Just like how tennis has grown tremendously over the decades and centuries, betting on this game has also evolved and become extremely popular over a period of time. For now, we’ll focus primarily on betting on men’s tennis games since women’s tennis is a completely different ball game and has only so much resemblance to the men’s version as that exists between archery and shooting!
We can’t easily get around betting on men’s tennis unless we know the basics and have a good idea about the yearly tour calendar of the men’s games.
The basics of men’s tennis – Yearly tour calendar
The men’s tennis tour is divided into various tiers of events. The highest tier belongs to the four grand slams namely: Wimbledon, French Open, US open and Australian open that offer twice the ranking points compared to the Masters 1000 series which constitutes the second tier.
If you’re a male tennis player, bagging a Grand Slam title can put 2000 ranking points in your kitty, while winning a Masters 1000 series title (which are a total of nine events, apart from the world tour finals meant for the top 8 players of a tennis season in any given year) can earn you 1000 ranking points.
The tiers below these two are made up by the ATP 250 and ATP 500 events which are conducted in various parts of the world. Then there are also the Davis Cup matches, a yearly team-based competition which also earns ranking points for the players.
Apart from all these, the top players also play a good number of exhibition matches every year.
Tiers even below these constitute the Challenger Tours, which aren’t broadcasted, but can normally be streamed. You can watch any of these streams at popular betting portals or any online casino such as Bet365 (Please note, if you do use Bet365, ensure that you get your sign-up Bet365 bonus).
These Challenger Tours occasionally attract some of the topmost names for reasons like a drop in the fitness level or form, allowing them to get some good practice against the lower ranked players.
The format of majority of the events listed above, apart from the Davis cup and the four grand slams, is the best-of-three sets. The slams and Davis cup matches feature five sets overall.
How the number of sets involved change the betting scenario significantly is that the longer matches are more profitable to bet on since they provide a far better idea of the players’ abilities. The three set format can often provide shock results and it’s comparatively harder to win three out of five sets when playing against a higher ranked opponent.
Popular markets for tennis betting
Majority of the tennis games are televised these days and you can also watch their live streams at popular online casino portals such as Bet365 (where you can also earn a handsome Bet365 bonus upon initial sign up). Such streams can be watched on all the match days throughout the tennis season of the year, which usually starts around January 1st and lasts till November 15th every year. Some of the important tennis markets are:
Match betting: In this type of betting you can bet on total games, number of sets, most aces, set handicap, set betting, match odds, total games and more.
Tournament betting: In this type of betting you can bet on player progress, outright winner, quarter winners, players to reach the final and more.
Actually there are several more tennis betting markets which we’ll discuss in good detail on other pages of this website.
Important pre-match tennis betting strategies
You need to think about various important factors before placing any bets on the pre-match odds in the men’s tennis market. The number one factor you must pay heed to is the ‘value.’ It involves thinking if you’re really backing the right odds or not. Many a times you may predict the right winner for a tennis game, but betting on tennis isn’t just about predicting the correct winner. The win has to come at a profitable price or nearest to the expected profit point.
Tennis betting features a good number of short prices as the game is considered at the pinnacle of one-on-one gameplay, and the various layers don’t give away easily. However, blindly backing a powerful player like Rafael Nadal at 1.03 can’t earn you a definite profit in the long run.
Over to more factors now!
Tennis players are prone to injuries and you must pay close attention to their upcoming schedule to figure out if they’ll actually be risking their bodies for a particular event or tournament.
Most players are fresh and raring to go during the early part of the year, and usually pick up various small/big injuries as they progress through the season. In general, if you see a player coming through qualifiers and then reaching the semi-final, or fighting his way to reach the final of tournament, he may not be at his best while participating in a faraway tournament immediately afterwards. However, you must also look at the concerned player’s past record to make correct predictions.
Obviously there may be times when betting 1.10 on Rafa in the first round at the French open against some rookie player may actually hold good value. But that kind of price may not be worth taking a big risk, let’s say a week after a major Grand Slam when his motivation levels may not be all that high or in an indoor tournament.
An excellent example of this can be found by taking a good look at the kind of losses that Rafa has suffered in his career. You’ll see a pattern emerging and figure out that he’s most vulnerable on grass after making early exits from the French Open. He’s also found to be vulnerable during the last months of the season when he’s mostly playing small tournaments and the bigger ones are a month or two away.
This is also applicable to a large majority of top 10 or top 20 players.
Some other important motivational factors you must keep in mind are the emotional lows and highs faced by the players. A major example of this is Lukas Rosol who won his first ever tour title in Bucharest immediately after losing his father.
Then there are certain events and tournaments that are favourites of particular players, for instance, Rafael Nadal is almost unbeatable on clay, especially in French Open, David Ferrer gets extremely motivated when he plays in Valencia, John Isner does exceptionally well playing in USA and Bernard Tomic is considered a huge favourite when he’s playing in Australia.
‘Tank’ is another face of the motivation factor and unlike its (positive) counterpart, ‘tank’ is ugly in nature. It usually involves top ranking players taking part in small tournaments by charging fat appearance fee, and then losing early, often by retirement, proving to be a big bane for many tennis punters. So, you’d be better off taking a good look at the player’s retirement record owing to injuries or other reasons before placing any such bets on him.
Weather plays a highly critical role in outdoor tennis events as wind can easily play spoilsport during the ball tosses. There are several players who play good or bad depending on the wind.
An excellent example of this can be found in Andy Murray’s wins against Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych in U.S. Open’s 2012 edition. The conditions were pretty much unplayable, but Murray used them perfectly to his advantage and registered handsome victories.
Extremely windy conditions can be disadvantageous for players with high ball tosses or bad tosses such as Tomas Berdych and Ana Ivanovic, while players who barely toss the ball can do comparatively better in such conditions.
Windy conditions may also force better players like Roger Federer to adjust their game and style accordingly.
Hence, you must carefully consider the weather conditions, especially the wind, before placing any pre-match tennis bets.
A large number of right-handed players find it tricky to play against lefties. You must pay close attention to how your prospective wager has performed against left-handed players in the past.
General playing conditions
Another very important factor you must keep in mind when indulging in pre-match tennis betting is the general playing conditions. While some players are masters of clay courts, others prefer grass; then there are ones who’re unbeatable on hard courts.
Some surfaces also suit big servers like John Isner and Milos Raonic who can hit aces after aces, clobbering their opponents into submission! Andy Murray on the other hand is not too good on clay and has often been ousted by lower ranked players in the French Open.
Apart from the role played by the playing surface, the speed of the tennis courts may also vary inherently from place to place.
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Although relevant, this factor can often be misleading in nature. If at all you need to pay heed to this factor, you must only look at the recent head-to-head encounters between the two players. This is because a lot can change during the tennis season. Furthermore, you can easily neglect any statistic less than 3 – 0 as anything can happen on the play day.
However, this factor can be extremely helpful in assessing a player’s response when facing players with a certain style of play. So, if someone performs consistently bad against a big server like John Isner, you should look how he fares against the other big servers. Perhaps it may good to not back this player in matches against such big servers.