Types of Tennis Bets

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If you are already a tennis fan, the next step is to learn about the types of bets you will be offering by a bookmaker that accepts live tennis bets. The list below is a basic overview of live bets that you are likely to find. The descriptions are just a basic definition of each bet

Match Winner

Even if you have very little knowledge of tennis as a sport, you can probably understand what this wager is all about. The bettor is required to simply pick the player that will ultimately win the match. At the beginning of the match, there are odds set based on who is the better player, their head to head records, the surface they are playing on, etc. As the match progresses, the live odds will change based on how the score is developing. Obviously, whichever player moves into the lead early on will see the odds swing into their favor. For example, a bet on a player to win the match after he or she has won the first set would pay less than a bet placed at the start of the match. By the same token, a bet placed on the player who lost the first set would see a higher return if that player came back to win the match.

There are a few scenarios to look for when placing live match winner wagers that present the best value. Consider the following three situations:

Favored player loses first set

This is the most likely place to find value in a live match winner wager. If one player in the match is heavily favored at the start, but loses the first set, you can get much better odds wagering after that set is complete. Unless there is an obvious injury or problem with the better player, there still remains a good chance they will pull through for the win.

Underdog gets an early break

This tip is especially appropriate for three set matches (as opposed to the five set men’s match at Slams). If you think the underdog might have a good chance in the match, watch the first few games closely. If the lower ranked player manages an early break in the first set, that is a good time to get in your match winner wager. The odds won’t change very much after just one break, but you will have gotten to see that they can compete and have a real chance to win the match.

Serving Problems

Nothing can send a tennis player home faster than having trouble with their serve. It will eat away at their confidence and they will quickly have trouble holding serve – which is the most important part of pro tennis. If you notice either player seems to be off of their service game early in the match, don’t hesitate to place a match winner bet on the other player.

One thing you don’t ever want to do in a live match winner wager is bet on the underdog after they have won a full set. The odds will have swung back toward that player so you will not get as good of a return on your wager, and you are still backing the lesser player. If you think there might be an upset in a given match, get your wager in early before the odds start to slide back toward even.

Match winner is a great wager to get started with because it’s so simple. You can look over all of the matches on the board and pick out a few that you have an opinion on. Watch them develop for any of the scenarios above and jump in when the opportunity presents itself.

Exact Game Score

This is a wager for the bettor who likes to have action going in a very short window of time. To win this wager, you will have to identify the exact final score of any given game in the match. The wager is placed right before the game starts, and is judged as soon as it finishes. For example, you could wager on the server holding at Love, or the returner breaking at 30. This is a harder wager to hit right on the spot, but your payoff would be better than a regular 50/50 side bet.

The main determining factor in choosing a final game score is which player is serving. If the server usually holds their service games easily, you would want to consider wagering on a hold at Love or 15. The odds will not be as long on those score, but you should stand a good chance of winning it. If the server is weaker, or the returner is particularly strong, you may look at betting on a break at 30 or even Adv. You rarely want to wager on a break at Love as those kinds of games are rare in professional tennis.

Beyond to simple analysis of the server, the following points can give you an edge when picking a game score:


If you are watching the match on television, take note if the sun or wind are playing a factor in the progression of the match. Generally the player looking into the sun will have a harder time, while the player hitting with the wind will have an advantage. If either of those conditions exist, consider them while choosing your game score.


Some surfaces are easier to hold serve on than others. Indoor hard court is notorious for lots of aces – so wagering on easy holds is probably a good idea. Outdoors on clay, however, negates the advantage of the serve and breaks are far more common.

Context of the Match

Is one player riding high on confidence at this point in the match? What is the score of the set? Often at the end of a set, the player who is about to lose that set will not give full effort in order to conserve energy for the next set. If you suspect this is the case, choosing a game score that strongly favors the player closing out the set is a great idea.

Exact game score is a fun wager for those who like quick bets. Using the basic strategies above will give you a good head start on making wise choices on the game score and improving your chances of winning.

Wager to ‘X’ Number of Games

This is a wager that is placed at the start of any given set. There will be a target number of games for the players to reach – 2, 3, 4, or 5. The first player to win that number of games within the set will be deemed the winning side for the wager. This is an either/or wager, so the odds won’t be particularly lucrative, with the betting edge usually given to the better player.

The largest determining factor in this wager is who serves first in that set. If Player A is serving first against Player B, and both hold serve each time, Player A will get to those milestones first just because of the order. For Player B to win in this scenario, he or she must break serve within those first few games.

So should you always wager on the player that serves first in the set? Well, not necessarily. Breaks happen in every match, so you must identify when you think one might be coming. Also, betting on the player serving first will not return as good of odds as taking the player serving second. Use the following guidelines to make your choice on a race to ‘x’ number of games live wager.


If this is not the first set in the match, take a look at what has already happened in the match. Are the servers dominating, or were there multiple breaks in the first set? If it is a match that is not being dictated by serving, you might be wise to back the second server and get the increased odds.

Head to Head Service Games

Check the stats to see how each player has fared historically against the others’ serve. Some players just see the serve of a certain opponent well, even if that opponent is usually a good server. Finding an edge in this area can help you pick a winner.

Recent Success

Tennis players get hot just like players in any other sports. Even if one player is ranked well below the other, he or she may be riding a hot streak that could carry them to victory. Keep an eye on the recent results of both players to see if one is on better form than the other.

This type of live wager can be useful if you see an early break coming within a given set. Usually, you would want to use this bet if you think the underdog will pull ahead early in the set, only to be caught in the end by the better player.

Next Game to Deuce

This is a very simple wager that asks the bettor to decide whether or not the next game played will reach a deuce score. The odds on betting ‘yes’ will return a much better payout than ‘no’ wagers since most games do not reach deuce.

To start with, ask yourself what kind of games end up in deuce? The obvious answer is that only close games result in deuce. A deuce is reached when both players have four points, so games that you expect to be lopsided are easy choices for a ‘no’ wager. For example, you would not want to choose ‘yes’ for this wager in a game where the higher ranked player had been dominating the match and is serving. That is a game that is more likely to end up being held at love than it is to end in a deuce.

The best combination to look for when planning a ‘yes’ wager is a strong returner who is facing a weak server. Those games are likely to go back and forth and could very well end up in a deuce situation. It can be wise to wait on placing these kinds of bets until at least a few games of the match have been played. At that point you should have a good idea of what each player is doing in the match, and how successful their service games have been. If one player consistently has struggled to hold serve, you might consider a ‘yes’ wager on one of their upcoming service games.

Another situation you could consider a ‘yes’ wager is when the serving player has just finished playing a long game on the returning side. Running around returning points in a long game can take out a players’ legs – and leg strength is crucial to strong serving. If you suspect the upcoming server may be physically worn out from the game before, a ‘yes’ wager on the game reaching deuce might be in order.

Among all of the live tennis wagers, this one is in more of the ‘coin flip’ category. You can apply the above strategies to give yourself a better chance, but ultimately there is a lot of chance involved in this one. If you have a strong feeling about a particular game reaching deuce, then give it a shot. Other than that, you are probably better off finding wagers that allow for a little more planning and methodology in choosing a winner.

Exact Set Score

This is one of the more popular live tennis wagers. The bettor has to choose both the winner of the set, and the amount of games each player will win. For example, you could wager that Player A will win 6-4, or Player B will win 7-6. Naturally, the odds will pay less for scores that favor the better player, and bigger payoffs will result from choosing a lopsided set score in favor of the underdog.

There is a lot of strategy and forethought that can go into this type of wager. Below is a simple three step process outlining how you can choose your set score.

1. Will the better player win?

The first question to ask yourself is whether or not you think the favored player will win that given set. You can base your decision on how the head to head matchups have gone historically, what surface they are playing on, the progress of the match thus far, etc. While thinking about which player you think will win the set, consider how long it takes you to decide. If you quickly decide that Player A will prevail, that should be a good indication that you are anticipating a lopsided score. If you debate back and forth over Player A or B winning the set, you probably are leaning toward a close score in the end.

2. Who is serving first?

This is important particularly if you don’t expect very many breaks of serve within the set. Say Player A serves first in a set, holds every serve, and breaks once. That set would result in a 6-3 set score in favor of Player A. However, the same one break and all holds set would wind up at 6-4 if Player A served second within the set. Understanding this simple difference is crucial when choosing your set score. Take note of who is serving first and use that information to your advantage.

3. Surface

The playing surface has a major impact on tennis matches, and you must factor it into your thinking. Sets played on clay tend to be closer because of the increased frequency of service breaks. Matches played on grass, such as at Wimbledon, usually favor big servers and see a lot of games held.

Once you have gone through these three steps, you should have a pretty good idea of what you expect the set score to be. Resist the temptation to just guess at a final score without thinking through this process. There are always hints and clues to how a match will play out – you just need to take the time to consider them carefully and combine them all into a smart choice.

Game Betting

This is one quite simple – pick the winner of the next game to be played in the match. Odds will be determined largely by who the serving player is, but also are based on the strength of each player, their head to head record, the score of the match, etc. This is a good bet for someone who likes to have constant action going throughout a match.

Naturally, the serving player will be favored to win each game. The smart bets are usually ones that pick an opportune time for the server to be broken, as those odds make the wager worthwhile. More times than not, betting on the server to hold will simply not pay enough to make it a smart bet. The key to coming out ahead in live game betting is to pick just the right time to anticipate a break of serve, especially by the lower ranked player.

The following three points can help in choosing when to make single game wager:

Struggling Server

If one of the players in the match has been barely holding serve for a couple games in a row, they might be ripe to be broken. Serving is largely built on confidence – if that confidence is down a little bit from some challenging service games earlier in the match, you might have an opportunity for a smart wager. Don’t count on a player who has held at love two games in a row to suddenly lose their touch. Spot a pattern and try to take advantage of it.

Women’s Matches

Breaks of serve are far more common in the women’s game than on the men’s side. Even some of the top ranked women players do not possess powerful serves, and can be broken frequently even in a match they ultimately win. Watch for a match in which a highly ranked woman with a weaker serve plays a strong returner. A match like that can be expected to produce almost as many breaks as holds.


Breaking another players’ serve usually requires a lot of hustle and hard work. If the returning play doesn’t have much motivation, like they are already up 5-0 in the set, they are less likely to grind out the game. Watch for the overall patterns of the match when considering your wagers.

Live game betting is a fun way to interact with the match if you pick and choose your spots. Simply betting every single game is not likely to be a successful strategy. Watch the match progress carefully and identify the best time to make your move.

Games in Match

This wager is a cumulative total that requires the bettor to select over/under a certain number of games to be played in a match. When the match ends, the entire line score (eg. 6-4, 3-6, 6-2) will be added up to find the total number of games. In this case, that total would be 27. If the betting line was 29 games, the under would be the winning wager.

Rather than most wagers which are dictated by the serve, this one hinges on how many sets you expect to be played in the match. Typically, if you are successful in guessing how many sets a match will go, you will end up on the right side of the wager. The live odds will adapt as the match plays out to reflect the score to that point. For example, if the underdog wins the first set, the over wager will become more likely because there is a good chance the higher ranked player will be able to extend the match. However, if the favorite wins the first set 6-0, suddenly the under wager will be the more likely outcome.

The following points are a good place to start when trying to choose over or under a ‘games in match’ wager:

Point in the Tournament

Often in the early rounds of tennis tournaments, the top players are still ‘feeling’ their way around. They will typically pull through the early matches, but aren’t always on top of their games like they will be in the later rounds. For that reason, many early round matches last much longer than you would expect on paper. If there is a match pitting one of the very best players against an unknown, consider taking the over. The favorite will almost always win that match, but it may not be as quick as the odds suggest.

Number of Breaks

If you are waiting until the match gets going to make your wager, watch for breaks in the first set. If one player specifically seems to have trouble holding serve, it could be a quick match. If both servers are rolling, however, expect them to be playing all day. If the first set goes by with no breaks and has to be settled in a tiebreaker, you might want to look at taking the over for total number of games.


Some surfaces favor shorter points, which keep the players fresher and can lead to longer matches in the end. Grass and indoor hard courts are two surfaces that usually see points ended within a couple shots after the serve. Matches contested on clay or slower hard courts will see long points and often lead to one player getting warn out. These kinds of matches are a good opportunity to take the under wager.

The total games in a match wager is a little different than most other wagers because you are not choosing one player over the other. This can be a good option if you have a feeling for how the match will play out, but are not sure which player will prevail or don’t like the odds on the match winner. Keep an eye on this one as a match progresses and pick just the right time to jump in on either the under or over total.

Games in Set

This live tennis wager allows you to select an over or under a set total of games with a particular set. The over/under line will be set based upon the ability of the two players, the strength of their respective serves, and various other factors. In general terms, sets that are lopsided will end up on the under side of the wager, while competitive sets will be winners for the over.

To win at this kind of live wager, you don’t necessarily need to have a good feel for which player will win the set – just an idea of how the set will play out. It is smart when considering a ‘games in set’ wager to let the first set play out first and see how it goes. This is especially helpful in matches that favor two players far apart in the rankings. A match like that should be lopsided, but watching the first set will give you a better idea of how the underdog is going to hang in against the big gun. With that knowledge in hand, you can make an over/under selection on subsequent sets with more confidence.

Among the many factors you can take into consideration when placing this wager, the following three might be particularly helpful:

First Server

If the favored player is serving first within the set, there is a better chance of the under coming through. With just one break and the rest holds, the favored played can win the set 6-3. If the line was 9.5 games, that difference in who served first may mean a winning wager instead of a loss. Don’t overlook this aspect of your analysis.

Point in the Match

Underdog players often run out of steam late in the match against a better player. If the match you are wagering on has drug out over several hours, look to taking the under and counting on the better player to cruise through the last set.

Head to Head History

Look up some statistics on the historical patterns between two players. Sometimes   players tend to play long, tight matches against one another for whatever reason. If two players seem to always end up in tiebreaks with one another, take the over.

The games in set wager is a smart choice when you feel confident in one of two outcomes – a blowout or a tiebreak. If you see a particular set as being highly lopsided, stick with the under. If you see it being neck and neck the whole way, use the over to come out ahead.

Over Under Aces

This wager can be placed on both men’s and women’s matches, but is more popular in the men’s game due to the higher frequency of aces. The better is simply required to choose if the total number of aces within the match (between both players) will be over or under a specific number.

In order to win at this wager, you must consider a variety of factors. Those include –

Serving Stats

Obviously, the first place to start is how often each player serves aces historically. A match between two players that rarely serve aces will naturally have a low total, but it will also have a lower line to reflect that.


This is a big one. Aces are much more common on fast surfaces like grass or indoor hard court than they are on clay or slower outdoor hard courts. Take note of what surface the match is being played on for an insight on the total number of aces.


Hot days lead to faster serves, and more aces. Cold and windy days make for more difficult serving conditions and a much lower ace total. This is where watching the tennis matches during the day can give you an edge. By paying close attention to conditions at the tournament you will be able to make a more informed decision.

Game Plan

This is one that you can use to make live bets as the match progresses. Sometimes a normally big server will be more conservative in serving style if they think that game plan works best against their opponent. Just because a player is capable of a lot of aces doesn’t mean they will aim for them. Watch closely the first few games of a match and try to evaluate the game plan of both players. Use that information to choose the over or under for the remainder of the match.

The over or under aces total wager can be a fun change of pace from the usual bets. Aces are notoriously unpredictable, however, so it’s probably best to only use this option when you have a strong feeling about a match, or when weather conditions indicate either a lot of aces, or very few aces between the players.

Head to Head Matchups

Even a great player will often have one or two opponents that just ‘have their number’. Before placing wagers, look into the past records of the players when they face one another. This can be a good opportunity to get value in betting on an underdog player by finding a matchup that the lesser player seems to control. Combine this kind of research with a focus on the surface they are playing on for maximum accuracy.

Stage in the Event

Sometimes, top players will have to work off the rust early in a tournament and might provide an opportunity to win some short term (game or set) wagers against them. These matches are usually won by the best players in the end, but you might be able to make some money in the process if they drop a few games along the way.

Developing your own personal style and strategy for live tennis wagering is key to success. Start out simple by making a few basic wagers after doing some thorough research. As you go along, the wagers will start to make more sense and you will understand how to look for value among the wide array of betting options. Explore this site for more in depth analysis of the wide variety of wagers, as well as strategies that help put the odds in your favor. Just like any other pursuit, live tennis wagering takes consistency and determination to become accomplished at. Enjoy the challenge, and good luck!

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