Betting Basics for Tennis
After learning about betting point spreads, our favorite newbie bettor Emily wanted to know about betting tennis. There are no point spreads in tennis because there is no meaningful way to measure how much a tennis player wins or loses by. In tennis, all that really matters is who wins and loses the match, and that's where money line wagering comes into play. Following are tips on understanding tennis odds and betting tennis matches.
For example, Emily's favorite tennis player Serena Williams wins a majority of her matches. The chances of winning for Serena's opponent, let's say the 102nd-ranked player in the world, would be less than 50-50 for this very reason.
Thus, sportsbooks would make bettors wager significantly more money on Serena than her opponent because of the disproportionate likelihood of Serena winning the match.
In the case of Serena Williams versus an overmatched opponent, a reasonable money line would require Serena bettors to risk 0 to win 0; while a 0 bet on her opponent would win 0.
Here's how the money line would be listed: Serena Williams -400 / #102 Ranked Opponent +360
Every 0 bet on Serena nets a 0 profit if she wins (plus the return of the 0 risked). If her opponent pulls off the upset, 0 bet on the underdog would profit 0 (plus the return of the 0 risked). For more information on how this works, make sure to check out Reading and Understanding Money Lines.
Another popular way of betting tennis is picking the winner of each tournament before it starts. In fact, "Betting to Win" an outcome event like Wimbledon is the most common way to wager on tennis. Since tennis has multiple tournaments over the course of a year, "Betting to Win" obviously offers numerous wagering opportunities. It is very important to note that not all the competitors in a tennis tournament may be listed, so another tennis betting option is a "field" bet which includes all other competitors not listed.
The tennis odds on a "field" bet are typically comparable to a bet on the favorite in order to protect sportsbooks from taking a big hit if a major upset occurs. In exchange for a lesser payout, field bettors gain the advantage of having more than one entrant that can win for them. For example, the top 20 players going into a tournament might be listed with their own individual odds while the rest of the players are grouped together.
Some sportsbooks will also allow you to bet futures on the four major major tournaments, which is yet another way you can "Bet to Win" that can offer you appealing odds because you are betting far in advance of when the event takes place. For example, betting on the 2006 Australian Open now might get you much better value on Serena, who may be 10/1 at this moment but dip to 6/1 closer to the event if she is on fire. For more information on the value of betting golf futures, read How Future Bets Can Pay Off.
Before placing a future bet or any bet on any tennis player, it's important to find out their strengths and weaknesses. Some tennis players perform better on different surfaces, and it must be noted that the French Open is played on clay and Wimbledon on grass. Playing on clay was the biggest weakness for Pete Sampras, arguably the best tennis player ever. He won 7 Wimbledon titles but never brought home a French championship. Fortunately for Sampras, he also performed well on a hardcourt surface (the most common), where he earned the other half of his 14 career Grand Slam tournament wins.
Other possibilities for betting tennis include proposition bets on the number of sets a match lasts. There are several advantages to betting at elite online sportsbooks but the very best will give you the most wagering opportunities, so it's a good idea to shop around and find out what everybody has to offer.
If you are a knowledgeable tennis fan who has a good feel about how a match will likely turn out, then you should most definitely trust your insights and use them to find strong bets. For those of you with less experience, several sports web sites have power rankings for players which should give you a good idea of who's hot on the tennis court and who's not. Of course it's up to you to decide which driver you want to bet on, but the more you learn about tennis, the more prepared you will be when placing your bet. Hopefully now you understand the basics of betting tennis and how tennis odds work!
About the Author: RJ Bell is the founder of Pregame.com - Where sports bettors get ready. RJ has been an expert contributor to Maxim Magazine, CNN.com, About.com, and ABC News - and has won 3 world handicapping championships! Located in Las Vegas, the Pregame.com team works at adding to your betting confidence with powerful game insights and sportsbook reviews. FreePicksByEmail.com, the biggest daily sports betting newsletter, delivers help from famous handicappers.