Welcome to the exciting world of betting on tennis matches. The information provided on this page will help you better understand the nuances of betting on tennis. Hopefully, the tips offered in the last section will help you become a winner.
How to Bet on Tennis Matches
Most sports require the bettor to bet on a match or game that has two potential outcomes, either Team A wins or Team B wins. If the two teams tie, all bets are refunded. In tennis, there are no ties as each match requires an actual winner.
Unlike major team sports and even golf, there’s very little parity in tennis. A small group of players tend to dominate every tournament. Still, bookmakers are able to offer wagering value by using a money line wagering format.
For all examples, we will assume the bettor is going to be wagering in $100 USD increments. The favorite in a match will be listed with a minus (-) money line while the underdog will be listed with a plus (+) money line. The minus represents the amount the bettor must bet to win $100. The plus represents the amount the bettor will win if they bet $100.
In the early rounds, there will be come closely contested matches that don’t involve seeded players. In the later rounds, there will be closely contested matches as the top players rise in the brackets. There’s plenty of reasonable wagering opportunities in both these cases. When a highly seeded player is playing a low ranked player, the money line odds must reflect the disparity in talent. The bookmaker will usually list the seeded player as a heavy favorite at say -1300. That means the bettor would have to bet $1,300 in order to win $100. Conversely, the bookmaker would post the unranked player at say +1100. That means the bettor would only have to bet $100 for a chance to win $1,000. The disparity is reflected in the money line odds.
As a bettor, you must be willing to understand the risks associated with betting on matches involving top ranked players who seldom lose. The top ranked player in the world might only lose a 8-10 times a year, usually at the hands of other top 10 ranked players.
The best wagering opportunities are those involving closely ranked players
Example: Todays Championship match is between #1 ranked Raphael Nadal from Spain vs #3 ranked Alexander Zverev of Germany. Here’s the odds
Nadal is favored as indicated by the minus money line. The payoffs on these odds are calculated as follows: If the bettor bets $100 on Zverev, they will get back $230 for a profit of $130 if he wins. If the bettor bets the same $100 on Nadal, they will be back $166.67 for a profit of $66.67 if he wins. Note: the winnings on a minus amount are calculated by taking the bet amount and dividing it by the money line odds with a decimal placed two digits to the left from the end. In this case it would be $100/1.5 = $66.67.
If interested in betting tennis parlays (accumulators), please see the MLB Betting Guide page.
How to Bet on Tennis – Proposition Bets
Perhaps the best way to enjoy betting on tennis is to focus on proposition or prop bets. Bookmakers will usually offer odds on a list of players to win a specific tournament. This is particularly popular for Grand Slam everts like the U.S. Open or Wimbledon. The top ranked player might be listed at odds of 2-1 while low ranked players might be listed at 300-1.
Other possible proposition bets might revolve around how many sets it takes a player to win a match. For instance, the odds to win the match on the example provided above might look like this based on sets won:
Zverev in three sets +400
Zverev in four sets +280
Zverev in five sets +180
Nadal in three sets +300
Nadal in four sets +175
Nadal in five sets +110
Other prop bets might be offered related to total points won by either player, number of Aces or any other statistic that is trackable.
Tennis Betting Tips
The internet is filled with tennis betting tips from self-proclaimed handicappers. Some tips are free and others are available at a price. Tips can be useful if you don’t have time to do your own handicapping. If you do your own handicapping, betting tips might be a good way to see if you have consensus with your own opinions.
Still, you should make every effort to do your own handicapping. Here’s a list of factors you should include in your handicapping process:
- Familiarize yourself with how well players play on certain surfaces. The surfaces used include clay, grass and hard-court.
- Some players play particularly good or bad in certain tournaments. It might be because of the surface or because the player is playing closer to home with the crowd behind them
- Try to avoid uneven matches. While the potential reward is high, a top ranked player might only lose once a year of an unranked player.
- Pay particular attention to younger players who are climbing the rankings. You can catch good odds during a player’s growing stages.
- Read the latest tennis news. A player’s personal life can sometimes translate to problems on the court.
- Know the history of player matchups. Each player has a player or two they just have difficulty playing against. It might have to do with a player being left-handed or a player’s style of play.
As a rule of thumb, you should never bet more than 5% of your bankroll on a straight bet and perhaps no more than 2% on a proposition. However, you must realize the bookmaker is going to have a significant advantage when you are making proposition bets. Above all, you never want to gamble with more than you can afford to lose. That means pay your bills, put some savings aside and have fun betting on tennis matches with whatever you might have remaining. Responsible gambling is the only way to truly enjoy the experience.