Out of all the sports available to gamblers, tennis is one that has captured the attention of many people across the country. Its year-round availability and exciting nature make it a perfect fit for gambling.
Tennis is one of the most popular sports to gamble on worldwide, ranking only behind soccer, as it receives billions of dollars in wagers each year. There are many different betting options available, which is part of why it’s so attractive.
The sport is also experiencing explosive growth and there are a few American players that are helping lead the charge. Sofia Kenin, Madison Keys, and of course Serena Williams are all near the top of the Women’s leaderboard and are American stars.
Live betting — the act of gambling on the game as it happens — is especially popular in tennis. The game moves quickly, allowing gamblers to move from one bet to the next at a rapid pace.
Tennis has two main tours and they are the ATP for the men and the WTA for the women. In addition to these tours, four Grand Slam tournaments are the major events on the tennis calendar. The first one is in Australia in January and the last one is the US Open during the fall.
Tennis is an individual sport and thus offers some different bets compared to the major North American sports leagues. Match bets, a choice on the player to win, are very popular.
There are also bets which include a spread, usually surrounding the number of sets or games, that equalize the playing field. Another popular style of bet is futures as handicappers attempt to predict the winners of the major tournaments.
In short, tennis offers all the traditional bets that you would see in other sports with a few added ones that fit the unique style and rules of the sport. In the next section, we will break down all the options to help you get the best understanding.
Outlined below are all the most common bets in tennis to help you make the most informed wagers possible.
Live betting is a market that is growing quickly across the country and offers the potential for gamblers to make some money.
Oddsmakers don’t have as much information that they can price into live odds, which makes them weaker. Gamblers can take advantage of that fact and make some quick money.
Basic live betting options include many of the same wager types that you see before the match begins. This can be everything from the moneyline for the match, to the set handicap, to who will win the next point.
The easiest way to make live bets on tennis matches is to use an electronic device — usually a phone. The speed at which you can place bets on your phone cannot be beaten and allows gamblers to keep up with the action.
Because the momentum of a tennis match can ebb and flow, catching a live bet right when the tide turns can result in a tidy profit. By watching the game as you place wagers upon it, you can get a better feel for what may be about to happen.
As mentioned above, futures are another common bet in the world of tennis gambling. The four majors every year receive tons of money wagered on who will hoist the trophy on both the men’s and women’s sides.
Wimbledon, perhaps the most famous of the four majors, is especially popular among gamblers as they try to predict who will emerge victorious. The earlier the futures bet is placed, the more likely that the odds will be good and offer high potential returns.
For example, a bet on the US Open, usually held in August and September, placed at the beginning of the year, will likely offer large potential returns. This is because of all the factors that could change during that large time frame.
Besides the major tournaments, other common futures bets in tennis include gambling on the player of the year awards. This award is given to the player who finishes atop the rankings for that season.
Other awards, such as newcomer of the year or most improved player of the year, have smaller betting markets but are still options for tennis futures bets.
Prop bets, or wagers on specific smaller events in the match, are plentiful in tennis betting. They offer an interesting switch-up to the more common bets and often have less competitive lines.
Basic prop bets in tennis include the first set winner, over/under total aces, and gambling on the exact sets played. For example, gambling on one player to beat another by an exact score of three to two on sets would be a common prop bet.
Prop bets often have longer odds which means higher payouts. This is because of the wide variety of options and the often specific nature of these bets.
Tennis does have some rules that are specific to the sport and must be understood to effectively place wagers on it. The most important thing to understand is the tennis betting rules around suspended matches or any contest which does not go to completion.
For the vast majority of sportsbooks, a match where a player pulls out before it has started means that all bets are void. This happens occasionally at tournaments where a player might be injured or another unforeseen circumstance keeps them from playing.
If the player withdraws mid-game, the ruling on your bet will depend on the oddsmaker. There are four common policies to know and they are as follows:
As previously discussed there are four major Grand Slams in tennis. These tournaments are the largest of the year and attract the most gamblers. Listed in chronological order, here they are:
The Australian Open kicks off the season and is traditionally held during the last two weeks of January. The tournament has been held on a hard surface since 1988, which rewards power players, and is the highest attended of all the Grand Slams.
The prize money reaches over 70 million Australian dollars and can feature some extreme weather conditions including brutal heat. Novak Djokovic has dominated the men’s side of the tournament in recent years and holds the record for most men’s singles titles with eight.
On the women’s side of things, there have been a few different champions in past years and the field is much more open. However, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka each have multiple wins in the past decade.
The French Open is the next one up on the calendar and it’s steeped in history. The first edition was in 1891 and it’s the only major that is played on a clay surface which affects the spin of the ball. The tournament always commences near the end of May and has a prize pool of around 40 million Euros.
Rafael Nadal is known as the “King of Clay” and for good reason, as he has won thirteen single titles. There hasn’t been anyone that has dominated at the same level on the women’s side, but Iga Swiatek from Poland recently won the tournament as a teenager and will be a contender for years to come.
The oldest and most prestigious of all the Grand Slam tournaments, Wimbledon is seen as the holy grail for many tennis players. It has been around since 1877 and has a total prize pool of around 35 million pounds. It’s held in London, England, and attracts viewers from around the world.
It’s the only one of these four tournaments that is played on grass. Roger Federer has the record for most men’s singles championships and will always be one of the favorites as long as he is playing.
For the women, it’s the Williams sisters who have proven dominant as each of them has won the tournament at least five times over the years.
The US Open is the final Grand Slam of the year and runs during August and September. It’s held in New York and has been played on hard surfaces since 1978, though it has been played on clay and grass in the past.
It has a pool of prize money of over 50 million USD. On the men’s side of things, Roger Federer dominated the early 2000s but since then it’s been a more even field with many different players winning.
For the women, Naomi Osaka won in both 2018 and 2020 which has marked a new era since the domination of the Williams’ sisters in the mid-2000s.
The two different tours offer many different events besides the Grand Slams:
The ATP tour is the top tour for men and offers many more gambling options than just the major tournaments. You can bet on these events at regulated physical sportsbooks as well as licensed online sites in states where that is legal. Here are some of the other major events on the calendar:
The WTA tour is similar to the ATP tour but all-women. It’s a highly followed tournament which also has many different tournaments that are not majors such as:
The US Open is one of the most popular tennis events of the year for Americans as it happens on home soil. It’s legal for Americans to bet on this event so they flock to sportsbooks across the country in legal states to bet on the tournament.
No, tennis is not fixed. With the vast amount of games played and the year-round nature of the sport, there are so many opportunities to gamble. While there may be the rare, isolated case of match-fixing, it’s not a widespread problem in the sport.
Like any sport, it’s important to find the best betting lines. The most efficient way to do this is to check many different oddsmakers and compare their posted lines for each contest.
Tennis is not inherently easier or harder to bet on than other sports. There are so many different options for things to bet on that you can find a betting market in the sport that works for you.
The main tennis surfaces are clay, hard, grass, and artificial grass. Grass makes the ball bounce low and quick, clay makes it spin and limits power, hard surfaces are considered to be an all-round surface, and artificial grass surfaces will play similarly to grass.
A handicap in tennis works as it would in any other sport. It can be applied to either games or sets and will equalize the playing field by forcing the favorite to win the game by a certain amount. For example, a handicap of -2.5 games means that it must be won by at least three games.