ATP Sofia and Tel Aviv Odds, Analysis, Best Bets: How to Play Each of the 250 Finals (October 2)
Jack Guez/Getty. Pictured: Novak Djokovic.
Another week is set to wrap up on the ATP Tour, as a trio of 250-level events are about to crown a champion.
We'll take a look at the finals taking place in Sofia and Tel Aviv, with the two tournaments providing a stark contrast in the pedigree of the finalists.
In Sofia, Holger Rune and Marc Andrea Huesler will square off to lift the trophy. The two of them combine for one title at the ATP level. In Tel Aviv, meanwhile, it'll be Novak Djokovic and Marin Cilic taking on one another for the 21st time. The combined title count in that one? 108.
If you're looking for something to get action on before the NFL slate kicks off, read below.
Holger Rune (-215) vs. Marc Andrea Huesler (+170)
9:30 a.m. ET, Sofia
The first of the two finals comes from the Bulgarian capital, where Rune looks to take down his second career ATP title, while the 26-year-old native of Zurich is still searching for his first.
After a strong run in Winston Salem, Huesler has taken it a step further by reaching the final this week.
His success actually makes a lot of sense. The Swiss is tall and possesses a big lefty serve and powerful forehand. He can be erratic from the baseline at times, but on quicker courts – where he's able to keep points much shorter – he doesn't run into nearly as many problems.
As for Rune, he's reached this point after three consecutive wins as an underdog, proving his game can indeed translate to the quicker courts. The primary issue for him? He's looked vulnerable physically in several matches this week and if it weren't for Sinner also running into issues in the decider of the semifinal, he may not be in this position.
Rune's last three wins have all gone three sets, while his opening match was won in a pair of tiebreaks. For the week, he's now played about nine hours of tennis and going up against the serve of Huesler, he's going to need to have something in the tank to return those big serves and groundstrokes.
I'll be looking to back the underdog here in a match with favorable conditions and against a potentially fatigued opponent.
Pick: Huesler ML (+170 via DraftKings)
Novak Djokovic (-455) vs. Marin Cilic (+325)
11:30 a.m. ET, Tel Aviv
The match of the day comes from the final in Tel Aviv, as two stars of the game go at it for the title.
This has been a matchup that has historically favored Djokovic well. It's easy to understand why. With the Serb being arguably the greatest returner of all time, he's one of the few that can deal with the Cilic serve and consistently apply pressure.
On the flip side, his serve is big enough to trouble Cilic – who isn't exactly known for his returning prowess.
I'm not the biggest fan of historical head-to-head records when handicapping a match, but the 18-2 mark in favor of Djokovic is certainly worth paying attention to.
Further, Djokovic has actually improved his serve over the course of the last few years and while one may be inclined to believe the quicker indoor conditions may allow Cilic to keep things close, Djokovic's best tournaments have usually come on quicker courts (think Australian Open and Wimbledon).
Djokovic's form this week has also been more a tad more impressive, with a pair of tiebreaks and four relatively easy sets. The caveat here is that the opposition he's played hasn't been remotely close to Cilic's level.
Ultimately, the matchup advantages for the world No. 7 have me believing there's no reason to doubt his dominant run against Cilic will come to an end on Sunday.
Pick: Under 21.5 Games (-105 via BetMGM)