Somewhere around the world, every day, there are competitive tennis matches being played. It is for this reason that billions of dollars a year are wagered on tennis matches, among the highest of all of the sports. For a sport that requires you to be incredible physical condition, but also not be a contact sport at all, tennis is a unique sport that resembles the back and forth excitement to a sport like boxing.
The simplest type of tennis wager is betting on who you think will win the match. The match is broken down into sets, which is broken down into games. To win a set, you must win at least 6 games. The maximum number of sets in a match is 3 for women, and 5 for men. When it is a best out of 3, the first player to wins 2 sets wins the match. When it is a best out of 5 match, the first player to wins 3 sets is the winner.
You must win a game by at least 2 points, and you must win a set by at least 2 games. If you are 1 point away from winning a game and your opponent ties the score, the game goes into a tiebreaker. This same rule applies if say you were winning the set by a score of 5-4. If your opponent beats you the next game to tie things at 5, you are in a tiebreaker and the final score for that match cannot be settled any quicker than something like 7-5.
Before the start of each match, a line is given on each player. The line determines what the payout will be. If Player A is shown at +120, this means for every $10 you bet, you win $12 should Player A win the match. Since it pays better than even money, Player A is the underdog. If Player A is the underdog, then Player B would be the favorite. Their payout line would say something like -115. This means for every $10 you want to win, you will have to bet $11.50.
Tennis matches are not settled quickly, so you have other betting options besides the final outcome of the match. If you like one of the players to win only the first set of the match, you can bet on them to specifically accomplish that. You might consider doing this if you feel one of the players is prone to starting out very strong. Or if one of the other players is prone to getting off to slow starts, you may want to pick his opponent to win the first set strictly because of that. You can also bet on a player to win the following set, while the current set is still in progress.
You can place wagers on what you think the exact score of a match will be. If you take Player A to beat Player B by a set score of 3-1, this is the only outcome that can give you a winner. Naturally, when betting on a best 3/5 match instead of a 2/3, the payouts will be greater since there are more combinations than can occur, which means they are more difficult to accurately predict.
The spread, known as the handicapping bet in the tennis world is the line set by the bookmaker at how much they think the favorite will win by. An example would be if Player A is a -4.5 favorite over the underdog Player B. What this means is that Player A will win the entire match by at least 5 games totaled from each set. If Player A wins the 1st set 6-1, loses the 2nd one 6-4, and wins the 3rd set 6-3, you will have won taking Player A at -4.5. You see here that Player A won the 1st set by 5 games. Their lead decreased to 3 games after the 2nd set since Player B won it. With Player A winning the final set 6-3, this increased their lead in games won by 6 total games, therefore it won the bet at -4.5. Had the final score looked something like 6-4, 6-4, with Player A winning both sets, this would be a losing bet because even though they won the match, they only won by a margin of 4 total games.
Taking the favorite to win the match outright will always pay less than winning by at least a certain amount of games since having to only win by any margin is easier to do. Conversely, taking the underdog to win the match outright will pay more than accepting the luxury of still losing the match by a certain number of games since this is more difficult to do.
You may not have a feel for who will win the match, but that doesn’t have to matter if you want to make some money. You can bet on how many total games will be played throughout the entire match. This is also known as the “over/under”. If suppose the line was set at 24 games, and you thought this match was going to be a major battle, you might be interested in taking the “over” on 24. This means you think they will have to play at least 25 games from all of the combined sets to see who wins. That means if the match plays out in sets resulting in 6-2, 6-4, and 7-5, this is 30 total games, and the over will be a winning bet.
If you think one player is going to dominate the other and end the match quickly, you might want to consider taking the under on whatever the line is. If it was 24 again, and one player wipes out the other in 2 quick sets of 6-1, 6-1, this will have gone way under with only 14 games.
You have the same option for how many sets you think the match will take. In a best 2 out of 3 match, the over/under will obviously have to be 2.5 since the match cannot go less than 2 sets. The standard payout when taking the over or under in any of these scenarios is -110, meaning you must bet $11 to win $10.
Lastly, there is the array of “wildcard” wagers you can choose from known as props. Short for betting propositions, props are predictions focusing on very specific outcomes that don’t have anything to do with who actually wins the match. Depending on where you are placing your bets will determine what props, if any, are available. One example of a prop would be is “will any of the sets have to be settled with a tiebreaker?” As you see, this does not concern who wins the match, or even the set. It pertains only to whether or not you think the matchup is close enough between the 2 players that you think tiebreakers could be needed. If you really know some of the finer points about each competitor, and how they could match up with each other, props do have the potential to yield some fruitful profits.