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The Ultimate Tennis Betting Guide

Tennis is a truly exciting and entertaining sport, unique in that is a big as gladitorial as boxing. Two rivals are pitted against each other in the most athletic and physical of environments, but it still remains a non-contact sport. In the following article, we will focus on how to bet on tennis matches, but let's first see some key notions about this sport.

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The original form of today's tennis game comes from France, where it was first known as "Jeu de Paume", a game played with the palm of the hand. The peculiarity was that it was played in a rectangular playing field, which had a net in the middle, over which the ball had to be played. This sport also continued to develop in France and laid the foundations for a growing popularity among the population.

As in football, however, the first rules were set up in England by the English Major Walter Clopton Wingfield in 1874. He patented them, but the game, as it is known today, did not take place until July 1877 in Wimbledon during the first world championships.

Tennis can be played as singles (two players against each other) or also as doubles (four players, two in each team). For mixed doubles, with male and one female form the team.

Tennis Betting Guide: The Basics

There are many factors that you need to consider when betting on tennis (or learning how to bet on tennis). It's crucial to "get it" – especially the fact that certain players will have different weaknesses and strengths and will be better in some conditions.

Since tennis is played on four main surfaces: grass, carpet, clay, harcourt, the speed at which the player and the ball can travel on each of these surfaces varies much, impacting his or her level of performance.

Players have different skill sets and experienced tennis punters know how certain tennis players play and also what type of opponent they prefer to be placed against. Another important factor that should be taken into consideration when creating your tennis betting strategy is the fact that, at a basic level, players can be either right-handed or left-handed (just like orthodox and southpaw in boxing betting.

Types of tennis players are: baseline players, all-rounders, big-servers, defensive players or the ones who just love to play at the net. Another key factor is the H2H or head to head record that can be combined with hold & break percentage statistics to inform yourself.

Tennis Championships To Bet On

The most prominent events are the four Grand Slams, the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, but there are numerous other tournaments where tennis players compete. Each of them provides tremendous betting opportunities and there is no perfect championship for you can bet on, expect for the Grand Slams maybe.

ATP Tour Events: Series And Key Tournaments

  • 4 Grand Slams - French Open, Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open.
  • 9 Masters Series 1000 - These events include Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo, Cincinnati.
  • 13 ATP 500 Series - These events include Queens Club, Dubai, China.
  • 39 ATP 250 Series - These events include Brisbane, Qatar, Nottingham.
  • 1 ATP Finals - London World Tour Finals.

WTA Tour Events: Series and Key Tournaments

  • 4 Grand Slams - French Open, Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open.
  • Premier Mandatory Tournaments - These events include Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Beijing.
  • Premier Five - These events include Roma, Montreal/Toronto, Wuhan, Doha/Dubai, Cincinnati.
  • Premier - 12 events
  • WTA Finals - London WTA Tour Championships
  • International Tournaments - 32 events
  • WTA 125k Series - 7 events

In addition, there are also the ATP World Tour Finals as well as the ATP Masters Series at the end of a season and the women's WTA Tour Championships.

In addition to these events, the Davis Cup (Men's) and the Fed Cup (Women's) teams are extremely important, but a live tennis betting strategy always works great on the ATP and WTA Tours due to the abundance of information.

How to Bet on Tennis: Tennis Odds and Betting Options Explained

Tennis ball on a court

Due to the popularity of this sport, especially in the context of the big tournaments, the competitions are extremely varied. In professional tennis, there is the WTA Tour for women, in which WTA tournaments take place around the world. For men, the equivalent is the ATP tour. These two tours usually also include most of the betting opportunities. ITF or Challenger competitions are less-profile and do not attract as much bettors, thus you risk missing important information that you can't find on the web. Let's explain the betting options and tennis odds.


It is clear that you can bet on the winner of a game. This is done with a 2-way bet as there are only two possible play-outs. A draw is not possible.

Set winner

In addition to wagering on the winner of the entire match, you can also bet on the winner of a set.

Over/Under bets

Meanwhile, over-bets are also offered as standard. Here the possibilities are numerous and you can bet, for instance, on the number of matches played in the match, the number of sets, or the number of matches within a set.

Handicap Betting

In tennis, handicap betting is a popular alternative to the "classics" and it's the first ones beginners choose when they learn how to bet on tennis matches. Tennis is excellent for this type of betting because of the constellation of many games, and there is often a stark difference in the performance between the players who can show up in the game. In these bets, the bet is offered primarily to a handicap in the sets on the games.

Exact result

Last but not least, you can bet on the exact result. Since there are not too many possible outputs, the number of bets is also very limited. However, these can be interesting bets if you are looking for higher returns, since the odds can be correspondingly good.

When it comes to tennis odds, you should also consider value. Are you backing the right odds? If you are blindly backing Roger Federer at 1.03 (3/100), you're not aiming at sustainable, long-term profits.

Winning is not everything. You need to bet on the best price possible. This is actually one of the reasons why we created OddsDigger, to help punters find the best odds by comparing different bookmakers, but let's delve into what the term "value bets" means.

Tennis Betting Strategy: What Are Tennis Value Bets?

Fish-eye view of a tennis stadium featuring a men's doubles match

When you learn how to bet on tennis and are developing a strategy, this will require persistence, patience and time. However, regardless of your approach, always remember the fundamental rule that is valid for tennis betting every single time: Only bet if the odds provide real value.

Doing research for tennis value bets to make money means looking for instances where you actually believe the outcome of the match is more likely than what the price on offer suggests. Let's look at an example to help with your tennis betting strategy. Let's say Rafael Nadal takes on Roger Federer. They have been well-known rivals for a very long time. Of late, Federer won their encounters in a truly emphatic fashion.

Therefore, bookmakers will make Federer a favourite to defeat his opponent, Nadal, with the best tennis odds at 1/5. This suggests that the Swiss boasts a probability of 66.667% to win the clash. If we find – after our research – that Federer is actually 80% to win the encounter, we have a value bet. But why? The mathematical calculation is simple:

Value Bet = (Your Assessed Probability *Decimal Odds) - 1

If we continue with the previous example, we see the Swiss tennis players at a price of 1/2 to win over Rafael Nadal. We found an estimation of 80%, not 66,667%. Is the price of 1/2 a value bet?

In order to calculate this, we need to convert 1/2 to 1.50 (decimal odds).

True Value = (1.50 * 0.80) - 1

True Value = 1.2 - 1

True Value = 0.2

When the true value is higher than 0, you have found a value bet. In our example, there is a 20% value in the price on offer. Value bets are all about beating the bookies long term by making way more accurate assessments of different outcome's probabilities.

Tennis Betting Strategy and Factors to Consider

Tennis player hits the ball

General Ideas

There are only a few essential tips or tricks in the tennis betting world that can actually be impactful, since the game itself and thus the bets allow only a limited extent. In general, however, it is possible to say that detailed information about current performances and events is enormously important.

Pay Attention at Individual Level

After all, it is an individual sport and it always depends on the current level of performance of the individual itself (except for doubles). It is different in teams where fluctuations can be intercepted or even players can be exchanged. Therefore, a player who was once absolutely top class, can be a total mess after a year or two (due to psychological issues, injuries, etc). On the same note, check compatibilities when talking about doubles.

Focus on ATP and WTA

In general, you should focus more on the games of the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) and WTA Tour (Women's Tennis Association), as there is hardly any other information available for other competitions and the more unfamiliar players playing there.

It is also important to stick to the more well-known competitions. Too exotic is usually too risky. However, remember that there is no perfect tennis live betting strategy out there, you have to assess for yourself what works better for your style, but always bet on these mainstream tours.

Well Researched = Half Won!

It is nonsensical to assume that you can win all bets. Also, it is not quite correct to think that a thorough statistical analysis results in a safe tip. However, it is quite right that with a good research one can increase his or her profit chances drastically. The decision whether a bet is safer than another, and if so, to what extent, comes down to one thing: the research. As a rule, check each player's record on the ATP or WTA official websites or other aggregators and see how they did against certain players or at certain tournaments.

Some players are better able to deal with specific conditions (due to their height, the jumping behaviour of the ball, etc), and thus have their "favourite tournaments", where they can get a good performance. For instance, Toronto is a favourite of Roger Federer.

Check the Head-to-Head Records

In a match, it is also important to check the direct comparison stats. Are there any duels in the near past, which were particularly meaningful? Does someone lead the H2H so clearly that one can speak of a favourite opponent or anxiety opponent? Such considerations also make sense and should be integrated into a bet analysis.

Tennis is Dependent on the Daily Form

While you should definitely look at the general form of the player prior to the match, the day-to-day form is equally important. Sometimes, outsiders and rather unknown players can have a run, and thereby play in a frenzy that can last up to several weeks, in which the player plays over his circumstances. The perfect example is certainly Marion Bartoli, who was never really a top player in her career. In 44 Grand Slams, she did not even reach the quarter-finals in 38 cases. At the 2013 Wimbledon, however, she was in a dazzling shape and so she stormed to the finals, where she beat Sabine Lisicki and ended her career with the Grand Slam victory. Stan Wawrinka must have been in such a frenzy when he beat both Djokovic and Nadal in Melbourne in early 2014 and brought the Grand Slam title home. These runs are not only on the big stage, but also in the smaller tournaments. Here, you have to keep your eyes open and use such momentum for yourself and your betting account. This is actually a very good tennis betting strategy.

Betting Strategies Depending on Playing Surface

Dynamic ATP player trying to hit the tennis ball

Now, we will show you the most important factor you need to take into account other than injuries, psychological status or form. Tennis court surfaces are key when assessing players before placing your bets. Let's check the most used ones.

Hard Court: Offensive Game On Fast Ground

Most games in the tennis courts take place on the hard court. Both on the Challenger level, as well as on the ATP and WTA level, there are tournaments on the fast hardcourt in almost every season, and two of the four Grand Slam tournaments, as well as countless Masters, take place on this surface. As a rule, this surface is a ”fast” one, which means that the ball absorbs less energy when the ball hits the ground. This means that the tennis ball brakes less strongly and the game flow is relatively fast. Maneuverable players with good reflexes are in good hands on the hard court, but above all, larger players and players with power advantages feel very comfortable in these places. Our tennis betting guide simply has to cover these things.

Players such as Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or former Pete Sampras or Andre Agassi dominated the hard courts of the world for years. As a rule of thumb, the faster the surface, the less important is the defensive quality of the players, because the urge to get the ball after the impact can completely cover up this weakness. So it is no wonder that players like Ivo Karlovic or John Isner, who are not exactly known for their ability to turn quickly, can get poor results on the hard courts.

The Clay Court – Defensive And Patience Pay Off

After the hard court, the clay court is definitely the most frequent surface in tennis. When learning how to bet on tennis, you usually understand that January and February have really no significant tournaments on clay. With the start of the spring season in America and Europe, the matches on clay start to appear.

The game on the red surface is quite different than on the hard court. The ball also jumps up as on the hard court, but is braked so much that the reaction time is prolonged. As a result, there is less reaction and the dynamics are much longer, which in turn means that the defensively strong players and players who are less inclined to make mistakes always have good chances. Physical fitness also plays a decisive role in the long run as matches usually take longer. Garbine Muguruza and Simona Halep are especially good on clay as they are defensive players. On the men's side, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal are especially good on clay. The typical winner here is patient and focused as well as mentally powerful, being able to resist under stress for longer periods of time.

The Grass Court – Short Ball Changes Are The Order Of The Day

After the hard course and the clay court surfaces, the season of grass follows in June and July, which is, of course, the shortest phase of the entire season. However, if you've just started to learn how to bet on tennis matches, this is the perfect time of the year, to begin with this strategy. Apart from the preparation tournaments for Wimbledon (including Mallorca, Birmingham and Queens), as well as the American tournament in Newport after Wimbledon, there is hardly the possibility to play on the green surface throughout the season when coming from some smaller ITFs Tournaments in Japan and Australia.

The game on grass is again completely different. The course is much faster than the clay court and also faster than the hard court. But above all, the jumping behaviour of the ball is especially different, because on the one hand very little energy is absorbed, on the other hand, the ball does not jump up, but rather flat forward. The typical winner here has great reflexes and is very dynamic. One should take this into account in their betting strategy, checking how each player handles the ball on grass. For instance, players such as Serena Williams, Petra Kvitova, Angelique Kerber, Madison Keys are great on grass. On the men's side, Roger Federer is leading the ATP Performance Zone for career grass-court matches, followed by John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, and Pete Sampras.

Best Bookmakers for Betting on Tennis

When it comes to casual tennis bettors, the vast majority of sportsbooks will be more or less the same, offering typical betting lines on individual matches and tournament winners. However, for the more avid tennis punters, it is a big deal when additional prop bets become available (for instance, betting on set totals or on exact scores) or other lines are released.

Some of the best bookmakers for betting on tennis out there are featured at OddsDigger: Bet365, Ladbrokes, William Hill, Unibet, Stan James, Betfair. Our experts have carefully selected only the most advanced and useful. Best of all, our platform boasts a state-of-the-art aggregate that lets you compare odds from the best bookmakers.

If you are looking for tennis predictions, betting advice, or betting tips, OddsDigger is the best choice. Other websites may claim to be great, but our experts go above and beyond to provide expert info. Use our tennis betting guide wisely! Start placing your wagers today.

Kevin McNamara