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Tennis is a fast paced sport full of action and often, exciting twists and turns. Tennis fans will look forward to the Grand Slam tournaments each year as well as the other tournaments organised by institutions such as the Association of Tennis Professionals, or ATP, and the Women’s Tennis Association, or WTA.

Betting is a way of adding even more excitement when watching tennis matches. There are many different types of bets that are available for each game, with the options to combine them in parlays, and it is even possible to bet live during a match.

The more high profile tournaments, such as the Grand Slams, often have extensive betting opportunities. However, even when betting on the relatively minor tournaments, it is not unusual to find a huge number of markets on offer.

Bet Types

There is a selection of standard bets, or bets that can be found for almost every single tennis match. This includes matches between lower ranking tennis players and even qualifying matches for the Grand Slam events that are played by up and coming tennis players.

Match Winner

This bet is the simplest one, as it only requires the bettor to predict which player will win the match. Odds are displayed for both players and they will reflect how likely each player is to win the match. The player with the shorter odds will be the favourite to win, and the player with the longer odds will be the underdog, in some games there is a huge difference between the odds offered and in other games where the match is more evenly tied, the odds will be closer.

Spreads Sets

Tennis games are either played in a best of three sets or best of five sets format. The best of five sets format is usually only played in men’s singles or doubles tournaments at the Grand Slams or in the Davis Cup. In best of five sets matches, the player or partners need to win by at least 2 sets to win the match.

Spreads can usually be found in the five set format matches, where punters can place bets on one of the players to win by a margin. These bets are useful because they can lengthen the odds on the favourite to win, or they can be used to back the underdog with a positive spread that reduces the chance of losing.

A commonly placed spread is -1.5 on the favourite. This means that the favourite will have to win the match by at least two sets. With this spread, the favourite can only win if they win the match by 3-0, or 3-1. If the underdog wins two sets, then the bet loses. The spread increases the odds on the favourite tremendously, but will come with a higher risk.

An example of a positive spread is +1.5 on the underdog. In this bet, the underdog only has to win 2 sets for the bet to win. The odds on the underdog will be higher without the spread, but the risk is also larger.

Spreads Games

This bet works the same way as the sets, but focuses the number of games each player wins. By breaking the sets into games, the bookie can offer more ranges of spreads. There may be game spreads such as 5.5. 6.5. 7.5 and so on.

If a bet were to be placed on the favourite to win the match with a handicap of -6.5 games, what this would mean is that the number of games they win should be at least 7 more than the opponent. In a best of five sets format, if the match ended 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 to the favourite, their accrued games will be 6+3+6+2+6 = 23, whilst their opponent’s games will be 4+6+2+6+1 = 19, meaning the bet would lose. This is what makes the bet harder to win, but the odds offered on the higher point spreads will be massive.

Total Sets

Total sets is a bet that does not relate to who will win the match, but instead focuses on the number of sets that will be played in the match. Depending on whether the match is played in a best of three or five series, there will be different bets offered.

In a best of five format match the total sets may be offered at over/under 3.5 sets or over/under 4.5 sets. For either bet, the punter can choose whether there will be more or less sets than the value presented by the bet. In over/under 3.5 sets, a bet on under will require the match to conclude with 3 sets, and the over will require the match to finish in 4 or 5 sets. With the over/under 4.5 sets, an under bet will require the match to end in 3 or 4 sets, whilst the over bet will require the match to go to the full 5 sets.

Total Games

These bets, when offered, use the same system as the total sets but they relate to the number of games won across all sets. Like the spreads games, there will be more options for punters to pick from, such as the match to end with over/under 20.5, 21.5, 22.5 games and more.

Live Bets

Bets can be placed ahead of time but there are also some bets that are available to place during a match. These options are great for punters who want to see a bit of the action before they commit themselves to their bet. One thing to note is that the live bets are always offered with live odds. These odds are updated in real time, so if the favourite goes ahead early in the match, the odds offered on them will be even shorter than before the match began. The odds will fluctuate during the course of the game, so punters should either try to place their bets early, or they may want to wait for an opportune moment when the odds on their bet are higher.


Parlays are where bets are combined to create even larger odds. Any bets can be combined, as long as they do not contradict each other. From the main bets, a match winner and number of sets is a popular parlay bet. When placed individually, these bets may bring large winnings, but in a parlay the odds are multiplied against each other, making the winnings even larger.

For example, if a punter placed a match winner bet on Novak Djokovic to win at odds 1.3 and combined it in a parlay with the match to end with over 4.5 sets at odds 4.7, a €10 bet on each would win €60.

A parlay of the two bets would generate odds of 6.11, meaning that the same stake of €20 would win a whopping €122.20.

For a parlay to win, all bets must come through, which makes it more risky, but they have the potential to be hugely rewarding bets.


Bets can be placed on any player or partnership to win any major tournaments. At the Grand Slams for example, bets can be placed on which player will win the men’s singles or women’s singles. These bets can be placed well ahead of time, which is why they are often referred to as futures bets or outrights.

Game Props

For major events, there may be even more bets available for each match. These can be far more specific and therefore more difficult to predict. There may be more event specific bets such as how many aces will there be in the match, will one of the players serve a double fault, will one player be able to come back from 2-0 down and so on.

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