At present, tennis betting would appear to be one of the more predictable sports betting markets around. Following the turn of the century, the sport’s four leading players, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal have won 37 of the last 40 Grand Slams.
This common outcome suits punters down to the ground, as for a Grand Slam, the top three are usually placed in the market at around the 3/1 mark, with the most in-form at closer to 2/1, and the least fancied at closer to 4/1.
Of course, the big four don’t compete in every tournament on the ATP tour, and the same goes for the women on the WTA tour. Hence, it is worth looking around for value. Names such as Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka were not necessarily that well-known before their 2014 Grand Slam wins, but are the sorts of players who will now undoubtedly figure more prominently in tournament markets.
It can be a fickle market though, as players with a big, powerful game can suddenly strike ‘hot’ and look like the world’s best player for one match. It is their world ranking, however, that remains the best indicator of their potential, as it simply proves whether they maintain that level consistently.
It is also worth looking at what surfaces players perform best on. The Spaniards, like Nadal and David Ferrer, are notorious clay-court specialists, having had their talent nurtured on such courts since an early age, while the Americans are largely more accustomed to hard-courts. They may still be playing the same game, but court surfaces play a huge part in a player’s capabilities.
For example, tennis legend Pete Sampras was almost unstoppable on grass, winning seven Wimbledon titles, but his game failed to make the transition to clay, as a single semi-final proved his best return at the French Open.
Perhaps the most popular method of tennis betting is utilising the accumulator. Due to the fact that there are so many competitors – especially during the early rounds of Grand Slams – many of the players start off at very short prices.
Therefore it is sensible to combine some of these prices, seeing as plenty of markets can go as short as 1/50, with the top three at over 1/100 at times. However, despite the consistency of the top four, the strength in depth of the men’s game in particular means the seeds outside of the top four aren’t as safe as it would appear.
Live tennis betting is also a tricky business, although one that can prove fruitful if you time it right. Momentum is a key word in tennis; a player gains confidence the better he is playing, resulting in him getting stronger, while his opponent drains of belief all the time.
There are momentum shifts though, and this is where timing is very beneficial. It can be a point, a game or simply a player getting complacent, as his opponent wrestles back some control, before doubts suddenly creep into the leader’s mind.
If you can spot a momentum shift, or perhaps a player getting nervous as he approaches seeing the match out (especially if it’s an upset against a top player), you can strike on to some nice odds.
Generally in tennis betting, there are not many opportunities for the big price winners. The exception to this can be tennis outright betting. With no fewer than 126 tournaments across both men’s and women’s tennis over the course of the year, there are ample opportunities to look to find the players that will lift the trophies and secure profits for the smart punter.
There are a number of factors to consider when it comes to deciding which players are worth backing in a tournament for your tennis betting. An obvious factor, as mentioned earlier, is the court surface. Different players are suited to different surfaces, and while the top players are comfortable on all surfaces, they generally have a favoured surface.
Having taken the surface into account, it is advisable to then take a closer look at the draw itself. Aside from the Grand Slams, bookmakers almost always will wait until the draw has been released to price up a tournament outright. Often, especially in some of the smaller tournaments, you will find that one half of the draw is significantly stronger than the other. This could mean that a lower ranked player, in the weaker half of the draw, could prove to be worth putting on your shortlist as an each-way pick.
The next aspect to look at is recent form. As with any sport, winning breeds confidence, and a confident player is more likely to play better tennis. A player that has had some big wins or a couple of good runs over the past month is certainly worth keeping an eye on.
This applies even if the overall quality of their game might be slightly below the level that you think might be needed to win the tournament. However, there is a caveat here. Outside the top few players, it is quite rare that players win back-to-back titles. While they are clearly in good form from the first title, the amount of tennis, emotion at winning the title, plus travelling at the last minute can often result in a poor tournament the following week.
Finally, it is certainly worth looking at a player’s recent history at a tournament. For whatever intangible reasons, certain players enjoy playing at certain tournaments. For example, Nadal has won 9 of the last 10 French Opens while Djokovic has won 4 of the last 5 Australian Opens.
Once you have taken all these factors into consideration, you should have a list of just one or two players for the tournament. The crucial thing is now to look at the odds and consider whether you feel a player has a greater chance of winning the tournament than the odds suggest. These logical steps should lead to a solid profit for your tennis outright betting.