Tennis Betting Guide

A comprehensive guide on how to bet on tennis, from the different types of tennis bets to reading tennis odds and other important strategies.

Betting on tennis, with its multiple types of bets can be very profitable. It is a sport people love wagering on around the world (think Roland Garros, Wimbledon, Australian Open). Tennis games tend to follow a certain formula which can make forming a betting strategy easier than it would be on many other sports.

Throughout this guide, we will see what tennis bets are the best to wager on and give multiple tips and strategies which will improve your tennis betting skills.

Tennis Fundamentals

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Tennis is a racket sport that is most often associated with singles play, (one-on-one). Although it can also consist of four players in a doubles format. The principal aim of the game is to hit the ball within the restricted lines on the opponent’s side of the court and if their opponent is unable to return it, then the point is rewarded to this player. The rules that actually make up an entire game though are a bit more complex and we will discuss them all in this guide.

Below, we will discuss

  • How Tennis Scoring Work
  • Deuce and Advantage
  • Set
  • Tie-Breakers
  • Walkover

How Tennis Scoring Work

If you are not familiar with how tennis works, its scoring system can look weird. The point scoring system for a game begins naturally at 0-0 and for every point achieved, a player’s score will go up like this, 15-30-40, and the following point would represent a victory. Unless the score was 40-40, otherwise known as deuce. In this scenario, the next point will result in an ‘advantage’ for the player who won the previous point and if they were to win the next point they would win the game in question. If they lost the point however the score would return back to Deuce and this will be repeated until there was an eventual winner.

Just because this scoring system is complex for newcomers we will give you a walkthrough of a game scenario. Player one wins the first point (15-0). He also serves an Ace to win the second point of the game, (30-0), his opponent strikes back, however, and wins the next point (30-15), however, this is all the fun his opponent has for this game as player A wins the next two points, first taking the score to 40-15 with the following point securing victory.

Deuce & Advantage

When the score reaches Deuce (40-40), player 1 or player 2 will need to score two points in a row to win the game. The first point scored after Deuce is recognized as “Advantage.” In other words, the player who won the point when the scores were level at 40-40 is now at an advantage and if they win the next point, he or she wins the game. The umpire would acknowledge this during a game by saying the word ‘advantage’ followed by the player’s name.

But it’s important to take note that even if a player holds this advantage if their opponent scores against them at the next serve, the game will return to Deuce and the match will only be decided once a player scores two points in a row after Deuce which can lead to many thrilling moments within the game.

0 point = Love
1 point = 15
2 points= 30
3 points= 40
40-40 = Deuce

Set

A set is the collection of all the games played and for every game won a player will receive one point that contributes to their chances of winning a set. Tennis Sets are won in a “race to 6 formats” and they are played in a best-of-three (regular matches) or up to five sets (Grand Slams). Take note that if the game is played with a 6-5 score in the set, then the leading player must win the seventh game to win the set or there will be a tie-breaker. To make the game fair each opponent will take turns having the serve. This can help explain why a player needs to win by two points, because in a scenario where the game is 6-5 for example, one of the players would have had more of the serve, which is a massive part of the game.

Tie-Breakers

Remember the Deuce and advantage? The same concept also applies to tie-breakers. A tennis tie-breaker is presented when the score in a set is 6-6. During this time, the two players will be in a race to score seven points first. However, if the score is 7-6 a player must win by two clear points to secure the tiebreaker and therefore the set. This is designed this way to make sure that no player has an advantage with the number of times they have served.

Walkover

Walkover is the term for a player’s unopposed victory as a result of the opponent’s inability or failure to perform in a match for any reason, such as injury. According to the United States Tennis Association, any player who advances because of a walkover will still receive ranking points for advancing through a “won by walkover.” For betting purposes, this can be complicated as several bookmakers have different rules in what they will pay out in such a scenario. Players can also be disqualified for serious dissent from officials. These cases are rare and usually involve a player losing his temper and accidentally hitting a tennis ball at an official in anger. Novak Djokovic at the 2020 US Open is a famous example of this.

A game is played until a player scores four points in the tennis scoring format (0-15-30-40). A set is a collection of games, played until a player wins six games (or more if a tie-breaker is required). A match is played to a best-of-three or five sets depending on the status of the competition. A walkover is winning the match by default.

Serving In Tennis

A player’s ‘serve’ is the shot to start the game. This is when a player will hit the tennis ball with their racket in a diagonal direction to the opposite service box. If the opponent is unable to return the serve, it will count as an ‘Ace,’ though there are no extra points rewarded for an Ace, it’s arguably the easiest point in tennis as the point will consist of no rallies (a sequence of back and forth shots between players during the game). If a player fails to hit the ball within the lines they are permitted a second chance. This time the ‘serve’ will most often be with less velocity to ensure they hit the ball within the lines. If they fail to do this for the second time this will be called a double fault and the point will be rewarded to their opponent.

ATP & WTP

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and Women’s Tennis Associations (WTP) are the two regulatory bodies for men’s and women’s tennis.

Match Officials

The chair umpire and line umpire are two types of tennis umpires in the sport. The chair umpire’s duty is to vocalize the score and uphold the rules of tennis while the line umpire is responsible for calling the lines on the tennis court.

In contrast to other sports like basketball, boxing, and football, the live audience in tennis follow a spectator etiquette and practice silence during rallies. Sometimes when the fans are carried away and start to make too much noise, it will be the chair umpire’s duty to keep the audience as silent as possible by calling their attention saying “Thank You” or in some cases, “Ladies and gentlemen please respect the game.”

In the past, umpires and line judges were subject to a lot of anger but since Hawkeye was introduced to the game this has changed this dramatically.

How To Bet On Tennis

Betting on tennis matches is a very easy process. Below is a list of some very simple steps you will need to follow.

  1. Log in to the bookmaker you intend to place a bet with.
  2. Locate the tennis section of the site.
  3. Select the match you are interested in betting on.
  4. Scroll through the betting markets on the match selected.
  5. Add selection to your Bet Slip.
  6. Check you have added the correct bet to your Bet Slip and the odds haven’t changed.
  7. Add the amount you would like to stake and submit the bet.

You might desire to bet on an outright winner of a match or you might desire to bet on the multiple markets that exist within the tennis game. Either way, the process is the same.

Markets: Types of Tennis Bets

Tennis, like any other sport, offers straight-up winner bets in which you wager money on the team or player you think will win a game. But, there are many more prop bets available in tennis and even combination bets.

MarketDefinition
Match WinnerThis is the most common type of tennis bet. In tennis, there are two players you can bet on to be the match-winner or outright winner.

e.g., Roger Federer to win the match: Odds, 4/5.
Set BettingSet betting is where you can bet on the exact score of the match.

e.g., in a 3-set game: Player A to win 2-0, Player A to win 2-1, Player B to win 2-0, Player B to win 2-1.
Set Total GamesYou can also bet on how many games there will be in a set. This number can range from 6 to 12.

e.g., Total games in a set (exact, or can be an over/under too)
Set WinnerYou can bet on who will win the current set or who will win a particular set in a match.

e.g., winner of set 1, X Rafael Nadal.
Set Correct ScoreBetters can bet on the correct score of the set which is in place or coming up.

e.g., Correct Score 1st Set, 6-4.
Set Games Over/UnderThere is a potential for 12 games to occur in one set. You can bet on whether the number of games to occur in a set will be over or under a predetermined total.

e.g., Set 1 Total Games Over/Under 6.5.
Player To Win At Least One SetYou can also bet on a player to win just one set. This bet might only be available for players who are considered heavy underdogs.

e.g., Player A to win at least one set.
Game HandicapA handicap bet is where you can bet on a player to win or lose by a specific margin. If the player’s name is followed by a + sign this would indicate that the player needs to win by this margin while a – sign would indicate that they can lose within this margin.

e.g., Set 1 Game Handicap -1.5.
Game Winning MarginYou can bet on the margin a player will win the game by. This could be in straight sets or by winning by 1 set, or 2 in Grand Slam events.

e.g., Player 1 to win in straight sets.
List of the most common types of bets in Tennis.

If you search hard enough you might discover that some bookmakers offer some very exotic bets but the ones above are the most common ones you can find on the market.

Ways To Bet On Tennis

Like most forms of betting these days, there is no shortage of options when it comes to betting on Tennis. Below though are the most common type of places you can place bets on tennis and where you do so will depend mostly on the circumstances of the area you live.

Land-based bookmakers

Land-based bookmakers are still very popular despite the advent of online betting taking away a lot of their customs. Or in some cases adding to their customer base but taking them away from the shops. We suggest that you only use these places if you enjoy the experience because in these places you will need to bet with fixed odds and you cannot compare them with other sites. Also, you will rarely get the option to place a bet while the match is in play.

Fixed-odds sportsbook

Fixed odds sportsbooks are the traditional way to bet as you will see the odds you can bet on and once your bet has been placed the odds will remain the same regardless of what occurs for the rest of the match. This is great when you spot value bets as to when the odds decrease your bet stays the same.

Betting exchanges

Betting exchanges have revolutionized the way you can bet on tennis. The odds in tennis can fluctuate a lot as when a player looks like they might lose their service, this, in turn, has a massive impact on the likely outcome of the set. Therefore you only need to be right for a fraction of the time in order to make profits betting while the game is in play. This can be achieved by placing a bet and setting an order.

In-play and live tennis betting

Betting on tennis while the match is in play can be very profitable. You can pick up on how the players are playing and if any player is struggling to hold their serve. You can also pick up if any player is possibly carrying an injury. Of course the bookmakers these days are very sophisticated and it will be very difficult to beat them at their own game but with enough persistence, it is still possible to find a way to get ahead of the game.

Tennis Tournaments You Can Bet On

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There are tennis tournaments held throughout the year that vary in terms of status and vary in the surface and location they are played on. These factors will have a huge impact on how the game will flow as not every game is equal and not every game suits every player’s style. Below are the most prestigious tournaments in the world of tennis.

With tennis, we recommend betting on grand slam tournaments as they are by far the most liquid events. People around the globe place bets on many games, and millions are changing hands during the last rounds.

Wimbledon Betting

Wimbledon is played on grass and is arguably the most prestigious of all the tennis competitions. Roger Federer has won the competition a staggering 8 times, which has largely attributed to his status of being one of the greatest of all time. The competition does favor more direct players, therefore efficient servers are likely to prosper here.

Roland Garros Betting

Roland Garros is played on clay and is best suited to players who prosper from long rallies and have great recovery skills. The king of clay without question is the great Rafael Nadal who has won the title 13 times! Despite his generation being filled with greats, no one can compete with him on this surface. This surface is terrible for players who rely heavily on their service game.

US Open Betting

The US Open is played on hard courts which suit players who have more direct games as the ball moves very quickly of the surface. Like Wimbledon players who rely on their service game tend to prosper in this tournament so this should be considered before placing any bets. Besides Wimbledon, this is also the tournament that gets the majority of attention.

Australian Open Betting

The Australian Open is also played on hard courts which means this competition also suits more direct players. This past decade has seen Novak Djokovic dominate the tournament and players lower down the rankings who rely heavily on their serve often pinpoint this tournament to make a fair percentage of their money for the season.

WTA Finals Betting

The WTA finals are the culmination of an entire season and the competition is made up of the most elite female players in the game. This is a real showcase event and is considered the most important tournament to win outside of the traditional Grand Slams.

ATP Finals Betting

The ATP finals are the season’s endings championship of the ATP tour and are commonly viewed as the most prestigious tennis tournament outside of the four Grand Slams. The tournament is an invite-only competition that consists of the top 8 ranked players in the world.

tennis events and competitions for sports bettors
Tennis Tournaments You Can Bet On

Tennis Betting Tips

Tennis matches often follow a predictable pattern. There are obviously many exceptions to this rule but here are a few things you should consider before placing a bet.

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1. Study the head-to-head statistics

Sometimes in tennis, a player will have a certain opponent they always struggle against even if they are viewed to be the superior player. This can be down to the style of their opponent. An example of this would be when a big server plays against a great returner. Before you place a bet have a close look at the previous matches between the two and take note of which surface they played on also.

2. Pay attention to the court surface

The impact the court surface will have on the potential result of the game cannot be overestimated. A player like Nadal for example is one of the greatest of all time as he has an outstanding 20 grand slams to his name. 13 of these titles have come on clay which shows you how dominant he can be on one surface but how he is although still great, beatable on another.

3. Look at each player’s form

The form of tennis players will account for a lot. Maybe a player is coming back from injury and is slowly attempting to get back up to speed with the rest of the field. Alternatively, they could be struggling for confidence after a few bad tournaments. Confidence accounts for a lot in tennis and should be considered when placing a bet.

4. Try to find tennis value bets

Finding value bets in tennis will ultimately determine your success. We recommend you do this by using cold data. For example, if a player wins 80% of their service games and the odds suggest you will get a reasonable return if this remains true we would argue that this represents a good bet.

5. How often does a player hold their serve

The serve in tennis is a crucial part of the game. Even if a player is without doubt inferior to his opponent, the quality and dependency on their service game can indeed make a match closer than the gap in quality would suggest. Also in the women’s game, the serve is nowhere near as important so don’t place bets with the same strategy as you were with the men’s game.

6. Know the difference in patterns between men and women’s game

In men’s games, the reliance on the service is much more significant. This does mean that in the women’s game it can be much harder for there to be bigger upsets. This is because men who are lower ranked can sometimes rely on their serves to make sure they take games to tie breaks for example. In the women’s game, this Is a strategy that cannot easily be employed.

7. Use statistics from trusted sites

In the modern world of sport, there is now access to statistics that only a decade ago might have been seen as irrelevant but with the innovations tennis has made every player and coaching team is now trying to edge the smallest advantage over their opponent. As a better, we can use this amount of data to our own advantage and this can lead to betting strategies where there is no emotion or instinct involved whatsoever. Just pure reliance on the data.

👍 Online tennis statistics databases like Ultimate Tennis Statistics and Tennis DatenBank offer great data for free!

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Tips For To Win With Tennis Betting

How To Choose The Right Tennis Betting Sites

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When it comes to choosing the right site to bet on it is crucial that you choose a good quality bookmaker that is 100% verified and legal in your jurisdiction. We implore you not to be tempted by anything rogue as this will bite you in the long run.

Bookmakers in the UK require a license from the gambling commission and if they do not have this clearly visible on their site do not consider them. The same applies in virtually all jurisdictions.

With that being taken as a given we recommend that you use an exchange site such as Betfair or Smarkets if you intend to bet in-play on a tennis game as this is the best way you can take advantage of volatility in the market. If you were to choose a traditional bookmaker we suggest that you choose one that has plentiful markets such as Bet365. On this site, all the markets we have touched upon above will be covered. It will also be worth your time to check for any tennis betting promotions that exist. William Hill is one of our favorites for this as it always has some sort of money-back promotion for the major Grand Slam events.

The odds will be the most important thing you will need to consider when placing tennis bets. Using a site such as Oddschecker will help you over time learn what sites offer the best odds on a consistent basis. We recommend that you research this yourself also but from our research, we have found Betfair, Bet365, William Hill, Paddy Power, and Ladbrokes to be the sites that offer consistently good odds.

Betting On Tennis: FAQ

Answers to the most common questions about tennis betting.

Is tennis betting profitable?

Tennis betting can be profitable, but it requires much study and the correct implication of an effective betting strategy. The amount of money you can realistically make will largely be affected by the nature of your betting strategy.

What is a 1.5 handicap in tennis?

Handicap betting in tennis usually refers to set betting, therefore if you were to place a bet of this nature at 1.5, the player chosen will either have to not lose the set by this margin or win this set by this margin depending on whether the number has a + or – sign after them.

What is the difference between betting on the spread and the total in tennis?

When you are betting on the totals in tennis you will be betting on the number of points that can occur in a match or the number of games an individual player will win. With spread betting, however, you will win or lose money depending on how well or badly the person you backed does. This will be within a margin you have agreed to.

How many sets in a tennis match betting line?

For the majority of tournaments, the matches will consist of three sets maximum, apart from the men’s Grand Slam events. Because these are the highest status of games on the tennis calendar these games will be the first to three.

What happens if a player retires in tennis match betting?

Different bookmakers will have different rules for payouts in the event of a tennis player retiring in a match. Some bookmakers will null and void the bet if the retirement occurs in the first set of the match, while others will pay out if one player has a significant lead.

How do you always win in tennis betting?

There is no way you can always win when betting on tennis. There are conservative strategies that you could employ to ensure you are successful more often but this doesn’t mean you will be more profitable. Being profitable is the only thing you should focus on and any design of breaking the betting markets is simply not a reality.

Where do you find value bets for tennis matches?

Value bets will only become obvious to you when you acknowledge statistics entwined with your own knowledge and instinct of the sport. This way you can come to your own conclusion in regards to the odds bookmakers are offering.

Tennis is a great game to place bets on, responsibly. The formula of tennis games means that a strategy can be put in place which will help reap benefits in the long run. Overall, though the success of your tennis betting will depend on choosing quality value bets that are backed up by statistical data. If you do this on a consistent basis you will make a long-term profit.