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The Top 5 Bet Types for Beginner Tennis Bettors

by January 13, 2020
Novak Djokovic

Sportsbooks around the country are reporting hundreds of millions of dollars in betting and revenue each quarter. The most popular bets have been wagered on leagues like the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL. However, the market for tennis betting through the ATP, WTA, and ITF are just as accessible through nearly all of the same platforms. If you are cautious about wagering on tennis lines because of uncertainty about the rules, this is the article for you. 

Let’s take a look at the Top 5 Bet Types for Beginner Tennis Bettors. This piece will provide a breakdown of the five bet types novice tennis bettors should focus on, along with explanations for why these are ideal for beginners.

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Top 5 Bet Types for Beginner Tennis Bettors

Money Line Wagering

As a novice bettor, this type of wager does not get any more simple. Money line wagering is simply a wager on who will win the match outright. Where money lines can take “getting used to” are in the mathematical computations. For example, let’s say Player A has a money line of -200, and Player B’s money line is +140. This would mean Player A is the favorite, while Player B is the underdog. In Player A’s case, one would need to risk $200 for every $100 won. If a bettor wagered $1000, they would win $500, and so forth. In Player B’s case, for every $100 wagered a bettor would win $140 if Player B won the match. 

A beginning bettor might think money line wagering is too easy, but oddsmakers are smart in setting their lines. For example, if Novak Djokovic was playing a qualifier in the first round of a Grand Slam, it would seem a no-brainer that Djokovic would win. However, the sportsbook would likely set Djokovic’s money line around -10000, meaning a bettor would have to risk $10000 to win $100. 

In terms of the most simple way of betting and viewing a match, money line wagering is the way to go. Simply bet who you think will win, and root for them to do so. However, with money line wagering one would potentially risk large sums of money for minimal returns, so plan accordingly.

Set Betting

This type of wager gets slightly more complicated than money line wagering. With set betting, not only is one betting on who will win the match, but also in how many sets it will take to do so. For example, set-betting odds may appear as follows:

  • Novak Djokovic 2-0 +120
  • Novak Djokovic 2-1 +150
  • Roger Federer 2-0 +250
  • Roger Federer 2-1 +220

In this example, the 2-0 or 2-1 signifies you would be picking a player to win two sets to none, or two sets to one. Because this type of bet requires picking an exact result, one will often find better odds than simply picking who will win the match. Just like with money line wagering, the payouts with the attached money lines work the same way. Therefore, if one bet on Djokovic to win 2-0, for every $100 they risk they could win $120.

In Grand Slam tournaments, women’s matches are best-of-three sets, while men’s matches are best-of-five sets. Therefore, in a Grand Slam men’s match, there would be more bets available to reflect all of the different outcomes.

Set Spread Wagering

Other sports will have a common way to bet on a game, via a spread, or a fixed number of points that one team would have to beat another team by. If this is something you are used to, set spread wagering is tennis’s version of that. When betting on a set spread line, the favored player would need to beat the underdog by more than the outlined number of sets. Thus, think of the underdog as getting a head start of sorts. 

For example, a line one may see could be Rafael Nadal -1.5 sets over Marin Cilic. Thus, if one bet on Nadal (the favorite), they are betting that Nadal beats Cilic by two sets or more. If one bet on Cilic (the underdog), the bettor would win if Cilic won the match outright, or simply lost by at most one set.

Game Spread Wagering

For this kind of betting, one needs a tad more tennis knowledge. Tennis players win a set if they are the first to six games. However, they need to win a set by at least two games. Therefore, a player who was winning a 6-5 would need a seventh game to win the set at 7-5. However, if a set was tied 6-6, a tiebreaker for the seventh game would determine the winner of the set.

Game spread wagering is similar to set spread wagering, except the line posted would be based on the number of games. Thus, the favorite would have to beat the underdog by more than the outlined number of games, which the underdog would receive as a “head start.”

For example, suppose Rafael Nadal was -4.5 games over Marin Cilic. Regardless of how many sets one player or the other won by, winning bets would be determined by the total number of games each player won. Adding up all the games across all sets, a bet on Nadal (the favorite) would imply a bettor thinks Nadal would win five or more games by the end of the match than Cilic. Conversely, betting on Cilic (the underdog) would imply a bettor thinks Cilic would lose by four or fewer games or even win the match outright.

Over/Under Number of Games Played

In this type of wager, a bettor would not need to worry about which player won or lost the match. Sportsbooks would set a line for the combined number of games it would take to complete the match. Then, a bettor would choose if they think more (over) or less (under) games than the predetermined number of games would be played. Let’s say a match ended with one player winning 6-3, 7-5. That would be a total of 21 games played. If the predetermined over/under on the number of games played was set at 20.5, bettors would win their bet if they chose the over, while bettors who wagered on the under would lose.

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Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.

Strategy, Tennis