2018 Australian Open ATP Final Betting Preview
Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports
After a fortnight full of upsets, breakthroughs and undoubtedly late nights, the 2018 Australian Open comes to close tonight, when the Maestro Roger Federer takes on Marin Čilić (3:30 am EST). If you checked out our tournament preview and backed Roger Federer at +210, you’ve got some options tonight with Fed priced -455 ahead of the final.
Personally, I won’t be hedging; if Čilić — just a few months removed from sobbing mid-match against Roger in the Wimbledon final — beats Roger tonight, I’m ready to tip my cap and go down with the ship. But I think Roger gets this done relatively comprehensively.
If you’re sensing an upset from the underdog, though, by laying 0.29 units on Čilić, you can hedge the risk on Roger — and still walk away with 1.81 units with a Roger win.
Over the years, Čilić has not had much success against Roger. The Swiss player is 8-1 in his career against the Croat, with Čilić’s only win coming in the summer of 2014 (during his breakthrough US Open run). And while Čilić comes into this one in really good form, I don’t think he’s playing at the same level we saw from him then. But that doesn’t necessarily mean this match will be one-way traffic for Roger. Let’s take a look at some of the potential spread bets.
Set Spread: Čilić +2.5 sets (-165)
Looking at the set-spread, layers fancy Čilić’s chances to take at least a set tonight — and the +2.5 sets about Čilić is priced accordingly at -165. Given Federer’s dominant record against Čilić — straight setting him in five of the nine matches they’ve played over the years — there isn’t much value in Čilić to take a set at that price.
On the other hand, while Roger-in-straights at +135 looks tempting, there’s a decent chance that Čilić — like Tomáš Berdych in the quarterfinals (jumping out to a 5-3 lead against RF) — can start hot tonight and maybe steal the first set. Frankly, my gut is telling me Roger in four, so I’m passing on both of the set spread options.
Game Spread: Čilić +5 games (-120)
As far as games are concerned, the line is Roger giving 5. I suppose it’s a fair line. I mean, I think Čilić has shown the type of form that would warrant respect from oddsmakers — but, at the same time, Roger was also a -5 favorite ahead of the Wimbledon final. And we all know how that match played out (Roger won by 10 games).
So, in light of that, perhaps there’s some value with Roger showing his class against the Croat again tonight. I expect this match to be a lot more tightly contested than that one, though, with perhaps a tiebreak or two. So it’s another pass for me. I lean Roger to cover the 5.5, though, as there’s significantly more potential for a double-break set with Roger — even if he does drop a tiebreak or a tight set to Cilic.
Over/Under: 38.5 games
The total tonight is set at 38.5 games, which means over backers are betting on four sets (or the elusive straight-set, triple-tiebreak encounter). Like I mentioned earlier, I have a feeling this one’s going four — so I fancy the over. But, given the Roger future bet, I’m not trying to sit around and perspire at the thought of Federer hitting Čilić off the court tonight — so I’m staying off this.
I have a score to settle with Čilić … if you follow me or Stuckey on Twitter and think back to last Wimbledon, I tipped Čilić pre-tournament at +1800 and … wait for it … DIDN’T HEDGE THE FINAL. Let’s just say Čilić wasn’t the only one weeping on that day. And today? I vow revenge.
Come onnnn Roger.
If you’re on board with the Roger Federer (+210) future from pre-tournament, we’re letting that ride. If you’re part of a more conservative crowd and are looking to hedge, 0.29 units on Čilić (+350) will mitigate risk on Roger and still guarantee 1.81 units with a Fed win.
Photo via Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports