Ace Your Bets: The Ultimate Guide to Tennis Betting for Beginners

Updated: 24664 Learning

We serve up advice for tennis betting with our comprehensive guide for newbies. Discover bet varieties, expert tips & top events to unleash your inner champion!

Ace Your Bets: The Ultimate Guide to Tennis Betting for Beginners
Steve Madgwick Editor-In-Chief

Editor-In-Chief with 20 years experience covering the betting angles to breaking news stories. Daily slots player, Portsmouth fan and League Snooker Player

Tennis is one of the most popular sports in the world. It has a huge following and attracts interest from casual players, as well as professional bettors. 

We will look at the best markets to bet on tennis and which events are the most popular around the year. We'll also discuss how you should consider what playing surface is used for each match and how that might affect your bets!

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Let's run through these 3 major aspects of consideration when betting on Tennis

1. What is Tennis Betting? 

It is the same as betting on any sport or a game of cards, it is a risk and a gamble that your prediction will be correct on the outcome of a tennis match.

The idea is to place a bet on who you think will win the game or match, and if your prediction turns out right then in return for placing that wager successfully you would be rewarded with a profit back as well as your betting stake. 

2. How to Bet on Tennis: The Basics 

There are many ways you can bet on tennis, you can place a bet on who will win the match, or if they'll lose it in straight sets.  

You could also bet on who will be the first to break serve or if we'll see a tie-break. 

The most popular bets are usually about which player, either man and woman is going to win across all of these different markets. 

3. Types of Bets and Odds Explained 

There are literally hundreds of different types of bets you can make on a single tennis match, especially when it comes to the biggest and best events of the year like the Grand Slams in Australia, France, England and the US.

Types of Bets You can Make on Tennis

Here are some of the most popular types of tennis bets and markets. 

If you are new to tennis betting you can virtually tip on these markets and win free cash prizes every month via OLBG. 

We have a table of the best tennis tipsters so why not put your tennis judgement to the test. 

You should also check out any free bets or promotions or offers for a match you are considering betting on, the bookies will have a range of "what odds" on various match scenarios. 

Outright Betting

In outright betting, you are predicting which player will win the tournament. Usually, players are ranked in odds order so you can see who is going to be a favourite and more likely winner of that particular event from their rankings.

Of course, it doesn't always stand up that the higher-ranked players win. 

You can check the changing rankings vis the official ATP website.

Match Betting

Match betting in tennis is trying to correctly predict the winner of a single match. Match betting can be a bit more unpredictable especially further down the rankings and seedings where players are less consistent.

This is where it pays to do your research before placing the bet understanding players' ability on the surface of today's match and their recent form.

It is likely that the players will have met before so Head-to-Head form needs to be considered. 

It also helps if you are able handicap their ability, so that when looking at odds for specific players why not create your own handicap odds and see how they differ from the bookmakers. 

Set Betting

Set betting is when you predict the winner of the match but also the correct score of the best of three or best of five sets that will be played. This is not always as easy as it might sound as different players have varying abilities on the surface. 

Set betting works best for some of tennis' major tournaments such as Wimbledon, Roland Garros or US Open where there are lots more matches played in this format.

A best of 5 matches, has several possible outcomes from a 3-0 whitewash, to a closer game finishing 3-2  either way. With several possible options, look for the value, and it is not always the best strategy to follow the crowd and best on the most popular prediction. perhaps that lowly ranked player might be able to win one set against the top 10 seed.

Set betting can be fun, but you will find bigger odds, and that means a lower probability of being correct. 

The Best Tennis Betting Sites: A comprehensive comparison for online tennis betting fans

The Best Tennis Betting Sites: A comprehensive comparison for online tennis betting fans

Handicap Betting

This is a very popular type of betting on many head-to-head events where the underdog player in the betting is giving a start, say half a set or a whole set against a better player who has to effectively come from behind and overcome the handicap.

The reason the handicap is used, is to negate the advantage one player might have over another and try to offer equal odds on either outcome that you might choose.

This can be very popular with punters who like to bet on favorites, as they get the much bigger odds, to compensate for the deficit they think the favoured player can overcome.

Over/Under Betting: Matches/Games

Under Over betting is based generally on sets or games in a match.

The bookmaker will make a line from a best of 5 game, of perhaps 1.5, 2.5 or 3.5 sets, and offer odds on the total number of games in the match being higher or lower than these lines.

You simply have to predict if you think there will be more or fewer sets if you are happy with the odds and place your bet. The more one-sided the match, the lower the line may be, and vice versa.

This becomes more interesting when applied to games, and here is where you can really take advantage of the bookie's odds, which are only predictions themselves and may not be very accurate.

With many more potential games, this bet can be presented as Under/Over games per set, or event Under/Over games per match, the latter being where the bigger opportunities lie.

Discovering the Best Bet Builder Sites: A Comprehensive Comparison of 64 Online Bookmakers

Discovering the Best Bet Builder Sites: A Comprehensive Comparison of 64 Online Bookmakers

In-Play Tennis Betting

Betting on live tennis games can be thrilling and exciting, but it is also fraught with danger, I'll explain a bit more about than in a moment but for now, let's look at some of the types of bets you can make once a tennis match has already begun.

It is possible to still bet on the types of markets listed above, as long as the bookie is offering those markets 'in-play' 

So if you miss the start of a match you wished to bet on, the chance to make the bet will still be there although the odds will have changed depending on what action has already happened.

The benefit of betting live on tennis is that once a game starts, new markets, unavailable pre-match are now on offer.

Top In-Play Betting Sites in the UK for 2024: A Guide to the Best Live-Betting Bookmakers

Top In-Play Betting Sites in the UK for 2024: A Guide to the Best Live-Betting Bookmakers

Next Game Betting

Once the match is underway, there is the ability to make a prediction of who will win the next game. This is interesting because we have the advantage of knowing who will be serving in the next game and can take this into account. Also, we may have already watched a few games and seen for ourselves, which player seems to be playing the best and has the measure of his or her opponent

Next Set Betting

Much the same as the next game bet, but over the longer period of who will come through with enough games to win the set itself.

Once again, with the benefit of a few games or even the first set played we will have a handle on which player is playing the best with the strongest tennis and would be most likely to win the next set - Don't think the bookies are not watching though, the odds will reflect the relative chances according to the oddsmakers and the generated algorithmic odds they use. 

Tennis Knowledge

As you start to grasp the intricacies of betting on tennis, you will be able to bet more confidently when a match goes into play.

First Point Betting

One of the shortest lasting bets you can make in the entire world of betting on sport. The winner of the first point in a game of tennis.

With serves firing in at over 100mph, this bet can last literally only a fraction of a second with an ace.

However, you might want t try to beat the bookies by identifying a player who is returning serves well against a player who is not serving up their normal standard.

You will always get bigger odds to bet against the player receiving serve to win the first point of a game.

Match Betting

And of course, whilst the match has already started, the availability of betting on which player you think will emerge victoriously will still be open for you to place a bet, or top up on bets placed before the game started,

This market will be changing odds game by game and even point by point throughout the action.

Tennis Odds

Tennis is a game of skill, speed and power. The best way of winning when betting on tennis is to make correct predictions, and not take chances, but that can be far easier said than done. 

How would you like to bet on the Wimbledon Tennis tournament?

I could tell from his expression that he was disappointed with me for asking him such a question, but it didn't stop him from answering. 'Sure,' He said shrugging his shoulders. 'What are we betting?' The idea of gambling and making some money had intrigued me since I found out about OLBG Betting School, so when it came time to make bets on tennis tournaments I immediately thought of my friend who has been playing tennis all his life and loves the sport more than anything else in the world and how I could teach him what I had learned.

As with all form of sports betting, you are going to be in the best position to make winning bets when you understanding bookies odds and probability. 

Each set of odds next to a tennis players name corresponds to a percentage chance.


The above odds from the OLBG tennis tipping competition show a match between Medvedev and Shevchenko. 

The 1.10 decimal odds give Medvedev a 90.91% chance of winning the match.

The 8.00 decimal odds give Shevchenko a 12.50% chance of winning the match. 

You should in all tennis matches check the percentages for each player and then decide if in your opinion if the percentage is too high or too low to the players true chance of winning the match. 

You can read more about how bookmakers price up matches and what odds correspond to what percentage chance in the blog below. 

Odds Converter | Fractional to Decimal Odds & Probability

Odds Converter | Fractional to Decimal Odds & Probability

Knowing this will put you at an advantage over many other people who bet on tennis. 

Tennis Players

Specilising on players is the best way to bet on tennis and being with a chance of making a profit.

Everyone knows pretty much everything there is to know about the top tennis players in the world. that probably extends to the top 10 or even 20 players, but start looking a bit further down the list, and you'll find players that are not taking quite o much notice of.

This is the area in which to specialise. it may not seem very sexy or appealing concentrating all your efforts on a run of the mill top 40 tennis player, but this is where your advantage lies. 

Pick ten players each from the men's or women tour, that are ranked below the top 25 and follow them like a spy.

Get to learn everything about them, which venues have played well at, which surfaces seem to suit, them, what style of player they tend to play better against, and follow their careers and current form as closely as you possibly can.

You are going to know when these guys are girls are getting the optimum conditions and opponents to spring a surprise or perform badly and you bet accordingly, probably at odds which will better than they really should be

Specialising in lower-ranked players really is the secret sauce of betting on tennis for profit.

Tennis Surfaces

Knowing the venue for the tennis events around the world can all play into the great scheme of knowing your little stable of players so intimately. 

You will know the conditions of each venue, and then be able to ascertain if your players are likely to play well or not. You will know their previous form at these courts, and head-to-head records against other players in similar conditions.

Again, what you can do is find a few of the smaller venues and specialise again. Get to know everything about the results of previous tournaments there and anything that seemed to affect particular players.

You'll soon be able to combine this intelligence with your gained info on your stable of players and find a great betting opportunity.

There are very few players who can maintain a top-level consistency that makes them better than every other tennis player across all played surfaces. 

But you will find or two players that seem to play much better on one surface when compared to another. 

Pick a tennis surface and specialise.


This is the fastest type of surface and serves are very important in what are often very short points. It favours serve-and-volley style players and Roger Federer was the dominant force in the grass court game. Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam Event played on grass.


The only Grand Slam event played on clay is the French Open. Clay courts are considered to be slower courts and the best player on grass isn't necessarily the best player on clay. Rafael Nadal was the number one male on clay despite Roger Federer's domination of the grass court game. Between April 2005 and May 2007 Rafael Nadal won 81 consecutive matches on clay.


The remaining two Grand Slam events, the Australian Open and the US Open are played on hard courts. 

The hard court is considered to be the most equal course for what sort of playing style it favours.

It varies from court to court as to how fast it is but is slower than grass and faster than clay. 

Low bounces make rallies short and there is a slight edge to powerful and harder serving players.

Grand Slam Tennis

Tennis is virtually played every month somewhere in the world. The four Grand Slam tournaments grab the most attention

These are the Grand Slam events in Australia France, the UK and US

Knowing the history of each of these events, the previous form of players, and the venues all help you come to a opinion

You can then compare the odds and decide whether to have a bet or not.

1. Australian Open - January

The Australian Open is an annual tennis tournament held in Melbourne, Australia at which both men and women compete for singles titles. 

The event takes place over the first two weeks of January each year.

Being the first grand slam of the tennis season, it is not unusual to see a shock or two in the earlier rounds of the competition. 

Australian Open Tennis Betting Picks Guide, Trends & Statistics

Australian Open Tennis Betting Picks Guide, Trends & Statistics

2. French Open - May

The French Open is an annual tennis tournament held in Paris, France at which both men and women compete for singles titles. 

French Open Tennis Preview, Trends & Analysis

French Open Tennis Preview, Trends & Analysis

3. Wimbledon - June/July

The Wimbledon Championships, also known as "the All-England Championships" or simply the “AEC” is an annual tennis tournament held in London at which men and women compete for singles titles.

The championships have been played since 1877 making it one of two major tournaments that are still only open to amateur players (along with Queen's). 

They were originally called 'world' championship until 1977 when they became a British event under its current name 

The tournament takes place in late June to early July 

Wimbledon Betting Picks Preview, Trends & Analysis

Wimbledon Betting Picks Preview, Trends & Analysis

4. US Open - August/September

The US Open is an annual tournament that takes place on the last week of August into September.

US Open Tennis Betting Strategies & Statistics

US Open Tennis Betting Strategies & Statistics

Exchange Tennis Betting

Tennis being such a fast-paced game and with many games ebbing and flowing it provides a great many opportunities for tennis traders on the betting exchanges. 

As the odds go up and down, they will be frantically buying and selling the prices trying to predict what will happen in the next point or two or the next game, entering and exiting the markets trying to make small bits of profit.

They may enter the market 000's of times looking for these small gains. 

Take a look at our betting school guides for exchange betting where you'll find out how tennis trading works.  

How to Effectively Use a Betting Exchange: The Ultimate Guide

How to Effectively Use a Betting Exchange: The Ultimate Guide

Betting Exchanges UK - The best sites in the UK 2024

Betting Exchanges UK - The best sites in the UK 2024


  • Best Betting site for Tennis?

    The best betting site for making tennis bet is BetVictor. This is due to their superior odds, offering better prices more often than any other online bookmakers. A wide range of events are covered including all the majors, as well as a huge range of bets beyond tournament and match winners.

  • How often do tennis favourites win?

    In grand slam 5 set events, between 2007-2016  the favourites won 78.9% of the matches played to a finish. This figure decreases through ATP masters, ATP 500 and ATP 250 matches respectively

    Match Type Favourite Winning %
    Grand Slam 78.9%
    ATP Masters 70.8%
    ATP 500 70.5%
    ATP 250 68.5%

  • What is the best bet in tennis?

    The best bet in tennis is to keep things simple by nominating and betting on the winner of a tournament. This is a long term strategy however as the further in advance of the event you can predict the winner the greater the odds you will be able to bet at. Next best would be betting on individual match winners, although sometimes matches can be very one-sides and betting odds prohibitive.

  • How do you win a tennis bet?

    The way to win a tennis bet is to make a correct prediction on whatever outcome you choose. For instance, if you predict one player to win a match, then that player has to win the tennis match for you to win the bet. Similarly, if you have bet that one player will win the match by a set score of 2-1, then they will have to win by that exact score to win. Winning at tennis betting is all about making accurate predictions.

  • What does 22.5 mean in Tennis?

    If you see Over/Under 22.5 in tennis betting this is referring to the number of games expected to be played in a full match. Your choice is to choose whether you think there will more or fewer than 22.5 games. The half-game in the offer, simply means a result either higher or lower can be achieved as plainly a set can not finish with half a game played

Responsible Gambling

We have discovered above how fast the odds change during tennis matches. This means you can quickly go from a winning to a losing position with your tennis bets. We advise that you only bet what you can afford and gamble responsibly. 

We have written many articles on responsible gambling and provide links to charitable gambling advice organisations at the foot of each page.

How to be Sensible and Gamble Responsibly (Examples)

How to be Sensible and Gamble Responsibly (Examples)

Responsible Gambling Features, Function and Help

Responsible Gambling Features, Function and Help


Editor in Chief Steve Madgwick created this beginners betting guide. Nigel Skinner updated and formatted the article. Both have over twenty years experience in betting on sports and are part of the rosta of OLBG Betting Experts

Steve Madgwick

Steve Madgwick


Steve is our Editor-In-Chief with over 20 years of experience creating and managing high-quality sports betting content for OLBG & multiple other publications. An avid traveller, Steve has lived and worked in Gozo, Malta, and more recently Spain before moving back to the UK in 2022. Today Steve manages all content on OLBG and oversees our SEO. He was brought up with horse racing, attending tracks in the South East, most frequently, Goodwood, Fontwell and Brighton, and his knowledge of online slot games is unrivalled. 

.👨‍🏫 Specialist Subjects🔬📚

🎱🏆 Steve is first a foremost a snooker nut, with a dedicated screen in the office for ensuring every event is showing when televised. A regular visitor to The Crucible for the World Championships, his favourite players are Dominic Dale and Judd Trump having followed the latter since seeing him play aged just 11. Fascinated with Statistics and the sport in general, he is also an amateur league player with a high break of 72

⚽ A Portsmouth fan for 40 years, Steve has seen action in every Division of English football and followed his team to Europe and the FA Cup final twice. 

🏇 A former leading horse racing tipster on OLBG, those days are long gone, but he still lives for National Hunt racing and of course the Cheltenham Festival.

Nigel Skinner

Nigel Skinner

Blog content manager

Nigel is one of OLBG's senior editors with 19 years of industry experience. Today he specialises in researching and writing about the betting angles to political and mainstream news stories and being the OLBG in-house expert on 'next football manager' betting markets.

Specialist Subjects🔬📚

⚽️👨‍💼 Nigel is an Arsenal fan first and foremost but has an unrivalled knowledge of English football managers at every level. Meticulously putting together our Next Manager articles, Nigel can quite possibly name you every manager of every club in the land, not to mention a pretty good eye for predicting replacements when changes happen. 

📈📊📉 A long-time exchange trader and spread betting fan, Nigel is our go-to for advice on the subjects and uses them daily in his own betting activity. 

🗳️💼 Finally, Nigel loves his politics and [some would say] has an unhealthy interest in the day-to-day events in the UK's political landscape, contributing to all our Political betting content and new pieces.

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