With a calendar that runs pretty much 12 months a year, two or three tournaments a week for each of the men and women’s circuits, four Grand Slams to look forward to every year, strong TV coverage and endless websites offering stats and tips on it, tennis is absolutely perfect for betting on.
In our beginner’s guide to tennis betting, we’ll go through the most popular tennis betting markets, how they work, how to play them and how you can get the most out of them.
As is the case with just about any sport, including cricket and football, it’s the winner market that most people want to bet on.
There are several reasons for that, but the most obvious ones are: the winner of the game is the most important element of any match, it’s a market that requires less specialised research than some of the others and is the one of the few that runs from the first point of the match to the last so will always be open on live betting (see below).
But there’s another reason… Because tennis is a straightforward sport with a straight winner and a loser in every game without a draw. It’s a two-runner market: either Player A wins or Player B wins. The simplicity of a two-runner market as opposed to say football where there’s also a draw, is another of the things that appeal about it.
You can read a more detailed guide to how to research your tennis betting in our advanced guide, but here are a few pointers to look out for when betting on the winner market.
Arguably the most important metric of all. Some players have very tight head-to-head records. For example, in 59 matches between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, Djokovic leads 30-29: it really couldn’t be any tighter. But in other cases, to say it’s a one-sided affair, is putting it mildly. Despite being a Top 10 player for years, Richard Gasquet is 2-19 down in matches against Roger Federer. Some players just find it much easier to beat Player A than player B, so bear that in mind because history tends to repeat itself.
A clay court specialist who’s brilliant at playing long-drawn out points won’t enjoy the slick grass and uneven bounce of playing at Wimbledon. Analyse how good the two players are on the given surface, and even more importantly, how they’ve fared on that surface against each other in the past.
Long-term form tells you how good a player is in general and at that particular tournament. Recent form tells you how well they’ve playing in recent weeks or months. Use both to assess how good a player’s overall form is.
Possibly the second most popular tennis betting market. Here you’re betting on the score in terms of sets.
So, if Nadal is playing Djokovic at Wimbledon in a best-of-five match, you might fancy a 3-2 thriller with Djokovic emerging victorious. Or if it’s a best-of-three at the Monte Carlo Open between the same two, maybe you think Nadal’s dominance on clay will come to the fore and the Spaniard will win 2-0.
The appeal of set betting is that you’ll always get better odds here than you would on the match winner market. The obvious reason for that is that it’s far harder to predict what the score in sets will be than just a player winning the match, especially over five sets, because there are more options.
So, you might only get odds of 1.6 on Djokovic beating Nadal at Wimbledon but if you predicted he’d win exactly 3-1, you might get odds of 3.5 on it.
You’re betting on how many games there will be in the match. If Nadal beats Djokovic 6-4 6-4 then there will have been 20 games in the match.
10CRIC will normally offer several ‘over’ and ‘under’ options on the total number of games. For example:
Over 19.5 games: odds of 1.8
Under 19.5 games: odds of 2.1
Why the 0.5 games? Because there’s no such thing as 0.5 games, meaning either over 19.5 games will be the winner or under 19.5 games will be the winner.
A handicap is a ‘false’ head-start (disadvantage) given to one player over the other, and most commonly seen in the form of Asian handicaps in football.
In other words, Player A is given a clear advantage, while Player B is given a disadvantage (a handicap) to balance their chances to win in betting. For example:
If hot-favourite Nadal is playing underdog Hugo Gaston, 10CRIC may decide to give Gaston a +4.5 handicap in games. If you bet that at 1.95, you’d need Gaston to either win or to stay within 4.5 games of Nadal’s total.
The same handicap principle can also be applied to sets.
Other Popular Markets
The most popular tennis markets to bet on, include: who will win the first set, if there will be a tie-break in the match, and whether a player will win a set in the match.
Live Betting on Tennis
If tennis is great for pre-match betting, then it’s arguably even better for live betting.
All the markets, mentioned above, are available in live betting in addition to pre-match. Being able to watch the game live on TV or via livestreaming gives you a much better idea of how well the two players are playing, as compared to just following the score and the stats. For example:
If Nadal had two great chances to convert a break point, but missed one, or was unlucky with another one, then it might be a good bet that he breaks his opponent the next time.
Those are things that stats won’t necessarily tell you.
TIPBeware of delayed pictures! It may be that the TV channel or website you’re watching a game on is as many as 30 seconds delayed. It could well be that two points have been played in the time that the pictures you’re seeing correspond with the present, meaning the odds on offer are 30 seconds into the future!
It should be pretty obvious how delayed the pictures are. If it’s more than say 5-6 seconds, then to be on the safe side, keep your Live Betting for the break in between games and sets when the players are having a rest and there’s no action.
Did you know?
Tennis rules at 10CRIC specify that if a player fails to step onto the court, is disqualified, or retires, all bets on the match winner market will be void. The ‘retires’ part is arguably the most important scenario, because it’s the most common of the three to happen. It’s partly there to protect both betting sites and customers against potentially corrupt matches where players ‘mysteriously retire’ midway through matches.
However, the rules also state that if a match is suspended/postponed but played/completed at a later date or played on a different surface to that originally scheduled (e.g., played on indoor court instead of outdoor hard court), then all bets stand.
Another thing to be aware of is that results that have already been determined will also stand. For example:
If Federer is playing Gasquet and you bet on Gasquet winning the first game (and he did), then it would be irrelevant that Gasquet retired halfway through the second set, so your bet stands.
Now that you know the basics of tennis betting, take advantage of our ace offer below, and bet like a real champion!