Tennis Outright Markets
It is essential to adopt a long-term approach when having an outright bet on a tennis tournament. While the high levels of uncertainty attached to a tournament involving up to 128 players breeds value in these markets, you must be prepared to accept the fact that you will back more losers than winners.
The less glamorous tournaments are a breeding ground for big-priced winners, as these events often lack strength in depth and therefore don't take a lot of winning. To generate publicity the sponsors know they must attract a few choice names, and therefore lure the top players with hefty appearance fees. But the ranking points and prize money attached to these events are not considerable so, after scooping their appearance money, the big names who have little to gain from staging a tide bid frequently fall by the wayside in the early rounds. Even in Grand Slams it is not uncommon for a big-priced outsider to land the spoils, with Goran Ivanisevic's Wimbledon win in 2001 being a classic example. The Croat was a 150-1 chance before the event.
However, punting on tennis tournaments can also be one of the most demoralising forms of gambling.
Picture the following scenario; you have spent three years tracking the career of a precocious 16-year-old Swedish baseliner, who has been touted by his local tennis club as being the next Bjorn Borg.
Finally your man pockets enough ranking points to secure a place in the main draw of some tin-pot clay-court event in the far reaches of Macedonia, which has been targeted by a wave of washed-out veterans looking to rekindle their declining careers.
You skim over the Pricewise box in your Racing Post and feel a little deflated to see the first firm you come to offering 16-1. However, as you move your eyes across the page the hairs suddenly jump off the back of your neck when you realise you can back him at 100-1 with Bet7daysaweek, and you develop a smug grin after managing to get on £50 each-way before the firm falls into line with their competitors.
Your man gets off to a flying start and when the draw opens up for him after the top-seed crashes out in the first round, he races through to the semi-finals.
Mini Borg is now the tournament favourite and you've already spent the winnings a thousand times over in your head, with him needing to net just one more win for you to land the place part of your each-way bet.
But it all goes pear-shaped when your fancy is on the receiving end of an inspired performance from one of those washed-out veterans, who had been training behind closed doors for six months for this event which he won ten years ago, leaving you £100 out of pocket.
All those hours of research have been a complete waste of time and now that the world and his wife are aware of Mini Borg's talent, a week later he starts a stronger event at grossly deflated odds.
The draw is central to finding value in outright markets and therefore needs to be studied in meticulous detail. The men's game is so competitive that even the top players struggle to overcome difficult draws.
The purpose of the seeding system is to distribute talent throughout the draw, but this system based on rankings has its limitations. Therefore, it's not unusual to find most of the big names housed in the same section.
Consequently, you will find compartments of the draw with very few title candidates and the better players in these weaker sections can be value each-way betting propositions.
These players may have a bit to find in ability terms on their more fancied rivals in the stronger sections, but their favourable draw gifts them a passage to the later stages, where they are required to win just one or two matches to yield an each-way return.
It is much harder to profit from these situations on the outright indices compiled by spread betting firms as the influence of the draw is usually factored into these markets.
TRENDS IN OUTRIGHT-MARKETS
When analysing the outright betting for a tournament, punters are advised to look at previous results from this event. Once a player finds the winning formula in a particular venue or city they will target future events at these locations. A return to familiar surroundings brings out the best in certain players who, year after year, make a big impression in the same tournaments. For example, Yevgeny Kafelnikov won the Kremlin Cup at Moscow five times in a row from 1997 to 2001.
Even if a player is out of form, revisiting the scene of a successful title bid can bring about a reverse in their fortunes.
And the chance of a defending champion, who has a mountain of entry points to defend, must be respected as failing to reach the later stages will cause them to crash down the rankings.