In its modern form, tennis is practiced by millions of players in clubs and schools around the world. The period of the most significant growth, both in terms of participants and viewers, is considered to be the 60s and 70s of the last century when the big tournaments were opened not only for professional, but also for amateur players, and television channels started to cover more matches from the expanding number of circuits in professional tennis events. The rise of some well-known players also dates back to that time. The rivalry between them makes the game attractive to viewers. It is enough to mention Rod Laver (20 major titles) and Roy Emmerson (28 major titles), and you will know what we mean. More recent times have also made us witnesses of spectacular vying, the most notable being Pete Sampras vs Andre Agassi and Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal.
Although tennis can be performed by players of all skill levels, top competitions are a different story. Tournaments with impressive prize pools are extremely demanding on the ability to make accurate shots, implement tactical skills, and have physical endurance. The discipline has come a long way and is no longer a game for garden gatherings, but includes physically exhausting matches in which tennis players attack and defend using all corners of the court, technical weaknesses of opponents, and shots with various trajectories and power.
What makes tennis a sought-after sport to bet on is the high volume of events conducted throughout the year. Some of the most prominent online sportsbooks confirm that tennis has surpassed almost all other sports in popularity, second only to football (in Europe). We believe this is due to the fact that gambling enthusiasts can place their bets on a sheer number of game elements that far exceed the usual winner, point spread, and prop betting markets. In fact, the variety is so great that even experienced online punters are hardly familiar with all the specifics of tennis betting. Sportingpedia compiled this online tennis betting guide which will benefit both novices in the field and avid bettors who want to improve their knowledge. Let’s get started.
Basics of Online Tennis Betting
A high degree of competition is usually beneficial to consumers and sports betting makes no exception. The contest for the attention of the modern demanding online punter is fierce, which leads to the introduction of treats like sport-specific promotional offers and enhanced betting odds. If you think tennis betting is exciting and want to start wagering on this particular sport, it is essential to learn more about its nicety, especially if your goal is a long-term profitable experience.
The advantage of betting on a popular sport like tennis is that you do not have to compromise with any element of the wagering process, as the Internet overflows with online sportsbooks and you should have no hard time finding a platform that suits your needs. To feel comfortable when deciding what tennis bets to make, you must first get acquainted with the basics of this activity – odds formats, common bet types, and how tennis tournaments are organized. We will tell you about all this and will add some useful tennis betting tips.
Tennis Betting Odds Explained
Online sportsbooks “speak” to punters through betting odds, thus efficiently communicating information regarding the amount they need to risk and the eventual profit in case of a successful prediction. That is why it is of prime importance to perfectly understand the concept of tennis betting odds and what the different formats tell you. Unlike some other disciplines where betting odds are predominantly displayed in one format or another when it comes to tennis, this issue depends on the current location of the bettor. We could not give preference to decimal, fractional, or American odds format since each of them has its large mass of users, and what is more, the four Grand Slam tournaments are conducted in distanced regions of the globe.
Decimal odds are often referred to as the easiest to understand format popular mainly in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. To know their total payout, betting devotees just need to multiply the amount of their stake by the relevant odds. In other words, the decimal odds format shows how much you will get back for every $1 wagered. Let’s look at an example. At the time of writing, the most reputable online bookmakers provide the following averaged odds for the female winner of Wimbledon 2022:
|WTA Wimbledon Outright Winner|
If you think the World No.1 Iga Swiatek will continue her winning raid in London and decide to back her with a $50 stake, in case of a successful guess, you will receive $217.5 in your account (50 x 4.35). If you need to know the net profit, just subtract the stake amount.
In its essence, the fractional odds format does not differ much from the decimal one. Fractional betting odds are displayed with a slash and allow punters to calculate their profit instead of the total payout. The first number shows exactly how much you will win and the second number indicates the amount you need to wager. If betting devotees prefer knowing the total payout, they can use the below simple formula:
Total Payout = (Stake x (Numerator/Denominator)) + Stake
For example, if Serena Williams is assigned odds of 19/1 to win the US Open, the calculation with a $50 wager will be (50 x (19/1)) + 50 = 950 + 50 = 1,000.
The third commonly used odds format is the American which comes in the form of a positive or negative number. Odds with a plus in front are assigned to the underdog and show how much you will gain from a $100 bet. On the other hand, a negative odds number indicates the amount bettors need to wager to enjoy a $100 profit. Of course, the 100 number serves as a reference only, you can place a bet of any amount, the payout will be calculated using the specified ratio.
Common Tennis Bet Types
Once you cotton on how tennis odds work, it is time to pay attention to the main tennis betting markets available today. Although only two players are involved, the complex rules of the sport allow for wagering on multiple aspects of a match or tournament. The range of bets offered by bookmakers is extremely wide depending on the tournament level and popularity of players. The number of markets for events from the Challenger series is usually no more than 30, while for matches between top-ranked tennis players, punters have about 150 or more options.
Outright Betting (Tournament Winner) is one of the simplest tennis bet markets. All punters have to do is choose a player who they think is in the best shape and therefore has the greatest chance of winning a tournament. However, selecting a player to bet on is not an easy task, especially in events like the Australian Open, where the main draw starts with 1/64 finals.
The more likely it is for a player to win, the less profitable the odds, and vice versa. The good thing is even the shortest betting odds pay out pretty well. At the time of writing, Novak Djokovic comes with odds of 2.08 to win Wimbledon 2022 which means a successful $100 bet will result in a $108 net profit, not bad at all. At the other extreme are winning odds of the underdogs that can reach 250.0 or even more. The theoretical possibility of receiving a life-changing amount must not mislead you, though. There is almost always a good reason for the bookmaker to set such long odds.
Picking an individual tennis match winner resembles the outright betting market but is easier to predict since you have to choose between only two players instead of a whole tournament scheme. This is the reason why most novice punters in the field of tennis decide to begin with match betting. The odds of winning are directly dependent on the extent to which a player is considered a favorite or underdog. You can see underdog odds longer than 3.5 in extremely rare cases, usually at the beginning of a major tournament when a top-ranked player meets a qualifier. However, tennis match betting odds are a dynamic aspect that can be affected by the overall amounts wagered or the way an event unfolds (in case of in-play wagering). This may lead to some unexpected value opportunities, so stay alert.
We continue with tennis handicap betting that we recommend you to try only after gaining some experience with the easier-to-predict markets. Here, the subject of betting is not who will win the match, but rather the participants’ performance. The role of handicaps is to show a margin by which a player is expected to win or lose. As with spreads in other sports, handicaps come with a minus or a plus in front and include .5 numbers only to keep ties out of the picture. If the bookmaker has set a handicap line of – 2.5 for a certain player, this means he is expected to win by at least three games. If he justifies or exceeds the predictions, bets will be considered successful. If the player wins but with a two-game difference, those who have placed their bets on him will lose their stakes. Logically, a line of + 2.5 shows the other tennis player is considered an underdog and needs to be defeated by 3 or more games.
The over/under betting market in tennis refers to the total number of games or sets played until the match is complete. Online punters need to predict if the number will be above or below a certain threshold preliminarily determined by the sportsbook. The name of the winner is not part of the wager since the bet covers the duration of a match. As regards sets, in the case of a 3-set format, the betting line is 2.5 while for games there is a range starting from 18.5. Here is how over/under betting odds are usually presented:
|Kaia Kanepi Total Games|
|Over 11.5||1.27||Under 11.5||3.51|
|Over 12.5||2.17||Under 12.5||1.64|
|Over 13.5||3.35||Under 12.5||1.3|
Exact score betting allows punters to place their bets in challenging elements like the exact number of games within one set or the exact number of sets won by any of the opponents on the court. The high degree of risk associated with this tennis bet type pays off in the form of a wealthy cash return. We checked 1st set Correct Score betting odds for a match between Victoria Azarenka and Viktorija Golubic. The lowest number we spotted was odds of 5.76 which is pretty high. A more lucrative payout in this particular match would come if you bet on Azarenka crushing Golubic by 6:0 since the amount of your stake will be multiplied by 20.63.
We will put an end to our review of the most commonly used types of tennis bets with proposition bets. They are the most entertaining part of the set of tennis bets, but also an excellent opportunity to win a significant amount with the accurate prediction. Prop bets refer to the occurrence or nonoccurrence of specific events either within a certain tennis match or the whole tournament. Options may be endless and entirely depend on the willingness of the online bookmaker. Betting enthusiasts can place their wagers on which player will realize the fastest serve in the tournament, will a match go to a tiebreak, etc.
How Tennis Tournaments Are Organized
Building the draw for a tennis tournament is quite complicated, especially for big events where the number of female and male participants reaches 128. The organizers must arrange the scheme so that young and less experienced players have a chance to play at least 2-3 matches, and at the same time, the current tennis stars not play against each other in the opening rounds. In professional tournaments, the highest-ranked players go straight to the main draw, with the best sometimes “resting” in the first round and starting to play from the next stage. A small number of players, either local favorites, or players who have somehow attracted the attention of organizers are allowed to participate through the so-called wild cards. The tournament scheme is complemented by a separate draw for “qualifiers” for lower-ranked players. Those who overcome this stage gain a place in the main draw and a chance to conquer the title.
Tennis tournaments are divided into several categories with a significant difference between the major Grand Slam and Masters events and the small tournaments you have probably never heard of. The first have millions of viewers and million-dollar prize pools and quite naturally are assigned a greater number of betting markets. Each of the four Grand Slams is held at a different time of the year, beginning with the Australian Open in January and ending with the Us Open in September.
|Tournament||Period of the year||Surface|
|Australian Open||January – February||Hard|
|French Open||May – June||Clay|
|Wimbledon||June – July||Grass|
|US Open||August – September||Hard|
These most popular tennis tournaments are organized every year by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) in close collaboration with the respective national institutions – Tennis Australia, the French Federation of Tennis, the United States Tennis Association, and a joint Committee of Management consisting of The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club and Lawn Tennis Association. To achieve a Grand Slam, a tennis player must win the Australian Open, French Open (Roland Garros), Wimbledon, and US Open, all in the same year. These are the magnificent players who have made this tremendous accomplishment:
- Men – Donald Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962; 1968)
- Women – Maureen Connoly (1953); Margaret Court (1970); Steffi Graf (1988)
As regards the ATP Masters 1000 tournaments, they comprise a series of nine tournaments (Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Monte-Carlo, Rome, Canada, Cincinnati, Shanghai, and Paris) where only top-ranked ATP players are allowed to compete. A Masters title is considered one of the most prestigious achievements a player can make. The undisputed ruler of the ATP Masters 1000 is Novac Djokovic who has achieved the impressive Career Golden Masters twice, the first and only athlete to do so.
Tips for Successful Tennis Betting
The large number of tennis tournaments each year together with the comprehensive event coverage by online sportsbooks determine the availability of plenty of opportunities for profitable additions to your bankroll. Several matches are played almost every day, so if you are serious about betting on tennis events, building a working wagering strategy is of utmost importance. You will be a successful tennis punter in the long run if you patiently seek value bets and consistently make smart wagers, rather than just supporting players with long odds in anticipation of big wins. While there are different approaches in this regard, there are certain factors online punters must always keep an eye on.
Tennis matches today are played on three types of surfaces – hard, clay, and grass, each of them having different characteristics that involve different styles of play. That is why we did not start with players’ skills when describing the key factors affecting the outcome of tennis events. Sometimes, no matter how talented and in good shape a player is, if his/her technique does not fit the court surface, victory is by no means certain. The perfect example is Rafael Nadal who has won 21 Grand Slam titles so far, with only two being on grass (Wimbledon 2008, 2010).
Grass courts are the most labor-intensive to maintain, which is why few tournament organizers have chosen them. The texture of the surface makes bouncing the ball harder, so its path after hitting the ground is relatively short. Therefore, when betting on Wimbledon matches, for example, look for players who have a strong serve and good play from the baseline. The predominant type of surface in modern tennis is hard courts – easy to maintain and quickly drying. Here the powerful serve does not bring that much advantage to players, they need to have accurate returns and very good speed too. As for the clay surface, this is probably the toughest option for players since its characteristics change depending on the weather which may result in unexpected events. If clay gets wet, the ball becomes slower and slippery mishaps often happen. Due to the reduced speed, points last longer, and matches become a real test of the tennis players’ physical endurance.
Ranking and Overall Abilities
To decide which player it is better to place your bet on, you must learn how to properly evaluate his or her skills and current form. Official ATP and WTA rankings are a mandatory source of information but definitely not the only one. Both are based on a 52-week point accumulating system covering 19 tournaments for male players and 16 tournaments for females. The number of points awarded depends on the ranking of the event – those who win a Grand Slam tournament receive 2,000 points, an ATP or WTA Final – up to 1,500 points, WTA 1000 and ATP Masters 1000 – 1,000, etc.
The current standing of tennis players is indicative of their shape at the moment but not the only thing you must take into account. Fortunately, there is an abundance of free-to-use statistics where you can easily check how many matches a player has won in his last few appearances on the court, what is the success rate of his serves, the number of breakpoints won, etc. The mental resilience of players is also relevant when placing bets especially when it comes to in-play tennis betting. It would be beneficial for you as a punter to know as much as possible about the athletes since sometimes losing a breakpoint in a crucial moment may frustrate a player and turn the match upside down. There are extremely talented tennis players who never reach the top of the rankings precisely because in decisive moments they fail to withstand the tension.
Similar to court surfaces that some players’ style of play just cannot fit, there are competitors whose technique and personality turn out to be invincible. Before placing a bet on a particular tennis match, allow yourself a couple of minutes to check ATP and WTA statistical information and see how head-to-head battles have finished before. Let’s look at an example. Until the end of 2021, Roger Federer has been No.1 in the ATP rankings for 310 weeks, much more than Rafa Nadal who has been on the top for 209 weeks. In direct matches, however, things are different. The Spaniard has won 60% of the 40 head-to-head meetings with 5 consecutive victories between 2013 and 2014. While these matchups can be a useful instrument in your tennis betting strategy, do not 100% count on them for your prediction but take into consideration factors like court surface, weather conditions, and the presence of recent injuries.
Advantages of Betting on Tennis
Sports betting has been part of people’s everyday life for a long time and with the development of online and mobile technologies, an increasing number of punters are placing numerous wagers day after day. Among the many disciplines included in the portfolio of today’s sportsbooks, tennis is one of the few one-to-one sports as opposed to other popular betting choices – soccer, American football, basketball, and cricket. Collecting and analyzing information about the form, style of play, mental state, and physical condition of two players is far easier than for 22 players, for example.
When conducting tennis matches, the personal judgment and competence of the referees do not have such a strong influence on the unfolding of the event, as modern technologies have been introduced, which largely ensure the right decision. The fair play thus ensured is considered a major advantage both by viewers and betting enthusiasts. We could not list the cases in which after a football event the officials are criticized for wrong decisions sometimes having a direct impact on the final score. Incorrect assessment of a violation of the field can lead to a penalty and, accordingly, the loss of the team on which you placed your bet. In tennis, such a situation cannot happen. In addition, if the match is played on clay, the ball leaves visible traces and makes it easy to judge who the point goes to.
From a punter’s point of view, betting on an individual sport like tennis brings a lower degree of risk since the same external factors have a weaker influence on bet settlement if any. Not rarely, the level of team’s play highly depends on several key athletes and this principle applies regardless of the sport. You may have perfectly done your homework and made the smartest bet possible but if the team’s star player gets injured, there is a great chance the event will take another direction. Substitutes do not always succeed in coequally replacing the starter and this inevitably affects the final outcome. If a tennis player suffers an injury and has no choice but to withdraw, online bookmakers usually void all bets and return stakes to punters.
The considerable popularity of tennis works in favor of betting enthusiasts who have a great variety of reputable sportsbooks at their disposal. What is more, new virtual bookies are popping up almost every day, so it is no surprise that operators are using a variety of promotional offers to attract and retain as many tennis admirers as possible. Apart from the usual incentives like welcome bonuses, cashback promotions, and loyalty programs, avid tennis punters can sometimes benefit from enhanced betting odds on specific events. So, it is a good idea to always keep your finger on the pulse of bookies’ promotional initiatives. The more trusted platforms you set up an account with, the better.
Another aspect that makes tennis one of the most popular sports to bet on is the vast selection of betting markets available. Earlier in this tennis betting guide, we just outlined the most common tennis bet types. Their diversity is much larger supplemented by intriguing options such as Double Result, Set Handicap, Game Handicap, Player to Win a Set, Number of Aces, Most Aces, Any Set to Nil, etc. And the best part is that betting devotees have plenty of opportunities to place all these types of tennis bets. Aside from the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open, both the ATP and WTA have 11-month schedules, from January till November each year, covering multiple top-tier and small local tournaments. The Challenger series also offers quite a few betting options which contribute even more to the attractiveness of tennis from a punter’s perspective.
After so much being said about tennis, it is time to make a summary and move on to the next articles of our guide exploring in detail the four Grand Slam tournaments and their betting specifics. So what have we learned so far? Tennis is one of the sports most suitable for online betting due to the large number of events held almost all year round and the fantastic set of betting markets suitable for both beginners and experienced punters. The Internet is full of up-to-date statistical information needed to make informed choices when wagering and live streaming allows betting devotees to stay tuned to what is happening on the court and quickly react to any unexpected event. A tennis betting tip we still have not mentioned is to narrow your focus, at least at the beginning of your journey in the world of wagering on the most prestigious individual sport. It is for this reason and also because of their immense popularity that we made up the following guide sections about the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open.