A beginner’s guide to tennis betting in the UK
The popularity of tennis is certainly on the rise, with the recent dominance of Britain’s Andy Murray boosting the sport in the UK.
Murray’s rise to number one in the world, along with a couple of Wimbledon titles and Olympic gold medals, means tennis is firmly in the spotlight.
The Scot has finally got to the top of the world rankings, with his patience in an era of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic eventually rewarded in style.
Betting on tennis is a good way to make the action even more exciting while you watch, so here’s a guide for those who are brand new to sports betting.
Introduction: gambling on tennis
Compared to a lot of sports that can be very complex from a gambling point of view, tennis tends to be fairly straightforward.
Match odds work in exactly the same way as football, for example, with tennis betting odds showing the price to win of each player involved.
It is also possible to bet on a player to win a tournament, with each-way selections a good way to find extra value in this area.
For example, let’s have a look at US Open tennis betting as an example of how this can work in practice. Djokovic and Murray would be big favourites for this event, fitness permitting, with Murray perhaps available to back to lift the trophy at odds of 2/1.
If you are totally new to sports betting in the UK, this means that for every £1 staked on Murray, £2 profit would be made in the event of him winning the tournament.
For the majority of tennis tournaments, each-way odds will be offered around 1/4 for the top two, so your player has to reach the final in order for the bet to be a winner.
Let’s say you back Tomas Berdych at 40/1, with £1 each-way your stake. This means if he reaches the final but loses, half of your each-way bet is a winner and you would make a £10 profit. If he was to win the tournament, then you’d get £50 for your total £2 stake.
Of course, if you are placing tennis bets on a number of singles matches, you can add them into an accumulator in exactly the same way as you could for football.
Finding a winner
Tennis tends to be quite predictable, with the result that the big name players tend to be very short odds for individual matches and they are not always appealing to win tournaments either.
Murray and Djokovic are set to start virtually every tournament for the foreseeable future as joint favourites unless one of the fresh talents in the sport begins to develop rapidly.
However, they do not enter every tournament, and this is where there may be an opportunity for UK sports fans seeking betting opportunities.
While Murray and Djokovic will always tailor their schedules for the four majors – the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open – they do not always enter the next tier of events, which are known as Masters 1000 tournaments due to the number of ranking points on offer for the winner.
These tournaments are therefore worth looking out for, especially if the big boys elect not to enter, while women’s tennis should not be ignored either as the field tends to be more open.
Free betting tips are available on various UK websites, but care should always be taken when deciding whether or not to follow these with wagers of your own. Live tennis betting, too, can be found at any number of bookies and online betting websites that have a tennis focus.
After all, anyone can post tips on the internet and there is never any guarantee that they know what they are talking about! When placing tennis bets, it can be a better idea to carry out some of your own research, as well as reading online tips. Study the form, see how players are performing, check out the history of the tournament, then make your selections.
What tennis tournaments should you bet on?
As previously mentioned, there are four majors throughout the year, kicking off with the Australian Open in January.
With this tournament being at the start of the season, it can be a little more unpredictable than some of the other Grand Slam events, potentially creating an opportunity.
There is then a little wait for the next major for fans, with the French Open soon followed by the UK’s sole Grand Slam event Wimbledon in early summer, before the US Open wraps things up around September.
The season comes to an end with the World Tour Finals, which see the top players from the year’s rankings face off in a round-robin event to decide who finishes as the world number one.
There are also nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, along with 13 tournaments in the ATP World Tour 500 series and a further 39 competitions in the ATP World Tour 250 Series. And that’s just at senior level.
For the serious betting expert, there is also the ATP Challenger Tour and the ITF Futures tour, which is where young players cut their teeth and develop skills before moving up to the seniors.
But whatever tennis tournament you are opting to gamble on, it is also worth keeping in mind the golden rule: only bet when there is value.
Building a winning strategy
There are no easy shortcuts to creating a profitable strategy – if winning money from gambling on sports were so simple then everyone would be doing it instead of proper jobs!
Keeping a close eye on players’ retirement records is certainly worthwhile for those planning to take up tennis betting as there is nothing worse than backing a favourite only to see them withdraw from a match due to an injury.
These stats, which can often be found on various tennis bet sites, show that certain players pull out injured much more often than others, so keep this in mind when making your selections.
Playing conditions should be on your mind when picking winners. Certain players perform better on clay, while others may be at their best on grass. Some players thrive indoors, whereas others can struggle when playing under a roof.
Weather on the day of a match can be a big factor as well. Some stars do not like playing when it is windy, perhaps as it has an impact on the ball toss for their serve, whereas others find it easy to control their shots in swirling conditions.
What is also worth keeping in mind when creating a winning tennis betting strategy is that Grand Slam events see men’s matches take place over five matches, which usually gives the better players more of an advantage. There could, therefore, be more tennis shocks against the big-name players in the lesser tournaments.
Keeping track of tennis betting rules
When making your picks, you need to make sure that you are fully informed of all the relevant rules and regulations for the competitions.
For example, it is usually the case in tennis betting rules your bet will not be a winner if your player goes through due to an injury withdrawal of their opponent in the first set. If the first set has been completed, then the bet is no longer void.
However, some bookmakers will only honour your bet if the whole match is completed, which is why it is so important to check out the terms and conditions before placing your tennis bets.
Whether you are placing wagers on standard match odds markets, or looking at tennis on the handicaps, correct scores or even betting in-play during a game, knowing the rules is key.
Making a profit
The ultimate goal for any UK sports fans who want to bet on tennis is to make a profit.
Obviously, it is not straightforward to do this, but by making selections sensibly it is possible, although it is unlikely to lead to punters making an absolute fortune. Keeping an eye out for promotional offers is also a must, as these can be very profitable when used correctly.
A lot of gamblers these days collect their own statistics to inform their picks and others have even developed algorithms to make sure that if there is an angle to be found, they don’t miss out.
But for the more casual UK punter, a tennis betting system is more likely to involve sticking with reliable, favoured players who get the job done more often than not.
One of the best ways to make money out of betting on tennis is to have a good knowledge of head-to-head records, with this information easily available to find online.
Some players have excellent records against a specific rival and this is often a way to find a good value pick for a specific tournament. Others might struggle against a big server, for example, or find it hard to play against left-handers, so follow these trends carefully too.
Specialising can be wise too. Some UK sports fans prefer to focus solely on women’s tennis, while others steer clear from all senior events and only place bets on the ATP Challenger Tour and the ITF Futures tour, where the bookmakers may not be quite as knowledgeable.
Whatever plan you come up with, make sure you never bet more than you can afford to lose and don’t forget that gambling is supposed to be fun!