The level of competition at the top of tennis has been constantly rising over the past few years and the days of a Sampras or a McEnroe, or even a Federer or Nadal, dominating the field are past. For us this means a great spectacle but also more speculation about where we should put our money.
Here we take a look at three of the bookies offering the best odds and introductory deals for tennis, whether you want to put a safe bet on the early stages or back (just about) still British Andy Murray in the finals.
We’ll also give you a rundown on the basics of betting on tennis, the most common markets and how they work.
Best Bookmakers For Betting On Tennis
With a more limited set of outcomes than other popular sports, tennis can be a great money-maker if you know your stuff. Let’s see who’s offering the best odds in the business.
Another great option for betting on tennis is Coral, who have recently also launched a live-streaming feature. Coral also offer up to the minute in-play odds and have an easily navigable sports statistics feature, allowing you to browse by player or tournament.
What really makes Coral stand out is their “Specials” section which always gives great odds on novelty markets, for example “Murray not to win a Grand Slam in 2015” – a favourite of many English punters.
On top of this, only one ball has to be served for Coral to honour the result of a tennis match as valid. They are one of only a few bookies to be offering this and it means you don’t have to worry about your bet being voided when someone retires early with an injury (unless of course that happens to be your player).
As with most bookies, most promotions are offered around the Grand Slam tournaments, for example last year’s French Open had a very generous free bet offer. For all these reasons, Coral remains one of the most popular betting sites for tennis, with odds well above average and a wide range of markets covered.
Another great option is BetVictor, a recent rebranding of VCBet (and before that Victor Chandler) and one of the oldest names in the business. Their website is easy to use across all platforms and the easy to use in-play betting console is a big selling point.
BetVictor has a very simple but effective and easy to navigate results service so you can quickly navigate by sport and event. In addition to this BetVictor’s odds are always among the best for tennis and they reportedly make the lowest margin on the sport of the three bookmakers reviewed here at just 5.3%.
Some great promotions are also on offer, for example in 2014 BetVictor paid out on all losing bets on the world number one Novak Djokovic when he went out of the French Open, so look out for this kind of offer for a no-risk, win-win situation. As with the other bookies, BetVictor don’t offer any ongoing tennis-focussed promotions but generally have something for most of the biggest events.
How To Bet On Tennis
Betting on tennis might seem simple, you pick a winner and that’s it right? Well it can be, but with as many as 20 in-play markets on a single game you probably want to explore your options a little more than that.
Here we’ll have a look at some of the most common markets and explain how they work. Obviously this list is far from exhaustive so you’ll probably want to check out one of the sites listed above for a more in-depth display of what’s on offer, particularly if your kind of bet falls into the “Specials” category.
- Match Winner – Exactly what it says on the tin, you pick a winner and if they win the match in question, you win your bet. However, see the betting rules section below for an important caveat.
- Set Betting – A good way of boosting your odds if you’re fairly sure of the outcome. In this market you bet on the exact score in sets of a match. For example if you bet on Murray to win his first round game on an ATP tour you might expect odds of about 1/7 whereas predicting a 2-0 or 2-1 win would boost your odds to 9/20 or perhaps 29/10 respectively.
- Match Totals – A good option if you’re not sure who will win a match but have a good idea of how long it will go on. Match Totals markets let you bet on a total number of something in a contest, usually games. For example a best of three sets clash which is unlikely to be close, like one of Rafa Nadal’s early tournament match-ups, will give you good odds on 20.5 or Over Games because it’s probably going to be a whitewash in fewer. Conversely, if you predict a close, drawn out match, backing over a certain games total would be the bet to make.
- Handicaps – Exactly like a match winner bet, only with a handicap applied. The handicaps are normally counted in games and include a .5 to make a draw impossible. So if Roger Federer beats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with a result of 6-4 6-4 and you bet on Tsonga with a handicap of +3.5 you still win because Federer’s overall sets are 12 versus Tsonga’s 10 and with +3.5 he wins. This kind of bet is great for backing your favourite player, even if you think he or she will lose, or if you think an underdog will perform better than expected but perhaps not quite well enough to win.
- Tournament Winner – Who will win the tournament? Tick “each way” to claim cash if your pick comes second as well but be aware this will diminish the odds. An each way bet is effectively two bets, so £10 each way costs £20, with £10 going on the standard “to win” bet and £10 going on the each way portion. As said, the each way pays out if your player loses in the final but only pays out at ½ the standard odds.
- Doubles, Trebles and Accumulators – All the markets mentioned so far are singles, combine two singles and make a double, then if both bets win you get more money than you would if you put them on separately. Add another one and make a treble, any more than that and it’s called an accumulator (although doubles and trebles are both also types of accumulator). Every time you add another bet the odds multiply so this is a way to make big bucks but note that all bets have to win for you to claim anything. For example, you might bet on Murray, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic all to win their first round games in a Grand Slam but if just one lets you down the bet loses.
If the last section made betting on tennis sound easy that’s because it is, but there are a few things to be aware of and whilst the rules are generally the same, some will vary from bookie to bookie so make sure you’re using a reliable one (such as our top three tennis bookies) and you know their rules before you place a bet. Here are some standards.
- Retirement – Different bookies have different rules on retirement and it’s more applicable in tennis than other sports because if someone gets injured there are no substitutes. Bookmakers fall into four categories on this, either the result stands if a single ball has been served (Coral) or 1 or 2 sets or even the entire match must be completed. BetVictor, for example, falls into the final category, although bookies change their rules from time to time so should your bet involve a retirement contact customer support if you are unsure.
- Tie-Breaks – Tie-breaks count as one game for totals markets. If a match is decided by a tie-break as happens in some tournaments (at one set all a deciding tie-break is played) this will normally count as a set.
- Change of Venue or Surface – For example if the roof goes on in the middle of a game or if a match is postponed and continued on a new court. Usually bets will stand.
- Dead Heat – Where two or more competitors finish in a tied position. Unlikely to apply to tennis, although some specials like most aces in the tournament or fastest serve could technically qualify. Usually you will still win but with less than full returns, with standard dead heat rules applying.