Tennis Betting Guide: How to Bet on Tennis

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Our 'how-to' guide introduces you to the world of tennis betting with tips on how to find the best value bets.

Serena Williams after winning Wimbledon in 2018

There are a number of different ways to bet on a sport where huge mismatches occur on a daily basis and, while some prefer to concentrate on matches, others will only be interested in finding the winner of a tournament.

Outright Tennis Betting

An outright bet, on the tournament winner or each-way, can prove popular with those who are looking to make decent money for a relatively minimal outlay.

Winners at double-figure prices are common while treble-figured priced winners are naturally harder to find but not as infrequent as you might think.

There are various factors involved in finding a winner of a tournament but arguably the most important thing to consider is the draw.

Upsets typically occur more often in lower grades so it’s worth analysing the draw bracket to see if a player has a more comfortable route to the final than the odds imply.

Other factors to consider include recent form, previous results at the specific tournament, and motivation.

The biggest names target the biggest tournaments and rarely bring their A-game on lesser stages. They might still prove too good but they can often be taken on.

Tennis Match Betting

Match betting is a simple bet on who will prevail in a head-to-head encounter.

It tends to be worth focusing on closely-matched heats instead of searching for a 1-20 shot to get turned over. Shocks do occur but they are difficult to find.

Look out for head-to-head records and recent results. Is a player performing at a level they will struggle to maintain when they face a rival who can take them out of their comfort zone?

Different tennis players have different styles. A player who serves well holds a significant advantage over a poor returner, while excellent defenders can neutralise a gung-ho approach.

Handicap Betting

Betting on the handicap is simple, if you back Player A -5.5 games, and he wins by six games, the bet is a winner. Alternatively, back Player B +4.5 games and the bet will win if he loses by four games or fewer.

Plenty of matches, particularly in the early rounds of Grand Slams, often see a high-profile player taking on a lesser opponent.

The favourite may well be hard to beat but an underdog with a never-say-die attitude can prove tough to put away and certain players can shy away from a scrap.

Conversely, some of the best players are exactly that because they refuse to take their foot off the gas – Rafael Nadal’s bloodless displays at the French Open are a classic example.

Do the maths when considering a handicap bet. The difference between giving away 3.5 games or 4.5 games could easily be the difference between backing a winner or a loser.

Total Games

Like a handicap bet, a bet on the total games in a match can offer an interest in even the most one-sided of mismatches.

A top player can make short work of a lesser player, but that’s not always the case, while it’s reasonable to expect those who are evenly-matched to play a long match, although the odds will reflect that.

Top 5 Tennis Bets

One of the great appeals of betting on tennis is the variety of markets on offer and with multiple tournaments staged every week across several continents, there is something to satisfy all punters’ needs.

The standard on both the ATP or WTA Tour is ever-increasing, and with most players competing regularly, bettors can try and turn their tennis knowledge into a profit.

Although there is no shortage of opportunity, there is still plenty for punters to consider, and before parting with your hard-earned cash, it is important to know what markets are available to you.

We have picked out the most common and straightforward markets that people can wager on and pinpoint what key elements may make you a success.

1. Outright Tennis Betting

This is simply selecting who you think will win the tournament, and each-way returns can be pocketed if your player comes up short in the final.

It is important to consider how well players have been performing in recent tennis tournaments, and their results gained in previous renewals at that week’s venue can also be a vital factor.

Players dropping in grade and taking on lower-ranked opponents are also worth considering, while those performing in their own country in front of a packed-out home crowd can sometimes have an advantage.

Payouts are generally higher than match betting, but there is more risk involved, as in a Grand Slam event, a player will need to win seven matches to be crowned champion.

However, one big incentive is that most tournaments are wrapped up in two weeks – most take only seven days to conclude – so you don’t have to wait long to find out if you’re in the money.

2. Match Betting

For each tennis match that is played, bookmakers will provide odds on the probability of the outcome. Match betting refers to the result of a single contest rather than the whole tournament.

Unlike football, where the draw (X) is factored into their odds, there are only two outcomes of a tennis match that enhances a bettors chance of winning. 

3. Handicap Betting (Games)

Handicap betting in tennis gives bettors the chance to wager on players they think are going to outperform their expectations but still lose a particular match. 

It also allows you to bet on players who are expected to win a match, but you can enhance your odds if you think they are going to do it more decisively than the bookmakers do.

For example, if you backed a player +4.5 games on the handicap and they lost 6-4 6-4, your bet would be a winning one.

4. Over/Under Betting

Over/under betting is similar to betting on the handicap, in the sense that you’re banking on the total number of games or sets to be played rather than nailing your colours to the mast.

For example, punters can bet on whether a two-set match will go the distance by betting on over 2.5 sets, while those expecting an easy win would opt for under the total. The same rules apply when betting on over/under the total service games.

5. Correct Score Betting

Correct score betting can be applied to games or sets. These are relatively easy to understand, and payouts can be lucrative as there are far more outcomes to consider.

Let’s say you bet on the outcome of the first set. You’ll have the option of betting on 6-0, 6-1, 6-2, 6-,3 and so on for each player.

The same can be applied to the margin of victory in sets in a match. In a three-set match, there are four possible outcomes. Player A can win 2-0 or 2-1 or Player B can win 2-0 or 2-1.

Joe is a writer that has covered a whole range of sports for the last 10 years as a journalist and specialises in writing high-quality content on tennis and golf.
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