they are forced to try and get immediate results.  A pre-season allows them to practice without the distractions of matches, improve on technique and focus on strategies for the upcoming year.

As has been mentioned in previous pieces, the age/improvement curve for male tennis players tends to rise sharpest prior to the age of 23, so for the purposes of this article I decided to evaluate players aged 22 or below at the start of January for each year.

The results in January and February 2015 of the players aged 22 or below in the top-200 ATP immediately before the 2015 season were as follows.  A hypothetical flat £100 stake was applied to all these players matches in the ATP & Challenger Tours (Main Draw & Qualifiers), and Pinnacle closing prices were used in all cases.  Only matches where at least one set was completed were included in the results:-

Player

End 2014 Rank

End 2014 Age

Jan/Feb 2015  Matches Played

Jan/Feb 2015  Matches Won

Jan/Feb 2015  Flat Stake P&L







Dominic Thiem

39

21

5

3

-289

Jack Sock

42

22

0

0

0

Nick Kyrgios

52

19

6

4

47

Bernard Tomic

56

22

20

14

91

Diego Schwartzman

61

22

7

2

-186

Jiri Vesely

66

21

13

8

145

Filip Krajinovic

100

22

10

4

-499

Borna Coric

102

18

14

7

1742

Damir Dzumhur

109

22

16

12

493

Denis Kudla

121

22

18

11

-161

James Duckworth

127

22

15

9

290

Lucas Pouille

133

20

16

9

-304

Jason Kubler

140

21

4

1

-289

Facundo Arguello

142

22

10

6

-27

Thanasi Kokkinakis

150

18

15

10

199

Mate Delic

153

21

5

1

-193

Marton Fucsovics

161

22

8

3

-322

Luke Saville

162

20

10

3

-546

Yoshihito Nishioka

166

19

13

9

363

Roberto Carballes Baena

167

21

11

6

-368

Hyeon Chung

173

18

18

14

507

Taro Daniel

177

21

10

5

-223

Nikoloz Basilashvili

178

22

13

7

8

Kimmer Coppejans

180

20

13

7

-177

Ryan Harrison

191

22

20

15

1184

Liam Broady

196

20

10

4

-317

Overall



300

174

1168


Whilst the results were quite a mixed bag, a profit of £1168 was generated from 300 bets.  This yielded 3.89% ROI, which is impressive - particularly from a blind-backed strategy.

Similarly, the same analysis was performed for the end of 2015/start of 2016:-

Player

End 2015 Rank

End 2015 Age

Jan/Feb 2016  Matches Played

Jan/Feb 2016  Matches Won

Jan/Feb 2016  Flat Stake P&L







Dominic Thiem

20

22

22

18

1155

Nick Kyrgios

30

20

5

4

417

Borna Coric

44

19

12

6

-113

Jiri Vesely

41

22

6

1

-309

Hyeon Chung

51

19

9

3

-185

Lucas Pouille

78

21

10

5

255

Thanasi Kokkinakis

80

19

0

0

0

Alexander Zverev

83

18

10

6

537

Yoshihito Nishioka

117

20

15

9

129

Bjorn Fratangelo

128

22

12

5

-464

Kimmer Coppejans

130

21

14

8

-236

Roberto Carballes Baena

131

22

17

10

77

Jared Donaldson

134

19

9

3

-311

Elias Ymer

136

19

6

2

-161

Dennis Novikov

150

22

12

5

-187

Karen Khachanov

152

19

12

6

-329

Jordan Thompson

154

21

15

9

515

Adam Pavlasek

160

19

14

8

166

Taylor Fritz

174

18

22

17

323

Guilherme Clezar

175

22

14

7

-231

Frances Tiafoe

176

17

10

5

40

Matteo Donati

180

20

6

2

-46

Andrey Rublev

185

18

13

8

31

Laslo Djere

186

20

3

0

-300

Luke Saville

187

21

11

5

-338

Aslan Karatsev

195

22

7

3

64

Tristan Lamasine

196

22

11

4

57

Overall



297

159

556


Again, a positive ROI figure was obtained, with £556 profit from £29,700 stakes returning 1.87% ROI.

Overall, across both seasons, there were 333 winning bets from 597 bets placed, returning profits of £1724, generating 2.89% ROI.  This is a very solid return on investment from a sample size which is getting towards being reasonable, so it would appear that the market isn't entirely efficient at pricing up young prospects at the start of each season.

Players already in the top 100 had even bigger returns, with a profit of £1565 returned from 125 bets (£12,500 staked) for the matches involving the higher profile young prospect.  This equated to a superb 12.52% ROI.

In addition to this, players aged 20 or below - the younger prospects in this sample, who had the most improvement time remaining - had excellent returns.  Filtering these players only generated £1712 profit from 261 bets (£26,100 staked) for these players, a return of 6.56% ROI.

Concluding, it would appear that keeping the youngest top 200 players onside in the first two months of the season - particularly those already in the top 100 at the end of the previous season - seems to make a great deal of sense.  Based on the data from the last two years, these players are extremely likely to improve rapidly in the early months of the new campaign.

For a list of the current young players in the ATP, please check out this article which I wrote recently.



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