hether you're just getting into this side of the sport, or think you know it all, this seven-question Q&A will get you primed for your next play.
When it comes to global betting popularity, no sport can touch soccer. But you may be surprised to know that tennis consistently ranks as one of the most bet-on games in the world.
The nature of tennis is a natural for gambling. With hundreds of players competing in large draws nearly every week over the course of 11 months, few sports can match the sheer volume of wagering options that tennis provides. And with the advent of live, in-game betting, tennis’ popularity in the gambling space should only increase.
No matter your thoughts on the subject, tennis betting isn’t going anywhere, so you might as well make the most of it.
That's where we, and a few friends of the website, come in. To better understand the most profitable strategies and various Do’s and Don’ts in tennis betting, we spoke with several established and passionate bettors and handicappers, who were kind enough to share their thoughts:
What are some of your most successful strategies when it comes to tennis betting?
Become a master of the schedule. The tennis season is long and choppy. Players routinely travel 8-plus hours between tournaments, with less than 24 hours between matches. Look at when the bigger ranking point/prize money tournaments are played. Review which tournament each player has played over the last few years. Is there a tournament in their home country they play every year? Do they generally take a week or two off before Grand Slams or 1000-level events? Simply knowing the rhythms of each player can be a huge advantage.
Processes take time. Patience is key when looking into modelling and strategies. There are a lot of free resources available to help look at tennis from many different angles. Make sure you look at them. It’s easy to make a case for a selection winning, but you need to make sure you’ve considered the other side and haven’t approached it with any bias. Personally, I now write a preview for every selection to assist with my process.
I like to target moneyline underdogs in the WTA. Tennis has a high variance in results, especially in smaller tournaments. Targeting moneyline underdogs in favorable situations created by travel, fatigue and being accustomed to the current surface allows the discerning bettor to be profitable.
What is the most important piece of advice you could give a new tennis bettor?
Start slow and be patient. Betting, in general, is about committing to a process and being methodical about it. Small bets; modest goals. Look to bet on smaller tournaments, lower-level events, or niche markets. These are all easier to attack and great places to build good habits while your bankroll is smaller.
Surface matters! Players’ skill levels wildly fluctuate from surface to surface. It doesn’t always make sense. There are plenty of baseliners who struggle on clay and big servers who struggle on grass. Get to know each player’s preferences and where they are comfortable. If you aren’t sure, watch a couple of rounds of each tournament before betting.
Just because there are tennis matches every day for 11 months of the year, doesn’t mean you need to bet on all of them, or every day.
What is one thing in tennis betting you need to avoid at all costs?
Never look at the rankings of a player. Never. Ever. It’s pointless. Even if the ranking system made any sense, it only tells you what happened a year or, at most, two years ago. Focus on more recent performances and avoid looking at player rankings.
Going on tilt, overstaking and chasing losses. This behavior is even more dangerous in tennis, as it's a daily, highly volatile sport where epic collapses and bad beats are commonplace. Keep your emotions in check, your head down, and keep grinding.
Overleveraging your bankroll. There are so many opportunities in this sport, considering they play every week for 11 months.
Why do you like tennis betting so much?
Tennis is active 11 months a year. Tape study and learning the players’ tendencies give you opportunities to make money year-round. My favorite aspect, however, is the lack of officiating heavily affecting the outcome. As an NFL and NBA bettor, I have burned by officiating more times than I can count. Tennis very rarely has poor officiating affecting the outcome.
Tennis is 11 months a year and 20+ hours a day. There is always tennis; there will always be tennis. I also love the one-on-one aspect of the game. You don’t have to handicap an entire team, just two people at a time. Handicapping tennis is more like handicapping boxing than anything else.
There's a match on almost 24/7, for nearly the entire year. It´s also a sport where you can exploit the bookies shading prices towards the favorites, and make use of your insight to cash in on big priced underdogs regularly. Who doesn't love an underdog?
Week in, week out, there are plenty of tournaments to choose from—or 11 of the year’s 12 months? You can’t beat that!
I love the sport first and foremost, but I love the challenge as well. I enjoy trying to find value and beat markets. At the end of the day though, it’s the sport I love more than the betting.
What’s a good tip to help new tennis bettors manage their bankroll?
Keep a log. Open up a spreadsheet, get a notebook, or whatever works for you, but keep track of every single bet you make—all of them. The ones you like, the ones you don’t like, and even the fun ones. This information is crucial and invaluable over time.
Make sure to stay in control of your emotions, don´t overbet, play parlays or chase losses. With a calm, analytical mind, you'll quickly improve your skills and also understand if you're just in a period of bad variance, or your strategy isn't working.
Patience is key. Use losses as learning opportunities. Just because there are matches being played, it doesn’t mean you have to bet them. A +100 winner in a Tashkent ITF pays just as well as a +100 winner in the US Open final.