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ATP Finals Tennis Odds, Picks: Auger-Aliassime and Nadal to Deliver on Thursday (November 17)

ATP Finals Tennis Odds, Picks: Auger-Aliassime and Nadal to Deliver on Thursday (November 17) article feature image
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Marco Canoniero/Getty. Pictured: Felix Auger-Aliassime.

We’ve come to the final day of round robin play in the Green Group here at the ATP Finals, and there are two very different matches for our viewing pleasure on Thursday.

The first is a meaningless match when it comes to positioning at the ATP Finals, but there should be plenty of meaning for the underdog. The second is a high-stakes affair which will determine who advances to the semifinals.

There should be two ways to profit on plus-money bets, and I’ll get into which ones those are.

Casper Ruud (-225) vs. Rafael Nadal (+175)

8 a.m. ET

Far be it from me to say Casper Ruud doesn’t deserve to be the favorite here, but this line makes little sense.  Yes, Ruud has taken out two quality opponents in Felix Auger-Aliassime and Taylor Fritz, but there is a lot more that’s going to go into this match.

With those wins, Ruud has nothing to play for in this match aside from pride and perhaps additional cash. While I’m sure he’d love to earn a win over his idol in their second ever match, it’s simply not in his best interest to empty the gas tank here.

He’s got the semifinals approaching in a matter of days, and with the way he’s playing — and without Daniil Medvedev remaining in the field — there’s certainly a chance he could mess around and win this thing.

On the other side of this match, Nadal told reporters following Tuesday’s loss — which marked his fourth in a row — that his next match against Ruud would represent the start of his 2023 season. After looking like the top man on tour for most of the last two seasons, Nadal has struggled to regain that form following an abdominal injury at Wimbledon.

So, this match means a lot to Nadal, even though he’s eliminated from the ATP Finals, and it also should mean little to Ruud. Given that, and the fact that Nadal absolutely punished Ruud at Roland Garros, I think there’s a ton of value in taking the 22-time Grand Slam champion in this match.

Nadal is the worse player here if we’re just going by form, but he’s in a pretty good spot given his high-bouncing forehand is going to really test the Ruud backhand. While he’s made great strides in eliminating that as a weakness, this could be its toughest challenge yet.

Pick: Nadal ML (+175 via DraftKings)

Felix Auger-Aliassime (-175) vs. Taylor Fritz (+135)

3 p.m. ET

I’m not sure I have as much to say about this match. These two met for the first time earlier this season at the ATP Cup where Fritz took a tight three-setter, but the context surrounding this match is pretty different.

Not only has Auger-Aliassime realized his potential and transformed into a bona fide top-five player, he’s also going to be a lot more deadly on these incredibly slick courts in Turin. The Canadian is a ridiculous 26-5 indoors this year after reeling off three consecutive titles last month, and Fritz is just 5-4 on the surface this year.

The speeds will amplify the Auger-Aliassime serve and help him hit through Fritz, who is at his best when he can get on the front foot and be the aggressor with his powerful game. I just don’t see how there will be any way for him to establish dominance against arguably the biggest hitter on tour right now, and that was certainly a huge issue for him against Ruud.

The Norwegian simply served Fritz off the court and used his deadly forehand to stay on top of most points, and that really put the American’s serve under pressure.  While he did well to come back in this match, he did have to save 4-of-5 break points and landed just 62% of his first serves.

I am not very inspired by what I’ve seen out of Fritz, and on the other hand I think Auger-Aliassime has looked pretty remarkable despite going 1-1 so far at the ATP Finals. The Canadian should win this one somewhat handily.

Pick: Auger-Aliassime -2.5 Games (+105 via DraftKings)

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