ATP 2017 Top Brit w/o Murray Kyle Edmund

Tennis - Season Specials - 01 Jan 10:00

This is a bet on Kyle Edmund to be the top ranked Brit at the end of 2017 not including Andy Murray.

The players in this market are Kyle Edmund at 1.83, Dan Evans at 6, Aljaz Bedene at 6, James Ward at 21, Marcus Willis at 34 and Any Other at 34.

Firstly, Skybet have this at 1.33 with Evans at 6 and Bedene at 6, a huge difference which suggests someone is clearly wrong here. In my eyes it's easy to make a strong case for Edmund over the other market leaders here in every area important to this bet so I feel it is Paddy who have made the mistake.

Edmund is the current highest ranked Brit other than Murray at 45. Next highest is Dan Evans at 66 then Aljaz Bedene at 100. They are the only competition for this bet.

Edmund is a talented 21 year old. He's got the right physique and style to threaten any player and I think he'll break the top 30 soon enough.

At 6' 2" he has enough height to serve both consistently and powerfully, and he has easy power behind his ground strokes. His defence has been his weakness in the past but he's definitely improved on that area of late.

He was invited to train with Murray in the off season last year and it did wonders for his game. Hopefully that will happen again this year, and in any case it shows Edmund is motivated and willing to push his limits in order to reach his potential.

He's been a consistently profitable player to back, with an ROI of 25% over his last 50 matches, 19% last season, and 14% lifetime over a decent sample of 200 matches. This suggests he is a player being under rated.

In reverse chronological order his rank since turning pro in 2012 is as follows: 45, 102, 194, 376, 571. He was a little slow in his first 2 or 3 years, but his last 2 end of year rankings show a clear and strong progression.

The last couple of seasons have shown especially notable results. He's won 5 Challenger titles, and made 3 quarter finals and a semi final in main draw 250 and 500 matches.

I have been most impressed by his performances against top quality opposition, especially recently.

Edmund has won 4 of his last 10 matches against top 20 opposition. Had you backed him in every one of these matches you would be up 70%.

Against Richard Gasquet (#17) in the semi-final of Antwerp in late October, he took the first set and nearly won the match in 2 before folding 6-2 in the third. He had already beaten David Ferrer (#15) in that tournament as the betting underdog.

A week earlier he had lost the first set 7-6(9) against Murray (#1) in what was a very strong showing from Edmund. He had already beaten Roberto Bautista Agut (#18) in that tournament as the betting underdog.

In essence, it seems Edmund is on the rise, performing increasingly well and looking comfortable against much of the main draw opposition. Most likely scenario in 2017 is that this trajectory continues. He's increased his ranking consistently since turning pro, and shown he can play with the top players in the world.

As a player in the top 50 he will now have access to far more main draw events which are worth far more points than Challenger tour events. He's done well against top opposition when given the chance so this is hopefully going to push Edmund to thrive and excel in 2017.

I would expect Edmund to pick up more points in 2017, probably make the top 30 and hopefully stay there. Worst case scenario barring injury is probably something similar to his current ranking. So I'm expecting something under 50 the majority of the time.

If we turn to the opposition, the main threat is Dan Evans. He's 26 and after a fairly poor start to his career he has seen great progress over the last couple of years.

Since turning pro in 2008 Evans always showed potential but a poor attitude to training let him down on several occasions.

His relationship with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), the national governing body of tennis in Great Britain and one of Evans' main funders, has been on and off, with Evans' lack of commitment commented on several times.

Perhaps most notable, at the end of 2012 they stripped him of funding and for several months at the start of 2013 there was a possibility Evans might quit. He later spoke about the cause of his struggle:

"I know why. It's because I don't train hard enough and don't work hard enough day in and day out. I'm obviously pretty bad at my job. It's up to me, it's not up to anyone else. I want to push on. It's not that I don't want to do it, I obviously want to do it. It's just for whatever reasons, distractions – I need to stay there and just play tennis and that's it. It's easier said than done. Thousands of people have told me to do it but I'm yet to do it for a sustained period of time. When I do do it, I obviously play pretty well. I definitely think I will be top 100, and I still think that."

He's found some focus and consistency over the last few years which has seen him flourish, reaching a career high ranking of 66.

He's a short player at 5' 9" and so lacks natural power on serve or groundstrokes. He makes up for this with consistency from both wings and a creative, varied game style which keeps the opponent guessing if he will hit a drop shot or a forehand drive.

This game style is similar to Bedene actually, though I would say Bedene is more solid on serve at 6' 0" and a little less varied in style. In essence, though, both rely on pushing players around the court and forcing easy winners or errors.

I like this style of play. It allows smaller, less powerful players to take advantage of their strengths: speed, agility, consistency, accuracy. It is, however, a limited and fundamentally reactionary style of play as it relies on opponents not being powerful or skilled enough to hit through your defence.

As a result, players often tend to plateau around the 50 to 100 mark as most players in the top 50 have more about their game and have the ability to hit players off the court.

Case in point, when Edmund met Evans earlier this year he was the 1.61 favourite and won 6-3 6-2. It's a clash of styles which I feel favours Edmund when he is on form.

Bedene is another example of this style of play. In reverse chronological order his rank since turning pro in 2008 is as follows: 101, 45, 145, 95, 86, 165, 540, 303, 1665.

The highest Bedene has ever achieved is Edmund's current ranking, number 45 in 2015, and the other 5 years since 2010 have only seen 2 more inside the top 100 and none inside the top 80.

Bedene has also had a really rough year. He appealed to play for the GB Davis Cup team, but failed, suffered stress and body pain as a result, and only won six of his subsequent 17 matches. His end of year form has been poor, with a loss against a player ranked 829 in the world as well as several losses priced sub 1.5 in Challenger level events.

He seems to have lost his confidence, and is playing at a much lower level to Edmund. I doubt he will be able to get back his confidence and match level easily.

Even then, he's only made the top 50 once since he turned pro in 2008 and I doubt anything other than a top 50 year will knock Edmund out of the top spot. It seems very unlikely to me.

To return to Evans, I think something similar is likely, but it is worth pointing out that we don't have quite the same historical evidence.

In reverse chronological order his rank since turning pro in 2006 is as follows: 66, 183, 305, 150, 297, 342, 363, 261, 477, 1258, 1541.

We can see 2016 is a stand out year, with only 2 of his previous 10 years seeing a year end ranking inside the top 200 and nothing above 150. That makes it difficult to know exactly what to expect from Evans.

I know him fairly well, and I do feel he is likely to plateau around the 50 mark. It wouldn't be completely out there for him to beat Edmund in this market but it would take almost everything to go right for him and almost everything to go wrong for Edmund.

His inconsistency is surely important too. While 2016 was a stand out year, it wouldn't surprise me if he went off the boil for at least part of 2017. That would make it nearly impossible for him to overtake Edmund.

Evans is the only threat with a decent chance in my opinion, and even then I feel he has over performed this year and is unlikely to increase his ranking much. Combined with the fact that Edmund is likely, in my opinion, to continue to increase his rank over time, I see it as unlikely that either Evans or Bedene manage to catch him in 2017.

Other than the three market leaders, I don't see any competition from the rest of the field.

James Ward's highest rank was 89 in 2015 and he's currently ranked 436. Injury issues and general poor form have seen him struggle to win much over the last season. It's very unlikely Edmund, Evans or Bedene finish the year outside the top 80 let alone the top 100 so I feel it's asking far too much for Ward to win this market.

Marcus Willis only has a place in this market because of Wimbledon. His highest rank is 322 and his current rank is 503. He had a moment of fame at Wimbledon but is in no way a contender for this market.

I'm not sure exactly how I would price this market. As mentioned, Skybet have it at 1.33, which is probably a little short. In my eyes it's about a 1.4 to 1.5 shot. Double stakes.
TennisPilot +2196.25
Stake: 20 1.66Betfair
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