How to Bet on Tennis, Part 2: Factors Affecting Tennis Betting & 10 Tips

Now that we know more about the different tennis tournaments and ranking systems, let’s see what those factors are which affect betting and which we have to consider before placing a bet.

In itself, a player’s standing in the ATP rankings is not a guarantee of the outcome of the match. When two players meet in a tournament, the potential winner is not necessarily the higher ranked player. Оther factors also need to be taken into account. Here are the most important ones:

Is the Player in Good Shape?

It is possible that the player is recovering from an illness or injury, that they have some personal problems, or have just had a series of bad matches. We have to consider all the factors that may, to some extent, influence the outcome of the match.

Bookmaker Bonus Match Betting First Set Winner Set Betting Game Handicap Set Handicap Total Games Total Sets Doubles Challengers In Play Betting Other Rules
€200 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes NO Yes Yes Yes ALL*
Treble odds Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ALL*
*ALL: All sets must be completed for bets to stand

Results against Specific Opponents

It can also happen that some players do not perform so well against certain opponents. Facing players with different styles of play may be a disadvantage to one player but an advantage to another. A good example would be the left-handed tennis players who can easily confuse those opponents who are not used to their style. The best-known left-handed player in modern-day tennis is Rafael Nadal.

Some players may also feel frustrated when playing against certain opponents, and as a consequence of this mental block, they may be unable to win. In the rivalry between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, which still continues to this day, Djokovic won all six matches against Nadal in 2011, and was the only person to beat him seven times in a row.

Is the Tournament Important for the Player?

You should take in to account the following:

  • It often happens that a player is invited to participate in a tournament, and for this they receive money.
  • If the player is facing their opponent on home ground, this needs to be considered as a special motivational factor.
  • The following tournament may be important for the player, and so they may not do their best on this one for fear of an injury or physical exhaustion.

How Tight were the Matches the Player had?

In order to win a tennis tournament, usually the player has to win a series of matches with only one day’s rest in between them. That’s why it is very important to know how tight the matches were that the player we want to bet on had in the tournament. If they had long, tight matches, we need to take into account the possible fatigue and lack of concentration they may experience in their next match. The longest tennis match of all times was played in 2010 at the Wimbledon tournament when John Isner — after a total play time of 11 hours and 5 minutes — defeated Nicolas Mahut 70–68 in the fifth set. Isner qualified, but he did not have any strength left for the next match, and lost to De Bakker 0–6, 3–6, 2–6.

Has the Player Suffered an Injury?

Perhaps, the most important factor for the outcome of the match is whether the player is injured. If he or she suffered an injury, their chance for success decreases, and so this must be taken into account when placing a bet. It is also important to consider what the chances are of the player retiring during the match, for in such a case, different bookmakers may have different policies. Let’s see what could happen:

  • The bookmaker declares the bet void, and returns the money to your account (this is called a void bet).
  • The bookmaker only accepts your bet if the game has started, i.e. at least one ball was played.
  • The bookmaker only accepts your bet if at least one set was already played.
  • The bookmaker only accepts your bet if at least two sets were already played.

It is very important to pay attention to these policies when placing an accumulator bet, a bet which depends on the outcome of each and every match. So, before you decide on a bookmaker to place your bet with, look up the bookmaker’s betting rules and check what policy applies in the case of a player’s retirement or disqualification.

What is the Surface of the Tennis Court?

There are three main types of courts in tennis according to their surface:

  • Hard court: this type of tennis court can be an indoor or an outdoor one. Hard courts vary in speed, but in general, they are more balanced and predictable. Whereas the surface of other types of courts may change from season to season due to humidity or other weather conditions, hard courts remain unchanged. On the slower hard courts, rallies are often longer. The two most famous tournaments played on hard courts are the Australian Open and the US Open.
  • Clay court: matches played on a clay court are usually held from March until June. This is the slowest surface with the longest rallies, and it usually favours baseline players. A tournament played on a clay court is physically more exhausting, and it also requires more physical and mental stamina. The best-known clay-court tournament is the French Open.
  • Grass court: there are only a few grass-court tournaments during the tennis season. This is the fastest court surface, and it favours players who employ the serve-and-volley technique. It is easier for players with a powerful serve to achieve better results on grass courts. A good example is Goran Ivanisevic, one of the best servers of all time, who played four Grand Slam finals in his career, all four at the Wimbledon tournament. The best-known grass court tournament is the Wimbledon Championships in England.

The different playing styles are realized differently on the different surfaces, and it is even possible that two hard courts feel completely differently to the player. To some players, the Australian Open hard courts may feel better than those at the US Open. Therefore, it is important to know in what previous tournaments the player performed well and on what kinds of surfaces.

Types of Bets

The bookmakers constantly expand their list of bet types offered, which are similar to those in other sports. Of course, the bets are adapted to the gameplay and the rules of tennis. So, let’s see how to place a bet on the winner of a match or a tournament. Below you will find the most common bet types:

Tournament/Outright Winner

Here, you choose the final winner in the tournament. You can place a bet on the men’s or women’s singles winner, as well as on the doubles winner. Some bookmakers offer the so-called betting for a place, which means that for a third of the odds to win the tournament, you can place a bet on the player qualifying for the finals, and even if the player doesn’t win, you will still get some profit.

Match Winner

You can also place a bet on the winner of a match. Betting on those players who have the most chance to win usually involves low odds. Although it may be tempting to take advantage of this in accumulator bets, you should not use this strategy too often.

Total Sets

Here, you can place a bet on the result of a match in terms of the number of sets played. In the men’s singles category, with the exception of the Grand Slams and some other key tournaments which are played in the best of five sets format, the majority of tournaments are played until two sets are won by either of the two players (i.e. in a best of three sets format). So, the outcome of a match in terms of the number of sets played can be either 2-0 or 2-1 (or the reverse for the other player). The Grand Slams in the women’s singles category, however, are played in a best of three sets format as well.

Total Games

You can place a bet on the result of a match in terms of the number of games played. You have to guess whether the games played in a match are more or less than a certain number. Unlike the total sets betting, however, there can be many outcomes, and consequently, it is very difficult to predict the final result of the match. A small mistake or a lack of concentration can lead to the player losing the game, but this error may not necessarily influence the outcome of the set or the match.

1st Set Winner

You can also place a bet on the winner of the 1st set. Usually, the winner is the one with the best chance to win the match, but certain players warm up slowly, in which case their odds may be higher. In the Grand Slam tournaments, often the first set is the most balanced one in terms of points won by both players. In such cases, the possible winner is just warming up, while his opponent plays at his best. This may lead to the latter winning the 1st set, but he may not have enough strength left to win the rest of the sets.

Live – In Play – In Running

It depends on the bookmaker whether they offer any live bets. The big bookmakers stream the matches live, and sometimes their broadcasts can be faster or slower than that of TV due to technical issues. When it comes to both live bets and live streaming of the sport events, the Bet365 bookmaker leads the way: you only need to register on their website to watch the matches online for free.

The most popular live betting options are the following:

  • winner of the next game
  • winner of the next set
  • winner of the match

Handicap

A bet placed on the winner of a game, set, or match who is given a virtual deficit at the beginning of the game. Usually, it is worth placing this type of bet when one of the players has a much greater chance of winning than the other. You can bet on game, sets, or match handicaps.
Under/Over Bets: here, you can decide whether something is under or over a certain number. This can be the number of games, aces, double faults, winner shots, unforced errors, etc.

Doubles, Trebles and Accumulators

These include two or more consecutive bets. The initial stake plus the winnings from the first bet are placed on the second bet, and if it comes through, the thus accumulated winnings are placed on the third bet, etc.

10 Useful Tips for Tennis Betting

Here is a short list of useful tips that summarize and complement the above information. It is a good starting guide to tennis betting:

  • 1/ Investigate. Study the players and their game styles, their physical condition, and motivation. Note the tennis court surface. Be familiar with the different tournaments and their winners.
  • 2/ Understand the psychology of tennis. This is very important in live betting. A tennis match can last 4 or 5 hours, during which time the players are under immense mental pressure. If you get the feel for the psychological outcome of the match, and you know who, when, and in what situation a player makes a mistake or remains strong, then you will most certainly win on live betting.
  • 3/ Don’t make a choice on the basis of the bookmaker’s odds ratio. Before placing a bet, first choose the match, but not on the bookmaker’s website where you can see the odds ratio. Compare and analyse the two players for yourself, and think of the chances they may have against each other. After you have done so, you may look at the odds ratio on the bookmaker’s website. If your odds ratio is better than that of the bookmaker, place your bet.
  • 4/ The odds at the start of the year are different. At the beginning of the season, it is not yet known in what condition the players are, and so the odds are given in terms of the player’s performance in the previous year. The odds also change slowly as the player’s current shape is revealed. The sooner you notice these changes, the bigger the profit you can make.
  • 5/ Observe all the events in the tournament. If the player has played long, tight matches, and he is the probable winner in the next one, consider the chance of a surprising outcome.
  • 6/ Watch the draws for the tournament. Look for a player whose chance to win the tournament isn’t as great as that of the top-ranking players, and whose opponent is not a seeded player. This way you may be able to find a good-value bet.
  • 7/ Pay attention to the trends. Similarly to other sports, there are trends in tennis as well. In a given tournament, certain players may perform better than others. Also, some players may experience a mental block when playing against certain opponents.
  • 8/ Rumours can be useful. Read news and rumours about the players, get to know them, and see what you can find out about their private lives and their physical condition. These things may greatly influence the player’s performance in a given tournament.
  • 9/ The weather is erratic. Taking into account the weather factor may help you win the bet. Note which player performs better in the hot sun, in the rain, or in hazy or windy weather conditions.
  • 10/ Take it easy. Last but not least, here is an important piece of advice for all sports bettors: remain calm even if you win or lose a big bet. Anger is a dangerous adviser.