November 7, 2023

A Guide to Betting on Tennis

Whether you’re an experienced ace at betting on tennis or you’re brand new to the courts, you’ve officially stumbled on all of the information you could ever want or need on the subject and more.

The Most popular Tennis Bets

Contrary to popular belief, you can bet on a lot more aspects of a tennis match or tournament than just the winner of a match. The flexibility that comes with all of these options should be a welcomed sign to sports bettors. Yes, it’s more to learn, but it allows you to bet every one of your predictions and make sure that you are squeezing out every bit of profit from your predictions.

Remember, just because there are a bunch of different bet types available does not mean that you have to bet them all. In fact, if you decide you only want to bet on match winners, that’s totally fine. There are plenty of successful sports bettors that choose to follow the, “Keep it simple, stupid” (KISS) mantra, and it works out great for them.

Outright Winner Bets

An outright winner bet is sometimes refereed to as a “to win” bet. This bet is the simplest bet on the list and probably a great starting point if you are new to tennis betting. Think Nadal is going to win the next tournament? You can bet on him with an outright winner bet, and if he wins, you win! Before a major tournament you should be able to get betting odds on every person who is competing.

All of the players will almost pay out better than even money, meaning that if you bet $100, you will receive more than $100 in profit for a correct prediction. Usually, the heavier the favorite a player is, the less money you will get for a correct pick, the bigger the long shot, the more you will get if they pull off the big upset.

For example, the biggest favorites in a tennis tournament are usually somewhere between +200 and +400. This means that if a player is +200 and you bet $100, you would get $200 in profit if that player wins the tournament. The biggest underdogs can be found in the +10000 to +20000 range. If you were to bet $100 on a player who was +20000 and they won, you would get $20,000 in profit for that bet! Before you get all excited, realize how unlikely it is for someone like this to pull off such a massive upset. Not impossible, but HIGHLY unlikely.

In between those ranges fall all the other players for a tennis tournament. Remember, as we discussed in the strategy section, this creates an opportunity for you to bet on multiple players, especially if you don’t think the favorite is going to win.

Match Betting

A match bet is similar to an outright winner bet, except that instead of picking the winner of an entire tournament, you are picking the winner of an individual match. You’ll have the option of picking either of the players to win. Again, depending on the level of favorite or underdog the player is, the payout odds will be adjusted. The favorite will usually pay out less than even money, and the underdog will usually pay out better than even money, similar to the outright tournament winners above.

Remember to keep an eye on the payouts associated with the match you are interested in, as the lines will likely shift based on how the betting public is betting. This can create some great value opportunities if the betting public starts to bet too heavily in the wrong direction. As a spoiler, the betting public is not usually regarded as intelligent and has a tendency to move lines incorrectly quite a bit. This is where you pound, and this is how you make money betting on tennis.

Handicap Betting

Want to bet on a player, but you still think they are going to lose? If you think that a player is going to perform better than expected but is still going to lose, you’re going to want to look into handicap betting. Handicap betting is a lot like spread betting in other sports. It aims to spot a number of games to the underdog to give them a fair playing field. Ideally, if the line is set correctly, the player who performs better than their expectations will be the winning bet.

The handicap bet is completely independent of the outcome of the match. If you’re confused, that’s ok. Let’s look at an example that will clear things up.

Handicap 2-Way Games Won
> Player A -2.5
> Player B +2.5

What this is saying is that Player A is the favorite in this match. They assume that they are going to win by 2.5 games. As you might expect, this means that they think Player B is going to lose by 2.5 games. Whoever you bet on, as long as they outperform this prediction, you win your bet.

Now, we know you are wondering why it says half games (2.5 instead of 2 or 3) when you can’t win half games in tennis. This is to prevent ties. Basically, if Player A wins by three games (which is more than 2.5 games), bets on Player A would win. If Player A wins by only two games or less or loses (all less than 2.5 games), bets on Player B would win.

Remember, this has nothing to do with the outcome of the match, but only the games won. Let’s say the match goes three sets and the scores are 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in favor of Player A. We add up the total games won, and we see that Player A won fifteen games and Player B won fourteen games. Player A won one more game than Player B. This means that even though Player A won the match, bets on Player B would win because Player B outperformed their prediction. They were supposed to lose by 2.5 games, and they only lost by one. Player A was supposed to win by 2.5 games, but they only won by one, meaning they underperformed their prediction.

This sort of betting can be applied to more than just games won. It can also be applied to the number of sets won in a particular match. You can also try your hand at 3-way handicap betting, which is exactly the same except you have the ability to bet on a tie in the number of games or sets won.

Over/ Under Betting

An over/under bet in tennis is a bet on how many sets the match will take to complete. As is customary with over/under bets, you aren’t required to pick a winner; you only have to pick the duration of the match correctly. In a three match format, you’ll have the option of betting over or under 2.5 sets.

What does this mean in simpler terms? You are either going to bet that the match ends in straight sets by taking the under 2.5 sets, or you are going to bet that the match takes three sets by betting the over 2.5 sets. Straight sets would be two sets, which is under 2.5. Three sets is, well, three sets, which is over 2.5 sets.

One thing that is different than some other sports you may have made over/under bets on is that the payout odds will be shifted some and will not pay out even money on both sides of the bet. If the match is predicted to end in straight sets, expect to get paid better if you correctly pick the over and vice versa.

Exact Score Betting

If you’re an absolute tennis wizard or someone who likes to make some higher variance bets, you’re going to love these exact score bets. These bets allow you to try and predict the exact score of each set or the exact number of sets won by each opponent. As you can imagine, this is probably pretty challenging. This means that you should expect a pretty healthy payday if you nail one of these bets.

We looked at some upcoming tennis matches, and the absolute worst you could get paid for a correct pick was +450, with some exact predictions paying as well as +15000 in the same match. Here’s how the bet looks. Let say that Player A and Player B are playing, and you want to make an exact score bet on the first set. For some reason, you think Player A is going to crush Player B and win 6-1. You can place an exact score bet on this, and if you are correct, you will win big. Remember, you have to be 100% correct, and you have to pick who the winner is as well. You can’t just pick 6-1 and then if either player wins 6-1, you win. You have to be precise.

The same goes for the exact set betting, though, it’s going to be a little easier for you to pick. In a three round match, you’ll only have four options to choose from — 2-0 and 2-1 for Player A and 2-0 or 2-1 for Player B.

Prop Bets

Tennis prop bets can be a fun and profitable way for you to make some money betting on the sport. Prop bets are wagers where the sportsbook proposes something to happen, and you bet on whether or not you think that is going to happen. Here are some examples of prop bets you might see in tennis:

  • Head-to-head matchups on which player will last the longest in a tournament
  • Will there be a tie-break in the match? Yes or No?
  • What round will player X be eliminated in?
  • Total games played in a match

As you can see, there are a lot of creative options here, and this is just a taste of what you’ll see offered at online sportsbooks. You will sometimes see a few of these prop bets made available at brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, but that is usually only for the biggest of tournaments, and even then, the options are limited. We aren’t trying to knock the brick-and-mortar establishment; they just don’t always have the resources and board space available to offer as many options as the online sportsbooks do.

How do these prop bets work? Simple! Let’s say that you want to bet on whether or not there will be a tie-break in the match you are watching. If you think there will be, you bet “Yes.” If you don’t think there will be, you bet “No.” If you’re right, you win! Payout odds will be adjusted based on the likelihood of the prop hitting, so make sure you take a minute to make sure the risk is worth the reward for your bet.

Prop bets can be a lot of fun and can really enhance the tennis betting experience. Just make sure that you are betting prop bets that require skill to predict (like the examples listed above) and nothing crazy and wild that is just gambling. You’ll know the difference when you see them.

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