The market is slightly overestimating Federer's chances, writes Jack Houghton, but with history beckoning Rog, it's unlikely that a few close matches in the past, or a strong Cilic serve, will affect the outcome here...
"Federer's form has been sublime. Yet to drop a set in the Championship, Cilic will struggle to find weaknesses to exploit..."
Having weighed in heavily on Federer pre-tournament - his seeding making his task much easier than it could have been - the question is whether to trade out at this stage, with him now being the overwhelming [1.23] favourite.
According to my ratings, Federer should be around the [1.31] mark, but then this final is unlikely to be played out on ratings alone: an eighth title on Centre Court will rouse Federer and intimate Cilic, so those odds, perhaps, can expected to be shorter.
And anyway, Federer's form has been sublime. Yet to drop a set in the Championship, Cilic will struggle to find weaknesses to exploit. They are reasons for Cilic to hope, though. He was two sets up and had match points against Federer in the quarters here last year, and blew him off the court in the US Open in 2014. Federer may, at last, face some competition in his final test here.
With the odds about right in the main market, then, it's worth looking at the side markets for an angle.
Cilic has the edge here. To date, head-to-head, he has served more aces on 5 occasions (72%), to Federer's two (28%), with two games drawn. Cilic, then, should be [1.40] to serve most aces, with Federer at [3.50]. Early market exchanges have Cilic on the short side here, but more liquidity may bring opportunities near the off.
Tie Break Played?
In a total of 21 sets played, this pairing has played only three tie breaks. That is surprisingly low given that both men are renowned for the solidity of their service game. If this is over in three sets, then this equates to odds of [2.35] on there being a tie break, and [1.75] if it goes to four or more. In the early betting, [2.00] on no tie break has been available. If those odds were to lengthen significantly, it would be worth a punt.
Of the 27 sets they've had available to play in their matches, they've used 21 or 78% of them, making them one of the more competitive pairings in tennis. It's quite likely, then, that Cilic will be able to stay in the game for four sets, and I would recommend backing Federer to win 3-1 at [3.70].
Back Federer to win 3-1 at [3.70]