Wimbledon Men's Betting: Tie breaks the bet in Federer v Cilic final


The final of the men’s singles at Wimbledon 2017 is set for Sunday at the All England Club, with Roger Federer taking on Marin Cilic.

We start at around 14:00 UK time on Sunday and the weather forecast (not that it was accurate on Saturday) says ‘partly sunny with showers,’ so there’s a possibility of the roof being called into action again.

Debrief
Week two of Wimbledon has been one where key points haven’t gone our way and on Saturday the pivotal moments of the women’s final came in game 10 of set one when Venus Williams had a couple of set points.

Garbine Muguruza saved them (with some net involved on one) and Williams didn’t win another game in the match from then on. Had she taken one of those set points we would most likely have had a three setter, but there we are.

Trends
In the 15 years since they slowed the grass down there have been four five set finals, five four set finals and six have ended in straight sets.

There have been tie breaks in 10 of those 15 finals and since betting prices were recorded on my system in 2004 we’ve had 10 winning favourites and just three underdog winners in the men’s final.

Marin Cilic vs Roger Federer


So, Federer has another chance to overtake Pete Sampras as an eight-time winner of the men’s singles at Wimbledon and having lost in the final twice since his last title here in 2012 surely this opportunity won’t pass him by.

Novak Djokovic was favourite both times he beat Federer in the final in 2014 and 2015, but the Swiss maestro is a 1.19 chance on this occasion to beat Cilic and claim a 19th major title.

And as well as Cilic has been playing on the grass this summer it’s tough to see him beating a Federer in the sort of form that we’ve seen from him in the big tournaments all season long.

Fed’s record in majors and Masters events in 2017 is unreal for a man approaching his 36th birthday next month, with 25 wins and zero losses this season in the biggest tournaments of the year so far.

He’s dropped only two sets in his 17 Masters and Grand Slam matches since winning the Australian Open and on Sunday he could win Wimbledon without dropping a set for the first time in his career.

Fed’s won it dropping one set a couple of times – in 2005 he lost one to Nicolas Kiefer and two years before that in 2003 Mardy Fish took one – but he’s yet to win it with a perfect record of no sets dropped.

The Swiss has played tie breaks in four of his five completed matches at Wimbledon this year, but no player has taken more than four points from him in breakers as of yet.

And tie breaks may offer us perhaps the best value punting opportunity of Sunday’s final, with over 1.5 breakers priced at 3.0 and worthy of consideration.

There were two tie breaks in the Wimbledon quarter final that the pair contested 12 months ago in which Cilic had a two set lead and three match points for a 3-1 win.

They also played two tie breaks when they went to a decider in Toronto in their third most recent clash and the one in-between was a memorable straight sets win for Cilic, so there’s definitely hope for Cilic backers and tie break backers.

As I said earlier there have been tie breaks in 10 of the last 15 finals and two breakers in each of the last three finals – two of which featured Federer.

Indeed, of Federer’s 10 career finals at Wimbledon nine have featured tie breaks and seven have had two tie breaks in them, so against an opponent holding serve as often as Cilic has this grass swing over 1.5 tie breaks at 3.0 looks decent.

Cilic has held serve 94.5% of the time on grass in his 14 matches over the past 12 months (Federer 94.3% of the time in his 11) and while that percentage will surely drop in Sunday’s match he’s only been broken four times by Federer in the last 11 sets they’ve contested (Cilic has broken Federer five times in those 11 sets).

So, much points to a tightish Federer win, probably involving a couple of breakers, but there are other factors that need to be thrown into the mix regarding this match.

Federer was struggling with a knee problem last summer and was not playing at the level he is this season and Cilic is bound to be nervous in his first Wimbledon final.

The Swiss announced only a matter of weeks after Wimbledon last year that he would take the rest of that season off to rest the knee and prepare for 2017 and it’s fair to say he’ll be a bigger challenge for Cilic this year than last.

And despite winning the US Open of 2014 your maiden Wimbledon final against probably the best player of all time has got to be a nerve-wracking affair even for an experienced pro like Cilic.

He’s certainly looked edgy on many occasions this summer and out of nowhere he started bouncing the ball excessively prior to his serve (it’ll be interesting to see how that’s dealt with by the umpire in the final – if at all).

In tie breaks he’s looked shaky on grass in the last 12 months winning only five of his last 15 breakers on this surface (he was 1-9 coming into Wimbledon) and Federer is by far the more solid in the pressure moments as a rule.

Considering that my last two bets on Federer were for him to win 3-1 and they were 3-0 both times he’ll probably win this one 3-1 instead and that’s a 3.60 chance.

Cilic showed us just what he can do at his absolute best when he beat Federer in straight sets in that 2014 US Open title-winning run and I wouldn’t rule him out of this one, but Federer is irresistible at the moment and I imagine he’ll simply be too good on the day.

But the betting value for me lies with the over 1.5 tie breaks at 3.0.

Best Bet
1.5 points win over 1.5 tie breaks at 3.0