The Art of Outright Tennis Betting_ Lesson 3- Seeding

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15 November 2022

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The seeding process for any tennis tournament (World Tour 250 to Grand Slam), is very simple.

The total number of players, which can be 28, 32, 48 or 64, are listed in the order of their world ranking. Seedings are then given in descending order until the desired number of seeds are determined. Hence, the highest player in the world rankings is the No.1 seed, the next highest is No.2, then No.3 and so on.

The usual format is for the No.1 and No.3 seeds to be placed in the top half of the draw, the No.2 and No.4 seeds in the bottom half. The rest of the seeds are then divided equally to create the frame around which the rest is done.

It's not rocket science, and tournament organizers may make changes from time to time. But it is something that every tennis backer should know - even though many don't!

However, a blind acceptance of these seedings in selecting outright bets is a HIGHLY RISKY strategy. They do not take into account current form, surface form, or the rest of the players in a draw. A top seed may avoid other seeds until the QF or SF, but they might still face tough opponents in the first rounds.

The statistics are clear that the No.1 seeds do not win as many tournaments than you might think.

The ratio of wins/seeds in the 20 first tournaments of 2010 was: No.1 (1), No.2(4), and No.3(5). No.4 & 5 (0), No.6 (1). No.7(0), No.8 (1). Unseeded (5). This is right. Only 4/20, or 20%, of ATP Tour winners were top seeded. However, interestingly 5/20 (or 25%) were unseeded.

Example: Feliciano Lopez (Johannesburg 2010) WON 8/1

The Spaniard was the No.3 seed in South Africa - statistically the most successful of the seeds - and his success added further evidence to the argument that not every No.1 seed should be seen as the surefire winner of a tournament. In fact, by the numbers they are no more likely to win than any one of the other seeds.

And so whilst there is sense in believing the No.1 seed is the best player in the draw (as he's the highest in the world rankings) and so the player who is most likely to win, this is a far too simplistic a method upon which to base a whole betting strategy.

When making outright bets, the seedings should only be used as a guideline. After all, the market leader is not always the No.1 seed. And if the bookmakers don't see him as the most likely winner, why should you?
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