A Guide On How To Bet On Tennis Matches Like A Pro

Wimbledon ImageTennis might not make the list of the big-four sports (football, basketball, baseball, soccer), but it is an incredibly popular sport on the world scene, particularly in Europe. From the Williams sisters and star players like Roger Federer today, to yesteryear's stars like Arthur Ashe, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg, tennis has long captivated audiences for its fast-paced, white-knuckle action. Whether played on grass or on clay, tennis matches around the globe attract millions of viewers, thousands of on-court attendees, and they also help billions of dollars exchange through the betting circuit.

In fact, betting on tennis is perhaps one of the most popular gambling activities on the planet. With the French and US Open tournaments, Wimbledon, and other tennis tournaments, even the Olympic matches, there is a lot of publicity and build-up leading into these matches. Oddsmakers are constantly creating different spreads and lines to induce action from the betting public. Knowing how to bet on tennis is knowledge you may need to explore this topic further.

Different Tennis Betting Structures

As with most sports betting, tennis is far more intricate than simply picking winners and losers straight-up. For instance, in a match-up between Roger Federer and Jack Sock, the rankings are separated by a lot. Federer, who is one of the greatest tennis players in history, has a top-three ranking, whereas Sock is ranked down in the 50s. A heads-up match heavily tilts in Roger's favor, and thus picking him to win straight-up, which would be how most bet, wouldn't be lucrative for anyone. You might win 10 cents on your dollar. However, by introducing spreads and prop bets, and by inducing action from all sides of this lopsided match, online sportsbooks can provide and pay off a variety of odds.

The Common Spread

The common point spread is a popular type of tennis bet. However, knowing how to bet on tennis in this fashion is greatly different than an NFL or NBA point spread. Say that Federer is playing Sock, and it's pretty much a lock that Federer wins. The line may be -700/+540. On its face, this can be very confusing. What, exactly, does this line mean? Let's take the first number: -700. This is actually Roger Federer's win line; e.g. what he is favored by. So, if you wanted to win $100 on a Federer win, you would actually have to be the one providing odds to the book, via paying $700 to win $100. The second line, +540, is the underdog's line. Remember the triple-digit nature of these lines; it will help you calculate always in hundreds. For this particular line, Sock is such an underdog that placing $100 will win you $540 if Sock should pull the upset. This is how the common spread works, and you can find them separated by a lot less or even more than the example listed.

Set and Prop Betting

Another type of bet with tennis is the set bet. Let's go back to our Federer vs. Sock example. Now, Roger might be favored to win here, but can he do it in straight sets? With a set bet, you are actually betting on the exact number—or the over/under—number of sets the match will last. So, if you think the match would end in straight sets, you would bet on 3. Likewise, if you expected Sock to pull off a fighting chance, you might give him a set and select 4. Sets will often have line odds too, so pay attention to what you're betting on. You might get favorable odds to take a long shot.

Prop bets, also called proposition bets, are big in tennis on a lot of sportsbooks. You can bet a wide range of things that often have little to do with winners or losers on the podium. For instance, you might find an over-under line for the number of aces served in a match, or for how long the match runs (minutes, as opposed to sets). Different books will have different prop options, with some even having live-time betting options.

The Moneyline Combo

Some sites will offer a combination of the sets betting and the spread, to form a moneyline combo. This is a great way to induce action on both sides of the match, regardless of who wins. So, let's say you're really feeling Sock in the upset and believe that Federer's ankles will stop him from winning. Well, you can actually still bet the moneyline here and potentially win on Roger if he ends up winning more games but not the overall match. This could be accomplished by Roger sweeping the first set and then losing by a point in subsequent straight sets. In total, he would have more games won, but not the victory.

Understand that there are multiple ways by which to bet tennis. Knowing how to bet on tennis is about knowing how tennis is played and the game's structure itself. Learn about the game, its matches, and look for an honest book offering a lot of options.

Staying Safe And Legal

As with any type of wagering, we always recommend to find the most reputable legal online gambling sites that have been around for a long while and have good reputations. Since there are so many sites to choose from online, it is crucial that you do your homework to avoid potential problems when it comes to collecting your winnings.

All the other tips we offer to help you learn how to bet tennis like a pro will be negated if you don't wager at an accredited website. We really try to hammer this theme home throughout our site because we've seen a lot of players get cheated out of their hard earned money over the years, and it's a shame because it can all be avoided with a little due diligence.