Tennis Betting Guide
Tennis betting guide by Cale Hammond
Where You Can Legally Bet on Tennis Online in the US
How to Bet on Tennis Online
Since tennis is one of the most popular sports to bet on worldwide, practically every sportsbook will offer a wide array of tennis betting options. These options include both live “in-play” tennis betting as well as standard pre-match betting. Tennis is undoubtedly one of the best sports to bet on, with professional matches taking place almost every day of the year. The volume tennis provides is only matched by international soccer. But with just two variables—player x and player y—the bad beats in tennis are few and far between. Many professional tournaments now have automated line calls, further limiting the catastrophic damage referees and umpires have been known to cause.
Most Common Tennis Betting Types
Much like basketball and football, betting tennis pre-match consists of the standard money-line bet, game spreads (i.e., player x will win the match by 3.5 games, or player y will lose by less than 3.5 games), and game totals. If you think of “games” in tennis like “points” in football and basketball, betting tennis is very easy to understand. Matches typically consist of two out of three sets, with a seven-point tiebreak played at six games in each set. Men’s matches at Grand Slams (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open) are best three-of-five sets.
Tennis Betting Metrics to Know
The most important shot in professional tennis, by far, is the serve. First-serve percentage is extremely important, as well as the percentage of points won on second-serve. If a player is winning less than 50% of their second-serve points, it is extremely unlikely they will win the match.
Break-points generated, but more importantly, break-points converted is also crucial. These statistics are tricky, as converting a break-point is not easy. But if the player you bet on is generating ample break point opportunities, you can be confident you made the right bet.
Surface statistics are also imperative. Tennis players grew up playing on many different surfaces. American players almost exclusively prefer hard courts, while South Americans and Spaniards will typically do most of their damage on clay. Players from Eastern Europe and Russia, where playing outdoors is limited to just a few months a year, will typically succeed on indoor hard court.
Fit players who hit with heavy topspin enjoy clay court tennis, while players with big serves who hit the ball big and flat will enjoy indoor hardcourt tennis. By far, the most significant edge in tennis betting is found in being able to analyze court conditions. With thousands of pro tournaments throughout the year, it is impossible for sportsbooks to accurately assess the true playing conditions of every tournament. If you are able to analyze playing conditions and court speed, you will have success in tennis betting.
Tennis Betting Strategies
There are far too many tennis betting strategies to mention here, but one of the most tried and true angles is the fatigue fade. For a player to win a tournament, they will have to win several matches in a row, typically with no days rest in between. If a player either wins a tournament or reaches the final, they almost always play on Sunday, and will almost always be entered in a tournament the following week in a different country. It is extremely rare for a player to win back-to-back titles, and since these players are in good form, the sports books have no choice but to show them some respect in their pricing. But fatigue will always catch up to a player. If you are able to determine when a recent champion/finalist will run out of gas, you will hit plenty of solid underdog winners.
Being familiar with the year-long non-stop tennis calendar, which players are defending points, and which players should excel in each tournament’s conditions, you will experience more success betting tennis than any other sport.
The last, and most profitable strategy, is identifying a slightly injured player or a player who has lost all confidence. Jenson Brooksby is a great example. Brooksby was perhaps the best bet in all of tennis during 2021 but ended 2022 with a 3-7 record without covering his game spread once in his three wins.
It is nearly impossible to win tennis matches when injured, but since players ranked outside the top 100 are by no means wealthy, they can’t afford to take a few months off and recover. The current system requires lower-ranked players to travel to tournaments and pick up their first-round checks in order to make ends meet. If they don’t play, they don’t get paid, period. There is no salary in tennis; you only eat what you kill, and oftentimes players will participate in a tournament knowing there is practically no chance they can win, but they need the prize-money check.
Lastly, do not read into head-to-head records too much. In a one vs. one sport, pride and motivation typically play a huge factor. It is extremely rare that a good pro will lose to a similar level player several times in a row. The revenge angle can be useful as long as there is not a serious matchup disparity between the two players. This doesn’t mean to bet a player with a one-handed backhand to beat Rafael Nadal because they’ve lost ten times in a row. But, if a player has lost to another player a few times within the past year, not only can you get a great price on the previous losing player, but their motivation to finally defeat that specific opponent will typically be greater.
Tennis Betting Mistakes
The most common mistakes in betting tennis are similar to any other sports wagering. Smart, disciplined betting will typically result in moderate success. But impatient betting, irresponsible staking, and chasing losses can result in catastrophe. Since there is almost always a pro-tennis match to bet on 24/7, 365 days a year, it is all too easy to chase a loss.
The biggest mistake one can make in tennis betting is over-staking. Every day is different, and anybody can beat anybody. By all means, attack good matchups and value, but do so knowing there is a very real possibility the player you bet on plays the worst match of his or her life.