Many who bet only as a hobby disregard tennis as a betting option, but a lot of professional bettors use tennis as one of their go to sports. One of the main reasons for this is that tennis competitions take place almost 365 days of the year, making the sport a great outlet for bookmakers, especially on slightly slower event days.
Tennis gets a staggering amount of coverage, especially from the bigger bookmakers. The tournaments can range massively in reputation, too, from the majors to regional ranking events. With this comes a fair amount of unpredictability, especially in the lesser known events, which is a huge pull for bettors around the world.
As a bookmaker notices a sport becoming more popular, so the range of features on offer increases. It’s often the features which separate the good bookmakers from the average ones these days, so while it’s easy to open up a market and set a line for a specific bet, creating a destination for regular tennis bettors where they can carefully plan their bets becomes all the more vital.
- In this Article:
- How to Bet
- Betting Markets
- Betting Rules
Best Tennis Betting Sites
#1 – Coral
We tend to like betting sites that include a dedicated HUB for most sports and Coral do this really well with tennis. The new design keeps it fresh but don’t let it’s good looks take away from the content that’s on offer.
The top parasol includes some of the more popular betting markets that are currently running and whilst it’s not always going to be what you are looking for, it’s a nice addition. The rest of the page is made up of in-play markets and also a long list of other markets to bet on for that specific day.
We absolutely loved the new bet in-play multi feature that allows you to drag and drop markets onto the screen that you want to bet on. You can include as many matches as you want really, but it shows you what’s going in the game in terms of the score and also a list of the live betting markets to boot. If live betting is your thing, then this is definitely something you need to check out!
#2 – BetVictor
There are few sports that BetVictor don’t cover well these days, but there are few that they cover any better than tennis. The – tennis – homepage allows you to flick between todays matches and other specials that are taking place as well. On top of that the ticker at the top of the screen means you can see exactly what’s on offer for tennis specific promotions and also what they are featuring. For example, at the time of writing the US Open is just around the corner, so there are a number of promotions and offers they are plugging for this.
Whilst the number of games are tournaments that BetVictor cover is simply staggering, the main reason they are ranked in third is due to the fact that most of the games include very few markets. In fact, even some of the bigger games have only had around 10 or so, which to be fair is more than enough for most, but compared to Coral who can boast over 100, it’s a long way off.
Their in-play section brings them back to life again though and it’s modern design makes it a pleasure to use. You get live updates of the match and also can see which player is in the ascendancy. This all in turn adds up to a live betting section that allows you to actual form a decision to bet, rather than just simply place a bet.
As a final point, we just want to mention how competitive BetVictor are with their pricing. It’s pretty common knowledge now that they are one of the best priced bookmakers for football, but they carry this theme throughout their tennis betting section as well. We concluded via some very non-scientific research on an odds comparison site that they were consistently in the top couple of prices in the industry over a range of tennis matches taking place around the world.
#3 – Ladbrokes
Ladbrokes is another bookmaker with a more than reasonable tennis section. For those of you unaware, they have recently undergone a bit of a makeover in terms of design with the new structure including a small, but comprehensive tennis section right from the home page. Whilst not the most exciting of features, it indicates that the bookmaker is keen to promote their tennis betting section, will bodes well for bettors of the sport.
Their tennis betting section opens up with a fairly large promotions section in the top left hand corner. We are big fans of this as it allows you to see exactly what the bookmaker is offering for each tournament. The promotions are generally a mix of money back specials and enhanced odds that are targeted towards the bigger tournaments but it’s a useful addition.
The page is broken up into handy sections of which you can minimize or maximize depending on if they are important to you when betting or not. The markets on offer are really good and we found that the higher profile games contains a nice balance of different things to bet on. These games will look to get around 20-30 or markets, which we think is a good balance for most bettors.
#4 – Betfred
Another site that push tennis betting as one of their larger sports, Betfred have been able to produce some really good value for their punters, coming from a site that is very much geared around football betting.
One thing that has always bugged us with Betfred is that they use the dropdown menu navigation bar and there is no ‘home’ page for tennis betting. This makes viewing multiple markets at one time almost impossible and they continue to use a long list to view for outright winners.
As a result, this limits the number of markets that they offer for both tournaments and specific matches. Whilst the site is perfectly fine for the majority of tennis bettors, for those looking for something a little more in-depth, then you will likely be looking at any of the four we have already mentioned above.
How to Bet on Tennis
As the range of available tennis matches is so vast, there are multiple ways in which you can win or lose money, very quickly. One thing that you will find is a constant variable in the gambling industry is the number of markets available to bet on. In tennis, the number of games that are taking place is pretty hefty and this means that you need to be careful as to what you choose to bet on.
As with anything, you need to make sure that you do your research. There are some bookmakers that provide a news and/or tips section, but for the most part, you are going to have to look at outside sources. Luckily, there are an absolute plethora available online, each with their own accreditations as to how reliable they are.
The bookmaker you choose is another consideration, and will probably depend on the promotions they offer and the general betting experience from site to site, which comes down to taste really. Some bookies suit one bettor’s style but not another’s.
The most popular betting market is without a doubt the ‘to win’ market, in which you simply select the player you think will win the game. Remember, there are no ties in tennis, so it’s a straight up battle to the end between the two players.
A lot of other markets then come in the form of set specific’s; so it might include 1st set score, 1st set winner, and 1st set total games. Obviously, as the game progresses these markets will turn live and adapt to second, third, fourth and fifth sets, accordingly.
Set betting is a market that has seen a lot of exposure recently and it involves predicting the exact score line for the player you think will win. This is often the market of choice when you are faced with a game that includes a heavy favorite. You will get much better odds by choosing their win margin or the correct score.
Double result markets are a bit of an adaptation of this, asking the punter to choose a player to win a specific set and then go on and either win or lose the match overall.
Quick List of Tennis Bets
- Match Winner – The simplest of all the markets; choose which player you think will win the match overall.
- 1st Set Total Games – Before the match begins you can select the over or under on a line set by the bookmaker on total games in the first set. The toss is often pretty important here to anticipate which player is likely to hold serve, so it’s worth waiting until you have this information before wagering.
- 1st Set Winner – Again, very straightforward, just select which player you think will win the opening set. Once again, try and wait until after the toss to see the player serving first, who will likely hold an advantage.
- 1st Set Tie Break – Simply choose whether or not the first set will go to a tie break.
- Set Betting – This market works by offering up selected scores for the outcome of the match, then choosing the margin of victory in terms of sets. Remember that in major competitions the men play best of 5 and the women best of 3. In all over tournaments, the men play best of 3 sets.
- Double Result – This works the same as picking a double or a selection of two bets from different markets. They often include scenarios such as Player A to win 1 st set and win the match, or Player B to lose first set and win the match. The odds are reflected accordingly.
- Total Match Games – Here you can choose how many games will be in the match. This can be shown in one of two ways. The first is a line that bookmaker sets and you then take the over or under on that line. The second displays a number of game brackets and you can select the bracket you think the result will fall into.
One aspect of tennis that punters favour is the fact that drawing a match is not a possibility – there must be an outright winner to progress to the next round. This makes match betting a whole lot easier in that you only need to decide between two options.
Before deciding which player you think will win you need to do your research on both. We can’t stress enough how important researching both players is because whilst one game may seem to really a suit player (surface, conditions, form etc.) their opponent could be just as good, if not better in all of those areas, and if you haven’t researched that, you won’t know, and may back the wrong horse so to speak.
Start by looking at each player’s form leading up to the match. If it’s in the later rounds of the tournament then both players are going to have won all of their recent matches or they wouldn’t be standing there. If this is the case try and look at how they have faired in the later stages of past tournaments. For example, you might be looking to back the winner of a quarter-final tie, if one player has never played a quarter final before then they might be very nervous going up against a two time finalist, for example.
For early round matches look to see how each player performs on each surface they are going to be playing on. For example, Rafael Nadal is arguably the best player to have ever played on clay, so backing against him is always going to be a really tough call. Then again, he’s struggled on surfaces such as grass, so backing him at a tournament such as Wimbledon is again going to be tricky to justify unless there are other factors at play.
Handicap betting is becoming much more popular with tennis bettors and is often used on the ‘total games won’ market. The total games won market is an accumulation of all games throughout the match that have been won by that player. So, if Player A beat Player B 6-4, 6-4, then Player A would have 12 points (6+6) and Player B would have 8 points (4+4).
The handicap would then give one of the players an advantage over their opponent. Using the above example, let’s say that Player A had a -4.5 game handicap. This means that at the end, 4.5 games are removed from their overall score to create the handicap score. In this case, it would be 7.5 total games (12 – the 4.5 handicap), meaning that Player B would win with this type of bet.
Set betting is where you predict the exact score for each set. To be successful you will need to guess exactly how many games each player will win during the set in question. These types of bets are often tough to call but are very similar to that of predicting the correct score in a football match.
You can also combine these bets to predict the correct score in each set of the match. Combining these types of bets will create huge odds and are very popular for bettors who bet low wagers and want to get the maximum return for their money.
First Set Winner
Here you are going to need to select who you think will win the first set of a match. It’s a pretty simple concept, but it’s not always that easy to call. You can take on games where the likes of the world number 1 faces the world number 527 in one of the majors or something silly like that, but the price will be absolutely ridiculous for these types of bets.
To see any sort of return, you need to be looking out for fairly close matches and then trying to work out which player is going to come flying out of the blocks in the first set. The player who serves first is always a vital component here, so try and find someone with a big service game if possible, especially if they serve first.
Total Games Betting
The total games market is where you either select the total games from a single match or for a single player in that match. So what usually happens is that a the bookmaker will set three brackets of games; the first might be less than 30, the middle might be 31- 45, and the final bracket might be 46+ games. You can then pick whichever bracket you think the game total will fall into.
In matches where one player is a huge favourite, brackets with a lower number of total games as a good shout. If you are betting on an ultra competitive fixture then a bracket with a higher number of games is more likely, as there is more chance of the match extending to extra sets, thus increasing the number of games.
Tennis Betting Rules
A retirement in a tennis match is not an uncommon event due to players getting injured. The number of games that they take part in and the intensity at which most play, especially in the midst of a major tournament, put a huge strain on players. It’s for this reason that bookmakers have contingency plans to cover retirement. However, you need to understand that not all bookmakers have the same plan:
- First Serve – Group 1 bookmakers will uphold the bet after just the first serve has been made. So if the match starts then all bets are in play.
- Completion of First Serve – Group 2 bookmakers will only make the bet stand if the first set has been completed. That means if a player retires before the end of the first set then all unsettled bets will be refunded. After the first set is complete all bets will remain.
- Two Sets – Group 3 bookmakers will withhold bets after 2 sets. Bets are refunded if a player retires before the end of the second set.
- Completed Match – Group 4 bookmakers require the entire match completed in order for the bet to stand.
Abandoned Games & Set betting
If the game gets abandoned mid way through a set then all bets for that set and the remainder of the match will be void.
However, if bets have already been settled up to this point then those bets will stand. This could cover a bet on the result of set 2 if the game was abandoned during set 3.
The outright winner will be decided upon completion of the match. If a player withdraws straight after the match then the player who they beat will be awarded the next round spot.
These players will also be crowned as the outright winner of the last match they played. Basically, it comes down to the player to progress to the next round.
Grand Slam Tournaments
The Australian Open is the first of four majors that take place in the tennis calendar each year. It’s been running since 1905 and is played on a hard court at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne. One of the standout features of the tournament is the sheer number of people that attended each year; it’s only beaten by that of the US Open, with hundreds of thousands attending throughout the two weeks of play.
The Australian Open includes Men’s, Women’s, Doubles, and Mixed Doubles competitions throughout the two weeks of January during which the tournament takes place. Interestingly, the Australian Open was one of the first major tournaments to offer equal prize money both men and women. Bravo to that. Top prize is a cool $3.1million each. Winners of the doubles pull in significantly less at $575,000 and mixed doubles just $142,000. The structure of each format is that of a knockout, where 128 players are entered into both men’s and women’s games, working their way through to final.
Roy Emerson and Novak Djokovic are the two most successful players in the men’s game with 6 Australian Open titles each. Margaret Court has the most women’s titles with 11 in total. Interestingly the youngest winner and the oldest winner in the men’s game is the same person, one Ken Rosewall, who won aged just 18 years and 2 months in 1953, then again aged 37 years and 8 months in 1972. The youngest winner of the women’s game is Martina Hingis, with the oldest being Thelma Coyne Long.
The French Open was first played in 1891 on a clay-court. The tournament usually starts at the back end of June and works through July, spanning roughly 2 weeks. Roland Garos is the host venue for the French Open, which is situated in Paris, France. The French Open is often referred to as more of a purists event, due to the slow nature of the game as a result of the clay surface that they play on.
Like all majors, you’re going to be getting men’s, women’s, doubles and mixed doubles games at the French, and the prize money is also split equally between men and women, with the winners of the singles getting €1.8million, and the doubles getting €450,000. For each discipline in the game the format remains the same, knockout rounds being played from the off, before finally reaching the final.
Rafael Nadal is the most successful men’s single champion with 9 victories from 2005 through to 2014. Nadal also holds the record for most consecutive titles, with 5 from 2010 – 2014. Chris Evert has won the most ladies titles with 7 in total.
Wimbledon is probably the most prestigious major of them all, and is also the oldest. The tournament is held from the end of June through to early July and lasts two weeks. Whilst the tennis is obviously the main attraction, the tournament is just as famous for several idiosyncrasies such as strawberry’s and cream, a royal attendance in the royal box, a strict dress code for the royal (for example men must wear a tie), and of course, the inclement British weather.
Wimbledon is also famous for having the largest number of matches at one event. They include the usual men’s, women’s, doubles, and mixed doubles, but also a junior competition that runs alongside the main one. The format of matches is exactly the same as the other majors in that 128 players start in a knockout format, with the men playing best of 5 sets and the women playing best of 3 sets. Prize money is split equally between men and women, with the winner of each singles title picking up a cheque worth £2,000,000.
There are two players who currently sit at the top of the men’s singles honours board; Pete Sampras and Roger Federer with 7 wins apiece. Federer also holds the record for most consecutive titles with 5, alongside Bjorn Borg. In the women’s game, no player has won more than Martina Navratilova with an astonishing 9 Wimbledon wins, 6 of those she won in a row from 1982-1987, which is also a record.
The US Open is the final major of the year. It’s held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. The tournament starts on the last Monday in August and runs for two weeks through September. It’s often thought of as one of the toughest tests for tennis players due to the heat and humidity that is common in the New York area at that time of year. The first US open took place in 1881, making it one of the oldest of the four majors.
As the tournament is essentially an ‘Open’ it means that players from around the world can try and qualify. Obviously, there is both a men’s and women’s event, along with a mixed doubles and doubles as well. Prize money for the tournament is now split equally between men and women, with the winner of singles titles getting $1.9million, doubles $420,000, and mixed doubles $150,000. Again, the format for the tournament is the same as all the other majors in that 128 players from both singles categories will play through a knockout format, working their way through to the final which is played on the last Sunday of the event for men, and last Saturday for women.
There are three men who have won the US Open more times than any other player and they are Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras, and Roger Federer, each winning on 5 separate occasions. What’s most impressive about Federer’s achievements is that he did it for 5 years in a row from 2004 to 2008. Chris Evert and Serena Williams hold the most singles titles for women with 6 titles apiece. Evert also has the most consecutive wins ruling for 4 years from 1975 to 1978.