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How to Bet on Tennis - BetzCenter's Tennis Betting Guide

Tennis Betting is no easy task: it takes experience, passion for the game, willing to research, cold blod, and some statistical skills.
As some of our experts have been betting on tennis for about 20 years, we have collected our thoughts on the matter on this page.

First things first though, if you do not know much about tennis, the socring system and the game itself, here is a pretty cool two-minute video from you tube to get you started

Player Form

In tennis, Player form is important! Very important! It may actually be the number one factor to take into consideration when placing bets.
Tennis is a one-versus-one sport (at least single matches are, and that's what we focus on as no one really care much about doubles anymore). This gives tennis bettors a nice advantage over other sports bettors where you bet on a team (5 or more players).
The advantage is pretty clear: when analyzing the form, it is much easier to evalute the form of one single player compared to, for instance, soccer where you have 11 players in a team. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage because, if your considerations are wrong, there won't be someone else on that team that can save the day!
A tennis player always has to win his match alone, no help is provided.

On BetzCenter, the form level for all the players is automatically calculated by our algorythm and is always displayed on the match page. See and example here: Monica Puig vs Julia Goerges.

Surface

Surface is the number two factor to evaluate when placing a bet on tennis.
If you know tennis, you know that the surface conditions really weigh in and can decide the outcome of a match as the specific value of a tennis player can vary a lot depending on the surface where the match is played.
Playing conditions, tactics, playing schemes, length of rallies, length of matches, strokes and player movements are all affected by the surface. It is not rare to see some very good clay-court players struggling on hard courts, or strong hard court players lose much of their power when playing on grass courts or clay, and so on..
There are 3 main surface types in the tennis tour (both ATP and WTA) and here they are:

  • hard court icon HARD COURT

    The ATP and WTA tennis seasons start with hard court tournaments. Atp's first tournaments of the season are ATP Brisbane 2019, ATP Pune 2019, ATP Doha 2019, all played on hard courts. Same for WTA as the season begins with WTA Shenzhen 2019, WTA Auckland 2019, WTA Brisbane 2019, all played on hard surfaces.

    What is important to check before placing a bet on a hard court tennis match?
    • tennis icon Player's serve: serve is a big weapon on hard courts.
    • tennis icon Player's gamestyle: powerful strokes are a good advantage on hard surfaces.
    • tennis icon Player form: hard court matches are often tiring.
  • grass court icon GRASS COURT

    There are only a few grass court tournaments during the tennis season each year, but they are very entertaining and unique.
    The ATP tour tournaments played on grass are: ATP Hertogenbosch 2018, ATP Stuttgart 2018, ATP Halle 2018, ATP London 2018, ATP Antalya Open 2018, ATP Eastbourne 2018, ATP Wimbledon 2018, ATP Newport 2018.
    The WTA tour tournaments played on grass are: WTA Hertogenbosch 2018, WTA Nottingham 2018, WTA Mallorca Open 2018, WTA Birmingham 2018, WTA Eastbourne 2018, WTA Wimbledon 2018.

    What is important to check before placing a bet on a grass court tennis match?
    • tennis icon Player's serve: a good serve is extremely difficult to return on grass; the number of breaks in a match is normally low. Do NOT bet against big servers!
    • tennis icon Player's gamestyle: powerful strokes are a strong advantage on grass surfaces. Attacking players are a good match with grass court, while defensive players tend to struggle more on this surface.
    • tennis icon Player form: grass court matches are normally not too physically demanding. They are shorter than matches played on other surfaces.
  • clay court icon CLAY COURT

    With the ATP French Open 2019 and WTA French Open 2019 being the two most important clay court tournaments of the season, the clay season is busy. In 2019, 37 tournaments were played on clay court between ATP and WTA, for a total of 1434 matches.

    What is important to check before placing a bet on a clay court tennis match?
    • tennis icon Player's serve: the surface slows the serve down, resulting in a high number of breaks. Serve is still a factor on clay courts, but not as important as on the other surfaces.
    • tennis icon Player's gamestyle: defenders take advantage of the surface as it slows the ball down. Attackers struggles as their usually powerful shots are not as effective as on the other surfaces.
    • tennis icon Player form: rallies on clay are long, many points are normally played and matches end up being long. A player's form is a crucial aspect to consider on clay!

Head to Head History

Head to head history analysis plays a crucial role in tennis betting as long as we follow a few guidelines. Here is where you can check head to head results:

Head to head results can surely give us an insight on the match. We can understand if a specific player is a good matchup against a given opponent or not, we can check the stats for the previous matches between the two and, in general, we can understand more about what happens when the two meet through the stats provided.

Here are some do's and don'ts when checking head to head results:
Do check recent head to head matches, do not check matches that are old (no more than 4-5 years old); old matches don't really count match as players always change thoroughout the years.
Always check the surface where players played their previous matches. As we discussed, surface is a very important factor and must be evaluated.
Check age at time of matchup; if a player was too young when they played last time, then that match is probably not a good indicator for betting purposes.

Players' Gameplan and Players' Ratings

This is for the tennis fans out there, the ones that know the game, the tactics and the dynamics involved. Tennis, as we discussed, is a one-on-one sport, but still took us years to master. It might look simple on TV, with just a couple of main plays involved, but there's a whole world of tactics to explore.
Starting from baseline strokes, forehand and backhnad and their implications on the match itself, going all the way to serve, volleys, mental strength, physical skills and tactical approach, tennis never fails to surprise us and big upsets can occur any time.

The main things that we focus on when betting are these:
Check if one of player's main baseline strokes is weak: for instance, if player A's backhand is not good, his opponent will play accordingly and will force player A to play as many backhands as possible, in order to gain a margin on him. As a general rule, ATP players have a stronger forehand than backhand, while in WTA it's ofetn the opposite, backhands are more solid and can produce more winners. This is not true all the times, but the good neews is that here on BetzCenter we try to rank all of players' values in order to provide an indea of what to expect in terms of how the game will be played to our users.

For example, in the next tennis match Belinda Bencic vs Kristina Mladenovic (WTA Moscow 2019), you can easily check offense and defense values, forehand, backhand and serve ratings as ranked by BetzCenter's tennis experts. In addition, the form level for all the involved players is automatically calculated by our algorythm and always displayed on the match page and on the teams' pages (Belinda Bencic, Kristina Mladenovic).

Player News

One of the most important parts of sport betting in general is staying on top of news, and tennis is no exception.
In tennis, the power of fresh news and information is huge. For example, if you find out that a player has been out all night partying the night before the match... Well, you have a margin on the odds at that point!

Bookmakers

First of all, there is a very important thing that is worth to mention: Betting rules for betting on tennis might be different from bookmaker to bookmaker, so you always have to make sure you know your favorire bookmaker's rules before placing your bet.
In particular, player retirements plays a pretty big role in tennis, and not all bookmakers handle the situation in the same way. For sure, if a player retires before the first point of the match is played, all bets on all markets for that specific game are void and stake returned.

But what happens when a player retires during the match?
This happens more often than you might think, to be precise, it happened 136 times during the tennis 2018 season and bookmakers have their specific rules to handle this case.
In the case of a player retiring during the match, and depending of when the player retires, the bookmaker could cancel all bets, could keep bets alive or could keep some specific markets valid (like moneyline/match winner) and cancel other. It's always worth to make sure we know the rules of the bookmaker that we are using.
BetzCenter's favorite bookmakers for tennis betting keep moneyline bets valid if 1 full set is complete, while game spread and game totals are cancelled no matter what.

Not only tennis betting rules, but obviously also juicy odds (together with good betting limits) play a big part when picking the right bookmaker for tennis betting.

When it comes to tennnis betting, 99% of the bets that we place are with two bookmakers: Betfair Exchange and Pinnacle

Odds Movement

Odd movement is an indicator that many bettors often underestimate.
Bookmakers generally know a lot about tennis, they have plenty of services that give them information about the players and the tournaments and they often get the latests news very quickly. Odds move accordingly: they reflect the latest information and the movement is generally very specific.
If player's odds to win the match suddenly increase, we can presume that there is some fresh information on this match and we might want to pay extra attention when betting. Odds also reflect the market's will, so, if you notice a quick change in the odds, it could also mean that many bettors know something going on with that particular match.
While this applies to all sports, it is particularly useful to consider in tennis, where a small piece of information can change the whole view on the match.

Another scenario of odds movement is when the market agree on the value of one side or side other, or when a professional tipster, with a big following, releases his tip for the match. We always need to pay attention.

On BetzCenter.com, since we value odds movement a lot and especially on moneyline and match winner markets, you can always find a graphic representation of how the odds moved prematch for all matches from all sports.
For example, have a look at the odds movement graphic for Monica Puig vs Julia Goerges (WTA Luxembourg 2019).

Weather

It might seem that weather is not really a big factor in tennis, after all they stop playing when, for instance, it rains, right? Yes, they normally stop (apart from when the rain is light and they are playing on clay courts), but weather can be a factor anyway, let's see how.
For example, on a clay court, light rain and humidity make the game even slower, as the clay itself when humid, sticks to the ball more making it heavier and therefore slower. Defensive players get an even bigger advantage.

But when talking about weather, rain as the biggest impact on a match. And, since they do not play when the rain is heavy, we refer to the side implications that this rain-caused interruption has. An interruption for rain can be a few minutes to several hours or even a day in cases. During this period of time, players can discuss with their coaches, practice that shot that has been a pain in the last few points that have just been played and so on.
We can not count the number of tennis matches that have been completely turned upside down after a rain break, but believe us, there are a lot!

Previous Year, Same Tournament

This might even sound illogical, but for some reason, a tennis player tends to perform well in a tournament if he performed well in that same tournament in the previous years.
It might be the overall playing conditions, the good feeling of playing there or something else, but this can be considered a factor as well and it is worth checking.

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