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Tennis is the ultimate one-on-one showdown, and the fiercely fought, tense games are a tempting prospect for gamblers. With millions of fans around the globe and plenty of players achieving household name status, tennis is great to wager on all year, as the season lasts from January to November.
The biggest and most well known annual events are the four Grand Slam tournaments. These are the Australian Open, Roland Garros (the French Open), the US Open, and Wimbledon, which are covered by all good betting sites. These prestigious tournaments attract the sport's biggest names and make for exciting wagers from start to finish. Unlike other competitions, which play for three sets, these games are played over five, which gives punters a better chance to weigh up the players and limits the number of surprise wins by underdogs.
Three-set tournaments can lead to shock wins and losses, and are harder to predict. Events of this format include the ATP World Tour Finals, a round-robin elimination tournament. This is a fantastic opportunity for gamblers as there are dozens of qualifying tournaments held around the world.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) hosts smaller tournaments and heats in countries across the globe. Betting sites that offer the widest possible market of ITF games give punters a better chance of winning, as lesser known players may attract better odds than more recognisable famous faces.
Most sites offer straightforward bets on who will win a match, round or tournament, and on what the set results will be. You can also bet on who will win the first set, which player will rack up the most double faults, or who will score the most aces in a particular match or throughout a tournament. These smaller side bets may prove more lucrative, as they will often require a very specific outcome and therefore higher odds.
A popular market is the handicap bet, which enables punters to boost their profits. Each player is awarded a handicap which affects their total. For example, if player A beats player B, who has a +3.5 handicap, by 6-5, 7-5, then player A will have 13 points (6 + 7) and player B will have ten points (5 + 5). Adding player B's handicap of +3.5 would mean that the punter wins the bet. This is a good way to increase winnings on a favourite, or to win a bet with an outsider even if they lose the game.
Those new to betting on tennis may wish to stick with gambling sites that offer the best odds on the larger tournaments and games. But those with more experience might choose to shop around and find the range of odds being given on the larger ITF marketplace, which can often offer more tempting prices. Also look out for:
Betting site blogs are full of handy tips that can help you to make more informed decisions. As tennis is one-on-one, there are fewer variables than with team sports, so it's good to check a player's history to spot patterns. For example, look into whether they play better at certain times of year, or against certain types of opponents. Perhaps they typically win or lose their first or second game or set, or maybe they've been playing increasingly well and you think this could be their year.
The other major variable is the court surface. Different players generally perform better on certain types than others. They are:
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