Tennis Betting Strategy: Accumulators and Over/Under Total Number of Games

Tennis Betting Strategy: Accumulators and Over/Under Total Number of Games

In the early rounds of tennis tournaments, there are often encounters which appear – on paper, at least – to be somewhat one-sided. Instead of taking prohibitive odds on a fancied player to win a match, plenty of tennis betting aficionados combine several favourites in the way of an accumulator to increase their returns.

Accas, as they are often called, are among the most popular bets in tennis. Another bet which punters find attractive is the match market entitled 'Over/Under Total Number of Games'. We look at both in detail now.

Accumulator Betting

Tennis accumulator betting does exactly what it says on the tin. You pick a number of players to win their respective matches and they all have to win for you to land the bet.

As an example, there were five matches completed on the first day of the main draw at the ATP 500 at Eastbourne in 2019. The favourites were priced up as follows: 1.40, 1.80, 1.66, 1.57, 1.30, with the accumulator on all five favourites coming to 8.54.

But the player priced at 1.8 was James Millman who went down in three sets to Fernando Verdasco so the bet lost. There was little to choose in that match but if you employed a safer strategy, eg. only backing players priced 1.6 or shorter, you were left with a treble paying out 2.857 (which did win).

Of course, you can tailor your accumulator to include players you think are overpriced and exclude those you deem suspect on the surface or out of form. But the risk, as with all accas, is that one player lets you down. Ladbrokes is among the small number of bookmakers who offer 'acca insurance' on tennis betting. They will return the value of your stake as a free bet if one leg lets you down although your acca must have a minimum of five legs and combined odds of 4.0.

Some bookmakers also offer lucrative bonuses on winning accumulators. Bet365 will pay a bonus ranging from 5% for a winning double or treble through to 20% for a six-fold all the way to 50% for a 12-fold or greater.

'Over/Under Total Number of Games' Market

Here’s another popular market where the clue is in the name. Also labelled simply as ‘Total Games’, you simply bet on whether a match will last over or under a specified number of games. Each set can have a maximum of 13 games (the tiebreak being the 13th game) unless it is a decider in certain Grand Slam events when a margin of two clear games is required to secure victory.

With service holds easier and more common in the men’s game, a match between two fairly evenly matched players will result in a threshold figure of either 23.5 or 24.5 for a best-of-three encounter. In the women’s game, where breaks are more common, this number drops to 20.5 or 21.5. The odds for overs and unders are usually initially priced up as 1.85 for each side and these will change according to bet volumes.

Some of the best tennis bookies will offer alternative thresholds with bigger price differentials. So a match with 1.85 either side for 23.5 games may be priced up as 1.33 for over 20.5 games and 3.0 for under 20.5 games.

In-play kicks off at the start of the match with more threshold options usually becoming available. As the match progresses, these odds change and it is simple to adjust your staking plan based on how you see the match going. If a player is getting on top and looks to be on the way to a quick win, it might be profitable to bet ‘Unders’. Similarly, if it looks like a tight encounter, ‘Overs’ will be the way forward.

Matches going to three sets are usually fatal to ‘Unders’ bets. And the more one-sided the match is on paper, the fewer games should - theoretically - be required to decide the outcome.

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