Odds Explained

Tennis odds explained

Tennis betting is one of the most common sports to bet on in the world

Most bookies offer plenty of different markets and below we will walk you through how they work. There are many ways to bet on Tennis, but a good way to start is by betting on the winner of one of the four majors. The four majors are Wimbledon, US OpenFrench Open and the Australian Open as well as the end of season ATP Tour finals.

Tennis Odds Explained

Odds on tennis are presented in three ways;

  • Fractional – Popular format in the UK and Ireland
  • Decimal – Popular across Europe and the southern hemisphere.
  • Moneyline – Popular in North America.

What Do Tennis Betting Odds Mean?

So let’s begin with the common question, what do tennis betting odds represent? If a player is listed at odds of 1.75 to win a Grand Slam match, what does this mean? Well, betting odds represent a likelihood (often referred to as the ‘ implied probability’ ) of a particular outcome occurring. So if a player is listed at 1.75 to win a match, these odds reflect what the bookmaker believes that player’s chances of winning the match are.

So what are the chances a player listed at 1.75 will win the match? We can answer this with a simple formula:

Converting decimal odds to implied probability formula:

Implied probability = 1 / decimal odds

So in our example, the chances of a player listed at 1.75 winning a match are:

1 / 1.75 = 0.5714 = 57.14%

Understanding the probability expressed in betting odds is key to successful golf betting. Knowing how to convert odds into their implied probability will only help enhance your chances of long term success betting on tennis.

How Do Tennis Betting Odds Work?

So how much will you win if you place a bet on a particular player and he or she wins their match? This is a very simple calculation:

Your Profit = (Stake * Odds) – Stake

So let’s say we place a £10 bet on a player listed at odds of 1.75 to win an upcoming match. And let’s say that player wins. How much profit will you make on your bet?

Your Profit = (£10 * 1.75) – £10
Your Profit = (£17.50) – £10
Your Profit = £7.50

So in our example we would make a profit of £7.50 on our £10 bet. A nice win indeed.

Tennis Odds In Action: An Example

Heading into the 2014 Australian Open, Rafael Nadal was the top seed in Melbourne and the world no.1. Nadal was hot-off a sensational return to top form in 2013 that saw him come back from injury to take both the French and U.S. Opens plus nine other titles. After dismissing Roger Federer easily in the semifinals, Nadal was a strong 1.18  favourite to defeat Stan Wawrinka in the final of the 2014 Australian Open. At those odds, if a bettor placed a £10 bet on Nadal to win, they would win back a total of £11.80 – including the original £10 stake, making a profit of just £1.80.

As a probability, there was an 84.75% chance of a Nadal victory.

Despite playing the best tennis of his career and defeating defending champion Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals, Stan Wawrinka was a massive 5.60 underdog going into the final against Nadal. This was primarily based on his record of 12 straight defeats against the Spaniard in all meetings, in which Wawrinka had failed to even win a set.

However, some expert tipsters sensed an upset was on the cards. Sure Nadal was on a roll and playing great tennis, but so was Wawrinka. Sure Stan had never beaten Rafa, but he hadn’t beaten Djokovic in seven years and 14 matches before this event. Besides, he’d been getting closer to Nadal, losing their previous match in two tight sets 7-6, 7-6.

Also, Wawrinka’s power game was well suited to the super-fast hardcourts of Melbourne. While Nadal was an excellent all-court player, his game was still primarily that of a clay-courter, relying on dogged defensive play from the baseline.

A £10 pound bet on a Wawrinka win at odds of 5.60 would return a total of £56 including the original £10 pound stake, showing a £46 profit.

However, according to the odds there was only a 17.86% probability of a Wawrinka victory. It was a long shot, would it pay off?

In the end, Stan The Man won the 2014 Australian Open defeating Nadal in four sets, claiming his first Slam in the process.

Betting On Tennis – Outright Tournament Winner

This is simply to bet on the winner of a tournament. Normally bookmakers will offer each way bets; one third of the odds on the place of your favourite and the rest if your selection finishes first or second.

Always take into consideration that tennis tournaments use draws to determine which players will face one another throughout the tournament. Taking a look at the likely opposition for each player once the tournament draw is released, can help you determine which players might be worth some value. A great player may find themselves with a difficult draw while a less talented player might be fortunate enough to be drawn against inferior opponents, giving them the dream run deep into the tournament.

Tournament Winner Odds

Lastly, let’s consider tournament winner odds and other tennis outright bets.

Here we can see that Serena Williams is the firm favourite to win the tournament at odds of 2.25. If we think she is a better chance to win the tournament than those odds would suggest (44.4%) then we should be on her as it’s a value betting opportunity.

Tournament Each Way Betting

We can see that it’s also possible to bet ‘each way’ on this tournament, with the each way terms displayed in the top left. In this instance, one bookmaker is offering each way terms of 1/2 the outright odds for players finishing 1st or 2nd.

What does this mean?

Backing a player each-way means you are essentially placing two bets – one bet on the player to win the tournament and second bet on that player to finish, in this case, at least runner up (reaching the final).

So as an example, if you bet £10 each on Simona Halep at odds of 10.0, you would be placing £10 on her to win the tournament at odds of 10.0 and a second bet of £10 for Halep to finish at least as runner up (lose the final) at 1/2 the outright winner odds.

Each way odds are calculated as:

((Each way terms) of (winner odds – 1)) +1

So in this example, our each way odds for Simona Halep would be:

=(1/2 of (10.0 – 1) +1

=(1/2 of 9.0) +1

=4.50 + 1

=5.50

So our £20 each way on Simona Halep, is essentially two bets:

£10 on Halep to win the tournament at odds of 10.0
£10 on Halep to either win the tournament or finish runner up at odds of 5.50

So if Halep wins the final, you win both of your bets. However if Halep reaches the final but loses, you lose your outright winner bet but you would win your runner up bet.

When it comes to outright tournament betting, if you are looking to back a player to win a tournament – especially the favourite – try and do so before the action has begun. The odds will become less favourable once the event begins and the field starts to dissipate. Even when a player is as dominant as Djokovic currently is or as Federer and Nadal have been in the past, it’s still possible to get reasonable odd on them before the event kicks off.

You may also see a player who was previously unfancied suddenly hit a hot streak, and if that is the case you should jump on board as soon as you can. In 2007 former Wimbledon runner-up David Nalbandian had slumped to 25th in the world and was seemingly sliding into mediocrity. Then, from out of nowhere, he suddenly hit one of the greatest hot streaks seen in recent years, winning both the Madrid and Paris Masters Series events back-to-back, and defeating both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in each event!

Tennis outright bets don’t begin and end with tournament winner odds. The following markets are also available:

Quarter Winner: Betting on a player to reach the semi finals.
To Reach Final: Betting on a player to play in the tournament final.

Betting On Tennis – Sets

To bet on a given set score is the equivalent to betting on the final score in football. In tennis you bet on the score in sets. For example, Player A wins 3 sets, Player B wins 2. This can be a great way of finding value betting on tennis when you have a greater knowledge of both player’s tendencies, especially if one player is a short-priced favorite but is known for slow starts in the early stages of a tournament.Yet an often-used possibility is to bet on the winner of the first set. Again, spotting a slow starter (or fast-starter) may yield good value odds!

Set Winner

There are various ways of betting on individual sets. Most bookmakers provide you with the opportunity back a player to win the first, second or third sets individually. Below we can see an example of a 1st Set Winner market with odds  for an upcoming match Raf Nadal and Andreas Seppi.

tennis odds

Set winner betting works the same as match winner betting, except that rather than betting on the outcome of a complete match,  you are only betting on the outcome of an individual set. In this example, we can see that Nadal is at very short odds to win the opening set of the match.

Betting On Tennis – Handicap Odds

You can also bet on a range of tennis match handicaps. The most common of these are Set handicaps and Game handicaps.

Set handicap betting

In Set handicap betting, you bet on whether one player will win with the assistance of a Set handicap. This is somewhat similar to Asian Handicaps in football. For example, you can bet on a player to win with a -1.5 set handicap. Or on the other hand a player may be given a +1.5 set handicap.

Games handicap betting is similar except that it takes into consideration the total number of games played in the match. This can be a challenging form of betting as even a short-priced who is expected to win in straight sets, may struggle through each set. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of if you know that the playing style of a suspected inferior opponent, gives his much fancied opponent difficulties.

Set handicap betting is where one player is given a set advantage (for example +1.5 sets) and the other is given a set deficit (for example -1.5 sets). Below we can see an example of set handicap odds for an upcoming match between Caroline Wozniacki and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

tennis odds

In this instance we see that Wozniacki is +1.5 sets at odds of 1.66. If you bet on Wozniacki at +1.5 sets, your bet is a winner so long as she wins the match or at the very least doesn’t lose by more than 1.5 sets. Think of it this way – no matter the outcome of the match, so long as Wozniacki is within 1.5 sets of winning the match, your bet is a winner.

On the other hand, if you bet on Kuznetsova at -1.5 sets and odds of 2.10, your bet is a winner only if she wins by over 1.5 sets. If she wins by only 1 set or worse still, she loses the match, your bet is a loser.

Calculating whether or not your handicap bet is a winner is easy. You simply add (or subtract) the handicap from the final scoreline. If you had bet on Wozniacki at +1.5 sets, you simply add the 1.5 set handicap to her final scoreline. If on the other hand you had bet on Kuznetsova -1.5 sets, then we subtract 1.5 sets from her scoreline.

Games Handicap Betting

Tennis handicap betting doesn’t begin and end with set handicaps. There are also games handicaps. This market works much like set handicaps, with a player given a games advantage (for example +5.5 games) and the other a games deficit (for example -5.5 games). Below we can see an example of a games handicap market with odds for an upcoming match between Fernando Verdasco and Stan Wawrinka.

tennis odds

In this instance we see that Verdasco has a +5.5 game handicap. What does this mean? Well it means that if we bet on Verdasco +5.5 games at odds of 1.727, our bet is a winner so long as his total number of games won during the match is at the very least within 5 games of Wawrinka’s games total.

So let’s say Wawrinka finishes the match with a total of 22 games won, while Verdasco finishes the match with a total of 17 games. In this example your bet would be a winner because Verdasco’s total number of games was within the 5.5 game handicap.

On the other hand, if you had bet on Wawrinka with the -5.5 games handicap at odds of 2.05, he must finish the match with at least 6 more total games won than Verdasco.

Games handicaps work just the same as set handicaps, except that we focus only on the number of games won through a match. Just as we did with set handicaps, we simply add or subtract the handicap. In this example, if we had bet on Verdasco at +5.5 games, we add 5.5 games to his total games won. If on the other hand we bet on Wawrinka at -5.5 games, we subtract 5.5 games from his total.

What makes games handicap betting a particularly intriguing market is that your player doesn’t have to win the match for your bet to be a winner, even if he were the favourite. For example, let’s say Verdasco wins the match 3 sets to 2, with a scoreline of 7-6, 1-6, 7-6, 1-6, 6-4. In this example, Verdasco ended the match with a total of 22 games won while Wawrinka won a total of 28. With a games handicap of -5.5, even though he lost the match, Wawrinka still managed to cover his games handicap by exceeding his opponent’s games total by 6.

Betting On Tennis Over/Unders

As with handicap betting, Over/Under betting focuses on Set totals and Game totals. For example, you can bet on whether a match will end over or under 3.5 total sets. On the other hand you can be on whether a match will end over or under 30.5 games.This can be a great way of betting if you have difficulty determining which player will win the match. In these cases it would be a good idea to bet the over in both total sets or total games. It doesn’t matter which player wins. If it’s a close match, your bet on the over is likely to come up a winner.Likewise if you expect a player of lesser overall talent to push a short-priced favourite, you can bet the over. Similarly, instead of betting on a short-priced favourite to win at very thin odds, you can bet on the match to finish in quick time receiving far more handsome odds. In cases such as this, it is wise to bet the under.

Over Under Odds

Tennis over unders is an increasingly popular form of betting, As was the case with tennis handicaps, there are two forms of tennis over unders – total sets and total games.

Total Sets Over Under

Let’s begin with total sets.

In this instance you can bet on the total number of sets played in the match to be either over or under 3.5. Or in other words, the match to end with at most 3 sets played (under 3.5 sets) or the match to end with at least 4 sets played (over 3.5 sets).

Let’s say Andy Murray is playing Belgium’s David Goffin, the man he defeated to seal Britain’s Davis Cup win in 2015. Murray usually defeats Goffin relatively comfortably. Both men play a similar game, but Murray is a little better in all departments, plus a lot bigger. In this example we may believe that Murray will once again finish the match comfortably with the match being no longer than 3 sets. In this case we would be on Under 3.5 sets.

A related market, betting on the exact number of sets to be played in a given match, is offered by the majority of bookmakers.

Total Games Over Under

Tennis over under betting doesn’t end with total sets. You can also bet on the total number of games to played through a match. Below we can see an example of a total games over under market with odds for an upcoming match

 tennis odds

Here we have two options. We can either bet on the match finishing with Under 21.5 games played (at  most 21 games) or we can bet on the match finishing with Over 21.5 games played (at least 22 games).

So let’s say we are betting on a match between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber, with the match ending 6-1, 4-6, 6-2. In this example the match ended with a total of 25 games played. If we had bet Over 21.5 games, our bet would be a winner. However if we had bet Under 21.5 games, we would have lost our bet.

Betting On Tennis Correct Scores

This is a highly specific form of betting in which the odds are always generally quite high but the probability of success far less so. You are literally attempting to see into the future and pick the actual final scoreline of a set, or indeed a completed match.

Match Correct Score

Below we can see an example of a correct score betting market with odds for an upcoming match between Andy Murray and Lukas Rosol.

tennis odds

With correct score betting we are attempting to predict the final scoreline for a given match. The example above is for a five set Grand Slam match. We can predict either of the players to win and select the exact scoreline come completion of the match. Here we can see that Andy Murray is the clear favourite, with odds of just 1.22 for him to win the match without dropping a set, 3 sets to 0.

If you do your research and see that there is a high likelihood of a certain scoreline in matches between two players, then correct score betting can prove to be profitable. For example, the five matches between big-serving beanpoles Ivo Karlovic and John Isner have featured no less than nine 7-6 sets out of twelve played! That said, the bookies would probably do you no favors on a repeat of that scoreline when they next meet.

Set Correct Score

Correct score tennis betting doesn’t begin and end with the final scoreline. It’s also possible to bet on the correct score in individual sets. Below we can see an example of 1st Set Correct Score with odds for the same upcoming match between Andy Murray and Lukas Rosol.

tennis odds

As we can see, it’s possible to bet on every possible combination of 1st set scorelines, with Murray winning the opening set 6-3 the shortest odds at 4.00, while the odds of Rosol winning 6-0 is at the unlikely odds of 101.0.