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Sports Betting Strategies
Tennis Live Sports Guide
Get the best tips and information to make the most informed live betting decisions on tennis
7 November 2022
Table of content
Tennis, among all the major sports that we will examine today, stands alone as the most unique sports discipline by nature. In tennis, each match is played between just two players (unless it’s a doubles game), as opposed to the multitude of players involved in a team-based sport such as soccer, basketball, or baseball. This fact alone states that concepts and strategies around tennis live betting can be slightly different compared to other team sports.
The rise of online sportsbooks stimulated a dramatic increase in tennis-related wagering activity, as tennis features amongst the most popular sports internationally. With tennis, you can back lots of fast markets, such as, set winner, game-winner, or even next point winner, which makes it a great fit for in-play betting that is very fast-paced in nature.
The in-play markets offered for tennis could vary from one sportsbook to another but usually are consistent per the below:
•Moneyline/Match Winner – player A or B to win the match
•Set Winner – player A or B to win a specific set in the match
•Total Games in Match – under or over the total number of games played in the match
•Total Games in Set – under or over the total number of games played in a specific set
•Game Handicap/spread – player A or B to win or lose the match by a certain margin of games
With some sportsbooks, on the other hand, more dynamic live markets are also available:
•Next Game Winner
•Next Point Winner
•Exact Set Score
•Exact Game Score
•Game Total Points
•Next break of serve
Based on years of live betting experience and a trial-and-error process, we can safely advise you to concentrate on the standard markets mentioned in the first list and not to get involved with extreme dynamic markets mentioned in the second list. Live betting is already a very dynamic and fast-paced process that shouldn’t be enhanced further. When you get down to game and point level, live tennis betting can turn into plain gambling.
Let’s go through the 5 concepts we have outlined earlier and see how they apply to tennis.
Pre-Match Preparation for Tennis
Pre-match preparation for professional tennis could be much more straightforward than other team sports as it only transpires between two players. Because of this, there is no need to analyze the offensive and defensive strengths of possible combinations of starting lineups, injury reports or team form. Checking facts on a player level should be more than enough.
Player Rank and Form
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that checking player rank is very important for an individual sport as it could tell you which player is better overall.
With that being said, a tennis calendar year is definitely longer than any other major sport available for betting. Thousands of players every year compete in hundreds of tournaments based on their skill levels. With so many tournaments happening simultaneously and back-to-back around the world, it is hard to rely only on rank. In tennis, it is not a rare sight to come across Cindrella's stories during the course of a tournament. Considering the number of tournaments taking place each year, there are plenty of opportunities for an underdog to upset authorities and eliminate higher-ranked opponents. Thus, always check players' recent run of form before the game starts.
Player Head to Heads
Each tennis player has a unique skill set and different traits that separate them from each other. While players like Stanislas Wawrinka, Richard Gasquet or Bjorn Borg are known for their backhands, other players like Ivo Karlovic, John Isner, and Reilly Opelka are known for their incredible serving abilities.
Regardless of current rank or forms, some players struggle against others due to finding it hard to play against a specific tennis style. Andrey Rublev has been in great form for the past 3 years, winning 7 major tournaments and becoming the number 5 ranked player in the world in 2021. Even though he is better ranked and has been in a better form than the American veteran John Isner (ranked number 21), who entered into the final years of his career, he lost all 3 of their meetings within the last 3 years. Rublev throughout their encounters greatly struggled to return Isner’s serves and got defeated in frustration.
It is very important to know player Head 2 Heads history and previous encounters to understand who has the psychological edge over the other.
Strong serves in professional tennis are a deadly weapon and can be more than enough to win matches or even tournaments. Technically, you can’t lose a tennis match if you never get your serve broken throughout an entire game.
There are some players that make a career out of their incredible serving abilities. These types of players, within the tennis community, are called “Serve-Bots”. This is an exaggerated term to describe a player who can almost only serve.
Checking players serving percentages before a game could provide you important insights into what bets to take once the game starts. Sportsbooks open a line for each of the games played within a tennis match. Let’s say in your pre-game research, you came across 2 players facing each other with an average 1st serve success rate of over 85% and a 2nd serve success rate over 65%. This gives you a couple of hints on some live markets that will be available once the game starts. Knowing that each player can serves well, you can either bet on players to hold on to their serves when they are down during a game or bet over on total games within a set as the likelihood of each player to get their serve broken isn’t very high.
Note that, the average serve speed and serve succession rate of female athletes are significantly lower than male athletes. Therefore, serving is a more influential factor in men’s tennis vs women.
Tennis Court Surfaces
There are 3 main types of tennis surfaces, grass, hard, and clay. Each surface has different characteristics and can completely influence how players can perform.
Rafael Nadal, the “King of Clay”, is arguably one of the greatest tennis players of all time, winning 20 grand slam titles in his career. His Grand Slam titles follow as, 13 Roland Garros (on clay), 4 U.S. Open (on hard court), 2 Wimbledon (on grass), and 1 Australian Open (on hard court). Rafael Nadal’s dominance on clay is the ultimate example of how influential tennis surfaces can be on a player’s performance.
Before betting on a player during a tennis match, make sure you already know his/her record on that specific surface.
Tournament Levels (ATP, Challenger, and ITF)
On top of knowing your facts on a player level, you should also know the skill levels available within tennis and their respective implications.
As we mentioned earlier, during a tennis calendar year there are hundreds of tournaments around the globe with 1000’s of players competing to win each title. These tennis players are classified based on their personal rank and are only allowed to participate in tournaments available to their skill levels.
There are 3 major tiers of tennis competition, ATP and WTA Tours, The Challenger Tour, and the ITF World tennis tour. The ATP and WTA tours are top-tier tennis competitions. The Challenger Tours are the second-highest tier of tennis competition and ITF Tours are on the entry-level of professional tennis competitions. On top of these, there are the Grand Slam tournaments, which are the world’s four most important annual professional tennis events.
You should always check and be aware of the tennis level you are about to bet as different competition levels indicate different levels of player skills. You cannot expect players during an ITF Tour game to serve as good as players in an ATP Tournament or the likelihood of unforced errors will be higher on an ITF event vs a Challenger or an ATP event.
Our suggestion to you is to stick with the highest level of tennis tournaments as entry-level tournaments are much more unpredictable. Even in-between ATP and Challenger Tours there is a drastic difference in trends and tendencies. Choose one tier and concentrate on that level.
How to Assess Momentum in Tennis
The 2 important factors you need to pay attention to while assessing momentum in tennis are player morale/fatigue and comebacks during a set in the form of rebreaks.
Players are alone in the court during a match and have no one to rely on but themselves. This is an advantage for a sports bettor as you could easily observe the player during a game to see if he’s showing any signs of injury, fatigue or frustration. If you catch on a physical indication of any of these signs you could assume the momentum is shifting towards the opponent.
Another way of feeling the momentum is to look for comebacks or rebreaks within a set. Like all sports comebacks are re-ignited by momentum and in tennis, the momentum takes the form of a rebreak in serve. When a player goes up during a set by breaking the serve of his opponent, he’s getting an invaluable advantage. At that point, all he needs to do to win the set is to hold on to his own serve. With that being said, when a player lets his opponent to rebreak his serve and gets back into the game, they know how big of an opportunity they have squandered. This realization during the set can and usually leads to giving away the psychological edge, shifting the momentum towards the opponent. This is where sports bettors jump in and capitalize on the value and the momentum within that specific set.
Note: In WTA breaks happen more frequently as serves represent less significance. We suggest concentrating on ATP when trying to assess momentum in the form of a rebreak in serve.
Always keep in mind that, within a tennis match, the psychological edge and the good performance might not translate in-between sets. Feeling the momentum on one side during the first set of the match doesn’t necessarily mean that the situation will not change. Instead, treat each set as an independent match and always reset before the next set. Tennis players are mentally strong, and they are good at resetting their emotions in-between sets.
How to Read Live Odds in Tennis
Match winner market at any time during a tennis match, on its own, can tell you everything you need to know. Obviously, when the odds during a tennis match is higher for one player than the other, this implies either an advantageous position or better ability and rank overall. However, odds are not always as clear and straightforward.
You might come across a situation where, even though one player is up by a set and is in a significantly more advantageous position compared to the other player, the odds for both players to win the match is identical or even higher for the player who is up by a set. This might easily confuse or mislead someone that doesn’t have a lot of experience in live betting. Let us translate you what the odds are trying to tell.
The odds, at the time of that specific situation where one player is up by a set over the other, is telling you that, even with the fact that one player is in a more advantageous position versus the other, the probability of each of the player to win the match is identical. This in return gives you the hint that, the player who is currently down a set was a huge favorite before the game and probably is a much higher ranked player overall.
4 Reliable Live Betting Scenarios for Tennis
1) Pick the Favorite to Win the 2nd Set When They are Down
When the odds are identical for 2 players to win a tennis match while one is up by a set (similar to the example above), implies that the player that is currently down a set is a much better player overall. When you come across this scenario you can always safely bet for the favorite player, who is down a set to win the second set. The likelihood of the underdog winning the match without dropping a set is very low.
You may think the odds for the favorite to win the 2nd set may be low, but you could always watch the game and find a better value for the line in the latter stages of the set.
2) Always Pick the Serve-bot on a Tiebreaker
When you see one of the 5 players who are known as the serve-bots, playing a tiebreaker, at the end of a set or a match, always rely on them. These players are making a living from their serves and tiebreakers are where your serves are valued the most. These players literally have a tiebreak record over 50% so you can’t go wrong picking them in the long run.
Here is a list of players who are known to be incredible servers:
3) Comebacks During a Set
Having a strong serve is very important in men’s professional tennis, especially at the ATP level where the best tennis players compete. Most of the time breaking a serve leads to winning the set as it is very difficult to come back from a break. A break followed by a hold could create a 3-game difference in the sets score line, such as 4-1 or 5-2. Therefore, when you come across a rebreak later in the set between 2 relatively even-strength players, you should back the comeback. Coming back from a deficit and tying the game definitely shifts the momentum towards the comeback and put a whole lot of of pressure on the other side.
6 Holds Leading to a Tiebreaker
At the ATP level, holding to your serve is almost as valuable as breaking your opponent’s serve. When a player serves second, following his opponent's hold, he is constantly under the pressure of losing the set. Thus, managing to hold on 6 consecutive games, dodging being behind 6 times, definitely increases players' concentration and endurance creating an edge over their opponent before the tiebreaker.
In a scenario where a set goes to a tiebreaker without a break, you should pick the player that serves second as he will have a psychological edge over his opponent.
Make Sure You are Diversifying the Risk
Don’t forget that our strategy is based on playing a volume game that is structured to make a profit on a daily basis. The reliable picks and scenarios we are providing here are not guaranteed wins and you shouldn’t wager all your money into one pick. Instead, you should diversify the risk and consistently bet on reliable scenarios that will win more than 50% of the time. Make sure that all your bets have an implied probability of over 50% or odds that are below 2.0 (+100)
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