Live betting sports is one of the fastest growing – and exciting – markets, and tennis is tailor-made for in-game wagering due to the back-and-forth swings in momentum during a match.
WATCH IT (DUH!)
Tennis is filled with momentum swings and can be an extremely profitable sport for live betting. While you might have seen certain players playing in the past, you must watch the match you’re considering wagering on. Each matchup is different and there are several variables to consider.
Never use a scoreboard as a gauge for placing a live bet. All of the following strategies are best practiced when you’re watching the match and over time you will become sharper at spotting these variables.
There are numerous streaming options available for the ATP/WTA Tour and the Grand Slams. So no excuses people.
BODY LANGUAGE AND MOMENTUM
With tennis being an individual sport, players are highly susceptible to choking. This tends to happen at a higher rate on the WTA Tour as female players don’t have all the weapons to win cheap, quick points. The longer the rallies are, the more tension and pressure the player will feel, making it more likely they’ll hit unforced errors.
How emotional a player is can also be a telltale sign and it doesn’t have to be as obvious as smashing a racquet. A player’s ball toss, service motion, shot selection and footwork around the court can all be affected when under pressure.
SURFACE AND COURT SPEED
The slower the surface/court speed, the easier it is for players to choke as rallies are longer and players are naturally more likely to get returns in play on a slower court. Windy weather can also wreak havoc when it comes to players’ service motions and timing on the ball.
Altitude can have a huge effect, and certain clay courts play faster than hard courts if they’re played high enough above sea level. Grass and the majority of indoor hard courts see the least number of chokes, as the serve is more effective and the rallies are shorter due to the quicker, lower-bouncing conditions. It’s worth checking out the CPI (Court Pace Index), which gives a guide for whether courts are playing fast or slow.
Some players might be huge favorites heading into a matchup but can be very slow to find their rhythm, especially if they haven’t played their opponent before and are struggling to get a read on their serve and patterns of play.
Players who come through qualifying gain confidence and are warm to the conditions, compared to opponents who gained automatic entry and have yet to play. This is especially important at the beginning of the grass and clay-court season as players may not have played on these surfaces for several months.
There also players who hit with less net clearance hence less margin for error. Take Martin Klizan for example: a player who is 6-1 in ATP Tour Finals but is vulnerable in the first round of tournaments, needing match time to find his rhythm as he hits a heavy ball.
WHAT’S THE BEST BET?
There are numerous options when live betting tennis. You can bet on match winner, set winner and the winner of a game in any set.
Game betting is an interesting option if you expect the server to be nervous when closing out a match (especially if they missed match points in the previous game). You can get anything from +200 to +600 odds on the men’s tour, depending on the frequency of break points/service breaks throughout the match.
Set betting is another solid option. If you have a close matchup and someone loses a set in devastating fashion (i.e. choking when serving to stay in the set or losing a tight tiebreak), you can often get odds for the next set relatively close to the pre-match ones despite the momentum shift.
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If you’re placing pre-match wagers on tennis, it can be worthwhile following it in-play (if possible). Players can choke for a multitude of reasons (first win at this level, first final, first title etc).
You can hedge pre-match money line bets to lock in profit (e.g. if your pre-match bet is leading by a set and a break you could potentially get +1,000/+2,000/+5,000 odds on the opponent depending on the scoreline or pre-match odds.