Betting on tennis could appear slightly intimidating at first, especially if you’re not familiar with the sport. Luckily, this guide will lead you through the steps for tennis betting and you can also further your knowledge of the sport as you bet.
Both men’s and women’s tennis tournaments run throughout the year with the exception of December, giving you plenty of chances to both watch and bet on matches.
We’ll take a look at how the rules of tennis work, the fundamentals of tennis betting and point you in the right direction of the best tennis markets to bet on for players of all experience levels.
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As one of the World’s most popular sports, tennis is enjoyed by millions across the globe annually. The sport is played with either a 1 vs 1 format, or 2 vs 2, known as doubles.
The aim is to hit the ball into the opponent's side of the court. This will enable the player to win games, sets and ultimately, the match. Aside from landing the ball in the opponent's side of the court, points can be scored by causing the opponent to make a mistake, such as them hitting the net or returning a shot wide or hitting the ball past the opponent so that it bounces more than once in their side of the court.
At first, tennis scoring could look a bit on the complicated side but becomes clearer once you’ve learnt more baout it. The first player to win six games wins the set and the first player to reach two to three sets wins the match, depending on the length of the match.
Both players start on 0 or ‘love’, as it is known in tennis. The scoring format is 15, 30, 40, game. When a player is serving at the beginning of a game and wins a point, the score will be 15-0. If the opposing side then scores a point, the scoring will then be 15-15 until either player reaches ‘game’ by scoring four points.
A player must win a game by at least two clear points. If the score reaches 40-40, the game will go to ‘deuce’ and a player must gain an advantage point before earning the game winning point. Should a player have the ‘advantage’ but lose the next point, the score again returns to deuce.
To win a set, the player must win six games. Similar to points in a game, a set must also be won by two clear games. So, if the score is 5-5 in sets, one player will need to win another two games to make it 7-5 and therefore win the match. To reduce the risk of a match lasting forever, a rule is imposed that if the players reach 6-6 in sets, a tie-break takes place and it’s the first player to seven sets that wins. In this outcome, the player must again win by two clear points, making a tie-break potentially limitless.
Generally, tennis matches are played over three sets and the first player to win two sets is the winner of the match. An exception to this rule is Grand Slam titles where men’s tennis play a five set format.
Grand Slam events also enforce a rule whereby the fifth set in a match can’t be won by a tie-break. In the past this has seen matches run to over 10 hours in length, as in the case of John Isner vs Nicolas Mahut in 2010.
Here at Unibet, we offer a large variety of ways to bet on tennis. Whether you fancy a flutter on the ATP tour, Grand Slam events or the Women’s WTA tour, we have it all and more.
One of the most accessible ways to bet on tennis, especially if you’re new to tennis betting is to take a look at the world rankings before you begin. World rankings work by awarding ranking points after playing in tournaments – the more prestigious the tournament, the greater amount of ranking points a player will win.
Once you’ve become more informed about the players, you can then start concentrating on other factors, one of the most important being the surface that the match is being played on. As a rule, there are three different kinds of court; grass, hard and clay. Some players adapt better to these different surfaces, which is useful to remember when betting on tennis.
One of the most prevalent and appealing ways to bet on tennis is outright betting. With outright betting in tennis, you simply bet on the player who you think will win any given tournament.
Long-form betting allows you to place a bet on a player and follow their progress (or lack of it) in a tournament. If you’re new to the sport, this is a great way of giving you someone to back as the tournament develops.
Another way of betting on tennis is ‘match betting’, a simple concept whereby you bet on which of the players you think will win the match. One of the great appeals of tennis as a sport is that it can’t end in a draw, so all you need to do is pick the clear winner of a specific match.
Betting on games and sets is another popular way of betting on the game. As we discussed earlier, a tennis match is made up of three to five sets, with each set hosting six games minimum. Betting on over/under on sets and games is another way of wagering on tennis.
You bet on ‘Over 9.5 games’ in set three. If there are more than 10 games in that set, you win. You also have the option to bet on the correct score of games and sets, plus whether deuces or tie-breaks occur.
Handicap betting is another widely-used type of bet in tennis, with bets being placed on both games and sets. As with other forms of handicap betting, a player is given a hypothetical advantage or disadvantage that will display as + or -.
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Kei Nishikori in the US Open. You place a bet on a -1.5 game handicap for Stefanos Tsitsipas . If Tsitsipas wins the set by at least two games, you win the bet.
Another enjoyable way of betting is backing players over a specific tournament or even the season. You may, for example bet on clay supremo Dominic Thiem to win a minimum of one Grand Slam title in a season. This gives you a bit of give-and-take if Thiem is lagging in the first two slams of the year, say.
You could also decide to back a player to exit at a certain point in a tournament. Perhaps you think that a player such as Simona Halep will easily make it through the opening rounds of the French open but be less convinced that she’ll make it to the semi-finals, as there’s a possibility she could meet Naomi Osaka in the quarter-finals. In this scenario, you might bet that Halep leaves the tournament before or at the quarter-finals.
Tennis is a game that really suits live betting, due to the fact that there are regular breaks between games and sometimes also points. In-play markets are always shifting in tennis because of how quickly the game can develop between the two or four players.
Betting live on tennis is popular with seasoned bettors as a way of using odds to their gain.
Particularly relevant to men’s tennis where the serve is critical to wining a match. As men’s tennis is so reliant on who gets to serve, a break of serve – the action where the player returning the serve wins a game can cause great fluctuation in odds.
Due to the nature of women’s tennis, where the serve is a lesser factor in the match, it’s debatably a more competitive and skillful sport in general. Pre-match betting on women’s tennis can be seen as less stable than men’s tennis because of the swings in odds during a women’s tennis match. Women’s tennis sees a lot more breaks of a serve, making it the ideal complement to live betting.
Some fans of tennis betting enjoy wagering on the result of games or even points halfway through a game. It takes a touch of luck and a good deal of skill to be able to judge if a player is going to break serve and cause a large change in odds.
Live streaming not only connects you directly with the action as it happens, it also enables you to make a sounder prediction when deciding to bet on a match. With Unibet, you can be assured that we will be covering the biggest and best tennis tournaments globally.
Factors such as a player’s temperament, current emotional state, the amount of stress the player may or may not be under are all aspects that can influence how you bet.
With tennis being an international sport, you can find our live streams coming from Asia, Australasia, the United States or South America, making it the perfect 24-hour sport for you to bet on.