An Introduction to Tennis Betting

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Tennis betting is one the most popular bet sports in the world. This has a lot to do with the vast number of in-play betting opportunities, the number of markets offered, and the fact tennis is a year round sport. Even during the short ‘off-season’ exhibition matches are available for wagering.

In the US there are no betting exchanges available with liquidly. However, in other markets, the introduction and growth of the betting exchanges has certainly had a positive effect on tennis betting. Many bettors now look at themselves as ‘traders’ rather than a traditional bettor and take advantage of the competitive live betting markets to exploit betting strategies such as arbitrage betting and locking in profits where possible. In fact, tennis is probably one of the biggest sports on the exchanges as a result.

As a quick example, after just quickly looking at Betfair (no US players) we can see a game between Mikhail Youzhny and Guillermo Garcia Lopez which is currently in-play. I know what you’re thinking, never heard of them? And to be honest, we’ve heard little of them ourselves. But that’s irrelevant. What we can see is that after just 6 games of the first set (3-3) there has already been over £1.4million traded on the match odds market alone. This is an absolute staggering number for any sport, let alone a lunch time game between two players who are ranked 29th and 68th in the world respectively.

Major Betting Tournaments

Throughout the year there are four major tournaments in the tennis calendar. They are the US Open, Wimbledon, Australian Open and French Open. It probably comes as little surprise to learn that these tournaments attract the highest number of punters and also the largest bets both wagered and settled.

Even as these are the largest grossing tournaments in terms of betting, each one will differ from the other. The two biggest come in the form of Wimbledon and the US Open. These are generally because they are hosted from two countries with a big betting background. The French and Australian Open both do well, but they don’t pull in the numbers of the other two.

The numbers involved are staggering and in this section we will be basing our findings on the money traded with Betfair (no US players) alone for the 2012 Wimbledon championships.

Azarenka FedererThere’s actually not a lot of difference in terms of numbers between the men’s and women’s game. The men do shade it but that’s mainly because – in major tournaments at least – the games last longer (best of 5 sets compared to the women’s best of 3 sets). After just a couple of days into the tournament there was already over £5million wagered on the Men’s tournament winner market. If we bear in mind that the majority of this money from these sorts of markets is placed at the start of the tournament, seeing that number rise to over £15 million by the time the tournament concludes is staggering. Tennis betting is unlike a lot of sports out there and again the trading part of betting on tennis comes into effect.

Also don’t forget that is just one market out of a host of many markets on offer and doesn’t include any game betting or in-play betting –where the majority of wagers will be placed on tennis.

It’s not just the majors that pull in the money though. As we have already mentioned tennis is very much a year-round sport which opens up the availability of markets from other competitions including Davis Cup, Fed Cup (women’s), Hopman Cup, ATP World Tour, WTA Tour and ATP Challenger Tour tournaments. You can find more information on these tournaments later in the article.

Tennis Betting Sites

As you would imagine tennis betting provides a very competitive marketplace which is great for the punter. Bookmakers all around the world are keen to expose many of their punters to tennis betting markets which in turn give the punters a mass array of choice. But sometimes it’s not always easy to pick out the best bookmaker for the job. Few people have the time to look through each individual bookmaker, so we have picked out two differing bookmakers each providing something unique in comparison to the other to make your job a little easier.

5dimes – Best Odds

Our first bookmaker is The company may not have the flashiest of websites, in fact it’s actually a little dull on the eye, but it holds so much more than looks for tennis betting. Their market coverage is good, without being excellent but their standout feature comes in the form of their odds. They sincerely offer the best tennis betting odds on the internet about 90% of the time. Many bookmakers actually look at 5Dimes as their benchmark when setting lines with few actually being able to match them.

If it’s value you are after then don’t be put off by the somewhat basic layout of 5Dimes. They are a long standing bookmaker and will give you as good as odds as you’re likely to find on the market. It’s ideal if you’re someone who likes to find a betting ‘home’ and stick with what you know.

Bovada is #2

Bovada is our number 2 choice. Do however understand in the US the tennis betting options are quite limited. The European facing sites, that don’t accept American for legal reasons, have far more markets. For example, Ladbrokes (no US players) covers all major tournaments along with Challenger series matches, ITF (International Tennis Federation) tournaments, senior’s events and challenge tour events. They have 20+ markets on some of the bigger matches and also have live betting. Really sincerely US players should stick to 5Dimes for tennis. If you’d like to compare odds Bovada is the okay second option.

Ways to bet on tennis

If you’ve read through the whole of this article up to now then you will be aware just how many ways there are to bet on tennis. There are tons of different markets to choose from and to bet on so we have devised this section to allow you to see some of these markets and how they work.

  • Outright winner – This is market allows you to bet on the outright winner of the tournament. It will probably be the highest grossing market in terms of both number of bets and monetary amounts.
  • To win match – This is the first of our match betting markets and it’s pretty simple; just a case of choosing which player will win the match.
  • 1st set total games – Here you can choose the total number of games in the first set. This is an accumulation of both players and the amount of games played. This market will be adapted in live betting as sets close then re-open with the next set.
  • Set winner – You are able to choose which player you think will win each set. Similarly to the last market this will turn in-play once the game starts and change as each set is completed.
  • Set betting – This market allows you to pick the winner of the game along with the number of sets won and lost. So you might choose Player A to win 3-1 in sets.
  • Total Games – You can select the total number of games in the entire match. This is a combined score for both players and will include any tie break games and additional games in the final set.

Types of bets

Unlike your football (soccer) or American Football markets there aren’t all that many different bet types to choose from in tennis. Accumulators are pretty rare so it’s a more a case of picking your market, choosing your bet and placing an old fashioned wager on that market.

The buck in this trend comes when trading on the exchanges. Obviously you will be looking to back and lay as a trader so these skills are needed to execute this properly.

Major Tournaments

One of the reasons tennis betting is so successful is the fact that there are so many high profile tournaments right around the year. The four majors are at the top of the pile but you also have a host of others to choose from on top of these.


Wimbledon is the oldest of the four majors and is widely regarded as the most prestigious – mainly due to the fact that it’s stepped in history and is the only major of the year on grass. The tournament first came about in 1877 and since then has gone on to become a pinnacle in the sport of tennis.

US Open

The US Open is probably the biggest tournament in terms of viewing figures and worldwide exposure. The tournament is hosted at Flushing Meadows and has been in operation since 1881. The US Open is played on a hard court and is the final major of the year.

French Open

The French Open is the only of the majors which is played on clay. The tournament takes places at Roland Garros and was first played back in 1891.

Australian Open

The Australian Open is the curtain raiser to the majors. Played on a hard court in Melbourne, the tournament has been in circulation since 1905. They have two primary courts in the Rod Laver and Hisense Arena, both of which have retractable roofs.

Davis Cup

The Davis Cup is the highest ranking team event in tennis. It’s played in a knockout format over the course of couple of the year and each nation is represented by a team of players from that nation. Groups are set in terms of ranking of each international team and countries must win their respected groups to move into the final knockout stage.

ATP World Tour

The ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) tour is the main tour that holds a host of tournaments throughout the year. This is exclusively for the men’s game which sees them travel to cities including London, Monte Carlo, Madrid, Rome, Toronto, Shanghai, Paris and many more. Each event is a ranking event but some tournaments hold more pull over others which essentially determine the quality of field on show.

WTA Tour

The WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) Tour is the equivalent of the men’s tour and again takes place in a number of cities around the world. Some of these meets will coincide with the ATP Tour to make one big tournament whilst others will be standalone events.

ATP Masters Series

The ATP Masters Series is held exclusively for men and are a string of 9 events running throughout the year. The events are the highest ranking events after the four majors and are seen as the biggest series on the men’s tour.