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The Best Tennis Betting Strategies and Guide

For Intermediate
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On the surface, Tennis betting seems pretty self-explanatory, but there is much more here than meets the eye. Tennis betting has considerable depth, and strategies can be used to increase your odds of winning. Predicting who is going to win the next Grand Slam won't get you rich any time soon. The action lies in prop bets, point betting, and handicap betting. After reading this article, you will be able to place these more complicated tennis bets with ease. Our tips are tested by the best tennis bettors around and will surely set you up for success!

Table of Contents

Start Making Smarter Tennis Bets

You will find that while it might seem relatively easy to make a bet on who might win the next Grand Slam or Wimbledon, those types of bets tend not to pay off as much as many people might hope. Instead, focus on point betting, handicap betting, and prop bets, for example. Once you read through the tips in the article below, you will find that it becomes easier for you to make even complicated tennis bets with confidence.

What tennis strategy tips can be found in this article?

  • Basic bets
  • Over/under bets
  • In-play bets
  • Betting on totals
  • Handicap betting

Basic Online Tennis Betting

All sportsbooks in the US will provide you with the primary range of tennis bets. Here are the two main ones:

  • Outright winner - When you set your eyes on predicting the winner of the tournament, this is the bet you are looking for. There are no strings attached here; prior to the competition, you select your winner, and then the waiting game starts.

Odds given on these bets are high, but so are the risks involved. A top player in the world will get odds of around +150 to +1000, and they are most likely to win. But with 64 or 128 players in the tournament, your winner can easily be knocked out too soon.

  • Match betting - With this bet, you will be predicting the winner of a single match. Either player A or player B will win, as there are no draws in tennis. 

Favorites in each match get odds that won't turn a hefty profit. Only bet on the game when you have a lot of confidence in the underdog.

Over/Under Bets in Tennis

Like any other Sports Betting, tennis also has its fair share of over/under bets. Both for sets and games, there are opportunities for this kind of bet. With a best-of-three sets tournament format, the only bet you can place is the over/under 2.5, since a player could only win in 2 or 3 sets. With the best-of-five format, 3.5 and 4.5 are the options.

Depending on your assessment of how one-sided the match will be, this bet can be a great spot to place a wager. If you see a matchup between Rafael Nadal and a low-ranked player (outside of the top 100 in the world), you can rest assured that he will bulldozer his way through the match.

The over/under for games is more unpredictable, and therefore we don't recommend you using this betting style.

In-play Betting

tennis betting

One of the coolest things about betting on tennis is the sheer amount of bets you can place. Before or during the match, it doesn't matter. In-play betting has seen a significant rise in popularity lately because of its high action. Especially predicting who will win the next point is an exciting new feature made possible by the availability of live sportsbooks. 

Point betting is riskier than any other type of bet. Even the best players in the world can make a mistake at any time, making it super unpredictable who will win the next point. Point betting always adds drama and excitement to your viewing experience.

You might think that it's a bet based on pure luck, 50/50 odds with no real advantage to any of the players. Most often, this is not the case. With some players heavily relying on their excellent service and others dependent on their long rallies, there might be a definite advantage for one of the players. Look closely at the matchup and do your research before you start making these bets, and you might see a rapid increase of funds in your bank account.

Some important details to look out for:

  • How reliant is the player on their service?
  • How good is their serve against left/right-handed players?
  • How many times did their serve get broken previously?

Besides point betting, there are dozens of other options during the match that you can bet on. Look into your online sportsbook to find out what they are, as they vary from place to place.

Betting on Totals

tennis betting

Betting on totals is an exciting option if you aren't interested in regular match betting. In specific matches, predicting the outcome is not that challenging. When you take the result out of the equation, you can start betting on other aspects of the game. This is where betting on totals comes in. When you think you know how many sets or games will occur in the match, this is your kind of bet.

Total Sets

The most obvious and also most simple bet here is to predict the total amount of sets in a match. It has a low variance, only an outcome of 2, 3, 4, or 5 is possible here. The odds are not that much higher than predicting the winner of the match.

Total Games

If you want to up the ante a little, then you could bet on the number of games. To make an educated guess here, you first have to look at the number of sets you think will be played in the match. Consequently, you got to look at how many games each set will take. Some examples are:

  • You predict the favorite in the game will win by three sets. You think the scoreline will look like this; 6-2, 6-3, 6-3, making for a total of 26 games.
  • You predict it will be a close match. Five sets with a scoreline of; 7-6, 4-6, 5-7, 7-6, 6-4, making for a total of 58 games.

Because choosing a winner is not required here, this bet only depends on the number of games.

Total Aces / Double Faults

The most complicated of the total bets, it's hard to accurately predict the number of aces and/or double faults a player will hit. With some research, it's possible to make an educated guess and take advantage of the crazy odds offered on this bet.

Handicap Betting

Just as with other sports bets, you can find handicap betting in tennis. Most matches have a clear cut favorite for the win, and this will show in the odds. Bet on Roger Federer winning against an unseeded player in the first round of a grand slam might give you odds of -800. These odds make bets pointless in those matches. Sure, betting on the underdog winning might net you extreme profits, but the likelihood of that happening is slim to none. A way of combating these ridiculous odds and making it worthwhile to bet on is by using a handicap strategy.

Handicap bets add an extra layer of excitement to a potential dull matchup. Handicap betting is not dependent on your player of choice winning, but his performance. The idea of this system is to give a player either a negative or positive handicap. The favorite player will get a negative handicap and the underdog a positive handicap. You add or subtract the handicap from the final score. If you bet on the player who wins the most games after the handicap is applied, you win. It doesn't matter who wins the overall match.

Let's take a look at an example of this:

  • Serena Williams is playing a lower-ranked player in Taylor Townsend. The sportsbook gives Williams a -5 handicap and Townsend a +5. Williams wins the match with set scores of 6-2, 6-2, resulting in a game-score of 12 against 4. When we apply the handicap, we deduct five games from Williams' score, making 12-5 against 4, which results in 7 against 4. Even with the handicap, Williams is still the winner. If you bet on Williams with a -5 handicap, you'd win! 
  • Conversely, if you bet on Townsend to win with a +5 handicap, it would be a scoreline of 12 – 9. Therefore, Townsend would still be the loser, meaning you would have lost.

Not only can you bet on those high-value game-handicaps, but there are also set-handicap bets, which offer lower odds back as there are fewer options. 

tennis betting

Top tips for Tennis Bettors

  • Only bet on value bets
    • The best tip we can give you involving any sports betting. Only gamble when there is value! Any tennis betting strategy should equip you with the ability to identify tennis value bets.
  • Specialize
    • With the current amount of tournaments, it is impossible to keep up with everything. No matter where your preference lies, the men's circuit, the women's, or maybe doubles, make sure you only focus on one of them.

Focus on the tennis bet types and markets that you are most familiar with. The more specialized you are, the more chances you can create for yourself

  • Use multiple bookmakers
    • When you limit yourselves to one or two bookmakers, you are severely limiting your potential profits. Not all sportsbooks offer all of the betting markets. Each sportsbook publishes its odds, with a small difference between each of them. Although these differences are small, they do add up in the long run and can undoubtedly impact your winnings for the better or the worse.
  • Research the players
    • If you are eyeing a certain match to bet on, make sure you gather all background information you can. What form the players are in, their matchup history, what surface they perform best on. These factors can turn a difficult choice into an easy one.

A lot of states have now made it possible to bet legally on tennis, including tournaments from the ATP and WTA. Be sure that there are more to come in the future, for example, Florida. For now, the US states who offer legalized tennis betting are:

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Illinois
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Washington DC
  • West Virginia

Tennis Betting FAQ

  • Can I only bet on the Grand Slam tournaments

    No, all tournaments are available for betting. Nearly every day, there are games for you to bet on
  • How much impact do the different surfaces have?

    Tennis surfaces, clay, grass, or hardcourt have an enormous impact on the players' chances. Players like Nadal are famous for their performances on a single type of surface while other players thrive in all circumstances.
  • Should I Use Just One Online Bookmaker?

    One of the questions that often comes up is whether someone should only stick to a single bookmaker when placing their sports bets. Instead of choosing one or two bookmakers, where you would be limiting your options, you might want to check out more markets. Check out the odds of the best online sportsbooks in our toplist and find those that are going to fit your betting needs.
  • Does the Surface Make a Difference?

    One of the interesting things about tennis is that it is played on many different types of surfaces, unlike many other sports. There are games that are held on hard courts, clay, or grass. The surface can actually affect how well a player is going to do. It is important that you take the time to learn more about what each tennis player prefers before you make your bet.
  • Should I Pay Attention to Rumors and News About Tennis Players?

    Tennis players are just as fallible as everyone else. Pay attention to news reports and rumors about the physical condition and private lives of the players. The things that are going on in their lives outside of tennis could affect their performance on the court.
  • What if my player of choice gets injured?

    In this situation, it depends on the sportsbook. Some sportsbooks still see the bet as valid, while others void the bet and will return your wager.