Beginners guide to Tennis betting

November 29, 2022

Tennis betting is a growing market worldwide, w/ sportsbooks increasingly offering a Wider range of odds and betting options, including live betting. With the upcoming US Open and plenty of big names playing, here’s what you need to understand about how to make money betting on tennis.

Tennis Betting Tips

With so much tennis information and statistics readily available, you can make money on the courts with the correct handicap strategy and the following tennis betting tips.


  • Know the playing field

The playing field is the number one obstacle in tennis. Few players are at their great on all types of surfaces. For example, the grassy surface at Wimbledon favors big players on both serves and volleys.

The Roland Garros, on the other hand, is a clay surface, which gives the baseline players an edge while slowing down big serves. Understanding how playing on clay versus grass affects the odds is an important starting point.


  • Find bets

The psychological aspect of the game is a huge part of tennis betting, and edge cases can be huge. Be wary of disappointment following a major setback or a very satisfying victory. Note that some higher-ranked players will be more moderate than their lower-ranked opponents when participating in small tournaments.

Timing is also important, and players who pass qualifying will be hotter than opponents who automatically enter but still need to play. Then again, fatigue (physical and mental) can also take its toll.


  • Personal Style Leads to Matchup Advantage

Put less emphasis on rankings and recent form. Tennis is one-on-one, so playing styles are more critical in matchups.

Each player has different strengths and weaknesses; head-to-head history can reveal some interesting trends. While recent wins & losses are still a feature to consider, tennis bettors also have to know the playing styles of each player.


  • Fitness First

Tennis is challenging, with constant movement and little rest during matches, so players must be physically at their best. Be aware of factors that can make fitness more critical, such as weather (the weather is more tiring), length of play (Grand Slams are best-of-five, not best-of-three), and injuries and rest periods player’s game.

Types of tennis bets explained

While there are best ways to bet on a tennis match, the most popular betting options are Moneyline, Handicap, and Over/Under.


  • Moneyline 

The most popular form of tennis betting is money line betting, which picks the winner of a match. The favorite will have a (-) minus sign in front of the number, and in the example below, you would need to bet 185 dollars on Djokovic to win $100 if Djokovic wins the match.

The loser’s odds will precede by a plus sign (+), which means a $100 bet would bring a $165 profit if Federer wins. If two players have the same number, they have an odds of winning, and the game considers “pick them.”

Player Odds
Novak Djokovic -185
Roger Federer +165


    • Tennis spread

Like point spreads in basketball or soccer, oddsmakers set handicaps across innings and games to level the playing field.

In the game handicap example below, Novak Djokovic sets at -4.5, which means he needs to win five more games than Daniil Medvedev in the match to make up the handicap. If Medvedev wins the game or loses four or fewer, he will make up the difference.

The spread in tennis is -1.5, similar to the running line in baseball. In the example below, if you bet on Novak Djokovic at -1.5 sets & he wins in straight sets, you win. If Medvedev wins a game, you lose.

Player Game spread odds
Novak Djokovic -4.5
Daniil Medvedev +4.5


Player Set spread odds
Novak Djokovic -1.5
Daniil Medvedev +1.5


    • Over/Under

When betting on Over/Under in other sports, you are betting on total points. However, over/under is based on the number of games played in a tennis match.

Remember that tennis matches will be best of 3 or best of 5. A player has to win 6 games by a margin of two to win a set, and if the set tie is at 6-6, a seventh-game tiebreaker play.

In the example below, if two players combine to play 39 or more games, getting a big card will pay out $100 for every $125 wagered. If the players played 38 games or fewer, the Under bettor would have made a profit of $105 on a $100 bet.

You can also place bets on the total or over/under, betting a total of 2.5.


Total games Odds
Over 38.5 -125
Under 38.5 +105


  • Futures 

One of the most popular forms of tennis betting, futures odds, involves betting on which player will win a particular tournament, such as the odds of winning the US Open. Each player is priced according to their chance of winning.

In the futures odds example below, Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka are +350 and +450, respectively, to win the US Open. If you bet 100 dollars on Barty to win, and he takes home the gold, you’d get $350.


Odds of winning the US Open women’s singles

Player Odds to win
Ashleigh Barty +350
Naomi Osaka +450
Aryna Sabalenka +1,000
Bianca Andreescu +1,200
Iga Swiatek +1,200
Simona Halep +1,200
Karolina Pliskova +1,400


  • Props

One way to make tennis betting more interesting is to look at the proposition betting market. It includes betting on who will win the first match, the exact score, an over/under for the number of Aces, and more.

Note that not all books offer these more exotic item bets. They may only be available for larger tournaments or duels.


  • Live betting

With score changes coming fast & furious in tennis, live betting offers exciting opportunities for the savvy bettor. In-play betting allows you to bet on match winners, rim winners, and game winners on any range.

Make sure your feed is up to date, and remember these tips on how to gamble tennis live so you can gain from momentum swings and John McEnroe-style crashes.


Instant Replay: How to Bet on Tennis

  • Knowing how players complete on specific surfaces and the difference between clay and grass is key to handicap play.
  • Following tennis and knowing the player’s style and habits are very important in identifying when the betting lines are closed.
  • Take advantage of the momentum and psychological aspects of tennis with live betting.
  • Check out all the betting choices available at sportsbooks to see where to find the best bet value on a particular game or tournament.

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