How to serve up the best of tennis betting with alternative markets

Tennis betting has a lot of options beyond just picking a match outright winner. It can be a richly nuanced sport to bet on. One of the huge positives that punters can draw on for tennis betting is the year-round action that the sport delivers.

Tennis continues almost non-stop from early January through to late November on both the WTA and ATP Tours, including, of course, the Grand Slam events.

The Tennis Match Outright Market

Picking the winner in a match, a 50/50 choice, is the simplest approach to tennis betting. The notable thing about tennis betting, as opposed to the likes of football or rugby betting, is that it is a two-way event. That means there are only two potential outcomes as tennis matches can’t be drawn.

So that does cut one variable out of the picture in terms of result. The negative to that is that it can be difficult to find value in the outright market at a bookmaker. More often than not, unless on the rare occasions that evenly-matched players are facing one another, there isn’t always the greatest of value to be found in the match outright markets.

So tennis is definitely one of those sports where a creative eye for betting needs to come into play.

Tournament Outrights

Tournament outrights will appeal to a lot of punters for tennis betting because of long-odds on selections. However, a tennis event will have a minimum of 32 players taking part at the start. Making a 1:32 probability call isn’t favourable even if there is one of the elite players in the field.

With the use of statistics, the goal is to try and narrow that field. A player ranked in the top-five in the world is far more likely to win a tournament outright than someone ranked 100. Another way to cut the field for value, is to break down a tournament into chunks and sizing up the To Win Quarter or Player To Reach Final markets instead.

Each-Way Tennis Betting

It is possible to bet each way on the outcome of a tennis tournament. The to-place part of the bet is only going to apply to the losing finalist. So if you have backed a certain payer to win an event outright with an each-way bet, then a full payout would happen if they won. If they finished runner up there would be a payout at a fraction of the odds that they had been backed at.

Handicapping In Tennis Betting

Handicapping is one of the best ways to line up bets in tennis betting. Going back to the point that tennis outright markets are not always great value, this is where handicapping plays a big part. 

If you have the World Number 1 facing someone ranked 50th in the world rankings, an odds-on price on the World Number 1 to win outright is going to offer little market value.

But taking the same outcome of the favourite winning the match, but placing a handicap condition on their victory, say a -4.5 game handicap, then better value will emerge. Again, the same match outright scenario is being supported, but now the handicap line shifts the odds.

Similarly, if you are expecting an underdog to have a great day on the court and lay down a stern challenge they could be backed by a negative handicap, say +4.5 to not lose by more than five games in the match.

One big advantage of tennis handicap betting is that there is great flexibility in the line. You can study statistics such as head to head and current form of the players ahead of a match, and then determine for yourself what type of match is likely to happen. Then you make a handicap line judgement accordingly.

Other Popular Tennis Bets

Correct Score

Correct score options in sports betting are generally risky bets. In tennis betting, however, the correct score market is worth consideration. In the instance of a heavy-favourite in a regular Tour-level match which is played over the best of three sets, you would have either a 2-0 or a 2-1 correct score option to pick from to back that player to win. So a tennis correct score is not so wildly random as picking a correct score in a football match which has endless possibilities.


The Total Games Handicap market is another way to approach tennis betting. Some fair reasoning can be applied to this too. If the match looks likely to be lopsided, then you could look at a lower over/under line.

In tennis, a set is won by either 6 or 7 games, most commonly the former. So if a favourite was expected to win in straight sets you could tally 12 games in their favour and then it would be down to a judgement of how many you think the opponent would get on the board.

In a match that is likely to be a tighter contest, then you would lean towards a higher over/underline.

Live Tennis Betting

Tennis is a great sport for live betting. Read our live tennis betting guide for full coverage. But in a summary of live tennis betting, the natural breaks in matches makes tennis very approachable for in-play wagering. Among the main options to be found are the match outright and set totals markets. A quicker type of bet, predicting the score of the next game or set can also be taken, as well as next point outcomes.


Tennis betting offers a lot of excellent variety for punters. One of the main features of tennis betting is that the match outright becomes overlooked very easily. That’s out of necessity for finding value in tennis bets and is why handicapping is common practice for betting on tennis.

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