Tennis: What are the rules and how do you bet on it

Professional tennis is the second most popular sport for bookmakers after soccer. Live bets on tennis are very popular, as tennis is much more dynamic than soccer, and its fast-paced style can lead to numerous changes throughout the game. 


Players who do not want to wait for a goal to be scored in soccer will instead bet on the outcome of the game, while at the same time betting live on sets of tennis. This is why the volume of bets on tennis sometimes interrupt the volume of bets on soccer. How can you make bets on tennis, what do you need to know and what should you pay attention to? Let’s discuss the most important things. 

The advantages of tennis betting

The ability to track the shape of the players. In the case of soccer, tracking the psychological and physical form of 11 key players is extremely difficult. In tennis, this is a much simpler issue, after watching only a couple of a player’s key matches you can come to far-reaching conclusions about their current form. 

Analytics of tennis matches are somewhat easier than in many team sports. It is essential in this respect to not miss when a player’s form goes from the base stage to its peak stage. Usually, each stage in the endless cycle of form in tennis players lasts three to four weeks. As you gain experience in this difficult business, you will surely learn to properly assess the current as well as the future state of tennis players. In women’s tennis, the result can be strongly influenced by “critical days” of the athlete. Some bettors will even maintain a “menstrual calendar” of certain tennis players however, it is unclear how they do this. 

A large number of comebacks during the match. Some of you, of course, will call this fact a disadvantage of the sport, but people who are well-versed in betting will confirm that this is indeed a good quality in terms of betting. The greatest number of remarkable comebacks can be observed in women’s tennis. However, in men’s clay tournaments, quite a few comebacks occur as well. 

Regular competitions. You can always bet on tennis: any time, any day of the week. Unlike soccer, where each championship has a couple of significant breaks for two or three weeks, the tennis season has only one break at the end of the calendar year. Even during this fourteen-day break, however, three to four mid-level tournaments are played, so as a tennis fan, you will never be bored. Even during holidays like New Year’s Day, usually, at least one tournament will be played.

The disadvantages of betting on tennis

Uncertainty of when matches begin and end. In most team sports (as well as in most individual) the start time for a game is determined a few days before the fact. However, in tennis, the scheduling is much more complicated. In each tournament, the matches will begin one after another, and until the previous match is concluded, the next match will not begin. It is, for this reason, it is difficult to predict when a scheduled match will actually begin. Some matchups can be delayed hours, and some even postponed until the next day. The same, of course, goes for the end of the matches as well. This can make it difficult if, for example, you were planning to immediately withdraw money after calculating a bet or to quickly make another bet. Your plans can be significantly altered for the duration of the current match. 

Weather dependency. One of the significant factors determining the results of tennis matches is the weather. Despite the development of modern technology, the vast majority of tennis matches take place on open courts, which means at any time the weather can alter the course of a match. It could cause your bet to be put on hold for a couple of days until it stops raining. Also, do not forget that when the rain does stop, you could witness a completely different match than before as the players have had time to psychologically recover and will now start the game from scratch. Rain often comes to the aid of players who serve the ball well, as they have time to recuperate and again go out and serve aces. 

Features of single sports. Betting on team sports is in many ways safer than betting on singles because, in team sports, the poor physical or psychological condition of one player usually does not have a decisive impact on the game. This is not the case with tennis as moral depression or poor physical or psychological form of one of the players can automatically end their chances of winning. What is perhaps the most frustrating is that it can be difficult to identify these symptoms until only after several matches. Injuries follow the same path, as in team sports the injured player will simply be substituted and the game will continue whereas in tennis the injury of an athlete will mean their departure from the tournament. There is nothing worse than to lose a bet due to a well-performing player suddenly becoming injured and having to quit. We hope that you never have to experience this situation!

Types of tennis bets

Bet on the outcome. It is not hard to guess, that winning this bet is determined by correctly choosing the victor of a single tennis match. Betting on a win is usually offered the smallest margin and the highest limits of bets, but it will be difficult to find a significant break of odds. Statistically, this is the most popular type of bet for players. 

Handicap. Betting on the odds, you try to guess the approximate number of matches a tennis player will win with a pre-determined handicap in place. This either benefits the player or presents them with an obstacle to overcome. The handicap is presented as either a plus or minus, with a plus given to the underdogs and a minus to the favourites. This means, that if you bet on one the players with a handicap of -3.5, you need him to win by at least four games in total. With a handicap of 3.5, you need to hope that this player does not lose by more than four games. A set handicap means that you make a prediction for the winner of the pair, while at the same time taking into account the plus or minus handicap of games. 

Total. Total refers to the number of games played by both tennis players in a match. You can bet that there will be more or less of them than what is originally offered in the bookmaker’s line. 

The score of the sets. A set in tennis is the largest unit of score in the match. Betting on the score of the sets offers you to guess the final scores in groups. For example, if you bet 2-0, you predict that the player you bet on will win both sets. 

Other bets. Many bookmakers limit their lines to the above bets, but some gambling establishments, seeking to please more customers, will sometimes significantly widen their tennis line. So, you can offer bets on the handicap, total and the winner in the first, second and or third set, the winner of each individual game, the presence of a tiebreaker in the match, the number of breakpoints and so on. 

Live tennis bets (during the course of the game)

The strategy of live betting on tennis can be drastically different than in other sports. On the live-line people often make bets on the winner on one particular game. This strategy is suitable for experienced bettors who are able to accurately assess the quality of the game and the players’ serves and receptions. 

How to bet on games in tennis? On types, rates and strategies

Another piece of advice on how to correctly bet live on a tennis match: remember that in the game it is very important to understand the psychological state of the athlete, because a technically stronger player can lose a set and even a match, just from making a mistake early on and never fully recovering. To complete a break (win the game on the opponents serve) is also very important, and this is almost impossible to foresee in advance. Betting live on tennis allows the player the opportunity to not have to wait for the whole match, but to see the result as quickly as just a few minutes after placing the bet with the bookmaker. 

Pre-match analytics

Tennis betting strategies and pre-match analytics are in some ways more complicated than in other sports and simpler in other ways. There are a great many factors that can affect the result in one way or another. We will take a look at the most important ones. 

Surface. One of the key factors influencing the pre-match coverage on the surface on which the tennis match will take place. As you know, in tennis there are four main types of surfaces: hard, clay, grass and carpet. Of these, only the Grand Slam tournaments are not played on carpet. 

Each surface has its own unique features which affect different parts of the game, the main part being the rebound. Thus, on a ground in which the rebound is high and slow, the importance of the pitch is negated, and the game becomes longer and narrower. The advantage on this ground goes to the more technically and psychologically balanced players. 

On the grass, the serve is of paramount importance. Players who have a powerful serve have a huge advantage here. And in general, due to low and fast rebounds on grass courts back and forth between players usually lasts between only three and four strokes per serve.  

Hard surfaces are something between soil and grass. That is why most players consider hard the most “honest” surface, showing the true objective prowess of each player. 

Rating. Talking about the rating after the surface is not accidental. The fact is that the players game on different surfaces varies so greatly that it can completely lose their significance on some surfaces. In general, the rating should be considered last because, despite the seemingly objective data in the rating, it will more than likely confuse you rather than helping you.

Tournament status and motivation. The question of motivation is one of the key issues in the pre-match analysis. As you know, all other things being equal, it is the motivation that has a decisive influence on the outcome of the match. 

Additional motivation (besides, of course, prize money) can be found in the home status of the tournament, a large support group in the stands, the prospect of promotion in the rankings, the struggle to get to the final tournament of the year or even in the personal animosity between the players. One of the determining factors of motivation for players is the status of the tournament. Whatever form tennis players are in, they will always play their hardest at the Grand Slam tournaments. Slightly less prestigious, but also highly popular among players, are the Masters series tournaments. 

Be careful with the small competitions, when it comes to star players. It often turns out that they enter these competitions only so they can take the prize money for their participation. Most often in this case, their performance ends in the first two rounds. 

Face to face confrontations. In every sport, there exists a “comfortable” and “uncomfortable” opponent for each player. For example, you might find a top player who consistently struggles to be a player ranked in the 200s. It seems that these world leaders of tennis should easily beat this opponent, but it does not work out that way. This is the “uncomfortable” opponent for the player. The one that always seems to have their number. The inconvenience can be in the style of play, manner of delivery, or working hand (left-handed, right-handed). However, when identifying uncomfortable opponents do not forget to pay attention to the surface, as an uncomfortable opponent can turn into an easily beatable foe on the grass. 

The current form. It is the current form, not the rating and history of personal confrontations, that should be the key factor influencing your bet. It is not difficult to determine the current form - it is enough to watch the last 2-3 matches involving each of the tennis players (the matches must be no later than two weeks before the reporting match). 

I would like to warn you against betting on a tennis player who is higher in the ranking but is in questionable form. As practice shows, such bets are very rarely profitable and certainly are unprofitable in the long run. In this respect, it is much more profitable to play the reverse tactics, that is, to bet against the favourites who are out of shape.

Player stats. Well, what is a pre-match analysis without detailed work on the statistics? Nothing will give you as complete of a picture of the upcoming confrontation, as will the world of numbers. First of all, it is worth paying attention to the players’ winning percentages in the first and second sets, as well as the games on their serve. If you are going to bet on a weaker tennis player, then these indicators will determine his ability to hold on against the favourite as long as possible. Also, if you bet on a reliable well-defending player, it is advantageous to bet against an active attacking player tennis player who makes a lot of unforced errors, even if he has a larger number of wins.

Which bookmakers offer bets on tennis?

To see which bookmakers offer the best odds in tennis; you can look in the Ranking on Odds on Legalbet (Tennis tab): our experts have studied the lines of each online bookmaker and have gathered deduced the margin indicators of each country on the basis of real events in line. 

Separately, it is necessary to discuss the details of a situation where a tennis player for whatever reason, cannot finish the match. How is your bet calculated in this case? The bookmaker can calculate your bet in different ways. It all depends on the rules of the BC, in which the bet was made. We will describe the most popular of the possible scenarios. 

The bets are counted if at least one ball has been played. If at least one ball was played, then all bets on the tennis player exiting the game will immediately be losses. 

Betting is counted if one game is played. If the first game is not yet finished, then there is a return on all bets. If it has been finished, then all bets on the tennis player exiting will be lost. 

Bets are counted if one, two or three sets are played. In this case, it is important that one, two, or three sets are completed (different offices will have a different number). B.C. will pay the money at rates, if a certain number of sets are not completed, there will be a refund. The bets are counted if the entire match is completed. 

Many bookmakers tend to count bets only if the game is played in full. In any other situation, these same bookmakers will instead issue a refund of bets.

As you can see, betting on tennis is a science complete with formulas, constants, variables and unknowns. In this article, you have learned about the basics of betting on tennis. You can get “University level” from making bets from personal experience. 

We strongly recommend that you watch matches more often because without seeing the game it will be very difficult for you to assess the current form of the players. And without analyzing the current form it will, in turn, be very difficult to make correct predictions. Love tennis, bet on tennis, and let luck always be with you!

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