As the most popular individual sport worldwide, it’s little surprise that tennis is also one of the most popular sports to bet on, particularly with matches and tournaments taking place almost every day of the year.
In this guide, we’ll look at what you need to know before you start betting on tennis, plus the factors you’ll need to consider before placing a bet.
How to Bet on Tennis
As with most other sports, betting on tennis is not overly complicated, once you learn about the different types of markets on offer.
The most common form of tennis betting is match betting.
As tennis is a sport where there can ultimately only be one outcome – one player/team wins while the other player/team loses, 1,2 betting is commonly associated with tennis.
Outright markets can offer some of the best value when betting on tennis, particularly if you feel a potential winner has been under-priced, or if no one player is currently dominant on the circuit.
For instance, between the start of 2018 and end of 2019, only one player – Naomi Osaka – won more than one of the eight women’s Grand Slam singles’ titles on offer.
When betting on tennis outrights, it’s also worth looking at a tournament to see if any of the leading players have a favourable draw heading into the competition.
For instance, if Roger Federer has to knock out both of his old rivals, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, en-route to winning a tournament, that will significantly complicate his chances.
Tennis Handicap Betting
While shocks can and do happen in tennis, invariably form, skill and experience more often than not see the game’s best players dominate the latter stages of Grand Slam tournaments.
The men’s game is currently experiencing an unprecedented spell of dominance by three players. In fact, as of February 2020, Stan Wawrinka at the 2016 US Open was the last player outside the ‘Big Three’ (Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer) to claim a Men’s Singles title in a Grand Slam.
For that reason, tennis handicap betting can be a popular way to follow major tournaments, where two or three players can often be dominant. Set handicaps and game handicaps are the most common types of tennis handicap betting with Marathonbet, adding extra interest to a match with a heavy favourite.
Game handicap example
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic goes up against an unseeded player in the first round of the US Open.
Given the difference in ability between the two players, Djokovic is a heavy favourite to win, so the bettor decides to place a handicap bet on Djokovic at -6. The odds on this selection will be much bigger than for him just to win the match.
If Djokovic then goes on to win the match 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.
As the difference between the players in terms of games won is 18-11 (7 games), the bet is a winning one.
Tennis Over/Under Betting
As in several other sports, over/under betting is a popular way to follow a match, betting on the number of games or sets required for a player to win a game.
Example: if you were betting on Serena Williams against Simona Halep at Wimbledon (a best of three sets tournament) and thought it would be a close match but were unsure who would win, you would back the match to have over 2.5 sets.
Tennis Betting Strategy
Swot up on the surface
Before placing your bet, it’s always worth checking how well a player is suited to a particular surface.
Remember, not all players find it easy to adapt their game to every surface, while others can excel on one surface to become specialists.
Rafael Nadal is perhaps the shining example of this in the modern era. The multiple Grand Slam winner is traditionally a runaway favourite in the French Open odds for good reason. The Spaniard is the most successful clay court player in history, with 12 of his 19 Grand Slam titles coming at Roland Garros. For all his success on grass (two Wimbledon titles) and hard courts (one Australian Open and four US Opens) – Rafa’s game moves up to another level on clay – and surface specialists will always be priced accordingly in the odds.
Drilling a little deeper into how well a player adapts to a surface can make all the difference in terms of finding value, particularly when it comes to less high-profile matches involving up-and-coming players.
Given the tennis season broadly splits around the Grand Slams (hard court – clay court – grass court – hard court), researching if a player seems to be enjoying a spike in form at a certain time of the year (e.g. grass court season) could pay dividends.
Study playing styles
In the high-pressure world of professional tennis, even the game’s top players can struggle when up against an unconventional playing style.
From big-serving Pete Sampras to the all-court grace of Roger Federer, history shows us there’s no one ‘correct’ way to reach the top in tennis – and some players can uncharacteristically falter when faced with different playing styles.
It’s always worth taking a moment to consider how well a player’s game is suited to countering their opponent’s strengths before placing your bet.
Head-to-head could hold the key
At the very top of the game, players can face each other several times a year. That makes life a lot easier for anyone looking to do some research before betting on tennis tournaments, where certain trends emerge.
Even the most talented players can have one opponent that routinely causes them problem.
For all his successes, Novak Djokovic has met the lower-ranked Stan Wawrinka in five finals, but it’s the Swiss who leads 3-2 in wins, also winning both of their Grand Slam final meetings to date.
In-play Tennis Betting
Tennis is one of the most popular sports for live in-play betting, given momentum in a match can shift dramatically from one game to the next.
Bet in-play on all leading tennis tournaments with live tennis odds from Marathonbet.
See here for Tennis Predictions.
See more Betting Guides here.
Tennis stats correct as of February 2020.