When you are new to betting on tennis, or any sport for that matter, it can feel like a minefield.
There’s often more than 70 different bet types available per tennis match, ranging from the self-explanatory to the rather more confusing.
Not to worry, as we’ve got you covered with a complete guide to tennis betting and the various different bets you can strike with a bookmaker.
The most popular tennis betting market should also be the easiest to understand.
Quite simply, we are backing which player (or team, if it’s a doubles match) we think will win the contest. It doesn’t matter what the score is; we just want to be betting on the winner.
You can bet on match winner as singles, doubles or accumulators, with some firms offering profit bonuses when your multi-leg accas land.
Match Handicap (Games or Set)
In matches which you expect to be one-sided, backing the handicap odds – as opposed to the standard match betting – can be a way to increase your value.
A handicap is a hypothetical number added or subtracted from the final score. So, let’s say that we have backed Emma Raducanu with a -4.5 game handicap. In this instance, we need her to win by five clear games in order for her to ‘clear’ her handicap and our bet to prevail.
Here’s some possible scorelines:
- Raducanu wins 6-2 6-2 – the net game score is Raducanu +8 (our bet wins)
- Raducanu wins 6-3 6-3 – the net game score is Raducanu +6 (our bet wins)
- Raducanu wins 6-4 6-3 – the net game score is Raducanu +5 (our bet wins)
- Raducanu wins 6-4 6-4 – the net game score is Raducanu +4 (our bet loses)
Hopefully, you get the picture. You can always bet on the game handicap market where you think the underdog will outperform their expectations – in this scenario, take the ‘+’ side of the handicap odds instead.
For Grand Slam events that are best-of-five sets, some bookmakers will offer you set handicap betting as well.
Presented as ‘over’ and ‘under’ odds, you can bet on how many sets or games you think there will be in a match.
As a general rule, you might bet on the ‘unders’ side in contests you expect to be one-sided, whereas for closer matches the ‘overs’ side – given that you expect plenty of games to be played per set – is the smart play.
There’s strategy that can be deployed in the latter case, with matches between two big servers at grass court events like Wimbledon typically delivering plenty of games.
You can bet on total sets to be played as well, which can be a value market to explore in men’s Grand Slam matches, where as many as five sets can be played.
A higher risk, higher reward method of betting on tennis, you can try to predict the exact correct score in two different markets: the first set score and the overall match score.
There are fourteen possible set scores, and so this is a market where you’ll get long odds but face a higher probability of losing given the inherent variance. Matches featuring two big servers are more likely to go to 6-4 and beyond, of course, while more one-sided fare could see more breaks of serve and therefore a lower set score.
As for correct score betting on the match, for the most part you’ll be wagering on which player will win and whether the score will be 2-0 or 2-1, although there are more permutations for men’s Grand Slam matches, which are best-of-five.
Many bookmakers offer you the chance to bet on a player’s first service game, and then once match is underway you can bet on each of their subsequent service games via the in-play odds.
The markets here include first service game score, total points, ‘to win to’ and the number of winners hit.
Total Aces/Double Faults/Breaks of Serve
Prop betting enables you to wager on all sorts of possibilities in a tennis match, with over/under odds offered for total aces, double faults and breaks of serve.
These stats bets reward those who know both of the players in a match inside and out (or have done their research), and who are able to judge the weather and surface conditions to best make a prediction on how easy, or otherwise, serving will be in that particular contest.
Set with Most Games
Here’s a niche market that can yield rewards for punters.
In theory, the two players should be at the peak of their powers in the first set, given that they should be fresh and fatigue-free at this point.
It can take the players a while to get a read on their opponent’s serve as well, so often betting on the first set to have the most games can be wise. However, this is not an exact science, so again knowing the players well and/or doing your homework is vital.
Some bookmakers offer odds on what can loosely be described as ‘player specials’.
Specific to each player in the match, these include whether the individual will win a set, win in straight sets or even win after going behind.
What Is a Tennis Bet Builder?
The Bet Builder tool initially gained prominence in football betting, and already some firms have expanded this to tennis and other sports.
There may be times when you have wanted to bet on two correlated markets but haven’t been allowed to because they are too closely tied, e.g. Player A to win and Player A to win 2-0.
This is known as ‘related contingency’, and bookmakers won’t let you wager when your picks are inextricably linked, such as those in the example above.
But the Bet Builder option allows you to wager on some related contingencies, including match winner, set score, total sets/games, breaks of serve/tie breaks and so on.
All you have to do is select each of the odds that you want to back, and these will be added to your betslip. You can bet them in singles, doubles, an accumulator or cover bets such as a Yankee or Lucky 15.