Tennis Betting Guide – How To Win Big On The Grand Slams

Types of Sports

While football and horse racing continue to dominate the betting landscape in the UK and beyond, millions of pounds are also poured into tennis betting each and every year.

Tennis is a high volatility sport, meaning that the momentum in matches can change almost in the blink of an eye: which offers plenty of money-making potential for punters. But for most of us, the thrill of knowing that a draw cannot scupper our bets – it’s win or lose for your chosen player – means that we have a 50% chance of winning (rather than say 33% in football where there are three possible outcomes) on our match betting selections.

The Grand Slams offer tennis punters an even greater shot at winning. There are a few reasons for this, but the most notable is that in the men’s game the matches are best-of-five sets, rather than the best-of-three. This offers us a certain level of surety that the bookmakers’ favourite can still win the match even if they lose a set or two. Also, there’s no worry that a player will ‘tank’ or not try if they are carrying a slight injury, as can be the case in lesser events on the tour.

There are four Grand Slam events throughout the calendar year:

  1. The Australian Open – January
  2. The French Open – May
  3. Wimbledon – July
  4. The US Open – August

So which are the betting markets from which we can make some decent money?

Tournament Winner

Tennis Betting

The winner of a Grand Slam tournament will have to battle through seven matches to lift the trophy, so in that sense there is plenty that can go wrong. But if we take a look back at recent major event winners, we can see that there is a degree of certainty in betting on the right players.

In the men’s game, Novak Djokovic has won four of the last six Grand Slam tournaments, and as you’d expect he is the bookies favourite every time he sets foot on the court. Of the two he lost, one was at the French Open – a title that still eludes him – and the other was the US Open of 2014, which was won, in surprising fashion, by Marin Cilic.

All in all, only 2 of the past 24 Grand Slam events in the men’s side of the game have been won by a player ranked outside of the top four in the world. Of that quartet, Rafael Nadal is no longer the player he was after suffering a run of injuries, whilst Roger Federer has not won a major since 2012. So you can see why Djokovic really is the man to back in 2016 and beyond.

In the women’s draw, things are only slightly less predictable. Serena Williams has won four of the last five slam events, and to be honest her not retaining the US Open in August of this year was a huge surprise.

Of the other Grand Slam winners in recent years, Flavia Pennetta, Marion Bartoli and Li Na have or are retiring, Maria Sharapova has only two French Opens to her name in the last six years – likewise Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon, and Victoria Azarenka is coming back from a career-threatening injury. With this knowledge, we can now start to plot our tournament winner bets more confidently.

Match Betting

Here we are betting on the winner of a single match, or a number of winners if we are placing an accumulator. This tends to be quite easy in the early rounds of Grand Slams, as these results testify:

+ In the first round of the US Open 2015, only 3 of the top 30 seeds lost in the first round in the men’s draw.

+ In the first round of the US Open 2015, only 4 of the top 30 seeds lost in the first round in the men’s draw.

+ At the French Open 2015 this number was 5, and at the Australian Open 2015 it was 6.

The women’s draw is slightly more unpredictable, due in part because the matches are only best-of-three sets even in the slams, and so there are other factors that need to be considered.

But in the men’s draw, we can confidently place accumulators on the first round of up to 15 selections – great for making some early money in the tournament.


Tennis Betting

Where one player far out-classes the other, a handicap bet is a smart option. For example, Novak Djokovic was priced as short as 1/25 in his US Open first round match against Joao Souza – not very tempting value. However, the handicap market, which gives one player a deduction of games to overcome, is a better option. So a Djokovic -8.5 handicap at 8/11 looked far better value, and the Serb duly won 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 for that bet to come in.

Similarly, we can use a plus handicap where we feel that the underdog can put a good run of games together against their opponent. This is usually the case where we have somebody like Ivo Karlovic or John Isner playing. This pair is almost unstoppable when they are serving, but they don’t tend to win many of games on their opponent’s serve.

Take the number 15 seed Kevin Anderson at the US Open, who faced the unfancied Andrey Rublev. We know that big servers like Anderson tend not to break their opponent’s serve as much, and so despite the South African winning the match 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, a bet of +4.5 on Rublev would have come home.

Total Sets/Games

Here you are betting on the total number of sets/games in the match. Naturally, if there is a mis-match in quality between the two players then the fewer sets/games we’d expect. Typically you will be presented with two brackets for each, and a host of alternative markets.

A good bet for the Djokovic vs Souza example above would have been either Under 3.5 Sets or Under 27 Games, as we would be expecting the world number one to win 3-0 in sets or better than 6-3 in each of those sets.

In-Play Betting

In-play betting in tennis offers us a wealth of opportunities, and as you become more familiar with the unique ebbs and flows of the sport you will soon begin to spot money-making potential.

Comeback victories and players ‘choking’ are not a surprise, particularly in Grand Slam events, so keep an eye on a young and inexperienced player that takes an early lead. When you watch a tennis match, and most leading bookies offer a live streaming service nowadays, you can generally sense which way the momentum is shifting. Use it to your betting advantage.