Betting on tennis for the last decade has been somewhat of a double-edged sword, especially on the men’s side. Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic – the big three – have dominated the sport, winning 18 of the last 21 majors. On one hand, the sport’s predictability should lead to profitable betting. On the other hand, the money lines on their matches aren’t usually enticing, requiring very large bets to make serious money.
Yes, the women’s side has been a lot more open, but Serena Williams has also dominated the game considerably. In fact, she held all four major titles simultaneously and won the calendar Grand Slam during one stretch from the end of 2014 to the beginning of 2015.
Considering all these scenarios, the question is, ‘is there any money to be made betting tennis?’ While the short answer is ‘yes,’ it may take a little creativity as long as the aforementioned players continue to dominate the sport.
Here, we provide 5 tips and strategies about tennis betting you should be familiar with.
1. Identify value by opposing fan favorites
Well, markets love certain players and hate others. For example, when Andy Murray and Roger Federer met in the 2015 Wimbledon semi-final. The Swiss was around 2.1 dead ball. However, some people had a huge bet on Murray, which didn’t go the right way as Federer blitzed the Scot 3-0 – it happens sometimes.
In the final, however, Federer had the same odds against Novak Djokovic – thanks to a wave of nostalgia.
According to the BBC, 75% of viewers thought Federer would win. So, a small portion of people heavily backed Djokovic, and he ended up beating Federer in four sets. This was one of the most inaccurate tennis odds offered, even though it was the Wimbledon final
2. Study the styles of players in pressure situations
Scrutinizing how players respond in specific situations when trading in-play is paramount because they’ll react differently when going ahead or behind. Certain players have excellent records with breakpoints saved and breakpoints converted – and vice versa. Indeed, for a player, the big moments are breaking serve or after having been broken themselves. This will lead to the biggest price fluctuations. Therefore, it’s important to arm yourself with a good knowledge of how players respond in different situations.
Some players have a better first-set record than their opponent because they’re quick out of the blocks. Therefore, backing a player who wins a decent portion of first sets and then placing a lay bet if they go 1-0 is a legitimate strategy. Equally, there are many bottlers who aren’t good at closing out matches from winning positions. The likes of Daniel Munoz de la Nava and Thomaz Bellucci are brilliant at advancing near to the finishing line but are equally terrible at closing out the match. In contrast, players like Kei Nishikori have a phenomenal deciding-set record.
3. Try to capitalize on pre-match drifters
Usually, the odds of players will drift significantly dead ball. There might be plenty of reasons for this: they’ve had a medical timeout in the previous round, or there are fitness concerns. Another factor is motivation. Many players don’t really care in smaller tournaments. Yes, if your player doesn’t want to win, it’s a problem. In fact, some players have admitted that they’ve had a flight booked right after the match, and they were only there to have a few drinks and explore the city.
4. Don’t overvalue head-to-heads
The hardest stats to interpret in tennis are head-to-head records. The market is dead keen on head-to-head records. Often, you’ll see two players will have played the week before, and the favorite was 1.4 on that occasion. He lost 2-0, and he’s suddenly now 1.7 the next week against the same opponent. So, while the latest result was worth something, it wasn’t probably worth that much. In tennis, instances like these aren’t uncommon.
5. Interpret form and stats correctly
While form study is important when choosing which player to back in a tennis match, you’ll need to decide how far back is relevant. A player may have gone four years without a decent run in a particular tournament, but at what point in time does this lose its relevancy? And if their form is dipping, you should try to understand the reasons behind this. For example, a player on an awful slide who lost 6-0 6-1 in a previous match could have an injury that isn’t public knowledge. However, if a player lost to an opponent at 5-1 and it later transpired that they were nursing an illness like a touch of the flu, smart betters would probably be comfortable betting that player next time out. Yes, the market doesn’t like players in bad form, but there may be a legitimate reason for it, which means there’s sometimes incredible value to be had by backing a player who is not in form.
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About the Author
Margaret E. Super has been in the betting business for more than a decade. She has worked with various betting companies and doesn’t mind sharing her knowledge with her audiences. She’s currently employed as a senior blogger at a betting website.