How to Bet on Tennis: Step-by-Step Guide

Tennis betting offers a unique blend of excitement and strategic opportunities for sports bettors. With a variety of tournaments like the US Open and Wimbledon, and an array of betting options, tennis provides a dynamic platform for both beginners and seasoned bettors.

On this tennis betting guide I’ll explore this unique sport provide a comprehensive understanding on how to bet on tennis, as well as strategies, mistakes to avoid and other useful tips.

The Unique Nature of Tennis Betting

Tennis, with its global appeal and year-round tournament schedule, offers bettors a wealth of opportunities. Unlike team sports, tennis betting focuses on individual performances, making it a unique and engaging experience.

The sport is also played on a different variety of surfaces – hard, clay, and grass – with each of them bringing a unique element to the game, affecting players’ performances and betting outcomes. Additionally, the structure of tennis matches, with no possibility of a draw, offers a clear-cut betting scenario.

Different Types of Tennis Bets

Tennis offers a wide range of betting types, each with its own set of strategies and considerations.

Moneyline Bets

The most straightforward tennis bet, the Moneyline, involves predicting the match winner. This bet is ideal for beginners due to its simplicity. However, understanding players’ forms and head-to-head records is crucial in making informed bets.

It’s also important to consider the sportsbook’s rules regarding retirement. As tennis is an individual sport, players often retire mid-match, but not all sportsbooks handle moneyline bets the same. Some will only settle the bets if the match has been finished, while others will do it if one full set has been played. Verifying this information is key, as you might want to bet against a player who was injured in the previous round and want to guarantee that you still win your bet, even if he retires.

Set Handicap

Another popular type of tennis bet is the set handicap market. On this market, you predict a player to cover a spread line on the handicap, meaning that you only care about the sets won, not the games.

The line is usually -1.5 / +1.5, as most matches are played at best of three sets, but in Grand Slam tournaments you will find also -2.5 / +2.5 lines for men’s matches.

This type of wager can be used in different scenarios:

  • Expecting a closer match than the odds suggest.
  • The favorite to win fairly easy.

If you think the underdog can make things tougher than the betting odds suggest, than betting on his set handicap is a good idea, as you just need him to win a set and you’re bet is won. This means taking the +1.5 set handicap, and you win your bet with any other result than the other player winning the match by 2-0.

In case you expect the favorite to win without any problems, then betting on his -1.5 set handicap is the approach to take. On this case, you will only win your bet in case your player wins the match by 2 sets to 0.

Game Handicap

This betting market follows a similar logic to the set handicap but, as the name suggests, you will bet on the games won by each player in the match.

Each set of tennis is played until 6 games, unless there is a 5-5 tie and then the set can be solved at 7-5 or, if there is a 6-6 tie, at a tiebreak. The final result will be the combination of all the sets in the match and for the game handicap, you will need to sum the amount of games won by each player.

If you bet, for example, on a player to cover the -3.5 game handicap, this means that he needs to win the match by, at least, a four game difference. A final score of 6-4, 6-4 would be enough, as the difference is four games.

The game handicap is a very popular tennis betting strategy among experienced bettors, as it allows them to reduce the gap between players and get a better value for their money.

Totals – Over / Under 

In tennis, you can also bet on the total number of games played in a match. This type of bet is known as Totals or an Over/Under bet. The sportsbook will set a line, and you have to decide whether the total number of games played will be over or under that line.

On this betting market you don’t really care about the final outcome of the match, only the number of games. This is one of the main reasons why this market is so popular, as players can cheer for each of the players in different stages of the match, according to their bet.

A quick example is the Over 21.5 games, which means that you would need at least 22 games to win the bet. A final result of 7-5, 6-4 would be enough to give you the win, as there were more than 21.5 games played on the match.

Outright / Futures

Futures bets involve wagering on the outcome of a future event, like the winner of an upcoming Grand Slam. These bets can be placed well in advance of the tournament and offer higher odds.

Special markets, on the other hand, include bets like correct score betting, where you predict the exact scoreline of a match. While potentially lucrative, these bets require a comprehensive understanding of the players involved and their historical performances in similar conditions.

Prop Bets

Proposition bets, or prop bets, are wagers on specific events within the match that are not directly related to the final outcome. These can range from betting on the number of aces served by a player to predicting if there will be a tiebreak.

Prop bets require a deep understanding of players’ strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies. For example, betting on a high number of aces in a match featuring a strong server like John Isner could be a profitable strategy.

Tennis Live Betting

Live betting in tennis, also known as in-play betting, has revolutionized the way bettors engage with the sport. It allows you to place bets on a match as the action unfolds in real-time, offering a dynamic and interactive betting experience.

Understanding how live betting works and how to maximize its potential is crucial for any tennis bettor looking to capitalize on the unique opportunities it presents.

How Live Betting Works in Tennis

Live betting differs significantly from pre-match betting as it allows bettors to place wagers during a tennis match. The odds fluctuate rapidly based on what’s happening on the court. This constant change in odds is driven by various factors such as the scoreline, momentum shifts, players’ physical and mental conditions, and even crowd reactions.

Responding to the Game’s Dynamics

As the match progresses, bettors must quickly interpret and respond to the unfolding events. For instance, if a top player loses the first set, their odds of winning might lengthen, which could be a valuable betting opportunity if you believe they can make a comeback.

Adapting to Real-Time Changes

Successful live betting requires a deep understanding of the sport and the ability to adapt to the game’s real-time changes. Bettors need to be vigilant, keeping an eye on live statistics and player performance to make informed decisions.

Maximizing Live Betting in Tennis

To make the most out of live betting in tennis, bettors should consider several key strategies.

Understanding Player Tendencies

Knowing players’ tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses can offer insights into how a match might evolve. Some players are known for their resilience and ability to fight back, while others might struggle to maintain a lead. This knowledge can guide bettors in making more accurate in-play bets.

Recognizing Momentum Shifts

Tennis is a game of momentum, and recognizing when it shifts is crucial in live betting. Factors contributing to a shift can include a player breaking their opponent’s serve, an injury timeout, or even a change in weather conditions. Bettors should be alert to these shifts and adjust their bets accordingly.

Leveraging Set and Match Statistics

In-play bettors should utilize live statistics such as first-serve percentages, break points saved or converted, and unforced errors. These metrics can provide valuable insights into the match’s flow and help bettors identify profitable betting opportunities.

Capitalizing on Market Inefficiencies

The rapid pace of live betting can sometimes lead to market inefficiencies. For instance, a sportsbook might be slow to adjust odds in response to a significant event in the match, such as a player injury. Quick and informed bettors can exploit these moments for potential gains.

Staying Disciplined and Focused

With the fast-paced nature of live betting, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and make impulsive decisions. It’s essential to stay disciplined, stick to a pre-determined betting strategy, and only place bets based on rational analysis rather than emotion.

Using Live Streams

Whenever possible, watching a live stream of the match can give bettors an edge in live betting. Visual cues such as a player’s body language, court conditions, and even crowd reactions can provide insights that aren’t always evident from live statistics alone.

Challenges of Live Betting

While live betting offers exciting opportunities, it also comes with its challenges. The speed at which odds change requires quick decision-making, and there’s often little time to ponder before placing a bet. Additionally, emotional involvement can be heightened during live play, potentially leading to rash decisions.

Best Tennis Betting Strategies

Developing an effective tennis betting strategy involves a combination of understanding the sport, analyzing players and matches, and being aware of various betting options. Here, I break down several key strategies to enhance your tennis betting experience.

Analyzing Player Performance and Head-to-Head Records

A fundamental aspect of tennis betting is analyzing player performance. This includes looking at recent form, win-loss records, and particularly how players perform on different surfaces (grass, clay, hard court). For instance, Rafael Nadal’s prowess on clay courts is well-documented, which is a vital factor when betting on clay court tournaments like the French Open.

Head-to-head records between players can also be telling. Some players have psychological edges over others, regardless of their current form or ranking. This historical matchup data can often predict outcomes more accurately than recent form alone.

Understanding the Impact of Playing Surfaces

The playing surface is one of the most crucial factors in tennis betting. Different players excel on different surfaces due to their playing styles. For example, players with powerful serves and quick volleys generally perform better on grass courts, as seen at Wimbledon. In contrast, baseline players who excel in long rallies tend to do better on clay courts, like Roland Garros.

When betting, assess a player’s historical performance on the surface of the upcoming match. This information can often provide insights into potential match outcomes that might not be immediately apparent from overall rankings or form.

Utilizing Live Betting to Your Advantage

Live betting in tennis offers dynamic and potentially profitable opportunities. The odds can change significantly point-by-point, providing attentive bettors the chance to capitalize on shifts in momentum. For instance, if a strong player loses a few early games, their odds might lengthen, offering value if you believe they can make a comeback.

Successful live betting in tennis requires not only understanding the sport but also being able to read the match as it unfolds. This includes monitoring player fatigue, momentum shifts, and even crowd influence.

Focusing on Tournament Types and Player Specializations

Different players have different strengths in various tournament formats. Some players may excel in the high-pressure environment of Grand Slams, while others perform better in the regular ATP or WTA tours. When betting on a tournament, consider a player’s history in that specific tournament or at that level of competition.

Additionally, some players are known to peak at certain times of the year or in specific tournaments. This pattern, often overlooked by bookmakers, can provide valuable betting opportunities.

Managing Your Bankroll and Betting Responsibly

Effective bankroll management is crucial in tennis betting. Set a budget and stick to it, and avoid the temptation to chase losses. A common strategy is to bet only a small percentage of your total bankroll on a single match.

Additionally, avoid emotional betting. Just because a player is a personal favorite doesn’t mean they are always the best bet. Betting decisions should be based on analysis and objective data rather than personal preference.

Incorporating Statistical Analysis and Advanced Metrics

Use advanced metrics and statistical analysis to gain deeper insights into potential match outcomes. This includes looking at service hold percentages, break points saved, and success rates in tiebreaks. Websites like ATP Tour Stats and Tennis Abstract offer comprehensive statistical data that can provide an edge in making more informed bets.

Considering External Factors

External factors such as weather conditions, player injuries, and even match scheduling can impact the outcome of a tennis match. For example, extreme heat or wind can affect players’ performance, especially those not accustomed to such conditions. Keeping track of these variables can be crucial in making informed betting decisions.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Tennis Betting

To be successful in tennis betting, it’s just as important to know what not to do as it is to know what to do. Here, I’ll explore several common mistakes that bettors should avoid to improve their chances of success.

Overlooking the Importance of Player Form and Fitness

One of the most common mistakes in tennis betting is neglecting to consider a player’s current form and fitness level. Even top-ranked players can underperform if they’re not in peak condition. Injuries, recent recovery from an injury, or even fatigue from playing in consecutive tournaments can significantly impact a player’s performance.

It’s vital to stay updated on these aspects through sports news, player interviews, and official tennis organization updates.

Ignoring Surface Preferences and Player Styles

Tennis is unique in that it’s played on different surfaces (clay, grass, hard court), and players often have a preferred surface where they perform best. Ignoring these preferences can lead to poor betting decisions.

A player who excels on clay might struggle on grass courts, and vice versa. Understanding and considering these surface preferences, along with a player’s style (aggressive baseliner, serve-and-volleyer, counterpuncher, etc.), is essential for making informed bets.

Emotional Betting and Favoritism

Another common mistake is letting personal biases or emotions influence betting decisions. Betting on a favorite player regardless of their current form, fitness, or matchup can lead to losses.

It’s crucial to approach betting decisions objectively, basing them on data and analysis rather than personal preferences or emotions.

Neglecting Head-to-Head Matchups and Historical Data

Tennis betting isn’t just about who’s playing well at the moment; it’s also about how players match up against each other. Some players have a psychological edge over certain opponents, or their playing style may particularly trouble another player.

Historical data and head-to-head records can provide valuable insights that shouldn’t be ignored.

Underestimating the Mental Aspect of Tennis

Tennis is as much a mental game as it is a physical one. Players can experience swings in confidence, succumb to on-court pressure, or get buoyed by crowd support.

Bettors often overlook these psychological factors, which can be just as influential as technical ability or physical fitness.

Failing to Manage the Betting Bankroll

Effective bankroll management is crucial in any form of betting, including tennis. A common mistake is not setting a budget or betting too much on a single match.

It’s important to only bet what you can afford to lose and to spread your bets to manage risk effectively.

Overlooking the Impact of External Conditions

External conditions such as weather, crowd support, and even the time of day can affect players differently. Some players perform better in certain conditions than others. For example, windy or extremely hot conditions can impact the game of players who rely heavily on precision and consistency.

Keeping an eye on these conditions can provide an edge in making smarter bets.

Understanding the Tennis Betting Odds

Grasping the concept of tennis betting odds is fundamental to successful wagering. Odds not only reflect the probability of various outcomes but also determine the potential return on a bet.

On this section, I’ll break down how to interpret tennis betting odds and use them to your advantage.

Different Formats of Tennis Odds

Tennis odds can be presented in several formats, and understanding each is key to making informed bets.

Decimal Odds

Widely used in Europe and Australia, decimal odds represent the total payout for every unit wagered, including the original stake.

For example, if a player has odds of 2.00, and you bet $100, your total return for a winning bet would be $200 ($100 stake x 2.0), which includes a $100 profit.

Fractional Odds

Common in the UK, fractional odds show the potential profit relative to the stake.

For example, odds of 5/1 mean that for every $1 wagered, you stand to win $5 if your bet is successful. So, a $10 bet at 5/1 would yield a $50 profit, with a total return of $60 including the initial stake.

Moneyline/American Odds

Popular in North America, Moneyline odds can be positive or negative. Positive odds (e.g., +200) indicate the profit you would make on a $100 bet, while negative odds (e.g., -150) show how much you need to bet to win $100.

A player with +200 odds means a $100 bet would yield a $200 profit if successful. Conversely, a player with -150 odds requires a $150 bet to win $100.

Calculating Implied Probability from Odds

Understanding the implied probability behind odds is crucial for assessing the value of a bet. Implied probability can be calculated from different odds formats:

From Decimal Odds

The formula for calculating implied probability from decimal odds is: Implied Probability = 1 / Decimal Odds.

For example, if a player has decimal odds of 1.50, the implied probability of winning is 1 / 1.50, which is approximately 66.67%.

From Fractional Odds

To calculate from fractional odds, divide the denominator by the sum of the numerator and denominator, then multiply by 100.

For odds of 4/1, the calculation is (1 / (4 + 1)) x 100 = 20%.

From Moneyline Odds

For positive Moneyline odds, calculate implied probability using the formula: 100 / (Positive Moneyline Odds + 100).

For negative Moneyline odds, use: Negative Moneyline Odds / (Negative Moneyline Odds – 100).

Finding Value in Tennis Betting Odds

Value betting involves finding bets where the odds are more favorable than the actual probability of the event occurring. This requires comparing your own assessment of a player’s chances with the implied probability of the odds.

For instance, if you believe Player A has a 70% chance of winning, but the bookmaker’s odds imply a 60% chance, placing a bet on Player A offers value. Over time, betting on outcomes where you perceive the odds to be in your favor can be more profitable.

Comparing Odds Across Bookmakers

Odds can vary between bookmakers due to differences in their assessment or the weight of money placed on certain outcomes.

It’s prudent to compare odds across different online betting sites to ensure you’re getting the best value for your bet. This practice, often referred to as ‘line shopping’, is a key aspect of successful sports betting.

Understanding tennis betting odds is more than just recognizing who the favorite or underdog is; it’s about understanding the financial implications of a bet, assessing the value offered, and making informed decisions.

By mastering the interpretation of odds and their implied probabilities, bettors can significantly enhance their tennis betting strategies.

Tennis Betting Bankroll Management

Effective bankroll management is essential for long-term success and enjoyment in tennis betting. It involves setting a budget, understanding betting sizes, and maintaining discipline in your betting approach.

Let’s take a look to the key strategies and practices to manage your tennis betting bankroll effectively.

Establishing a Betting Budget

Before you start betting on tennis, it’s crucial to determine how much money you’re willing to allocate specifically for betting purposes. This amount should be money that you can afford to lose without impacting your daily life.

Decide on a realistic budget based on your financial situation. It’s not just about how much you can afford to lose, but also about how much you are comfortable risking in this activity.

Once you’ve set your budget, it’s imperative to stick to it. This discipline helps prevent the common pitfall of chasing losses, which can quickly lead to overspending.

Understanding Bet Sizing

Bet sizing refers to how much you wager on each bet relative to your total bankroll. Proper bet sizing is key to managing risk and ensuring longevity in your betting endeavors.

A common strategy is to bet a consistent percentage of your bankroll on each wager. For example, betting between 1-5% of your total bankroll per bet can help spread risk and keep you in the game longer.

While consistency is important, you may choose to adjust your bet sizes slightly based on your confidence level in a particular bet. However, this should be done cautiously and within the limits of your overall betting strategy.

Tracking and Analyzing Your Bets

Maintaining a record of all your bets is crucial for effective bankroll management. This practice helps you understand your betting patterns, successes, and areas where you can improve.

Your betting log should include details of each bet, including date, tournament, bet type, odds, stake, and outcome. This data is invaluable for analyzing your betting performance over time.

Regularly review your betting log to identify patterns. Are you more successful in certain tournaments or with certain types of bets? Use this information to refine your betting strategies and decisions.

Embracing a Disciplined Mindset

Discipline is paramount in managing your tennis betting bankroll. This involves making decisions based on research and analysis rather than emotions or impulses.

It’s easy to get swayed by your favorite players or to try and recover losses quickly with high-risk bets. However, successful betting requires a level-headed approach, focusing on data and informed decision-making.

If you find yourself on a losing streak or getting emotionally involved in your bets, it might be wise to take a break. This step can help you regain perspective and return to betting with a clear mind.

Adapting Your Strategy Over Time

Your approach to bankroll management should evolve as you gain more experience and insight into tennis betting.

Use your experiences, both wins and losses, to inform your future betting strategies. What works well for others may not work for you, so it’s important to develop a strategy that suits your betting style and risk tolerance.

The world of tennis and sports betting is always changing. Stay informed about player forms, emerging talents, and changes in the sport to adapt your betting strategy accordingly.


Tennis betting stands out as an enriching and dynamic facet of sports betting, offering a unique blend of excitement and strategic depth. It requires a comprehensive understanding of various bet types, from the straightforward Moneyline to the complexities of live betting, each offering distinct opportunities and challenges. Success in this arena is not solely about predicting winners but involves a deep dive into strategic analysis. This includes a thorough examination of player performances, match conditions, and surface preferences, all of which are crucial for informed decision-making.

A key aspect of mastering tennis betting is the commitment to continuous learning and adaptation. The tennis world is ever-evolving, with changes in player form, emerging talents, and evolving game strategies. Staying abreast of these changes and incorporating the latest trends and data into your betting strategy is essential for staying ahead of the curve.

Equally important is the practice of disciplined bankroll management and responsible betting. This approach ensures that your betting activities remain a source of enjoyment and do not negatively impact your financial wellbeing. Leveraging the wealth of available resources, such as statistical data, advanced betting apps, and live streaming services, can significantly enhance your betting strategy and decision-making process.

Ultimately, the essence of tennis betting is to augment the enjoyment and appreciation of the sport. Whether it’s the thrill of a Grand Slam final or the intrigue of an early-round match, tennis betting should elevate your experience as a fan and deepen your connection with the game. It’s a journey that combines the joys of sports fandom with the excitement of strategic betting, making every match an engaging and rewarding experience.

❓ FAQs

What are the basic types of bets in tennis?

The basic types of bets in tennis include Moneyline bets (betting on the match winner), set and game bets (betting on individual set or game winners), totals or over/under bets (betting on the total number of games or sets in a match), prop bets (betting on specific events within a match), and live betting (betting during the match as it happens).

How does the playing surface affect tennis betting?

Different players have varying proficiencies on different surfaces (hardcourt, clay, grass). Some players excel on the clay due to their strong baseline play, while others perform better on grass or hardcourts due to a powerful serve or faster playing style. Understanding a player’s performance on each surface is crucial for informed betting.

What is live betting in tennis, and how does it work?

Live betting in tennis allows you to place bets during a match. Odds for various bets (like match winner, next game winner, total games) change in real-time based on what's happening in the match. It requires quick decision-making and a good understanding of the game.

What should I consider when making a tennis bet?

When betting on tennis, consider factors such as player form, head-to-head records, playing style, surface preference, and physical and mental fitness. Also, external factors like weather conditions and player injuries can significantly impact match outcomes.

How important are player rankings in tennis betting?

While player rankings can provide a general idea of a player's performance level, they don't always tell the whole story. It's important to also consider recent form, head-to-head matchups, and surface preferences, as these can be more indicative of a player's current performance level.

Can I make money with tennis betting?

Yes, it's possible to make money with tennis betting, but it requires knowledge of the sport, disciplined bankroll management, and a strategic approach to betting. Like all forms of gambling, there's also a risk of losing money, so it's important to bet responsibly.

How do I manage my bankroll for tennis betting?

Effective bankroll management involves setting a budget for your betting activities and sticking to it. A common approach is to bet only a small percentage of your bankroll on each wager and avoid chasing losses with larger bets.

What are the best strategies for live tennis betting?

The best strategies for live tennis betting include watching the match closely to understand momentum shifts, knowing the players’ strengths and weaknesses, being aware of the match context (such as player fatigue or injury issues), and placing bets based on logical analysis rather than emotion.

Are there any specific tournaments that are best for betting?

All tennis tournaments offer betting opportunities, but the Grand Slams (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open) are particularly popular due to the high level of player participation and media coverage. However, smaller tournaments can also offer good betting opportunities if you have strong knowledge of lesser-known players.

hat are common mistakes to avoid in tennis betting?

Common mistakes in tennis betting include betting based on favoritism, ignoring player form and fitness, not considering the playing surface, poor bankroll management, and not staying updated with the latest player and tournament news. Avoiding these pitfalls can help improve your betting success.