DraftKings Sees Most Tennis Betting Ever for Wimbledon Final
DraftKings reported that the Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Final on Sunday between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer was the single largest match for tennis betting in company history.
A DraftKings spokesperson, speaking to Gambling.com, said “Wimbledon final was the most live bet match by handle, about 50% more than the 2nd highest bet tennis match (Nadal v Federer from Wimbledon semifinals).”
Wimbledon Betting in the New US Betting Age
DraftKings was not operational during the last Wimbledon final, but that doesn’t change the fact that betting was more prevalent that ever before during the 2019 finals.
Sports betting has been a commonplace in England for decades, and isn’t as much of a factor at the home of Wimbledon. But in the U.S., being able to bet on Wimbledon was a new experience that many people were able to take advantage of for the first time.
For a sport that isn’t considered particularly American, the same spokesperson for DraftKings said that there was more live betting on the Wimbledon final than the MLB All-Star Game earlier this month. The betting saw a majority of the money wagered in-play, with 55% of the handle coming from live wagers.
Because of the format of a tennis match, bettors can use take advantage of live wagers much more effectively. Similarly to how Adam Silver described the unique position of the MLB, the pace of tennis allows for live wagers to flow easier than other sports due to continuous breaks between points.
Changes to the Format Affects Betting, Tennis Players
The men’s final was won in the end by Novak Djokovic, who outlasted Roger Federer in five sets, bringing into effect the new 5th set tiebreak rules in Wimbledon for the first time ever. The new rules will be a joy for prop bettors, as it forced a 12-point tiebreak when the final set reached 12-12.
Betting on a set going to a tiebreak is a common market for tennis matches, and will likely become even more common as the Grand Slams move to eliminate the endless matches that result in utterly insane final set scores like Kevin Anderson and John Isner accomplished in the 2018 Wimbledon semifinals, ending 26-24.
On a level closer to the sport itself, the move will help to benefit the players themselves, as they won’t be playing frankly dangerous amounts of tennis during the earlier rounds of tournaments. Asking players to play in a next round match after a previous marathon does increase the chance of injury.
Unfortunately, that also means that the world will likely never get a chance to see something match the absolute madness that was Isner vs Nicolas Mahut in Wimbledon 2010. The two combined for a 3-day match that ended with a final set score of 70-68, the longest in history. Isner lost in straight sets the next day.
The French Open is now the only Grand Slam that still features the endless fifth set format. The longest match is French Open history, using tiebreaks in sets 1-4, ended 18-16 in the fifth set. Naturally, Isner was involved, facing Paul-Henri Mathieu in 2012.
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