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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:-
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:-
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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