Understanding Tennis Betting Odds

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Understanding the Odds – Moneylines

When making a live tennis wager, or any wager for that matter, it is crucial that you understand the odds and what they mean. The way the numbers are presented can be a little confusing at first, but it’s actually quite simple once you get the hang of it. This article will explain the basics of reading the odds so you are exactly sure what you can win before placing any bet.


The first concept to understand when placing tennis wagers is the concept of the moneyline. The moneyline is basically represented by how much you would win on any wager if it comes back successful. You might see it written as below –

Match Winner: Roger Federer -500 vs. Fernando Verdasco +300

That moneyline represents a match between Federer and Verdasco and is a wager on who will win the entire match. When looking at a moneyline, understand that the negative number (-500) shows how much you need to bet in order to win $100. So if you were to place a wager on Federer to win, it would require a $500 bet to win $100. There is such a small return because Roger Federer would be expected to win that match more often than not.

On the other side, the positive number (+300) shows the better how much they would win for a wager of $100. If you think Verdasco can pull the upset, you could wager $100 on him to win, and would make a profit of $300 if you were correct. Obviously, the return is much greater because the chances of Verdasco beating Federer are not very good.

The concept of the moneyline is central to live tennis wagering, and doesn’t just apply to match winner bets. Basically every wager you consider will have a moneyline attached to it. The first step you should take when thinking about making a bet is looking at that moneyline and deciding if it is worth taking out a bet. For instance, you may decide that betting on Verdasco is not worth it at 3/1 odds ($300 return for $100 bet) because Federer is such a dominant player. However, if the moneyline on Verdasco was +800 you might have a different opinion. When considering a bet, you have to weigh not only which side of the wager you think will win, but also the potential return on each side. Verdasco might not be worth backing at +300, but it might be a worthwhile gamble at +800.

Even if you are new to moneylines, you will understand the concept in no time. Just remember that the negative number indicates how much is needed to win $100, and the positive number represents how much you will win with a $100 wager. It’s that simple.

Moneyline to Fractional Odds to Decimal Odds

Here is a quick conversion example between the three most common forms of betting odds. Fractional Odds, most common is the UK and Ireland, are shown as a fraction such as 2/1 and spoken as ‘Two to one’ odds. Simply multiply your bet by the fraction to determine the payout. Decimal Odds, which are common place in Europe, Canada, and Australia, are shown as a decimal number such as 3.00. Multiply your bet by the Decimal Odds to determine the payout amount, but it includes your original bet. Let’s say you place a $10 bet and the Moneyline is +200. You know now that you stand to win $20. A +200 Moneyline is the same as Fractional Odds of 2/1, which is the same as 3.00 Decimal Odds. 3.00 multiplied by $10 is $30, but Decimal Odds is the only form of odds that includes your original bet, in this case $10, so you are actually only winning $20.

So, here are some other quick odds examples:

Moneyline Odds = Fractional Odds = Decimal Odds

+1000 = 10/1 = 11.00

+300 = 3/1 = 4.00

+100 OR -100 OR ‘Even’ = 1/1 = 2.00

-200 = 1/2 = 1.5

Understanding the Odds – Spreads


Along with a moneyline, the idea of the spread is central to not only tennis betting, but sports betting in general. Often, the matchup between two players, or teams, is so lopsided that no one would be interested in betting on it. That’s where the spread comes in to make things more interesting. The spread adjusts the total score to make the competition more balanced. The following scenario will make the concept very clear. Let’s stick with our matchup of Federer vs. Verdasco from the previous article. Instead of betting on the match winner, this wager is on the total number of games each player wins in the match. The odds might read like the following –

Total Games Won – Federer -6.5 -110 vs. Verdasco +6.5 -110

As you can see, the moneyline is now even on this wager. In both cases, a wager of $110 would bring back a $100 win if the right player is chosen. The payout is even because the spread has balanced out the competition between the two players. After the match is finished, we see the following result –

Totals Games Won – Federer 18 vs. Verdasco 12

In this fictitious match, Federer won all three sets by a line score of 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. So which side of the total games won wager would be a winner? Despite losing the match in straight sets, a bet on Verdasco would have been the winner in this case. The spread of +6.5 games for Verdasco gets added to his total of 12 games won to give him 18.5. That is a half-game ahead of Federer in this case, and so a bet on Verdasco would be paid out.

It’s easy to see how the spread can make betting more interesting. Hardly anyone would bet on Verdasco to win more games than Federer without the presence of a spread. However, when adding 6.5 games to his total, the match gets far more competitive. Understanding the influence of the spread is a vital component of making smart live tennis wagers.

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