Tennis is a fast-paced, ultra-athletic sport that captivates millions and is an increasingly popular betting proposition for sports fans.
How did tennis start?
Tennis developed from a game played in the early medieval period by Italian monks in courtyards, and later popularised across Europe. Initially played with bare hands and then leather gloves, rackets were developed in due course and a number of different versions of the sport followed.
Of those, squash, badminton and table tennis are well-still known. You’re less likely to be familiar with racquetball, in which a small hard ball travels at eye-watering speeds. You may have heard of the mysterious world of real tennis, beloved of Henry VIII, and then there’s pelota and trinquete, which are still popular in the Basque country.
What’s the history of tennis betting?
The history of tennis betting has been poorly chronicled. It’s likely informal wagering has existed for centuries but it’s not known at what point betting shops with televised feeds of the tournaments started allowing bets to be legally struck.
In terms of on-site betting, William Hill opened a betting tent at Wimbledon in 1975, but failed to return the next year after being charged a higher fee and given a less prominent location. There’s no record of any rival firm doing something similar.
More recently, concerns have developed over players being bribed to deliberately lose a game, particularly in low-key challenger events that sit below the flagship main ATP and WTA tours. Tennis can be an expensive occupation, especially when players have to travel long-haul for poor prize money. The temptation of skullduggery has, on occasion, been too much to resist.
Additionally, a practice known as courtsiding, a technique whereby spectators attempt to relay vital point updates to syndicates before the umpire has officially updated the scoreboard, has reared its ugly head.
Thankfully these unwelcome aspects to tennis betting are not an issue at BetConnect, largely because we eliminate both in-running markets and many of the low-key challenger events.
How do you bet on tennis at BetConnect?
We offer bets on singles and doubles draws at the Grand Slams, all WTA and ATP tournaments and some of the major qualifying tournaments.
All bets must be placed before the scheduled start time and a range of markets is available.
- Match Result
The most obvious bet and the easiest one to explain, this bet simply involves picking the winner. There are a range of factors to consider before lumping on a selection as the odds will rarely be attractive in these markets.
Which player will act best bearing in mind the surface, weather conditions, recent form and that all-important but sometimes overlooked aspect, head-to-head records?
- Game handicap
The game handicap is a fairly new innovation to tennis betting though fairly commonplace in sports betting as a whole. The player who the match market views as the underdog is given a handicap to make the contest more even.
Let’s use this example: Rafael Nadal has a +3.5 handicap against Novak Djokovic. The match is won by Djokovic 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 but your bet on Nadal wins because if we add up all the games, Djokovic has 16 to Nadal’s 14. We then add 3.5 to Nadal’s score, which takes him past his rival.
A great time to get stuck into this market is when you think the two players are hard to split although one is given a reasonably generous handicap.
- Total games
Here there is a fixed ‘line’ of the total games the market expects there to be in the match. Bet either side of the line at odds of around 10/11 if you think the line is above or below where you’d expect it to be.
A good trick in a market like this is to calculate in your mind how the match is going to play out. If the market line conforms roughly to your belief, avoid betting. If it’s quite far from your estimate, this is a good time to place the bet.
Generally speaking, the closer a match is the more total games will be played. Look out for men’s matches on fast courts where both players are big servers. These will often have several sets going to tiebreaks and are good matches to pick for bets on the high side of the line.
- First set winner
This is a fairly unusual bet and it will generally replicate the match market. However you may have collected some data that shows you exactly how effective a particular player is early in a match. If so, you may have an edge that gives you a chance of reaping a profit.
Tennis betting: Ready to hit winners?
If you think you’re ready to bet on tennis then sign up for a BetConnect account now. BetConnect is the only exchange that lets you back selections at bookie odds with no restrictions, and lay the selections of other account-holders commission-free. Not sure how it works? Read this simple guide.