Tennis Betting Markets

In tennis, there are several different ways to make wagers. Of course, you can bet on who will win the match, but there are a number of alternate bets that allow you to gamble on various outcomes and aspects of tennis matches and tournaments. If you’re not familiar with the various kinds of tennis betting markets available to you, the following rundown should help you out!

Tennis Money Lines

A tennis money line bet is a simple bet on who will win the match in question. There are no handicaps or provisions; if your chosen player wins, you win the bet.

Of course, most matches have a distinct favorite and underdog, so the odds on each side of the bet are likely to be different. For instance, let’s take a look at the 2011 Wimbledon Women’s Final for an example. In this match, Maria Sharapova will be taking on Petra Kvitova. The odds at Pinnacle are currently listed as follows:

M. Sharapova -161 (1.621 in decimal odds)
P. Kvitova +151 (2.51)

In order to win $100 by betting on Sharapova, you will need to wager $161. Conversely, a $100 bet on Kvitova will win $151 if she should win the match.

Set Betting

Since tennis matches are organized by sets, it only makes sense that you can wager on the results of an individual set as well. Typically, a bookmaker will post odds on every set that is guaranteed to be played barring a retirement (that is, the first two sets, or the first three in a men’s Grand Slam event). In our example match, Pinnacle has set odds for the first and second sets as follows:

First Set

M. Sharapova -140
P. Kvitova +127

Second Set

M. Sharapova -140
P. Kvitova +122

Like standard money line bets, these bets are simply on who will win each set, with no handicaps. If your sportsbook offers in play betting, later sets will also become available for wagering as those sets are guaranteed to be played.

Handicap Betting

If you bet on team sports – especially American football, basketball, or baseball – you’ll be familiar with the “point spread.” It’s a way to handicap one team so that the betting odds can be as close to even money as possible; the favorite will have to win by a certain margin in order to win the bet, while a bet on the underdog can pay off as long as they keep it close.

Tennis has a similar method of evening the odds known as handicap betting. The most common form of handicap betting uses the total number of games won during the match to determine the winner. At the end of the match, the total number of games won by each player in each set is taken, the handicap is applied, and the winner of the bet is determined.

In our example match, the following handicap bet was available at Pinnacle:

M. Sharapova (-2.5) -106
P. Kvitova (+2.5) -102

If you bet $106 on Sharapova, you would win $100 if she won at least three games more than Kvitova. A bet on Kvitova would pay off if she won more games than her opponent, or if Sharapova won by two games or less. If

Often, several different handicaps will be available, with slightly different odds. For instance, Pinnacle also offered Sharapova at -3 and -2 games, with adjustments made in the odds. Additionally, some sportsbooks will offer handicaps based on the number of sets each player will win, or game handicaps that allow you to bet on individual sets. For instance, the following bet was available on the first set of our match:

Sharapova (-1) -125
P. Kvitova (+1) +107

Game Totals

You can also bet on the total number of games that will be played during the match. This bet is often known as an over/under bet, as you will be betting on whether the total number of games will go over or under the set total. Once again, in our example match, the following bet was offered:

Over 22.5 Games -114
Under 22.5 Games +103

For example, if Sharapova won the match 6-4 7-5, a total of 22 games would have been played, allowing the under bet to win. Game totals can also be offered on a single set.

Tournament Bets

It is also possible to bet on the outcome of a tournament, rather than the results of a given match. Typically, sportsbooks will offer odds on most major tournaments, including Grand Slam events. You can pick any of the top players to win the tournament; there will also likely be a “field” option that covers all players not listed individually.

Bettors can sometimes also choose to bet on players reaching a certain stage of a given tournament. Most commonly, these bets pay out if a player makes the semifinal round. Of course, these bets offer much lower odds than bets to win the entire tournament; however, your chances of winning will also be higher, and the draw each player will see on their way to the semifinal round is also more predictable.