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Tournaments And Surfaces
The tennis tour is split up throughout the year into different tournament categories and surface types. The three different courts are hardcourt, grass and clay with the tour generally tending to begin the year on the hard courts, move into the clay season for April & May, followed by the grass for June & early July and it finishes back on the hard courts for the duration of the season.
Tennis is very much a sport where individual players can specialise on different shots, whether that be their forehand or backhand as well as their different styles of play, which along with their athleticism and movement ultimately determines what surface they’re most likely to prevail on.
For example, Rafa Nadal puts an unusual amount of top spin on his shots and is superb at getting the ball back in play through his movement, which makes him so well suited to the slow clay courts, while the likes of Roger Federer, who don’t possess that sort of footwork but has a stronger serve can excel on the quicker grass surface.
Certain competitions provide players with more ranking points, with the pinnacle being the Grand Slam tournaments: Australian Open (Hard), French Open (Clay), Wimbledon (Grass) & US Open (Hard).
Competition progression through the season then give the players their world ranking which is based on a points system depending on the difficulty of the tournament. Indeed, a higher ranking means automatic qualification for tournaments as well as easier draws, which should therefore lead to more success.
The main betting markets to focus on for a given match include: Match Odds, Handicaps, Set Betting, Over/Under Games, Correct Score, Number of Sets and To Win a Set. There’s also the option to bet on tournament outrights and more specifically players to win their quarter, reach the final or go the whole way and lift the title.
How to Make Money on Tennis
Our foremost method of betting on tennis is to look for value bets in the outright markets and the best place to learn and get up to scratch on that is betting on the Grand Slams. Every player will look to peak for these four competitions such is the significance of them and so there’s fewer variables to consider for punters.
However, that does mean that there are fewer underdog winners, especially on the men’s side of the game given the circumstances and the five-set format as opposed to the normal three played for the rest of the season.
Indeed, at the Slams on the ATP Tour, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have lifted the title in 85% of the 65 titles since the start of 2004, including each of the last 13 dating back to Stan Wawrinka lifting the US Open title at the end of 2016!
The WTA tour on the other hand, has thrown up a much greater variety of winners, as Naomi Osaka’s two Slams is the most of any player since start of 2017 and with 23-time Slam champion Serena Williams struggling to assert her previous dominance on the sport and therefore providing better tennis betting opportunities.
Factors to Consider
The four main factors that should be considered for each player to find a value bet should be the following:
Form (recent, surface and tournament)
Weak Seeds or Injury Doubts
First and most importantly, we never make a bet until the draw has been released because this can drastically change the odds on a given player.
For example, when Serena Williams was an unseeded player at 2018 French Open she drastically changed the chances of some of the world’s best, beating seeded players Ash Barty and Julia Gorges before withdrawing in the fourth round.
So look out for when the draws come out usually a couple of days before the start of the competition as the qualifiers come to a close.
Form can be paramount to the confidence of a player as well as their chances. A prime example of this was ninth seed Aryna Sabalenka in the 2019 season seriously struggling to find any sort of form.
Following on from her third round exit at the Australian Open she proceeded to go W21-L18 from her 39 matches up until the end of the August, which is a very poor run for a player of her calibre.
If we divulge a little further we can see that she lost 12 of her 16 matches against top 50 players in that period, and so it’s hardly surprising that she struggled at the Slams that year, crashing out in the second round at both Roland Garros and US Open as well as the first at Wimbledon.
On the flip side, Daniil Medvedev went into the 2019 US Open having won 14 of his previous 16 hardcourt matches, reaching the final in all three tournaments played, and that proved good form to get behind as he went it to finish runner-up and very nearly claimed the title.
Weak seeds or potentially injured players can present an opportunity to find value in the draw. If you can highlight a top eight or top 16 seed that you want to take on, either through injury or poor form, then you’re half the way to finding a value bet. We like the example of Simona Halep at Wimbledon in 2019.
She had Naomi Osaka as the other top eight seed in her quarter, while Sabalenka was the other top 16 seed in her path. Osaka was struggling for form, as was the Belarusian Sabalenka, which paved the way as they both crashed out in the first round, helping Halep en route to lift the title at 18/1. She had to play just two seeded players, both of which came in her final two rounds against Elina Svitolina in the semis and Serena in the final.
In order to make your final call of who could go the whole way the head-to-heads can be the just what you need in order to get you over the line. Usually used to predict scheduled later round matches that might happen between players to further your reasoning for getting behind an individual.
Finding The Value
The key to success is to bet on VALUE. Over a long period of time if you consistently find this then you’re going to be making a profit and so lets see how to know if you’re finding it or not.
For example, despite it no longer going ahead, Nadal was at 2.0 (evens) to lift the 2020 French Open title. Our analysis of these above factors, we give him a 60% chance of winning his 13th Roland Garros title (pre-draw).
Therefore, if the value is great than zero we have an value bet. In this instance, a predicted value of 20% (0.2 x 100) is found. This can also be applied to individual matches applying the same theory.
In order to find more value, you’ll want to progress on from the main events and look at assessing the lower ranked tournaments where more underdogs can take the honours. It’s at these competitions where huge profits can be made, but you’ll have to build that knowledge base in order to accurately interpret your own probabilities on a consistent basis.