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Tennis Betting Odds & Lines

Brief History of Tennis

Although there has been much debate about who invented modern tennis, the game was formally acknowledged with a centennial celebration in 1973, commemorating Major Walter Clopton Wingfield’s debut of the sport in 1873.

Although historians have decided that similar games were played earlier and that the first tennis club was founded by Englishman Harry Gem and three colleagues in Leamington in 1872, he produced the first book of rules that year and took out a patent on his game in 1874.Wingfield’s court was shaped like an hourglass and might have evolved from badminton.

Tennis was initially known as lawn tennis, and it is still officially classified as such in the United Kingdom because it was first played on grass courts by Victorian gentlemen and ladies. It’s now possible to play it on a variety of surfaces.

Tennis is a contemporary sport that is enjoyed by millions of people in clubs and on public courts. It saw rapid growth as a participant and spectator sport began in the late 1960s, when major championships were opened to both professionals and amateurs, and continued in the 1970s, when television broadcasts of the expanding professional tournament circuits, as well as the rise of some notable players and rivalries, broadened the game’s appeal.

We welcome those of you who want to learn more about the ins and outs of betting on tennis. We are going to cover all the basics including how to read odds, bet varieties, and events to keep an eye on.

Betting on tennis is popular worldwide for two main reasons. The first is the sheer number of events to bet on each year. Tournaments are year-round with most weekends featuring an ATP or WTA tennis event.

The second reason why betting on tennis is popular is how easy it is to handicap in comparison to other sports. It’s a lot faster to research one player, or one matchup, than a whole team.

So, do yourself a favor and read the following guide before getting started with your tennis betting adventure. Chances are there is a tournament today with odds above that you can jump right into.

Important Players to Bet On

There are thousands of professional tennis players worldwide and keeping up with them all is an impossible task. To help new players along, we wanted to give you a brief overview of some of the top-ranked players in the world.

On the men’s side of things, the most successful players over the last decade have been Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer.

Until recently, Federer had been listed in the singles rankings every week since 1997. But Djokovic and Nadal still rank in the top 15 and are the most popular bets in any tournament they participate. The pair have 43 Grand Slam Championships between them and regularly headline ATP events globally.

While the veteran men are still hanging on into their late 30s, women’s tennis has experienced a flux of young talent ascending the ranks.

Serena Williams dominated the WTA for more than two decades with 23 Grand Slam wins and four Olympic gold medals. But injuries have kept her out of competition for much of the season.

The 21-year-old Iga Swiatek carved out a spot among the best in the world for herself and is dominating the WTA in Williams’ absence.

She won the French Open twice in 2020 and 2022 and is poised to become the next superstar of women’s tennis.

Major Tennis Events 

There are dozens of events in professional tennis annually that sports bettors can dig into. But, not all events are created equal and some tournaments stand above the rest. These events are referred to as Grand Slam Tournaments and are played four times a year.

The Grand Slam schedule includes the Australian Open, French Open (aka Roland Garros), Wimbledon, and the US Open.

Each tournament lasts two weeks and provides hundreds of hours of matches to wager on. Grand Slam Tournaments run from January with the Aussie Open until early September with the US Open.

The second tier of annual tournaments in both the ATP and WTA include the Finals of each tour. The finals mark the end of the season and feature the top eight singles players and top eight doubles teams annually.

The format is unique to the Finals as players are put into two groups of four and play three round-robin matches.

The top players, or teams, from each group after the round-robin stage go on to the semifinals. This tournament is also sometimes called the fifth Grand Slam.

There are four tennis team events that are also popular among bettors. These tournaments include the Davis Cup Finals – group stage, Laver Cup, Billie Jean King Cup, and Davis Cup Finals – knockout stage. The team events start in early September and run until the End of November each year.

HOW TO BET ON TENNIS

Reading Tennis Odds

The first step in betting on tennis is to learn how to read odds off the BetUS board and what all those numbers mean.

Let’s create a hypothetical dream match between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. The head-to-head odds for this match would look something like this:

Novak Djokovic -120
Rafael Nadal +110

The two things we need to explore are the numbers and the (+) or (-) signs that precede them. The symbols are to denote which player is the favorite and which is the underdog.

In this case, Djokovic is the favorite as indicated by the minus (-) sign while Nadal with the plus (+) sign is the underdog. This does not only applies to tennis, but to all betting odds on BetUS.

As far as the numbers that follow those symbols, they help calculate the payout for a winning wager. When looking at a favorite, the number represents how much you would have to bet to win $100.

In this case, you would have to bet $120 on Djokovic to win $100. But, when looking at an underdog, the number represents how much you will win off a $100 wager. So, a $100 bet on Nadal would win $110.

This example pits well-matched players. We know this because the odds sitting close to +100 on both sides. This is not always the case and odds for favorites can often reach north of -1000.

The closer the odds are to +100, the closer the match should be. Betting on underdogs is risky, but the payouts are higher. Odds in this format are American or Moneyline odds.

While this covers the American odds, there are two more formats we need to explore. There are Fractional odds (aka “British” odds), and decimal odds (aka “European” Odds). Let’s look at what the match from above looks like in these formats.

In fractional odds, it would appear like this:

Novak Djokovic 5/6
Rafael Nadal 11/10

At first glance, these odds look like a pain to deal with. But, after a brief introduction, British odds are easy to understand. A player with 5/1 (or 5-1) odds will pay out $5 for every $1 wagered plus the original bet. So, a bet on Djokovic would pay out $5 for every $6 wagered. and a bet on Nadal would pay out $11 for every $10 bet.

Finally, let’s get familiar with decimal odds. The format for these odds is as follows:

Novak Djokovic 1.83
Rafael Nadal 2.1

Right off, it is important to take note that there is a major difference when it comes to decimal odds. While fractional and Moneyline odds represent the profit from a winning bet, decimal odds represent the total return. This means that decimal odds take into account your stake, while the others do not.

For example, at 2.1, a bet on Nadal would return $2.10 on a $1 bet. You win $1.10 on the bet and recoup your $1.00 stake.

Many bettors prefer decimal odds because they are easier to read and line moves occur in smaller increments.

Tennis Moneyline Betting

Moneyline (ML) betting is the most popular variation of tennis betting due to its simplicity. Also known as straight-up (SU) or outright betting, the objective is simply to pick the match winner.

The format of the odds will be familiar to you because it is the same as the Moneyline format above. Moneyline bets are the best way for a new bettor to get into Tennis. Moneyline odds for a typical game will look like this:

Serena Williams +125
Iga Swiatek -150

In this example, Swiatek is a slight betting favorite over Williams, who is the underdog at +125. We know this because the (-) sign indicating a favorite is next to Swiatek’s name.

These odds indicate that you would need to wager $150 to win $100 on Swiatek. But, to win $100 on Williams, you will need to only risk $80 due to her odds as an underdog.

Tennis Spread Betting

Moneyline betting may be the easiest to understand, but betting against the spread (ATS) is generally more profitable. This is because spread betting is designed to handicap the favorite and bring the odds closer to even.

Spreads accomplish this by assigning a value that represents the number of games a player needs to win over their opponent. Here is an example:

Serena Williams +3.5 (-105)
Iga Swiatek -3.5 (-115)

Once again, Swiatek is the favorite, but the odds are now much more palatable at -115. This is the power of spread betting. It allows you to wager long shots at reasonable odds.

In this match, the spread set by the bookmakers is 3.5 games. This means that Swiatek, as the favorite, must win the match by four or more games to cover the spread.

Meanwhile, Williams can win or lose the match. But, she cannot lose by more than three games or she will fail to cover.

This is the first time we see ½ points incorporated into odds. This is by design and aimed at avoiding a tie, or “push” because there are no half points in Tennis.

If we bet on Serena Williams to cover these odds and she loses by 3 games, we still cash our bet.

Tennis Totals Betting

Betting on totals in tennis differs from Moneyline and spread betting because it doesn’t matter who wins or loses the game.

Also known as Over/Under (O/U) betting, this is a wager on the total number of combined games played in a match. This differs from other sports where total bets focus on how many points are scored.

All tennis matches are best-of-three or best of five sets. Players have to win six games with a two-game lead to take the set. A tie-breaking game is played if the set is tied at 6-6.

For reference, the fewest possible games that can be played in a tennis match is 18. The record for the fewest games in a tennis match is 20 and was set in 1881.

John Isner and Nicolas Mahut own the record for most games in a match with 183, at the 2010 Wimbledon Championship. A match between evenly matched players will have a game total in the 23.5 to 25.5 range.

Here is what the O/U odds for a tennis match would look like at BetUS:

Serena Williams vs. Iga Swiatek O/U 25.5 (-105o/-115u)

In the above example, the total for this match has been set at 25.5 games. This means that to win a bet on the Over, the contestants would have to combine for 26 or more games.

On the flipside, Under bettors would win if the match features 25 or fewer games. The odds are juiced to the Under here with -115 compared to the Over at -105.

Tennis Prop Betting

Prop bets, or proposition bets, allow bettors to bet on a slew of different potential outcomes during a match.

Prop bets revolve around occurrences or non-occurrences of specific events during said match. Often, these events do not directly impact the outcome of the game.

A simple example of a prop bet in tennis would be betting on which player will score first. But, the range of props that exist is vast.

Other examples of simple prop bets are who scores the first ace, who wins the first set, and O/U total unforced errors.

The biggest draw of props is the entertainment value that this style of betting provides. Spread and totals are fun, but there is nothing quite like the joy of winning a fringe prop on a big match.

Tennis Futures Betting

Futures bets in tennis function the same way as other sports and allow bettors to wager on outcomes in the near future.

One of the features that attract many to prop betting is the high payouts that come from trying to predict outcomes months in advance.

While these bets are usually placed before the season starts, in tennis, there are futures available at BetUS for all ATP and WTA events.

Some popular futures include Men’s/Women’s Grand Slam Winner and outright Wimbledon champs.

The only real downside of betting on futures is there is no instant gratification and your money is tied up the whole time.

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Tennis Faqs

BetUS is a great option to use to bet on tennis because they have all of the most up-to-date information and odds. BetUS is one of the most reputable tennis betting websites on the internet.
There are many different ways to bet on tennis and the easiest one is to make a moneyline bet. With this bet you are simply picking the player who you think will win the match. If you pick the favorite you will win a sum of money that is less than your original bet. If you pick the underdog you could win much more than your bet.
The best strategy is to do your due diligence prior to making a bet. If you do your research and bet with confidence then you will be in a good spot. Make sure to just bet on tennis matches straight up though as parlays are enticing but more apt to lose.
Tennis odds work like any other odds you would see. If a player is a -110 favorite to win a match and you bet $110, you will win $100. If a player has +250 odds to win a match and you bet $100, you will win $250. Spreads will always end up hovering around the same odds.
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Rolling If Bets (RIF) allow you to use the balance (amount) from existing wagers to make a new wager. As long as existing wagers have not been graded, the amount wagered can still be used to make new wagers. However, if your original wager loses, the Rolling If Bet is then cancelled. There are two options for ties (pushes); you can specify if you want the Rolling If Bet to continue in case of a tie or simply cancel the RIF.

Rolling If Bets are:
  • only allowed on straight bets, Parlays and Teasers.
  • not available with Free Plays or Futures and Props
  • only available if you have pre existing, non graded wagers
  • you can only use the funds from the amount of the pre existing wager
How to Place a Rolling If Bet:
  • Choose any straight, parlay or teaser and Place it on the Bet Slip
  • Click on the Rolling If Bet button next to the wager detail
  • In the RIF dropdown, choose a wager that you want to use for RIF
  • Click on "If Win Only" or "If Win or Push" (explained above)
  • Fill in the amount and confirm your wager (the system will not allow you a higher amount than what is available)
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