How to Bet on Tennis: The Complete Tennis Betting Guide

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How to bet on tennis

This guide covers everything you need to know before you start betting on tennis, plus the factors to consider when placing a bet…

Tennis Tournaments and Matches

Tennis is the most popular individual sport globally; therefore, it will come as little surprise that tennis is also one of the most popular sports when it comes to betting. There are matches and tournaments taking place worldwide almost every day of the year.

The top men’s professional circuit is called the ATP Tour, where ATP stands for the Association of Tennis Professionals. Tournaments are played throughout the year, with the most prestigious being the four Grand Slam events. The remaining, regular tournaments are graded in this order (from most to least prestigious): ATP Masters 1000, ATP 500 and ATP 250. At the end of each season, the top players compete in the ATP Finals.

The second and third tier tours on the men’s circuit are the ATP Challenger Tour and the ITF Men’s World Tennis Tour respectively.

The equivalent of the ATP Tour on the women’s circuit is the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) Tour, which also features the Grand Slams. The women’s tournaments are graded WTA 1000, WTA 500 and WTA 250. The lesser tours on the women’s circuit are the WTA 125 series and the ITF Women’s World Tennis Tour.

There are also team events, the best known of which is the Davis Cup.

Alongside these, you’ll find a whole host of other tournaments and matches on which you can place bets with Marathonbet.

Tennis Betting Guide

As with many other sports, placing a bet on the main tennis markets is fairly straightforward. Once you get to grips with the terminology and rules, you can then delve into some of the more specialised additional markets available on both pre-match and live (in-play) tennis.  

Our guide will take you through tips for betting on tennis, factors you should consider when placing your tennis bets and a look at the different markets available with Marathonbet.

In addition to betting on individual matches, outright odds are offered on who will win the trophy for many of the big tournaments. These odds will often be updated after each day’s play. For the Grand Slam events, odds may be offered many months in advance. This means you can look for the ‘value’ prices, as players may be coming into form at the opportune moment. 

How to Bet on a Tennis Match

Here, we’ll describe a few of the commonly placed tennis bets. For beginners, these markets are some of the simplest ways to place a bet on a tennis match.  

Tennis Betting – Match Winner

As tennis is a sport where there can ultimately only be one of two outcomes—one player/team wins while the other player/team loses—the Match Result market (1,2 betting) is where you’ll find the odds for each player to win.

Tennis 1,2 betting
Tennis 1,2 betting

As you can see from the image above, the odds for each match are listed in columns headed ‘1’ and ‘2’. These relate to the numbers next to the players’ names and indicate which odds apply to which player.

Tennis Handicap Betting

Whilst shocks can and do happen in tennis, more often than not the latter stages of the bigger tournaments are contested mainly by the same small group of players.

As many matches will have a strong favourite, tennis handicap betting can be a popular way to follow a match where there appears to be a big difference in the relative abilities of the competing players.

There are two types of handicap betting options available on most matches with Marathonbet: set handicaps and game handicaps. These are both quite self-explanatory; however, one thing the bettor must check in advance is how many sets the match will be played over (i.e., is it a ‘best of three sets’ or ‘best of five sets’ match?).

In the following example, you can see the handicap betting markets available on a match with a strong favourite.

Tennis handicap betting odds
Tennis handicap betting odds

This match is contested over the best of three sets, so let’s look at the various tennis handicap betting options available.

Handicap Betting – Set Handicap

The favourite, Tsitsipas, is offered at odds of 1.67 to win with a handicap of -1.5 sets.

Given the match is played over the best of three sets, if he were to be victorious, the only possible set scores would be either 2-0 or 2-1.

Therefore, if Tsitsipas won in straight sets (2-0), a bet on him at -1.5 sets would be a winning one (as 2 minus 1.5 is a positive figure).

However, if Tsitsipas won 2-1, then a bet on him at -1.5 sets would be a losing one (as 1 minus 1.5 is a negative figure).

Handicap Betting – Game Handicap

This is a more interesting bet, as you not only have to factor in what you think the set score will be, but also how close those sets will finish.

To calculate the result of this bet, all the games from every set are added together.

For example, if the match went to three sets with the following scores:  6-4, 2-6, 6-3 (Tsitsipas scores shown first).

The total games won by each player would be: Tsitsipas – 14, Hanfmann – 13.

Therefore, any game handicap bets on Tsitsipas at -1.5 or greater would be losing ones, as that would take his total games won below that of Hanfmann. Similarly, any bets on Hanfmann at +1.5 or greater would be winning ones.

Handicap Betting – Handicap Draws

In the two-way handicap markets, you will notice that some of the lines offered are whole numbers (i.e., -1, -2, -3, etc.). Should the scores be level after being adjusted for the handicap, then bets will be void and stakes will be returned.

In the three-way markets, a price for a draw after factoring in the handicap is offered. In this case, should the scores be level after being adjusted for the handicap, bets on the ‘draw’ will be winners and those on either player will be losing ones.

Tennis Over/Under Betting

As in several other sports, over/under betting is a popular way to follow a match. With this market, you are betting on the number of games or sets that will be played in a match.

For example, if you want to place a bet on the match below (best of three sets) and think it might be a close game but are unsure who will win, you could back the match to have over 2.5 sets. In effect, you would be betting, at a combined price of 2.43, that either player wins by two sets to one.

On the other hand, if you think one player could win easily, you could place a bet on one of the ‘under’ lines in the ‘Total Games’ market.

Tennis Over/Under Betting

There is an additional option available on these markets as well, as you can bet on the total games won by each player individually.

Tennis Over/Under Betting

Statistics Betting on Tennis

In addition to the regular markets, you can also bet on a range of statistics during the game. These include the following, which are offered as over/under markets:

  • Total Aces
  • Total Break Points
  • Total Double Faults

You can also bet on those markets as over/under totals for each player individually, as well as betting on which player will achieve the higher number.

Live (in-play) Tennis Betting

Tennis betting really comes into its own when you look at the live in-play markets available.

You can still bet on all your favourite main markets, which are updated throughout the match, but Marathonbet also offers live in-play betting on each of the games within a match.

On each individual game, you can bet on these markets:

  • To win the individual game
  • To win the next point, and any named point within that game
  • The total number of points in that game
  • That game to end after a specific score (i.e., 40-15, 40–30, etc.)
  • That individual game to reach 40-40 (yes/no)

Tennis is one of the most popular sports for live in-play betting, given that momentum in a match can shift dramatically from one game to the next.

Bet in-play on all leading tennis tournaments with live tennis odds from Marathonbet.

Tennis Outrights

Outright markets can offer some of the best value when betting on tennis, particularly if you feel a potential winner has been over-priced, or if no one player is currently dominant on the circuit.

The Grand Slam tournaments will be priced up a long time in advance and can offer the opportunity for a ‘value’ bet. Bookmakers may be focussed on the current tournament taking place and not immediately change a price on an in-form player to win one of the forthcoming tournaments. If you’re quick, you could grab yourself a good price!

However, bear in mind that by the time the future tournament comes around, that player may not be in such good form, in which case the odds taken may not look like such a bargain.

When betting on tennis outrights, it’s also worth looking at a tournament to see if any of the leading players have a favourable draw when the seedings are announced. For instance, if Jannik Sinner has to knock out both Daniil Medvedev and Novak Djokovic, amongst others, to win a tournament, that will significantly impact his chances.

Tennis Outrights

Pick your tournament winner with tennis outright betting

What are seeded and unseeded players?

A certain number of players will be seeded within a tournament based on their ranking. The number of seeds will generally depend on the number of players competing. In a tournament such as Wimbledon, which often sees many players taking part, there are 32 seeds in both the men’s and women’s singles.

The purpose of seeding players is to separate them in the draw, so that the best players don’t meet each other in the early rounds. Therefore, if all the matches go as expected, the first seed would play the fourth seed and the second seed would play the third seed at the semi-final stage.

Tennis Betting Strategy

If you’re looking for tips for betting on tennis, there are several factors which need to be taken into consideration.

Swot up on the surface

Before placing your bet, it’s always worth checking how well a player is suited to a particular surface.

Remember, not all players find it easy to adapt their game to every surface, while others can excel on one surface to become specialists.

Rafael Nadal is one example of a player who strongly favours a particular playing surface, so much so that he attained the nickname ‘King of the Clay’. The French Open is the only Grand Slam tournament played on clay and, at the time of writing, Nadal has won the title 14 times. A significant achievement given he has reached the final in Paris 14 times so far and is yet to lose! 

Rafa’s game moves up another level on clay, and surface specialists will always be priced accordingly in the odds.

Drilling a little deeper into how well a player adapts to a surface can make all the difference in terms of finding value, particularly when it comes to less high-profile matches involving up-and-coming players.

Given the tennis season is broadly split according to the Grand Slams (hard court, clay court, grass court, hard court), checking whether a player seems to enjoy a spike in form at a certain time of the year (e.g., during the grass court season) could pay dividends. The type of surface is displayed in the top right corner of the match odds on the Marathonbet website.

Study playing styles

In the high-pressure world of professional tennis, even the game’s top players can struggle when up against an unconventional playing style.

From big-serving Pete Sampras to the all-court grace of Roger Federer, history shows us there’s no one ‘correct’ way to reach the top in tennis, and some players can uncharacteristically falter when faced with different playing styles.

It’s always worth taking a moment to consider how well a player’s game is suited to countering their opponent’s strengths before placing your bet.

Head-to-head could hold the key

With tournaments taking place most weeks of the year, players can face each other several times over the course of a season. That makes life a lot easier for anyone looking to do some research when betting on tennis tournaments, where certain trends can emerge against particular opponents.

This can be even more relevant for the better players, who consistently make the latter stages of tournaments, and are thus more likely to play each other more often.

Even the most talented players can have one opponent that routinely causes them problems.

For all his successes, Novak Djokovic has met the lower-ranked Stan Wawrinka in five finals, but it’s the Swiss who leads 3-2 in wins. He has also won both of their Grand Slam Final meetings to date.

Alternatively, maybe a particular player has difficulty playing against left-handers.

Taking time to do the research could pay dividends for a successful bettor.

Scoring in Tennis

Tennis matches are generally based on a ‘best-of-three’ or ‘best-of-five’ set format. A set is won when a player (or team) reaches six games with at least a two-game advantage. A set can be won 7-5, but if the score reaches 6-6, a tiebreak will be played (see Tennis Terminology section).

Within each game in a match, when points are won, they are designated in the following order: 15, 30 and 40. The server’s score is always shown first.

Therefore, if the server wins the first point in a game, the score will be 15-0. If they also win the second point, the score changes to 30-0.

If the non-server then wins the next point, the score becomes 30-15, and so on.

If a game score reaches 40-40 (deuce) then it will continue until either player wins two successive points

Tennis Terminology

There are a few terms you will need to know when betting on tennis, and the list below covers some of the more commonly used phrases:

  • Deuce: When a game reaches the score of 40-40.
  • Advantage: When a game has a score of 40-40, the player who wins the next point is awarded the advantage. The umpire would then call the game score, which may be, for example: ‘Advantage Djokovic’. That player would then need to win the following point to win the game. (Note: in most doubles matches, the first point after ‘deuce’ is sudden death and no advantage point is played).
  • Love: When a player has not scored a point in a game. For example, 30-0 could be referred to as ’30 love’, or if a player wins a game without the other player scoring a point, they could be said to have ‘won that game to love’.
  • Tiebreak: A tiebreak game played to decide the winner of a set when the score has reached 6-6. The winner of the tiebreak is the first player to reach seven points with an advantage of at least two points over their opponent. The tiebreak winner will be awarded the set, and the score will be 7-6 in terms of games.
  • Let: When a serve hits the top of the net and bounces in the designated valid landing area. In this case, that serve must be retaken.
  • Ace: When the serve bounces in the valid landing area and the receiver is unable to hit the ball with any part of their racket.
  • Double fault: When the server is unable to make a valid serve from two attempts in the same point. The receiver will win that point.
  • Break point: When the receiving player can win the game by winning the next point and thus would ‘break the serve’. For example, if the game score is 30-40, the receiving player will have one break point, if it is 15-40, they will have two break points, etc.
  • Break of serve: When the receiving player wins a game.
  • Hold serve: When the server wins their service game.
  • Set point: Similar to break point, when a player can win the set if they win the next point.
  • Umpire review: In some of the bigger tournaments, a player can challenge a line judge’s call on where the ball landed (in or out) and it will be reviewed by an electronic device known as ‘Hawk-Eye’.
  • Doubles: Matches played by four players, 2 vs 2 (all men, all women, or mixed), which take place over a wider court than a singles match.

Tennis Betting FAQs

Have a question on tennis betting? Check our FAQs for answers to some of the most asked questions on tennis betting.

How do I bet on a tennis match?

Head to the Marathonbet website and select tennis, either in the ‘Sport’ or ‘Live’ section.

If you click on the down arrow, you’ll be presented with a list of the current betting opportunities, sorted by the name of the tour first and then the venue of the tournament. In most tours, there will be several tournaments played during the same period at venues around the world.

If you want to see everything that is available on one page, simply click on ‘Tennis’ in the sports menu, and all the events will be listed on one page.

What is in-play betting in tennis?

‘In-play tennis betting’, which is also known as ‘Live tennis betting’, is when you place a bet on a match whilst it is in progress. See the special section in this guide on live (in-play) tennis betting for more information. 

What is a walkover in tennis betting?

A walkover is when one of the players is unable to start a match due to illness, injury or being disqualified from the tournament. In such cases, the other player is considered the winner and advances to the next round without a ball being hit.

This is a different situation to a retirement, in which a player starts a match but is unable to complete it due to illness or injury. You can see how bets are settled in such circumstances in the Marathonbet tennis betting rules.

What are the Grand Slam tournaments?

There are four grand slam tournaments in a tennis season.

  • The Australian Open, played on a hard court since 1988 (previously on grass). It takes place from mid to late January.
  • The French Open, played on a clay court. It takes place from late May to early June.
  • Wimbledon, played on a grass court. It takes place during early July.
  • The US Open, played on a hard court. It takes place from late August to early September.

The grand slam tournaments are each played over a two-week period, and the timings may change.

What are the different playing surfaces in tennis?

There are three main types of courts that are used regularly in professional tennis, although some of the more minor tournaments are held on artificial surfaces.

  • Clay Courts
  • Grass Courts
  • Hard Courts

As a general guide, grass is the fastest surface, followed by hard courts, with clay being the slowest. Hard courts have a higher bounce, whilst grass courts are skiddier, and players can get more spin on clay courts.

Can I cash out my tennis bet?

The Cash Out option is available on tennis, as well as on many other sports.

However, bear in mind that the Cash Out option is not available on every match. Depending on what is happening during the course of a specific match, the Cash Out option may be suspended or removed during that match.

Additionally, only selected types of bets, selections or markets have the Cash Out option.

A cash out banner
A cash out banner

You may also use the Auto Cash Out or Partial Cash Out functions when they are available.

Can I use my Free Bet on a tennis match?

If you have a Free Bet, it can be placed as a win only single on any Sportsbook event of your choice. The Free Bet can be placed on any pre-match or live in-play event.

If your selection is a winning one, winnings from bets placed using your Free Bet will be paid as withdrawable funds; however, your Free Bet stake will not be paid with any winnings.

Virtual Sports Tennis

If you enjoy betting on tennis, why not take a look at the Virtual Sports section on our website? Here, you’ll find a range of high-quality tennis match simulations available throughout the day and evening.

You can find more information in our blog article Virtual Sports Tennis Betting Guide.

See also the How to Bet on Football betting guide.

Tennis stats correct as of 6th November 2023.