The sports betting industry is a multi-billion-dollar behemoth bringing in staggering revenues worldwide. Here in the US the industry was worth a reported $1.55 billion in 2024, a figure which is expected to rise.
In terms of the most popular sports to bet on with sportsbook.draftkings, for example, tennis comes in behind football, basketball and baseball but there is a lot of value to be had from tennis betting.
In this article we cover everything you need to know about betting on the centuries old sport so that you can turn your passing interest in tournaments like the US Open into cold, hard betting profits.
Tennis Rules Overview
Tennis is a game most usually played between two competitors although it can be played between teams of two in a format known as ‘doubles’. In tennis players hit a ball to one another over a net, with players winning a point by hitting unreturnable shots or forcing their opponents into errors.
For a point to count players have to ensure that their ball lands within the designated court area. 4 points are usually enough to win a game and if a player wins 6 games they then win the ‘set’. In major tournaments for men, players have to win 3 sets to win a match.
Outside of these majors and in women’s’ tennis the first player to 2 sets takes the match. Still with us? Good, now it’s time to move onto something a little more confusing, tennis scoring…
How Tennis Scoring Works
In tennis if you win the first point of the game you are awarded 15, if you win the next 30, the next after that 40 and then the game. If your opponent remains scoreless they are on ‘love’ and not zero, then if you both reach 40 at the same time you are on ‘deuce’ which simply means the scores are tied.
From that point a player is awarded ‘advantage’ if they win a point, requiring them to win the game by two clear points. If they lose a point after being awarded advantage the score returns to deuce. Of course, pretty much most of the people reading this article will know that, but it can’t hurt to cover the basics before we delve into the good stuff.
The tennis scoring system is admittedly unusual and it’s believed that much of the odd nomenclature of the game comes from medieval French games, which were also incredibly confusing to follow.
Terms like ‘love’ for sitting on zero are thought to come from French too as zero was often referred to as ‘L’ouef’ (egg in French) because the number looks like an egg… Translated into English the word has then gone on to become bastardised and known as ‘love’.
(If you’re still confused, watch this explainer video on tennis scoring.)
The tennis sporting calendar revolves around the 4 Major tournaments: Wimbledon, US Open, French Open and the Australian Open. These tournaments take part at different times of year and are held on different surfaces to provide the ultimate test of skill to the world’s best players.
In between this there are a number of smaller tournaments held around the world that see the best and biggest players facing off against one another. There are also international tournaments that have players representing their countries in head-to-head matches.
Tennis is also featured at the Summer Olympics, having been reintroduced to the Games in 1984, the current men’s and women’s gold medal holders are Alexander Zverev of Germany and Belinda Bencic of Switzerland respectively.
How Tennis Betting Works
The most popular type of betting in tennis is an outright winner ahead of a major tournament. Which means you bet on who you think is most likely to come out on top in a 2 week long knockout competition.
Thanks to the popularity of these tournaments, tennis betting sees a major spike during them, with casual fans being tempted to back their favourite players.
Types of Tennis Betting
If you want to win money from outright tennis betting you have to do an awful lot or research and be a really lucky better. Because no matter how much time you spend reading up on the form guides, you can still be blindside by the emergence of a complete outsider like Emma Raducanu.
The 18-year-old British tennis player went into this year’s US Open as a 499/1 outsider to win the tournament and even had her return flight back to the UK booked weeks before the tournament concluded.
Yet she came out on top, beating a number of higher ranked players to gain glory at Flushing Meadows. So, if you want to make money from tennis betting, it’s best to avoid tournament outrights as much as possible.
(This year’s US Open threw up a number of upsets and saw two unexpected players battling it out in the women’s singles final.)
Live betting allows you to bet on the winner of the next point which can prove lucrative if you’re adept at gauging the swing of a game. Another popular form of betting is handicap wagering which sees players back favourites with a point’s handicap.
This helps to add a bit of spice and jeopardy to otherwise straightforward encounters. Aside from these types of bets there are bets for almost everything imaginable in tennis from amount of points won to the distribution of sets and games between players.
Whichever bets you go for, always ensure that you set yourself a budget and never go over it. Remember, betting should be fun and an escape, when its stops being that it’s time to log out from your account and do something else.
Have any tennis betting tips in particular that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section below.