How to bet on Tennis - Tennis betting explained

Skill Level: Intermediate

Tennis betting is one of the most common sports to bet on in the world; nowadays there are tournaments for nine months of the year so plenty of opportunities to get your bets in. Most bookies offer plenty of different markets and below we will walk you through how they work.

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How does tennis scoring work

Tennis matches are made up of sets and games. Each player will serve a game, and this will alternate between each player every game. Each game is the first player to reach a game point or 5 points. Scoring in a tennis game works like this 0, 15, 30, 40 then a game. To win a game you must win a game point and be 2 points clear of your opponent, but if both players are on 40 points, you must win 2 points in a row to win. This situation is often referred to as deuce; it's then scored as an advantage and then game point. Each player must then win six games to win a set, but a player has to win by two clear games to win a set. If a player is not two games clear once he has reached six then one more game can be played and if he is two clear the player has won the set. If the set is drawn 6-6 then the set must go to a tie breaker, a tie breaker is a game that is the first to 7 points, but again a player must be 2 points clear, so a tiebreaker will be played until a player is 2 points clear. To win the match, you must win 2 or 3 sets depending on the tournament (although it is always two sets for women).

There is one exception to the tie breaker rule, if a set is drawn in a final set in a major tournament then it cannot be won on a tie breaker. Any player must win by two clear games to advance and win the match.

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Outright bets

Nearly all tennis matches are based around tournaments, most the time these are simple knockout tournaments. As with pretty much any gambling you can place a bet on the outright winner of the whole tournament, and if you wish you can place an EW bet. For outright winner bets, the player must win the entire tournament and lift the trophy at the end. If you place an EW bet, most bookies will pay top 2 as places.

Match betting

This is betting on the winner of an individual match, to win a match a player must win 2 or 3 sets depending on the tournament (although women's is always two sets). Tennis is very simple as it's only a two-way market meaning you can only have two results, either player A wins, or player B wins. This means all you need to do is select player A or player B to win and place your simple win bet. Most people use tennis betting for accumulators as odds tend to be a little short for singles.

Set betting

Most bookies will allow you to bet on the correct score of tennis matches; this is very much like football or other sports. All you need to do is predict the score of a match in sets, for example, you pick 2-0 to player A and place the bet on that score, if player A wins 2-0 then your bet wins, but if there is any other score, then your bet will lose.

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To win the next set (also first set)

This is a simple 2 way win or lose bet. When a game starts you can bet on a player to win the next set or first set. Bet on player A or Player B to win the set and if they win the set you win, if they lose the set you lose.

Total sets over/under

In any tennis game bookies will allow you to bet on the total number of sets played, this is often displayed as a 2 way market. For example, a bookie may offer over or under 2.5 sets in a game, if you bet on over 2.5 sets and there are 3 or more sets played then you win. If there are 2 or less games played then you lose.

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Total games over/under

As well as over/under on sets you can do it on games. Again this is just a simple two-way market in which you can bet on over or under. An example of this would be betting on over 30.5 games in a match, if there were 31 or more games, then you would win, if 30 or less then you would lose.


Often in tennis, you will get one player who is much stronger than the other. So to even out the betting the bookie will place a handicap on the players, this means the stronger player will start with a minus figure and the weaker player with a plus. These handicap markets can be used to both set and game markets. These markets are often used by more experienced gamblers who expect a player to perform better or worse than the bookie expects.

Tie break in match

As explained earlier if a set is drawn then the match will go to a tiebreaker. Most bookies will allow you to bet on whether or not there will be a tie break in the match. As with nearly all tennis bets, this is a simple yes/no two-way market. These bets are mostly used when people look at players serving records.

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Tennis double result

This is the only market in tennis which is not a 2-way market. With these the bookies offer you odds on a player to win two combined markets, so, for example, will a player win the first set and win the match. For these types of bets to win both the events named must happen as described in the bet, for this example this means player A must win the first set and win the match.

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