With one win each, Andrey Rublev and Casper Ruud will battle it out for the last remaining spot in the semifinals at the ATP Finals in Turin. Expect an extremely nervy and tense match, as serious ranking points, pride, and prize money are on the line.

According to the oddsmakers, Andrey Rublev is listed as a solid -192 favorite and projected to win by 2.5 games. The favoritism for the Russian makes perfect sense, as Rublev owns a perfect 4-0 record against Ruud, with three of the wins coming on clay. If Rublev has all the answers on the Norwegian’s favorite surface, he should have them on a quick indoor hardcourt.

Oftentimes dozens of factors come into play when analyzing a matchup from a betting perspective, but like all things, it’s best to keep it simple. Tennis analyst Gil Gross had a very simple yet effective tweet when it comes to matches that Rublev typically holds an advantage.

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There’s no question Ruud has impressed us all in 2021, and anyone who still refers to him as a clay-court specialist clearly hasn’t been watching him play. But barring a complete meltdown from Rublev, Ruud will have his work cut out for him as he tries to navigate a pattern of play that doesn’t involve Rublev ripping forehands from the ad-court.

Give credit to Ruud, as this same matchup a year ago would have likely resulted in a Rublev -400 moneyline and a -4.5 game spread. But the fact remains that Ruud does not yet have a signature win on an indoor hardcourt, and it would be extremely bold to expect that win to come against a player he clearly does not enjoy playing.

Rublev’s unique ability to hit full-strength shots right off the bounce, and create impossible angles with his inside-out forehand, will not only pressure the Norwegian’s backhand, but deprive him of valuable time to feel comfortable from the ground. After a disappointing ATP Finals campaign in 2020, I expect Rublev to handle the nerves, and eventually run away with this matchup after a close first set.

The Pick: Andrey Rublev -2.5 games