Tennis Betting Explained
Tennis can be fun to bet on because you have several different options, including outright winner, match handicap, total games, set betting, parlays, props, and futures.
Each player has a moneyline depending on the implied probability of their victory. The favorite has minus odds, which means that you stake more than your profit, while the underdog has plus odds, so your potential winnings exceed your risk. When betting on this market, you just need your player to win the match.
The match handicap functions as a point spread in other sports. In this bet type, you need your player to win by more than the assigned margin. The favorite has minus the handicap, so they must win by more than the margin, while the underdog bet can hit if they win outright or lose by fewer than the spread. For example, if I take Rafael Nadal -4.5 and he wins 6-4, 6-4, I would lose the bet since he only won by four games.
Betting on the total games is similar to other sports, where you bet Over or Under on the combined score in a given match. For example, let’s say that I took Over 21.5 games in a match between Jessica Pegula and Ons Jabeur. If the match ended 6-4, 6-3, that would amount to 19 games and I would lose my wager.
You can also focus on the sets if you’re not interested in going with the full match. This allows you to choose how many sets each player would win without worrying about the actual score. For example, I can take Novak Djokovic to win 2-0 instead of his match handicap at -4.5. You’re also able to choose other options like total games and exact scores within each set.
Parlays are when you combine two or more bet types for higher payouts. You need to win each of your selections in order for your bet to hit. There are even Same Game Parlays, where you put together a few outcomes within a given match. An example of this can be Jessica Pegula to win, Over 21.5 games, and Exactly 3 Sets.
Props are player-based outcomes, where you bet Over or Under a projected number. For example, I could take Rafael Nadal to break the next serve or take the Over on Carlos Alcaraz’s total aces. Props are great to include in a parlay because you can choose outcomes with strong correlations.
Futures are bets that are settled at the end of a tournament. They are related to player performance. For example, I can choose Stefanos Tsitsipas to win the French Open at +550. This means that I’d win $550 on a $100 wager. You’re able to place futures on several competitions, including those that occur later in the year.
Tennis Betting Tips
Here are some betting tips for each bet type in tennis:
Consider a player’s current rank and recent performance. Think about how they perform on a certain surface, such as clay, grass, and hard courts. For example, Rafael Nadal is dominant on clay courts.
However, keep in mind that the betting odds will reflect this proficiency. You won’t get much value by taking Nadal when he’s competing on clay, like at the French Open.
You can also think about how head-to-head matchups between the two competitors. You may notice that some players tend to struggle against certain styles of play, so keep that in mind when placing your bet.
If you like a favorite to win but aren’t comfortable laying the juice on their expensive moneyline, you can roll with the match handicap to minimize your risk. Likewise, if you think an underdog can win but aren’t sure enough to take them outright, you can take them to cover the match handicap.
The same strategy involved with choosing an outright winner applies to match handicaps: recent performance, play style, match environment, and head-to-head records.
When deciding whether to bet Over or Under, you should consider the moneyline first. For example, if one player is heavily favored, there’s a good chance that the match ends quickly because they’re projected to win by a larger margin. This aligns well with the Under.
On the other hand, if you think the match will be close, that would mean more games, which goes with the Over. Keep in mind that the assigned totals will reflect the projected outcome indicated by the moneyline. Therefore, matches with heavy favorites will have lower totals and vice versa for projected close games.
The key is to find a match that you think could be closer or more lopsided than expected. From there, you can find an edge by selecting Over or Under.
Set betting is the way to go if you want to avoid the bad beat of correctly projecting a match but losing because your selection did not win by enough games.
For example, imagine I took Novak Djokovic to cover -4.5 but he won 6-4 in straight sets. I’d lose the bet because he won by four games, but I was correct in my choice because he still won handily.
To avoid this situation, I could take Djokovic to win 2-0 in sets instead of going with the match handicap.
Parlays can be good to minimize your risk with heavy favorites. Instead of laying juice on straight bets, you can combine them into a parlay. For example, if I took Rafael Nadal at -300 to win, I’d be risking $300 on a $100 bet. But if I parlayed him with Alexander Zverev at -200, I’d be only paying a +100 moneyline.
You can also go with a couple of longshots to try to hit a home run, but remember that this is a low probability outcome, so don’t put too much of your bankroll on this type of wager.
My favorite way to approach this bet type in tennis is to go with a Same Game Parlay. This is because I can choose a few correlated outcomes to try to hit a nice payday. For example, I can go with Novak Djokovic to win 2-0 in sets and Under total games. These two picks go well with each other because if Djokovic won in straight sets, chances are high that there would be fewer total games.
The best way to approach props is to analyze a player’s style on the court. For example, if they have a heavy serve, you may want to take the Over on their total aces in a given match.
You can also consider how the player performs on grass, clay, or hard court to help decide whether they will go Over or Under their prop.
Lastly, I would check their head-to-head record against their opponent. Were they able to break serve at any point? Did they win handily or was it a close match? These are questions to think about when deciding on your prop bet.
Futures tie up your money for longer periods of time, so I would focus on an upcoming tournament rather than looking further down the line at a competition that is scheduled later in the year.
Choose a couple of players that you think can win the tournament. Focus on finding value, looking for players who aren’t priced accordingly to their chances at finishing in 1st place. Don’t take the favorite because it’s better to get more of a reward on this bet, since it’ll take some time before it’s settled. Focus on players that can give you higher payouts.
How We Make Our Tennis Best Bets
Here are the steps we take when deciding on our Tennis Best Bets:
- Check a player’s recent performance
- Analyze their play style
- Take a look at the head-to-head matchup
- Read about how they perform on certain courts
- Monitor the betting market, checking for line movement
- Search for over or undervalued players or bets
- Scan several sportsbooks to find the best line
Tennis Betting Picks
When you see betting picks in our articles, you can be assured that it’s the updated line from the given sportsbook. We consistently update the bet pick to reflect any line movement.
For example, if Rafael Nadal was -200 but moved to -170, that will be updated.
Our Tennis Odds page does the heavy lifting for you in searching across multiple betting sites to find the best line for your bet type.
Simply search for your bet type and you’ll find the best bet.
How to Place a Tennis Bet
Placing a Tennis Bet is an easy process, simply follow the steps below.
- Determine your preferred bet type and risk amount
- Utilize our Odds Comparison Tool to find the best value
- Click the icon on the best bet to access the online sportsbook
- Register for an account or log in with your username and password
- Use one of our links or promo codes if joining a new site
- Type in how much you want to place on the wager
- Select “Place Bet”