Tennis betting is one of the most popular types of sports betting in the world today. It generates one of the highest betting revenues of any sport in the world. In many parts of Europe, including in the United Kingdom, tennis betting is third only behind soccer and horse racing in terms of revenue. A good reason for tennis’ popularity among punters is of course how fashionable the sport itself is. Among sports for individual athletes, tennis is king. Roughly 19 million people played tennis in the United States alone in 2019. Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tourney in the world, and was watched by over 1 billion people in the years from 2017 to 2019. According to Global Betting & Gaming Consultants, tennis betting accounts for nearly a fifth (20%) of all online sports betting revenue. In 2012, Betfair recorded over $82 million worth of bets on Andy Murray’s Wimbledon final. It was the giant bookmaker’s largest ever market to that point. In conclusion, it is clear that tennis betting is a big, big thing. So how can one get in on the action as a rookie punter? Let’s briefly look at the fundamentals.
How Does Tennis Betting Work?
There are various ways to approach tennis betting in terms of markets. Here are the most popular:
1) Match Betting
A match bet in tennis is similar to a moneyline bet in other sports. It means predicting who wins a single tennis match. This is the most popular, most routine of all tennis bets.
2) Outright Betting
Rather than predicting a match winner as in match betting, outright betting means forecasting who wins a tennis tournament. A tournament win requires the player to win a set of matches – sometimes as high as seven. Potential payouts for an outright bet are usually higher than those for match bets. The obvious reason is that it’s of course harder to win several matches compared to just one. So outright betting is riskier business, but also potentially more profitable business.
3) Handicap Betting
The concept of handicaps in tennis is pretty much similar to other sports. With a handicap, the punter “gives” a player a hypothetical “disadvantage” and tries to predict whether said player makes up the disadvantage and still manages to win. A handicap can be applied in two ways:
Game handicap: deducting or adding games to/from a player to see if they win or lose a set.
Game handicap: deducting or adding sets to/from a player to see if they win or lose a match.
Handicaps add intrigue and intricacy to tennis betting, but it goes beyond that. Handicapping a favorite allows the punter to have higher-paying odds when backing that player. Higher odds means higher profits!
4) Over/Under Tennis Betting
Again, Over/Under betting in tennis is not too dissimilar to other sports. However, while for soccer Total Goals refers to goals scored, in tennis it means games or sets played. The idea is to predict if:
The number of games in a set will be over or under a certain line, e.g. 2.5 games, or
The number of sets in a match will be over or under a certain line, e.g. 1.5 sets.
5) Correct Score Betting
This bet is for real tennis enthusiasts with in-depth knowledge of the sport and players. It requires the punter to predict:
The correct score for games in a set, or
The correct score for sets in a match
These are not easy things to predict, of course, but if done correctly the rewards are massive.
Round-the-clock Action With Tennis Betting
Betting is available for practically any tennis match out there. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the Futures Tour, or the grand slams. The ITF (International Tennis Federation) organizes an average of 1500 tournaments per year, resulting in a colossal ~90,000 matches per year. This means there’s probably one or two matches everyday, and therefore a daily chance to score some cash!
There’s no shortage of bookmakers for tennis betting either. Some of the most popular ones include 888sport, Pinnacle, Bet365, Betfair and William Hill.