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Categories Betting 101 Tennis

How to Bet on Tennis: Expert Strategy, Tips & Advice

While football and basketball may be dormant during the summer, it gives some other sports a chance to shine, especially tennis. As with betting on any sport, the key to tennis betting is to understand what the options are within the betting board so you can evaluate if there is something worth betting. Our betting experts and soccer betting tools can help you increase your ROI by finding positive expected value (+EV). Let’s answer the question of how to bet on tennis by diving into my expert tennis betting strategy, tips and advice.

How to Bet on Tennis: Expert Strategy, Tips & Advice

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How to Bet on Tennis | Finding Positive EV

Tennis betting can be complicated — there are a number of different markets to consider, and you’ll have to consider the court too, along with a player’s form, the tournament format — the list goes on and on.

So, before we dive into the key pieces of context you need to be a winning tennis bettor by yourself, let’s talk about a simpler way to win: OddsShopper’s market-based betting tools.

The key to profiting on any sport is to find bets that have positive expected value (+EV). Said another way, to make money betting on sports, you’ve got to find outcomes that you think are likelier than a sportsbook does..

How to Use OddsShopper’s Betting Model to Bet on Tennis

Here’s OddsShopper’s model works. It indexes the odds across the market; adjusts them for hold, book sharpness, etc.; and generates a breakeven price point (called “true odds”) for each wager. But how can you know which lines are sharper, and how do you tell how much value you’re getting on a given line?

The answer to both questions is a lot of math. Fortunately, OddsShopper’s soccer betting model crunches the numbers for you. Let’s dive into an example wager to explain how the magic happens:

Bet Size: The recommended bet size as a percentage of your bankroll. This metric is based on a fractional Kelly Criterion approach that leads to a reasonable balance of minimizing risk of ruin while maximizing potential reward.

xWin: The probability of winning the bet implied by the Sharp Sportsbook Algorithm true odds.

OS Rating: The OS rating provides a rating for each +EV bet. An OS rating above 20 signifies an exceptional bet. Ratings between 10 and 20 are highly favorable bets. Finally, a rating between 0 and 10 indicates a solid bet. We factor in the EV, expected win, bet size, and negative geometric drag to calculate this rating.

Hold: The synthetic hold across the entire market, which is the loss a bettor would sustain if he bet both sides of the market to win equal amounts. The larger the hold, the more difficult it is to beat that market. While uncommon, a negative synthetic hold is possible. Negative synthetic holds are arbitrage situations (also known as arbs) where a bettor can guarantee a profit by booking both sides.

True Odds: Odds that represent the real statistical probability of any outcome in a particular sporting event.

Line Shop | Tennis Betting Strategy

No matter what sport you are betting on, you want to maximize your potential winnings while minimizing the amount you have to pay for a given bet. That’s standard practice, but with tennis, and the number of matches and markets, it’s crucial to make sure you aren’t leaving money on the table.

Some of these margins may be small, but they start to add this up over the course of a year, and you quickly realize how much money it could be. To illustrate this point, let’s look at the moneyline odds for the French Open match between a heavy favored Carlos Alcaraz and underdog Stefanos Tsitsipas:

SportsbookCarlos AlcarazStefanos Tsitsipas
BetMGM-450+325
DraftKings-450+340
FanDuel-420+320

As you can see, you could’ve gotten Alcaraz as long as -420 and Tsitsipas as long as +340, depending on the book you used — and that’s with me looking at only three sites! If you are able to have a ton of different options, your chances of finding a better line increase, creating more potential value.

Understand the Bet Types & Formats | Tennis Betting Strategy

The second thing that’s key is a little more nuanced, but it’s crucial when betting on tennis. Unlike most sports, where everything is pretty standardized, you have situations in tennis that are unique depending on the tournament.

For example, both men and women play best-of-three sets, meaning if a player wins two, they are the winner. However, in majors, men play best-of-five sets, which is a different wrinkle and one that is important to know.

It’s little things like that you want to make sure to know before placing any bet on tennis. Let’s run through a few common bet types before we get even deeper into other factors that go into placing a sharp tennis wager.

Moneylines

Moneylines are the simplest bets out there: you have two players, and all you must do is pick a winner. No spreads, no totals — just pick the match winner and get paid out.

Game Spreads

This is where things get a bit more complicated. Tennis game spreads, like football spreads, are not just about who ultimately wins the match.

Spreads are about margin of victory. A player has to win by more than the number of games to cover the spread — or lose by less if they’re the underdog. Here’s a quick example with Alcaraz as a 5.5-game favorite:

Want to know how to bet on tennis -- profitably? We'll dive into our expert tennis betting strategy tips and advice...

This means that at the end of the match, when you add up all of Alcaraz’s games won, the total must be six or more than the number Tsitsipas won. It may seem complicated at first, but it’s a very simple method, and it’s one that can allow you to get exposure to a heavy favorite without laying massive odds.

Total Games

Another common type of bet involves games but with no position on either player. Called total games, it basically is the equivalent of a total in basketball or football as all we care about is how many total games happen in a match. The example below shows a total of 36.5 games for the Alcaraz-Tsitsipas match:

Want to know how to bet on tennis -- profitably? We'll dive into our expert tennis betting strategy tips and advice...

For example, if it went 6-3, 6-3, 6-4, we would have 28 total games and the under would win easily. However, say the match went 6-3,6-3,4-6,6-4 — that would give us 38 games, making the over the winner.

This is a great type of bet if you have a read that both players are prone to going deep into the match — or if you think one player can end things quickly, both of which are parts of my tennis betting strategy.

Clay, Grass or Hard Courts? | Tennis Betting Strategy

Okay, now that we’ve talked about the basics in terms of shopping lines and bet types, let’s get to some actionable stuff, like what to consider before making a bet. Of course, on a macro level, no matter what you bet, the process is the same – evaluating the line against the chance of success to determine if you have +EV.

Now that’s easier said than done, and in tennis, one thing you absolutely have to consider is the surface of the court. Without factoring this in, you are going to continuously find spots that you think are extremely valuable only to realize it’s the surface causing the issue.

In tennis, you have tournaments held on surfaces including grass, hardtop or clay, all of which provide different benefits and problems for players. For example, the French Open is famously played on clay, which helps quick, agile players who may not have the best serve. The ball is much slower on this surface than, say, grass, where it can be nearly impossible to stop a top-end server. This is why certain players are built for a specific surface and the lines will absolutely adjust to this.

Although the books know the surface, that doesn’t mean we can’t try and glean value from it as well. One thing that is analogous to golf is that with change of venues we can try and buy low on certain players at certain times.

When the tour starts to get into say clay season, meaning a bunch of tournaments on that surface in a row, it can be a good time to buy on a player who may have been struggling on other surfaces. Again, it’s ultimately all about the line, but you will see over time certain players thrive at certain venues because their game translates best. That is something I look to a lot in tennis to see who might be undervalued based off their history on each surface.

Overall, tennis is one of the biggest betting markets in the world, and being able to have it at your disposal can really help your overall betting portfolio. It doesn’t mean that suddenly you need to become a tennis expert, but when the biggest events pop up on the calendar, understanding the basics can make all the difference in trying to turn a profit on the courts. 

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OddsShopper’s Sports Betting Tools & Tips

New to sports betting? OddsShopper’s selection of Betting 101 articles is here to help. We even have a parlay builder and our guide to parlay betting. Check out our guide to finding positive expected value (+EV), and you can unlock more +EV plays by signing up for OddsShopper Premium!

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