Off-topic and Strictly discussion thread

Boki suggested an off-topic thread for the Sofabet community to discuss bets not related to the main articles, such as Andy’s tips on the Mercury Prize and Guildo’s on tennis. Your wish is our command. As the last Strictly thread is getting to an unwieldy length, please feel free to use this clean slate to keep that discussion going, too.

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112 comments to Off-topic and Strictly discussion thread

  • Heisenberg

    My speculative off-topic-tip:

    Tennis: Kvitova to win at least 1 set vs Williams
    Strictly: Fiona Fullerton Eliminated
    X-Factor: Rough Copy Bottom 2

    Treble odds a shade under 60/1

    – – – –

    Williams is having an exceptional season and overwhelms almost every opponent with power of serve and heavy groundstrokes, however, Kvitova has run her close recently (see Doha this season), plays well indoors and usually saves her best tennis for the end of the season.

    Fiona Fullerton is not polling well, is not coping at all with the dances, has a fast quickstep on Saturday very likely to expose her lack of ability and is coming off some awkward banter with the judges last week. Quite sure she will not get any sympathy votes and if she lands in bottom 2 she’ll be gone, so take elimination odds rather than the shorter bottom 2 odds.

    Rough Copy just don’t fit the Saturday night crowd demo IMHO and have been given shameful levels of support for 2 consecutive weeks. If those efforts haven’t translated into votes I think there’s a good chance the treatment will be different this week and therefore in danger of a bottom 2 appearance.

  • Boki

    Thanks Andrew for making the off-topic thread, now we have to find some more off-topics 🙂

    Interesting propositions from Heisenberg indeed.
    I thinks I’ll skip Kvitova today for personal reasons (yesterday I thought JJ might take a set but didn’t pull the trigger, after those missed ones I usually see the similar opportunity the next day and loose every time).

  • Boki

    JJ to win or loose in two I would say, she has now qualified after Aza defeat so would be stupid to play 3 sets today.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Well, I was resolute I would quietly boycott this off-topic value highlighting (and thus killing) thread (it’s likely to be on the regular reading list of bookmaker oddsmakers and traders – does anyone consider this?! Seriously.) but seeing as I previously mentioned the Paris Masters / BNP Paribas Masters (in the thread which spawned this), the 2013 edition to be commenced later this month, then I will sketchily outline a piece about this upcoming tennis tourney.

    One stat to note is the decent success in Paris of the home French players. Not outstanding but decent nevertheless. Guy Forget featured in two finals in the early nineties, winning one. Sébastien Grosjean won the title in 2001. Muhammad Ali lookalike (more so than Will Smith), Jo-Wilfred Tsonga won in 2008 and made the final in 2011; and the ATP tour wild-thing and underachiever Gael Monfils played in back-to-back finals in 2009 and 2010 (losing both).

    I surmise that just like it was easier for some British players to play at tournaments played in England that are not under the microscope and under the suffocating hope-carrying pressure of Wimbledon, it could be that certain French players respond to playing in a “lesser” (though prestigious) event, rather than at Roland Garros. In the last forty years of the Men’s French Open (Grand Slam), there has been one French finalist, Henri Leconte in 1988.

    You could argue that Andy Murray’s first “Slam” (McEnroe has alluded to this) was actually his demolition of Federer at Wimbledon in 2012. How much easier to play on the crest of a patriotic wave of Olympic golden success and rack up another gold medal for Team GB than having to carry the burden and pressure alone (like he did in his first four losing Grand Slam final appearances).

    You read preview articles of next week’s Paris Masters that take this line:

    http://www.livetennisguide.com/2013/10/25/is-rafael-nadal-favorite-at-paris-masters/

    In my opinion, articles such as these are possibly unhelpful from a betting point of view. This bills the entire tournament as a private duel between Nadal and Djokovic, as a race between the only two competitors to reach / claim / establish themselves as number 1 in the charts. Nadal and Djokovic will be, what?, around 5/4 in the outrights to win the tournament? Are they certainties to contest the final?

    Probably not.

    I could be underestimating the bragging rights of being World Number 1, but they have few if any ranking points to defend in Paris. How you weigh the motivational factor of keeping or claiming this World Number 1 ranking could be key to a betting strategy.

    For a start, Nadal has never won the tournament! In fact he’s only ever been in 1 final, and that was 6 years ago. Add to this, Nadal’s famous tournament record after the last Slam of the year, the US Open. It’s shocking. And is a consequence of running himself into the ground during the clay court season, having virtually no rest, coming over to Wimbledon, and then launching into the hard court stretch. He’s typically knackered come this time of the year.

    After his crazy, crazy winning run after returning from injury, Nadal has suffered a couple of defeats recently. Fatigue will have played its part. He says so himself. Nadal’s rest week, and reason for it, can be read here.

    http://www.theage.com.au/sport/tennis/tired-nadal-takes-break-20131019-2vty3.html

    (Although it must be said that Nadal has never enjoyed playing against Del Potro. The height and power of Del Potro takes away the advantage of Nadal’s high-kicking top-spin ground-strokes. For other players these top-spin strokes are delivering the ball up around shoulder height, whereas flat-hitting Del Potro receives these balls nearly plum in his hitting zone).

    Djokovic is in a happy place right now:

    http://inserbia.info/news/2013/10/novak-djokovic-and-jelena-ristic-to-get-married-in-sveti-stefan-report/

    and is on a twelve match winning run. Serbia are through to the Davis Cup final, and Djokovic beat Nadal and Del Potro (in a corking match) respectively, in winning two tournaments in China.

    Del Potro seems to be over his tendonitis (of the wrist) problems and knee issues (well, for now) and is proving himself a match for Djokovic. Anyone who saw their epic, marathon Wimbledon semi-final will know that match could have gone either way (until Djokovic’s superior fitness eventually held court).

    Djokovic could be keen to go on a long winning run, to rival Nadal’s 21 match winning run (ended by Djokovic earlier this month in Beijing). And Novak won the Paris Masters in 2009.

    But, putting all this aside for a moment, the most interesting point about the Paris Masters is it’s close proximity to the ATP World Tour Finals, played at the 02 in London. If any tournament (outside of an Olympic year) has 5th Slam status it’s this one. Think about the status of The Masters in snooker.

    The question for the players is this: do you want to knacker yourself progressing in the Paris Masters and possibly scupper your chances of winning World Tour Finals?
    Have a look at the calendar:

    http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tournaments/Event-Calendar.aspx

    The final of the Paris Masters will be played on 3rd November, by the way. (Tournament starts on 28th October).

    Here’s an angle on the implications of the draw for the event:

    http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2013/10/43/Paris-Draw-Wawrinka-Gasquet-Tsonga.aspx

    ‘Richard Gasquet, who holds down the final qualification spot at ninth position in the Emirates ATP Race To London, is just 65 points ahead of his compatriot 10th-placed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga(3,055 points).’

    The above quotation (I’ve extracted it from the article featured in the link) hints at the motivations for prospering in this tournament for certain players in particular. By the way, you’ll have read that Gasquet (who has finally got his act together this year) is in the final qualification spot of “ninth” – the final qualification spot is ninth, not eighth, because Andy Murray is injured. The World Tour Finals are competed for by the top eight ranked players in the world.

    David Ferrer won the 2012 Paris Masters. He was ranked 5th in the world at the time, a typical ranking position for Ferrer. The gulf between the top echelon and Ferrer has always been vast. Realistically, (with only the one Final appearance – which he lost in straight sets) he wouldn’t have been expecting to win the World Tour Finals. The Paris Masters win was also his first ever Masters title (which kinda emphasises the point, I suppose).

    The full draw for the 2013 Paris Masters is here:

    http://www.atpworldtour.com/posting/2013/352/mds.pdf

    Note that the 16 seeded layers will enjoy first round byes.

    Ok. I’m not offering any direct tips, but I have, I hope, offered potential betting angles, or factors to bear in mind which may not be immediately obvious.

    There’s much, much more that could be said; or which is illustrative. For example: compare and contrast the “indoor master” (indoor hard court conditions are fast on the stimp, true and consistent) Roger Federer’s respective records at the Paris Masters and at the World Tour Finals.

    One other factor (in both upcoming indoor hard court tournaments) could be Rafa’s incredible hard court season. He’s taking the ball earlier, going for more winners and quicker into the rallies, which shortens his matches – and so takes the pressure off Rafa’s notoriously dodgy knees.

    Here is a genuinely illuminating (!) story link that’s well worth a read:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/tennis/article-2449179/Rafael-Nadal-How-broken-star-rebuilt.html

    • Heisenberg

      Excellent insights Guildo, thanks for sharing.

      Was there ever a better example of the over-performing Frenchman than when Benneteau beat Federer here in 09?

      Completely agree about Nadal – the indoor surface and late calendar position are his kryponite and an early loss in Paris would come as no surprise at all. The locker room knows it too and players face him with more belief and confidence than they would ordinarily. He’s had a miraculous comeback, truly stunning, but you’re right to highlight that this is when the wheels usually start to fall off.

      Bonne chance!

    • Boki

      Nice article Guido written in a sofabet manner (informative, offering angles instead of tips) – I mean it in a most positive way.
      I still have to think about my betting strategy about this last tournament and will post some thoughts in couple of days.

    • Boki

      In addition rg. Rafa: beside the preserving the no.1 spot, he misses London trophy but also he doesn’t have Paris in his collection and would make a record of 6 master1000 tournaments in one year. So it’s all about priorities and I don’t know what his priorities are at the moment.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Hi guys, just posted a tennis tourney preview (I guess), but it’s awaiting moderation. Don’t know why.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Hi guys,

    I envisioned I would be analysing the form lines, studying each player and the draw in depth before committing to a bet.

    Instead, I noticed the markets for the outrights are up, had a quick skimmmy scan of the draw, and instinctively leapt at the 25/1 for Ferrer. The price seemed to be winking at me, with a generous gleam of value in its eye.

    The 10s on offer for him, imo, looks a shade too short to be reflective of his chances, but 25s for a gritty reigning champ, defending his first Masters title looks appetising to me.

    Fingers crossed.

    Haha! Put plenty of thought into the preview piece – versus about 30 seconds thinking time into my actual bet.

    N.B. I think the round of qualifying matches is in progress as we speak.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Keep on considering Del Potro as possible value. He’s a match for anyone. He has that final in Basel this afternoon.

      He’s in Djokovic’s half of the draw, annoyingly. Novak is building a terrific winning run and when a player (in particular when that player is Novak) starts on one of those they’re difficult to stop. Djoko might have it in mind to win every competitive match left in the year,culminating in smacking the Czechs.

      • Boki

        I see Delpo as a value for quick Paris exit.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Is it that he plays better fresh? – which is surprising for such a big unit.

          My worry with backing Del Potro, and why I’ve held back, is that the more tennis he packs in, the higher the chance it seems of his body breaking down, in some way.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Had a longer study and think, and then also backed (in addition to Ferrer):

      Raonic 40/1;
      Pospisil 250/1;
      Mahut 500/1.

      As two of these three could already be out by this time tomorrow, I’ll save making explicit my reasoning, for now!

      • Heisenberg

        Interesting choices Guildo. I’ll be taking Janowicz each-way (80/1). He took out Murray last year and I’ll be hoping for a repeat of those third round heroics against Nadal.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          V interesting pick, that. Heisenberg. He should have beaten Murray again, of course, in the semis at Wimbledon. And I don’t know if you saw Jerzy’s match against Nadal in Canada earlier this year, but, simply put, Janowicz outplayed him (Jerzy’s nerves and Nadal’s will to win just proving the difference to the final result). The Nadal fan boys on the blogs wouldn’t have it, but a less nervous Janowicz would have comprehensively won that match. A third round match up here would be one to watch.

          I’m a big fan of Janowicz’s and I’ve never seen someone 6 ft 9 inches + move / glide as well as he does (He’d do well on Strictly!). Watching him reminds me of Jonah Lomu, back in the day.

          I just hope his recent lower back travails are over. I let his third set capitulation against Ferrer in Valencia put me off backing him here.

          • Heisenberg

            I particularly remember his third round Wimbledon match on centre court against Almagro where he played with full confidence, served 30 aces, combined brute force power with surprising touch and, as you say, displayed great mobility for his size.

            He’s the sort of player who can, on his day, completely overpower Nadal as we have seen before with Tsonga (Australian Open 2008) and Del Potro (US Open 2009).

            The main concern at this stage of his development is the mental aspect that causes him to sometimes lose focus and belief on court at important stages of a match – evident in Wimbledon SF against Murray (although that was a very admirable effort) and the Nadal and Ferrer examples you already mentioned.

            Of course, he may win only 6 or 7 games against Nadal, but an intriguing match to look forward to nonetheless.

          • Heisenberg

            Looking at today’s matches I just can’t see Cilic causing any trouble for Del Potro, look at the stats for last 10 sets played:

            http://goo.gl/Sqi1SX

            I may be tempted by a 3 set outcome for the all German scrap, Kohlschreiber vs Haas:

            http://goo.gl/4DzZvw

          • Boki

            I hope you are wrong about Delpo, his motivation is a question mark for me today after 3 long tournaments and London next week (where he has a shot unlike Ferrer for example).

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Hi again Heisenberg,

            Joined in with you on the Poleveriser. If I had to pick one player to gatecrash the top 5 in the rankings in the next couple of years it would be him. It won’t be lack of self-belief or hunger that holds him back.

            Wish he had a few more recent matches under his belt, but never mind, as that’s reflected in his price, as is the scale of task involved in winning his next match.

      • Boki

        I took only Raonic for now.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Read a v.interesting tip for Isner at 100/1 this morning. Haven’t been able to get to a computer until now, so could only catch the TP of 80s for him.

        Backed him a couple of months ago at a handsome price for Cincinnati (to win outright – Doh!), only to watch as Nadal won two tie-breaks against him, stepping it up an invisible gear each time in that way that only the irrepressible Nadal can do, as Rafa claimed the title.

        I’ve long pigeon-holed Big Mild John as a homer (a support-needer), as the opposite of say the personality his compatriot Courier was on the tennis scene – a Yank who thrived on playing Davis Cup in the opponent’s back yard against the backdrop and atmosphere of the most partial of crowd. A siege mentality atmosphere seemed to bring the Alamo spirit to the fore in Jim.

        My pigeon-holing of Isner as a homer and my wish to look for an outsider away from the bottom half of the draw (where Djokovic, Del Potro and Federer lurk) made me rule him out prematurely, or so it seems.

        Anyway that’s 5 fancy priced selections against the field now, so I’ll stop there and let them ride.

      • Boki

        Added a little of Cilic assuming he will surprise Delpo.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Very interesting…I’m reminded of Denmark’s unexpected last-minute arrival at the 1992 European Championships.

          Though rusty from lack of competitive match practice, he is a fresh player in a end-of-season tournament, with question marks over many of the field as to their energy levels and motivation.

          Do think it’s a pity for him he’ll be facing such a formidable opponent as Del Potro so soon, though..

      • Boki

        He is a choker and I don’t like him but as you said he’s fresh and hopefully after today’s win some of the rustiness is gone. It’s more the fact that I will oppose Delpo than that I’m backing Cilic but we’ll see…

  • stoney

    Guildo im going to give it one more week to see ashleys treatment before deciding whether to have a cover bet on ben to be top male, hopefully they will ease off on the under marking of him now

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      I don’t see why they would. That would only create an improvement journey for him. I imagine that’s the last thing they have planned for him.

      It looks more likely that an all-female final is desired: with Sophie and Natalie (barring actual injury) definites, plus one of either Abbey or Susanna.

      If there’s no male in the final, then a female winner is guaranteed.

      It would be nice, decent and merited if they would have a change of heart and start marking him fairly.

      • stoney

        They are clearly taking tips from the x factor on manipulation!

      • stoney

        what you thinking about ashleys chances now? he was undermarked once again wasnt he, he was miles ahead of bens dance in my eyes.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Deserted him a bit ago now. If he finishes top male while finishing in the top 3 (I mean 3rd!) then that’s all well and good.

          Patrick (more so) or Ben for top male are my best results.

          Mark, Dave or Ash (with Ash outside the top 3) are least best results for me.

          I think I’ve better chances with Casualty’s Ash rather than Hollyoak’s Ash.

          To be frank, and as I’ve discussed at length on the opening SCD thread, I’ve made too many mistakes on the outrights in this SCD series.

          The weekly SCD market returns are ticking along nicely – which is just as bloody well.

          • stoney

            Patrick was bottom 2 lastnight. Surely the only threat to top male is now ben

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            There is that, you’re right.

            But you could ask yourself this: if Patrick and Ashley were in a dance off one week (with Patrick recovered from his injury), what odds would you ascribe each of them to survive the chop? How would you chalk it up?

            Without that wrist injury, Patrick would have comfortably outscored Ashley for the second week running. It’s the judges who rule the dance-off.

            Patrick doesn’t enjoy public support, despite his dancing skills. He’s a keeper.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Hoped you jumped on the 18/1 Patrick express, stoney.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Bump!

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Doing my shopping this morning and glanced at the front page of The Sun on Sunday. Its front page lead is that Susanna Reid was once shacked up with her Politics teacher while she was at university.

    Whether this is positive press for her or negative press for her, I don’t know – but how on earth is this considered front page news?

    *Female celebrity, back when 18+, had an older man as a lover while at university*

    Demonstration of a slow news day.

  • eurovicious

    If you haven’t seen this already, it’s brilliant, and totally applicable to X Factor too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpgNVPcRVTY

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Glanced over the early Strictly elim market; Rachel, Dave and Susanna catch the eye, on first impression.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    What a 1 set turnaround that was! Mahut was down 2-6 in the tiebreak…yet has just won it 8-6!

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      …and unsurprisingly Mahut has just broken Dolgopolov in the opening game of the 2nd set. Dolgopolov lost the game in quick time with a double fault.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Posposil hit a set’s worth of unforced errors, 24!, in the first set against Andujar – he over-hit bloody everything. Stunning half-volley from Posposil to grab a break in the 2nd set was key to levelling up 1-1 in sets. 3rd and deciding set to play…

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Bizarre decision-making from deserving loser, Posposil. In the 6th or 7th game of the deciding set earlier, Andujar has just received treatment for a problem with the inner forearm of his serving arm, The trainer was stretching Andujar’s inner forearm muscles during the medical time-out.
    Andujar resumes, is promptly 3 break points down and struggling with his arm.
    Then Posposil decides to shorten the points by quickly hitting balls several feet over the baseline, and tops even this strategy by playing to Andujar’s backhand side. He forced / allowed supination movements from a player struggling with pronation.
    Not the same lad I’ve watched play Davis Cup for Canada this year.
    Andujar might be struggling in his next match with a reoccurence of the same problem.
    Another thing to watch out for will be the next time Tsonga and Cilic meet.

  • Andy

    Guildo, Looks like the money is coming for Laura Mvula.
    5/4 best price
    4/7 in places.
    Fingers crossed.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Ferrer beats Rosol 6-0, 2-6, 6-3. My oh my: Rosol is streaky.

  • Heisenberg

    The ultimate off-topic Tennis crossover – James Blake wins Mercury Prize!

  • Heisenberg

    A couple of observations about today’s Dimitrov vs Del Potro match…

    Since Oct 1st Del Potro has played in the finals of three events, winning two of them – a total of fifteen matches including six 3-setters and seven long tie-break sets. The end of year tour finals start in London on Monday, where he will have realistic expectations of making the finals again.

    Del Potro’s body language is deceiving at the best of times, but against Cilic yesterday there were definite signs that he does not want to go deep into this tournament. Yes, he won the match in straights, but only by relying heavily on his serve and several fluffed opportunities by a ring rusty opponent. It’s quite likely that Federer and Djokovic will be Del Potro’s next opponents in the draw and I’m convinced he’d rather do battle with them next week on the bigger stage than here in Paris with nothing at stake.

    By contrast, Dimitrov is a player on the rise and very much in form. He will not be participating in London and should approach this match full of confidence and without distraction.

    My feeling is that Del Potro doesn’t have the appetite or desire for a three set battle and if he loses the first set, thoughts of next week could start to enter his mind. Even if Dimitrov loses the first set, he’ll remain confident and keep up the fight (he has won from behind in three of his last four 3-setters in recent weeks).

    As such, these are the markets that I’ll be considering:

    Dimitrov to win 2-0 (5/1 Lads)
    Dimitrov to lose 1st set and win match (9/1 Lads)

    • Boki

      This time I hope you are right, good luck.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Didn’t catch the Del Potro vs Cilic match yesterday, myself, but respect your observations; and Del Potro, I imagine, knows his body v well by now, and can tell when a streak of too much tennis is close to reigniting one of his extensive range of niggles and old injuries.

      Like your match projection and tips.

    • Heisenberg

      Very impressed with Del Potro’s fighting spirit – didn’t see that coming, especially after losing 1st set.

      Clearly he is taking this tournament very seriously.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Early into the first set and Ferrer looked in for a dog-fight of a match with Simon. Yet Ferrer wins the set 6-2, with Simon peppering his service games with double faults, which seemed to feed into a tame surrender of the set.

    Strange to see Simon getting so down on himself in front of a home crowd; and also given his overall game looks in good nick.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      That’s who Simon reminds me of: Andy Murray from a few years ago, when his game was concentrated on defence, disrupting the opponent’s game and lacking assertion.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        I think if Simon could bring himself to mix in some punching with all the counter-punching he be’d better for it. Hopefully, not until after this match, though!

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Ferrer has just ground down Berdych 2 sets to 1. Have one man left standing. Unfortunately, in the first semi-final, to which he is through, Ferrer’s up against Nadal, to whom he’s lost 16 out of his last 17 matches. Oh dear: was hoping Janowicz (or someone) would already have eliminated Nadal. Djokovic being in the other semi. I think keeps Nadal extra motivated.

    My only hope is Nadal hitting the wall – or perhaps literally running into one.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Ferrer takes the first set 6-3!!
      Hello…!

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Arggh! Ferrer serving for the match. Bloody Nadal breaks back. Now 5-5 in the 2nd.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          Good Lord! Ferrer’s broken straight back! Ferrer to serve for the match, again…

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Yes! 🙂

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Really pleased I concentrated my selections with a view to a pre-final Nadal loss. (Djokovic was always the one I feared, and mostly avoided, above all). The place part of the EW pays for all my tournamnet selections + a nice bit of profit. Need the 25/1 win part to hit tomorrow, of course, for a more substantial return. Might have a nibble at Djokovic, though it must be said that Ferrer was great value for his win today. Thoroughly deserved. His pride at being defending champion elevated his game today, I would say. He seems inspired.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            To the tune of my tourney profit (so far), took the 7/2 for The Joker to win 2-1.

            So:

            Ferrer win = great result.
            Joker wins 2-1 = not bad.
            Joker wins 2-0 = I come away break-even.

            Come on, David!

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Crazy break point rally, crazy drop shot finish, and Ferrer grabs an early break…

            Come on, David!

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            How bloody frustrating was that. Ferrer was a break up in both sets, serving for each set at 5-4…and lost both. He couldn’t even win one of them to get my 7/2 bet up. All that effort (from me!) and I end the tournament having not won a penny. Yeesh!

            Roll on the Worlds in London…

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Have took 9/2 for Poulter to prevail in China.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Thoughts on ATP World Tour Finals in London.

    Pressed for time, so will try to be quick.

    Novak: worthy even money fap. Building a silly season-climax win streak. Has regained that invincible air. In a match between Joker and Nadal, at the mo, I’d be fancying Novak. But the general evens (or TP of 6/5) for him doesn’t entrance me.

    Imagined I’d be backing Berdych at 28/1 for this tourney, as he’s playing very well at the mo, but then again,when isn’t Berdych playing very well? Thought long and hard before swerving him and those odds. Only Berdych knows why he doesn’t win many more tourneys than he does.

    Stan the man has the power to blow anyone off court but seems a bit fragile. A close loss seems to discourage him. Looks a bit of a sulk to me. But 50/1 could be huge for someone woth chances of reaching the final.

    Nadal seems to have the easier draw, is playing well, and 3/1 looks about right, but it’s not for me.

    Gasquet. I don’t believe he has the power in his racquet to win this, but the court will be playing medium pace, so he’ll have opportunities to flourish his backhand wand.

    Del Potro can beat anyone, and most importantly that includes Djokovic and Nadal…

    …but Federer beat him in Paris and I don’t see why Federer couldn’t beat Del Potro again. I remember back in August watching a Cincinatti QF ‘tween The Fed Express and Nadal that Federer should have won. He outplayed Nadal. The guy still has plenty of game, he played v well in Paris, pushing Dyoko, and his record in this competition and in London is incredible. 10/1 looks a very decent and tempting price. Might have a piece of that.

    I was going to say that the last person I would be backing for London would be Ferrer. The guy must be knackered. He hasn’t stopped the last month or so. Plus he has developed an annoying habit of losing finals (*author quietly screams at this point!*). But the fact remains he’s in the form of his life. He was 5-3 up in BOTH sets ‘gainst Djokovic in Paris.

    He should be exhausted, but then, arguably, he should have been exhausted after Valencia. Nadal and Djokovic have for lengthy spells of their career both superhumanly overcome fatigue and kept on winning. That’s what modern tennis players do.

    Ferrer’s inspiration from being defending champ at Paris could have been the keystone to his over-achievement but I’m wondering if he should really be written off so quickly when judging prospects for London. Am happy to take a chance at 33/1 that he can maintain his hot streak, and at least reach another final.

    Comments, please?

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Also, took my winnings from Rachel this weekend and “reinvested” them on Patrick at 16s.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Relief at swerving Berdych (Wawrinka’s just beaten him in the opener of the round-robin group stages) I think of Berdych as “The 99% man”. There’s a missing 1% of some quality, aspect or factor that has kept his game and results at a plateau, and which renders him a flattering deceiver.

    If he could find that 1% extra he’d be a real force.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Scoreline doesn’t reflect it but Wawrinka is giving Nadal one Hell of a match.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Come on, Stan!

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Set point!

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Darn! Nadal saved set point.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Darn! However, I took 33s and 30s EW for Wawrinka on the outright. Fancy Wawrinka to defeat Ferrer and that very well might be enough to see Stan into the semis.

      Wawrinka has a famously appalling record ‘gainst Nadal so this match was a much improved display from him. He’s playing very well.

      He’s also had a couple of epic toe-to-toes with The Joker this year.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Hammered the 8/13 for Stan to beat Ferrer. Waited for the markets to come up. Strong fancy. Had a piece of the 11/8 for him to win in straight sets as well.

    Might back him again EW on the outrights as well.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Pray for Guildo!

      Stan is currently best price of 1/2 and is a modal 4/9. The straight sets price is now a modal 11/10.

      Really wanting Stan to do the business for me tomorrow. Will not be hedging. This is the biggest tennis plunge bet I’ve had in a while.

      Come on, Stan The Man!

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        🙂 Gosh, that was obvious! Nice one Stan! One of the most confident 8/13 pokes I’ve backed. 🙂

        Would have won a lot more if Wawrinka hadn’t blown the first set,leading 5-2 at one point, for crying out loud!

        Want Nadal to beat Berdych now, as this sets up Wawrinka vs Djokovic.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    I’m imagining / forecasting the following results:

    Wawrinka beats Ferrer.
    Nadal beats Berdych.

    Del Potro beats Federer.
    Djokovic beats Gasquet.

    Which, off the top of my head, results in:

    Semi-finals, with.

    Del Potro beating Nadal 2-1 (the surprise result)
    Djokovic beating Wawrinka 2-1.

    And in the final:

    Djokovic beats Del Potro.

    Am unsure why I plumped, pre tourney for Federer over Del Potro – as now I can imagine DP beating Federer and then Nadal, but I can’t imagine Federer beating DP and then Nadal.

    • Heisenberg

      I make Fed slight favourite against DP (Fed coming off a win, DP coming of a disappointing and tiring loss).

      Then Fed vs Nadal SF would be interesting – one of them to play Djoker in the final.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Hope you’re right about Fed, Heisenberg.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          You were right, Heisenberg.
          In a match riddled with errors and lapses. Federer has just done enough. Delpo let that match slip a few times.

          Means I now have two guys (out of three) in the semis, 10/1 and 33/1.

          If Djoko gets past Stan then I think he beats the winner of Nadal-Federer in straight sets.

          Btw, there’s a crazy point to watch in the 9th game of the 3rd set.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Federer in on-court post-match interview mentioned something about how both he and Delpo were tired the last time they played.

            Fed then mentioned that he will be playing old foe Nadal tomorrow (meaning: with no rest day).

            Federer vs Nadal could be yet another low quality match.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            Pleased I left that Nadal-Federer match alone. Realised from Federer’s comments that he would be too tired to produce a consistence performance this afternoon. Looked at Nadal’s price, about 2/5, but didn’t see any value in that.

            Can imagine never backing Federer again to win a tournament. He’s not the athlete he once was, his ground-strokes are inconsistent, and he’s showing marked signs of that phenomenon you see in ageing snooker players: the lapses in concentration that are age-related and inevitable and progressive – I’m sorry to say.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Dogfight between Nadal and Berdych at the moment. Berdych took th second set 6-1 (!!). Nadal fighting back and having to fight very hard. 4-3 to Nadal at mo, with serve.

    I wonder if the top players have adapted to Nadal’s new hardcourt game and are seizing the initiative against him.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Tournament thoughts (with a focus on opposing Nadal):

    The courts’ set-up and balls used in Paris (the previous ATP tourney) and in London are designed and ordered to be the same, yet tourney stats and player comments would suggest that the courts are playing slower here in London.

    You would think that this would favour Nadal. 3 out of 3 victories in the Group A round robin would appear to back this up.

    Yet Nadal at top price of 11/5 to win this Tour Finals crown doesn’t appeal to me.

    Nadal’s 22 game win streak came to an end at the China Open, beaten by Djokovic in straight sets in the final.

    In Nadal’s next tourney, on the China swing, he lost in straight sets to Delpo.

    Next up in Paris, he was beaten in the semis in straight sets by Ferrer. Ferrer broke a long losing sequence to Nadal in doing so.

    Here in London, he gained revenge on a shattered Ferrer; lost two very tight tie breaks to a player he has never lost a set to (!), Wawrinka; and then struggled through a match with Berdych. Nadal had won his last 12 sets against Berdych, and made it 13 with the opener earlier this evening, but then was overpowered in the 2nd set 6-1. Berdych was very competitive in the 3rd set but eventually his bottle went and serve double-faultingly broke down late in the set, and that was that.

    So to summarise Nadal’s tourney so far I would say he’s beten one exhausted player (who lost all his 3 matches) and struggled through two matches against opponents whose dismal head-to-head records against Nadal eventually proved the beating of those players.

    Whether it is the season catching up with him or the top players adapting, and learning to play Nadal at his own game by shortening the points against him, beating him to the punch – Nadal looks to me as though someone like Djokovic will beat him. Possibly Delpo or Federer could also take him.

    As I have Stan EW at juicy prices I’m tempted to take the outright 5/6 for The Djoke Machine. His now long winning run and reapplied sheen of invincibility should be enough.

    And if Delpo vs Federer tomorrow produces a 2-0 winner I would be tempted to take that player to beat Nadal in that semi match-up.

    As 30 of the last 31 posts have been mine, should I just stop with these tennis posts?

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Wawrinka to win 2-1 at 10/1. Djokovic to win 2-1 at 7/2. Have done both scores in the Wawrinka vs Djokovic semi tomorrow.

    Took that 5/6 for Djokovic to win the tourney the other day.

    Would love for Wawrinka to win tomorrow. That would land a couple of cracking place bets – at the very minimum.

    Can definitely envision Wawrinka taking at least a set.

    I think if Federer wins the afternoon semi against Nadal, this will help Wawrinka in his evening battle against Djoko. The incentive and pull of an all-Swiss final would be strong.

    Calling Heisenberg, Boki, stoney, or anyone!
    Comments, please?

  • Heisenberg

    General consensus is 50/50 looking ahead to Nadal vs Djokovic tonight. Here’s my view…

    The lead-in to this final couldn’t have been better for Djokovic – all 3 group matches went the distance making him match hardened and his semi with Stan was a relative stroll, ensuring no fatigue issues today.

    Nadal has had it all his own way so far and is not match hardened (see second set vs Berdych). Also, Federer’s undoing in the semi was not so much Nadal, but rather the tolls of his previous epic with Del Potro which left him battle-damaged (the match was effectively over after Nadal broke again in the 11th game of the first set).

    Given that I expect a 3 set match tonight and recent history shows Nadal should win the 1st set (has done so 7 times in last 10 matches vs Djokovic), these are the bets I currently have in my basket:

    – – –

    Nadal to win 2‐1 WLW (Set Exacta) 9/1

    Djokovic to win 2-1 LWW (Set Exacta) 7/1

    *Match to go to a final set tie-break 13/2

    – – –

    *Interest preserving wager if Nadal loses first set

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    I’m very firmly in the Djoko camp. I strongly fancy him to win. But think I’ll let my 5/6 on the outright for him ride. Not mad on the current 4/7 for him.

    Am still so disappointed with Stan, to have further bets in this tourney!

    Expect Djoko to win in straight sets.

    I imagine 6-3, 6-4.- something like that.

    Ah! You’ve revived my interest, Heisenberg.

    I’ve spotted a matched bet offer on one of my accounts so I’ll use that to have a little nibble on the match, more for fun and interest than anything.

    Have backed:

    Djoko 2-0 at 11/8
    Djoko LWW at 7/1
    Djoko 6-3, 6-4 at 16/1
    Djoko 6-4, 6-4 at 25/1
    Djoko 6-3,6-3 at 45/1
    Djoko 6-4, 6-3 at 85/1

    That little lot looks like I’ve got heavily involved – but I haven’t.

    Kept outlay small.

    I do disagree with you when you say:

    ‘Nadal has had it all his own way so far and is not match hardened…’

    In his match previous to the Berdych one, Nadal was pushed to the limit by Stan in two tough, tight sets, which Nadal won on two tie breaks (7 points to 5, and 8 to 6). I watched that match and it was one heck of a battle.

    Anyway, a nice healthy disagreement between sofabet’s two primary tennis correspondents is good fun!

    I know one thing: however he achieves it, I want Djoko to win tonight!

  • Heisenberg

    “Expect Djoko to win in straight sets.
    I imagine 6-3, 6-4 – something like that.”

    Guildo Horn Forever
    November 11, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    If anyone can top that for a pre-match prediction, I look forward to hearing from you.

    Well done indeed, looking forward to Melbourne already.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Haven’t studied Strictly this week, but on scanning the elimination market, I think the 10/1 for Ben looks value. Will be having a bit of that.

    • Heisenberg

      From what I’ve gathered so far, Mark is dancing a Jive to a song from Hairspray (a show he’s recently been performing in) and may even be in full drag. It may also be his birthday. This could be seen as a perfect send-off, going out on a high, or another vote harvest for the big man. Risky.

      You see it every year where the ambition of also-ran contestants is to get to Blackpool, once they’ve achieved this their journey is effectively over and they all wither away very quickly. Some contestants are treated very differently in the lead-up to Blackpool if the show, for whatever reason, wants them there, but once they have made it expect no more favours from the judges.

      Your man Patrick was awarded some very generous scores last week and I believe that was to get him safely to Blackpool. It should be a different story on Saturday when he dances a Samba to Barry Manilow’s Copacabana. If he lands in the bottom 3 or 4 I doubt he has the vote support to be safe. He’s already been in the B2 this series and not many survive a second dance-off.

      Check this site for some ridiculously comprehensive stats:

      http://goo.gl/0oKppK

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        Great point, Heisenberg, re the journey to Blackpool.

        But you’ve brought back memories of me screaming at the telly in frustration listening to Craig all-the-flexibility-of-a-stick-of-rock Kelly looking earnestly to camera in his VTs as he droned on, week after week, about his “dream” to make it through to the Blackpool round, to ‘return home’.

        He went that week too, in line with your observation.

        I think (and hope) that Patrick will be fine this week. I fully expect another round of big, big scores for him. I think his slip up at the end of last week’s dance was more to do with worries over his hand. I don’t expect a repeat of that, now he’s passed that test. Would fear for him if he went B2 with Nat, Sophie, Susanna or possibly Abbey, though. If Ben does go (fingers crossed) I will reassess the top male market with evaluating eyes on Ashley.

      • Caro

        I see last night’s running order put Mark in a sandwich between Abbey and Susannah. Let’s hope that did the trick as I think his time is up – though the same could be said for Ben who was also ‘in a sandwich’ between the excellent Patrick and Ashley.

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