It can be hard to find value in tennis betting, particularly if you're interested in big stars and Grand Slams, where bookies sometimes offer very low odds on seeded players. However, there is a way to enhance your chances of winning big: look at the 'set betting' markets.
For example, examining the schedule of the 2013 ATP World Tour finals in London, you wouldn't expect much value from Novak Djokovic. He has come straight from an emphatic victory at the Paris Masters, he's desperate to reclaim the world number one spot, and he's scheduled to play Federer in the first round. Though Federer is now something of a waning power, he's still no pushover, yet Djokovic is still only rated 1/4 to win the match by Betfair Sports.
However, in the set betting Djokovic is rated 4/6 to win the match 2-0, and a surprising 27/10 to win 2-1. Considering that Djokovic defeated Federer 2-1 just a week before this matchup, that represents very good value.
You can draw even more value by factoring in player injuries, as well as their favoured surfaces. Even the most basic strategic information, like knowing that Nadal blasts away the opposition on clay, is enough to boost your odds with a punt on a set score. Likewise, predicting fatigue from a busy star player when s/he's pitted against a rested up-and-comer could be enough to land big odds on the star losing a single set in the match. Those of you who play the numbers might fancy a spread or even an accumulator on these stolen sets to maximise value.
One word of warning with pre-match set-betting, though: five-set matches can be a lot less predictable. Players like Andy Murray may, when he's fit, embroil himself in more five-set thrillers than the average top seed, but that kind of stand-out trend doesn't come along too often, so you'll have to work hard to spot it.
Alternatively, you could shift your set-betting focus to the win margin in the first set. This is another good way of drawing value from a dead cert. Betting on 6-0, 6-1, or 6-2 can present quite lucrative odds if you're confident enough to take them, or have a sturdy enough spread-betting system.
With Djokovic rated at 50/1 to beat Federer 6-0 in the first set of their ATP World Tour Finals matchup, it seems that there are some fantastic odds available if you have the confidence to call them.
The final way to make set betting work for you is with the in-play markets. Perhaps the most interesting thing about in-play betting in tennis is the player psychology. Unlike team sports, tennis is very much about getting into the mind of the player when they're on the court. Federer is well known for responding strongly when he has been broken or dropped a set, for example, so wagering on a comeback is always a good idea. And if you can call a momentum shift a game or two in advance, the rewards can be great.
So, to try tennis set betting yourself - it might just serve up some profits - head over to Betfair Sports today!