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How to bet on tennis and make money

Tennis betting is massive, with some sources claiming that the market is second only to football, thanks to a boom in online and in-play betting. With numerous markets available to punters, it’s easy to see why betting on tennis has become so popular!

In this post I’m going to show you the different ways you can bet on tennis, the rules of tennis betting and things to consider when planning a tennis betting strategy.

What is tennis betting?

Quite simply, it’s betting on tennis!

And, just like many other sports, tennis betting takes place on all of the major tournaments around the world. The ATP and WTA tour events, the Davis Cup, the Federation Cup and the Grand Slam; the Australian Open, the French Open, the US Open and of course – Wimbledon!

Wimbledon, is the oldest and most famous tennis tournament in the world, and is the only major still played on grass.

The tournament takes place over two weeks in late June and early July, with the Women’s and Men’s singles finals being played on the second Saturday and Sunday of July.

There are five main competitions:

  • Men’s singles
  • Women’s singles
  • Men’s doubles
  • Women’s doubles
  • Mixed doubles

The current singles champions are Andy Murray and Serena Williams.

Markets in tennis betting

There are many tennis betting markets available but here are some of the most popular:

  • Match betting – the most popular and basic form of tennis bet.
  • Handicap betting – including game and set handicaps. Also known as tennis spread betting.
  • Over and under totals – including total games and total sets, are a popular form of tennis betting.
  • Correct score – including match score and set score. Used to predict the correct scoreline.
  • Set winner – often used by punters to bet on a player to win a particular set.
  • In-play betting – growing in popularity with a wide range of markets available.
  • Outright betting – including tournament winner and each-way betting.

To find out more check out my guide to tennis betting markets.

Whichever strategy, system or market you choose to use when betting on tennis you must always remember: It’s good to place a winning bet, but when it comes to betting on tennis, it has to be at the right odds!

Player retirement rules

As a rule, the winning margins of tennis betting are exceptionally close. With that in mind, you must read the ‘player retirement rules’ on your bookie’s website. If you don’t, you might not win as much as you thought you were going to!

There are 3 player retirement rules used by the bookies:

1 Ball Served

  • For bets to be valid, only one serve is required in the match.
  • If a player retires after this first ball is served then all bets are cancelled.

Bookies: Betbright, Bwin.

1 Set Completed

  • For bets to be valid, at least one set needs to have been played in the match.
  • If a player retires before this, all bets are cancelled and your stake will be returned.

Bookies: Betdaq, Betfair, Betfred, BetOnline, Betsafe, Bettsson, Coral, Ladbrokes, Matchbook, Paddy Power, Pinnacle, Smarkets, Sporting Bet, Unibet, 888Sport.

Match Completed

For bets to be valid, the full match has to be played.

Bookies: 10bet, 188bet, Bet365, Bet-at-home, Betvictor, Boylesports, Sky Bet, Stan James, TitanBet, William Hill, Winner Sports.

Retirement rules in different markets

Retirements in tennis can cause some major head-scratching. They’re pretty common in the minor tournaments when players want to avoid risking injury. Because of this, you should know your retirement rules and how it will affect your bets. These rules vary bookmaker to bookmaker, so for this, I’ll use Ladbrokes’ as an example:

Match Betting

If a player withdraws or is disqualified after the first set has been completed, the player progressing to the next round or that is awarded the match by the umpire will be considered the winner. If the first set has not been completed, all Match Bets will be void.

Correct Set Betting

The full number of sets required to win the match must be completed. If a player is awarded the match prior to the full number of sets being completed, all Correct Set betting on that match will be void.

Bet In Play

Game by Game Betting

If a player retires from a match while a game is in progress, but before that game has been completed, that game shall be deemed to be incomplete and all stakes shall be returned.

Set by Set Betting

If a player retires from a match while a set is in progress, but before that set has been completed, that set shall be deemed to be incomplete and all stakes shall be returned.

Handicap Betting

If a player is awarded the match due to a withdrawal prior to the full number of sets being completed, all handicap bets on that match will be void unless, at the time of the withdrawal, the result of the handicap betting is already determined.

Total Games

If a player is awarded the match due to a withdrawal prior to the full number of sets being completed, all total games bets on that match will be void unless, at the time of the withdrawal, the result of the total games is already determined.

To Win/Lose 1st Set and Win the Match

If either player withdraws from the match before the first set finishes, then bets will be void. If the first set has been completed, then the match part of the bet will be determined by the players awarded the match.

So, if you fancy a bet on Wimbledon this year, remember to read the T&Cs of the offer!

Do I need a tennis betting system?

Tennis betting markets are quite difficult to profit from. As such, a tennis betting system or strategy is key to maximising your chances of winning. Whatever you do, you must remember the golden rule if you want to bet on tennis – only bet when there is value in the odds!

Tennis bets that have value in their odds are the matches where you believe the outcome is more likely than what the bookies odds suggest. However, there are a number of other factors that need to be looked at before placing a bet on a tennis including:

Player motivation

Motivational factors to think about include a player’s form; good or bad, favourite tournaments or playing in a minor event straight after a successful run in a major tournament.

There is also the ‘tank’ whereby a highly ranked player makes an appearance at a minor event for a substantial fee and retires from the tournament in one of the early rounds.

It is therefore worthwhile to take a good look at a player’s retirement record.

Player fitness

Tennis players regularly suffer from injuries. So, it is worthwhile to have a look at a player’s match calendar and results to see how many tournaments they have recently played and how many they have entered in the future. This can be a good indicator of how fresh a player actually is and how they might perform in an upcoming event.

Playing conditions

Some tennis players prefer to play on clay courts whilst others much prefer to play on hard or grass surfaces. Even the speed of particular tennis courts is a factor.

The weather

The wind is a huge factor in outdoor tournaments and players with a high ball toss are at a disadvantage. In windy conditions, attacking players can be disadvantaged by having to play more cautiously than usual.


A good guide to see how one player manages to play against an opponent’s playing style is to look at recent head-to-head matches. For example, a player might find it difficult playing against someone that has a powerful serve. Similarly, playing against a left handed opponent can cause difficulties for some players.

Find out how to minimise risk and make money with matched betting.

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About the author:

Ian OddsMonkey

Ian OddsMonkey

Wondering how to make money from matched betting once you run out of ‘welcome’ offers? Ian’s here to document his journey on life after sign ups.

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