How to Bet on Tennis
Types of Tennis Bets
Tennis betting can get a little bit complicated because of the scoring system as we’ll go into, but the main types of tennis bets are moneyline bets, over/under (or total) bets on the amount of games, game spread bets and futures.
How to Read Tennis Moneylines
A tennis moneyline bet is simply betting on which player (or players in doubles) will win the match. It doesn’t matter by how much or how long it takes — if the player moves on to the next round of the tournament after, the bet wins.
The favorite is listed with a (-) sign (so you need to risk more than you will win) and the underdog has a (+), meaning that a potential win would pay out more than your stake in purely winnings. Of course you’d get back your stake as well.
There are some times when it’s an even matchup when both players will be slightly minus on the moneyline. For example, the “favorite” listed at -113 and the “underdog” at -107.
American odds are based on $100, so if that -113 favorite was Novak Djokovic you would have to risk $113 to win $100 if he won.
How to Read Tennis Point Spreads
With 0-15-30-40-Game, it can be a little hard to keep track of the individual points. Fortunately, tennis spread bets aren’t about the total points or point spread. Instead, it’s based on games. During the four majors, the men play best-of-five sets.
The sets are win by two, so if it’s 6-5 the player has to win the next game to avoid a 6-6 tiebreak (or extra games up to 12-12 in the final set at Wimbledon). Tiebreaks turn a 6-6 set score into 7-6. The same rules apply for women’s tennis, but it’s best two out of three. In non-major tournaments on a weekly basis, the men play two out of three as well.
For example, if Novak Djokovic is playing a weaker opponent in an early round, the game spread may be something like Djokovic -6.5. If Djokovic wins the match in four sets 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, the total margin adding up those games is 22 (6+6+4+6) to 15 (3+4+6+2), which is a difference of seven, meaning he would cover the -6.5.
Point spreads are made to be fairly even odds on each side, so it’s likely the prices of both the -6.5 and +6.5 on the opposing player would be about -110. Of course, you could select an alternate point spread like -4.5 that would come at a steeper price.
How to Read Tennis Over/Unders or Totals
Totals in tennis are also based on games. Total games in tennis can have a wide range. If a player wins in straight sets 6-0, 6-0, 6-0, there are only 18 total games. On the other hand, if it’s an insanely close match that goes five highly contested sets, it could be 7-5, 6-7, 7-6, 4-6, 7-5.
In this match, there would be 60 total games. Unlike other sports where the margin of victory is fairly irrelevant to the total going over or under (an NFL team can win 35-0 and have the game stay under), tennis matches that are more of a blowout than expected will stay under.
Matches that are unexpectedly close will go over, because the maximum amount of sets are needed. If the game total is 20 and it ends in two sets 6-3, 6-3, it would stay under the total at 18. If it was 7-5, 6-3, it would go over the total at 21. If it was 6-4, 6-4, it would be exactly 20 and the bet would be a push, meaning it would be refunded as if it was never even placed.
How Tennis Futures Work
A tennis future bet is betting on tournaments (often the major tournaments like the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open) weeks or months in advance. There is often value to be had if you anticipate a good stretch of play from a player leading up to that major tournament.
Betting a future on a player to win a tournament can be a fun way to follow the tournament and track their road through the bracket.
Tennis Betting Strategies
Tennis is unique because it is played on a variety of different surfaces. In sports with a field there may be different types of grass or artificial turf, but it’s all meant to play the same way. Three different playing surfaces are used in the four major tournaments.
The Australian Open and U.S. Open play on hard court, while the French Open is on clay and Wimbledon on grass. Naturally, different surfaces suit the games of certain individuals better than others.
For example, Rafael Nadal is known as the “King of Clay” because that surface creates a bigger bounce and less speed, which is good for his topspin shots. When betting on a tennis match, be sure to research what surface the tournament is being played on and how those players have done throughout their careers on that particular surface.
OddsJam Betting Guidelines for Tennis
Tennis Public Betting Data
In addition to finding value in the odds using the OddsJam perfect line, another way to identify value in tennis is through seeing where the public money is. Public money means the percentage of bettors on one side of a bet.
For example, players like Roger Federer that have a large fanbase and are consistently hammered by the public often force the odds to shift to a worse price. That means their opponent for the day may end up at a far better price than the opening line, and could present value.
The percentage of bettors on one player is just one side of the equation. The other is the percentage of actual money staked on the players. If Federer has 80% of the bets, but the amount of money is split 50/50, that means that big money is coming in from the 20% of people betting against him.
This suggests sharp action on the opposing player because the sharps have identified value and risked larger amounts than the typical public bettor.
There are many different sites and tools to get access to these percentage breakdowns that can be very helpful for finding value.
To find the implied probability of your bet winning based on the odds, head over to the No-Vig fair odds calculator on OddsJam. Let’s say that Novak Djokovic is -145 against Rafael Nadal, who is listed as the underdog at +125.
Plugging those odds in gives us this:
As you can see when you remove the juice from the line, the fair odds on Djokovic are -133.16 which gives an implied win probability of 57.11% on an Oilers bet and 42.89% win probability betting on Nadal. For more on implied probability, visit our article: How to Calculate Implied Probability.
Tennis Betting Data
For a comprehensive look at every market for tennis matches just go to the tennis tab and click on the game you’re interested in. You’ll be able to compare odds from every market including moneyline, total games, game spread, exact set scores, total tiebreaks and more.
Within the main markets like spreads and totals, you’ll also see alternate lines at the books that offer them as well as the OddsJam Perfect Line depending on your subscription tier.
You can also use all of our tools to help decide if the bet is worth placing. The expected value calculator can determine your expected value in relation to the win probability from the OddsJam Perfect Line The No-Vig fair odds calculator can also help by showing you the true no-juice odds of the bet at the sportsbook.
The parlay calculator can also show you the total payout from a series of wagers you are thinking of combining into a parlay.
Where to bet on tennis?
Now that we’ve gone over the most popular ways to bet on tennis, here are our favorite sportsbooks to place our bets:
How to read tennis odds?
As always, a (-) sign next to the odds means that you have to risk more than your potential winnings, while a (+) sign means that the winnings would be more than your stake. Game spreads will be around -110, while moneylines can be extremely high for heavy favorites. If a top seed is playing a first round match at Wimbledon, don’t be shocked if the odds are close to -5000, meaning you have to risk $5,000 to win $100.
Who are the most popular tennis players?
The most popular tennis players include Venus and Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Naomi Osaka, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
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