Tennis Betting Guide

Tennis betting continues to grow in popularity here in the US and it’s the same story at legal online sportsbooks in Virginia.

Grand Slam events like Wimbledon and the US Open, of course, attract a lot of  betting action, but that’s just scratching the surface. The ATP and WTA tours have scheduled tournaments around the world all year so you can get bets down at any time.

There are a lot of ways to bet on tennis, including outright winners of tournaments and matches plus live betting as the event plays out in real-time. The latter is one of the key catalysts for the explosive growth in tennis betting as betting point-to-point and set-to-set adds an exciting dynamic sports bettors love.

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Best tennis betting apps

There are several options to consider in the regulated sports betting environment, but you’ll want to find the best of the best. We’ve done the heavy lifting. Here are our top three options for betting on tennis.

1. DraftKings Sportsbook

DraftKings has become an industry leader in sports betting, featuring a slick platform that will let you get right in the game with tennis.

  • Betting on the ATP and WTA year-round
  • Quick live betting on tennis points, games, and sets
  • Futures betting on all of the Grand Slam events

2. FanDuel Sportsbook

The user-friendly interface on FanDuel makes sports betting a snap, and you’ll have plenty of different tennis markets to explore.

  • The latest odds and lines for all ATP and WTA events
  • Prop betting on all tennis matches
  • Special promos around the Grand Slams

3. BetMGM Sportsbook

BetMGM goes the extra mile when it comes to betting markets, so finding what’s coming up in the tennis world will be a non-issue on this solid app.

  • Every bet type you need for the ATP and WTA tours
  • Grand Slam betting specials
  • Great interface for live betting on tennis

Setting up an account at any sportsbook takes just a few minutes. You can download the app from the sportsbook to your phone either before or after.

How to bet on tennis

As with most other sports, there are multiple ways you can bet on tennis.

From an odds perspective, things work the same in tennis betting as it does in any sport. There will be negative odds, which indicate a favored outcome, and positive odds, which point to the underdog or less likely event. Here’s a walkthrough of the main tennis bet options.

Bet on outright tournament winner

This one is straightforward and simple to understand. Odds will be released for each player in the field on both the men’s and women’s side, so your job is to scroll through and attempt to pick the winner. The number listed by their name will indicate your payout should they come through and win the tournament.

Bet on head-to-head matchups

This is a bet that’s similar to what you’ll find in other sports. For each match in a tournament, you can bet on which player will advance further in the tournament. Odds will be presented in the moneyline format.

Tennis spread betting

This bet incorporates a spread element into the head-to-head matches. Oddsmakers will set some expectations for sets or games, and you’ll get to choose between the favorite minus the number or the underdog plus the spread.

Total games

This is like an over/under bet that you’d see elsewhere. Instead of choosing a side based on a benchmark number of points, it revolves around the total number of games needed to complete the match.

That covers many of the main bet types you’ll find for tennis tournaments, but there’s a whole lot more to see as you dig deeper into the menu. Let’s take a look at some of the other popular ways for you to get into the game.

How does live betting on tennis work?

The innovation known as live betting has been a real game-changer for sports betting. Also known as in-game or in-play betting, these are bets you can place in real-time as the action is playing out.

Sportsbook apps make for a great way to stay on top of what’s going on, and most apps have outstanding features specifically geared towards live betting. Here are just some of the bet types you’ll come across:

  • Winner of the next game or set
  • Which side will take the next point
  • First player to win a certain number of games

Tennis futures odds

The futures market allows you to take a long-range view of tennis. There are several different opportunities to consider, and some of them attract a great deal of betting volume throughout the year. Here are some of the top choices.

  • Australian Open Winner
  • French Open Winner
  • US Open Winner
  • Wimbledon Winner
  • Player to win Grand Slam
  • Davis Cup Winner
  • Player of the Year

The most popular tennis betting odds are for the winners of the four Grand Slam events on both the men’s and women’s sides. Odds are released soon after the current tournament is over and the board will fluctuate based on betting action.

Futures bets require a long-term perspective, but they can be potentially lucrative. Futures odds also make for a great way to get a read on the players and how the betting public perceives each of them.

Tennis prop bets

Prop bets are essentially side bets on things that may or may not happen during a tennis match or over a tennis season. If you click through on the individual tennis match listings, you’ll see the offerings available.

Props can be based on the entire match or a specific circumstance, or they can even drill down into the individual sets and smaller snippets of the proceedings. Here are some examples of what you might see:

  • Which player will win the first set?
  • Will the match end in straight sets?
  • Over/under on the total number of aces in the match.

This is another great way to remain further engaged as matches play out. And just scrolling through the prop offerings for the matches can aid in your research efforts. If one side seems to have much more appealing benchmarks or betting volume than the other, it can be a positive sign on what may be to come as things play out.

Bet on tennis Grand Slams

The biggest tennis events of the calendar year are known as the Grand Slam tournaments. Each of them has its own unique and rich history and attract the top players from across the globe with huge prize pools.

These are naturally the biggest draws for tennis betting as well. Sportsbooks kick things up a notch with special promotional offerings for the Grand Slams, including odds boosts and other intriguing opportunities.

Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming Grand Slam events.

Australian Open

The first slam event of the calendar year takes place in the Land Down Under. First held in 1905, this event helps to set the stage for the season as a whole. The 2021 Open was scheduled for mid-January, but has been pushed a few weeks to start in February.

  • Dates: February 8-21, 2021
  • Location: Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Playing surface: GreenSet hard surface
  • Prize pool: $49.1 million in 2020
  • Men’s favorite: Novak Djokovic
  • Women’s favorite: Ashleigh Barty
  • Defending Men’s champion: Novak Djokovic
  • Defending Women’s champion: Sofia Kenin

French Open

As spring winds down and we head into summer, the French Open takes center stage in the world of tennis. First held in 1891, the clay courts tend to provide some special moments.

  • Dates: May 23 – June 6, 2021
  • Location: Roland-Garros in Paris, France
  • Playing surface: Clay court
  • Prize pool: €38 million in 2020
  • Men’s favorite: Rafael Nadal
  • Women’s favorite: Simona Halep
  • Defending Men’s champion: Rafael Nadal
  • Defending Women’s champion: Iga Świątek

Wimbledon

The tradition and history of Wimbledon stretch all the way back to 1877. It’s one of the biggest highlights on the sporting calendar each summer. The 2020 event was canceled entirely but the 2021 Wimbledon is scheduled as usual.

  • Dates: June 28 – July 11, 2021
  • Location: All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club in London, England
  • Playing surface: Grass court
  • Prize pool: $49.4 million in 2019
  • Men’s favorite: Novak Djokovic
  • Women’s favorite: Ashleigh Barty
  • Defending Men’s champion: Novak Djokovic
  • Defending Women’s champion: Simona Halep

US Open

The signature tennis tournament here in the US traces its roots back to 1881. It’s a late summer affair that has provided us with many memories throughout the years. A few major tennis superstars including Rafael Nadal opted out of the US Open in 2020 but a high percentage of the Top 20 on both the men’s and women’s sides generally can be expected to play every year.

  • Dates: August 30 – Sept. 12, 2021
  • Location: USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City
  • Playing surface: Hard court
  • Prize pool: $53.4 million in 2020
  • Defending Men’s champ: Dominic Thiem
  • Defending Women’s champ: Naomi Osaka

Other tennis events you can bet on

While the Grand Slams are the biggest events, there’s much more to see on the yearly calendar. On the men’s side, it’s the ATP Tour, while the women’s circuit is known as the WTA.

There are tournaments held throughout the year across the globe, and you can bet on each and every one of them. From outright winners to live betting on the individual matches, you’ll have plenty to choose from.

Here’s a look at some of the top stops for both tours.

ATP tour highlights

  • BNP Paribas Open ATP Tour Masters 1000 (Postponed). Indian Wells, California. March 11-21. (Hard)
  • Miami Open ATP Tour Masters 1000. Miami, Florida. March 24 – April 4. (Hard)
  • Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. Monte Carlo, Monaco. April 11-18. (Clay)
  • Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. Barcelona, Spain. April 19-25. (Clay)
  • Internazionali BNL d’Italia. Rome, Italy. May 9-16. (Clay)
  • Hamburg European Open. Hamburg, Germany. July 12-18. (Clay)
  • Citi Open. Washington, D.C. August 2-8. (Hard)
  • Rogers Cup. Toronto, Canada. Aug. 9-15. (Hard)
  • ATP Finals. Turin, Italy. Week of Nov. 14. (Hard)

WTA Tour highlights

  • Indian Wells Open (Postponed). Indian Wells, California. March 8-15. (Hard)
  • Miami Open. Miami, Florida. March 22-29. (Hard)
  • Volvo Car Open. Charleston, South Carolina. April 5-11. (Clay)
  • Mutua Madrid Open. Madrid, Spain. April 29 – May 8. (Clay)
  • Bett1open. Berlin, Germany. June 14-20. (Grass)
  • Citi Open. Washington, D.C. July 31 – August 9. (Hard)
  • Rogers Cup. Montreal, Canada. August 9-15. (Hard)
  • Zhengzhou Open. Zhengzhou, China. September 13-19. (Hard)
  • WTA Finals. Shenzhen, China. Week of Nov. 1. (Hard)

Betting on men’s tennis vs. women’s tennis

Regardless of which side of the draw you’re betting on, you’ll be examining the same things for tennis betting. However, there are some differences you’ll want to keep in mind when betting on the men’s or women’s competition.

Keep in mind that the lengths of matches will vary. Men’s games can go up to five sets, while women’s contests generally go no longer than three sets. As part of your handicapping, try to project close matches that may go the distance and look for any potential endurance advantages.

Tennis betting rules explained

Just like any other sport, there are some quirks with tennis rules which could have an impact from a betting perspective. The exact way things are handled may vary by operator, so be sure to check the terms and conditions where you play for specifics.

  • Walkover: This happens when a player automatically advances because of opponent withdrawal. Generally, any bets placed on the match that didn’t happen will be voided.
  • Weather: The conditions can lead to delays or postponements, but matches that are completed in a reasonable time frame are typically still considered live.
  • Player unable to continue: This is where things can get confusing. Players can retire from a match because of injury or other circumstances, and how it’s handled will vary.

There are a few main ways in which sportsbooks deal with an uncompleted match. Bets are considered live once the first ball is in play. Some operators will require at least a set or two to be completed to grade the bet, while others want the full match. Review the rules in your book to avoid unexpected surprises.

Tennis betting FAQ

How many different surfaces are there in tennis?

A tennis court has one of four main surface types: artificial grass, clay, grass, or hard court. Each of the surfaces can have an impact on gameplay. For example, the ball may move faster on a grass court than others, while a clay court can slow things down.

Which players have won the most Grand Slam tournaments?

On the men’s side, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are the all-time leaders tied with 20 Grand Slam wins apiece. Novak Djokovic is third with 17. For the ladies, Margaret Court tops the list with 24 Grand Slam wins. Serena Williams is second with 23, followed by Steffi Graf with 22.

Where can you find the best tennis betting odds?

Once upon a time, the answer was out at Las Vegas sportsbooks. The environment is different these days thanks to the legalization of sports betting in numerous states. Operators in legal states provide odds that are right in line with what you’ll find out in Sin City. You can always shop around to find the best prices and see what Vegas has to say, but you should see comparable odds in your home state.

Is it harder to bet on tennis than other sports?

Not necessarily, but it does take some time to get up to speed for those who are unfamiliar with the sport. There are some nuances that are distinct to tennis, but there are also some similarities to be drawn for handicapping purposes. If you take some time to get past a short learning curve, there’s a good chance that you’ll find tennis betting isn’t quite as hard as it may seem at first glance.

How many points does it take to win a tennis game?

Tennis matches are made up of sets, and each set includes individual games that determine the winner of the set, which is the first player to win at least six games. For the games, players win by scoring more points than their opponents. Points start off at zero or love. The first point is 15, followed by 30 and then 40, with the last score referred to as the game point. If a game becomes tied at 40-40 it’s called “deuce” and a player must win two consecutive points to win the game.