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Tennis Odds Betting: Moneyline, Spread, Handicap

Betting on professional tennis may not be as popular as the NBA or the NFL in the world of sports betting. Although similar to horse racing, tennis betting has its charms, making it a well-hidden sportsbook gem.

All bettors who want to gamble on which player wins, the Davis cup or any ATP tennis tournaments for the matter, should know how tennis odds work and what kind of bets you can make with them.

HOW TO READ TENNIS BETTING ODDS

Oddsmakers base odds on calculations of what tennis events are likely to happen in a match or a tournament.

There’s a lot of math involved, but mainly bookmakers look for the probability that a player wins the US Open, or a challenger becomes the new tournament winner.

These odds are listed in either decimal, fractions, or American odds format.

American Odds

Most sportsbooks in the United States list betting lines using American odds.

In the world of sports betting, bookmakers always claim to have the best tennis odds. 

However, understanding how these American odds work will give you your best chances of winning your bet.

American odds are characterized by (+) positive and (-) negative numbers.

These + and – signs basically tell bettors how much money they can win versus how much money they bet.

These signs also indicate which tennis players are favored to win the bet and which players are underdogs.

Player Spread Win/Moneyline Total
Stefan Storch +1.0 (-110) +105 O 13.0 (-125)
Grigor Dimitrov -1.0 (-110) -140 U 13.0 (-105)
  • A player with – or negative sign is favored to win the bet, while the player with + or positive sign is the underdog.
  • Spread, Win, and Total are some of the types of bet you can make.
  • In this matchup, Grigor Dimitrov is favored to win the spread bet, while Stefan Storch is the underdog with +1.0.

HOW TO CALCULATE TENNIS BETTING ODDS

American odds use a standard of $100 to make sports betting simpler to understand.

In the win column or the Moneyline bet, the negative sign shows how much you have to bet to win $100.

If you want to bet on Grigor Dimitrov, you will have to bet $140 to make a winning profit of $100.

Meanwhile, the positive sign shows how much you will win if you bet $100.

So if you were to wager $100 on Storch and he wins the moneyline bet, you can get $105 profit.

Note that betting on the underdog yields a safer payout ($100 bet vs. $140 bet). Why so?

Bookmakers devised this system so that bettors will still gamble on the underdog, even if they are at the disadvantage of losing the match.

For the spread and totals bet, the betting amount is different. 

The most common odds you will see across all sportsbooks is – / + 110. This simply means that for every $110 bet you make, you can get $100 in profit.

In the example totals bet above, there are figures of -125 and -105. 

Likewise, this means that for every $125 wager you place on Storch, you can get $100 in winnings. The same goes for Dimitrov with -105 odds.

When wagering on the latest tennis ATP odds (men’s division) or WTA tour (women’s division), bettors must always look at the odds. This allows them to see if they’re making the best gamble.

HOW TO BET ON TENNIS ODDS

Moneyline or Match Betting

Moneyline or Match Betting is the most straightforward type of wagering bettors can do.

The goal of a moneyline bet is to gamble on who you think will be the winner of the game.

For example:

  • Dmitry Popko (+120) on the moneyline vs. Andy Murray (-140)
  • Dmitry Popko is the underdog, while Andy Murray is favored to win the tennis match.
  • If you bet $100 on Popko and he wins the matchup, you will get $120 in winnings, with a total payout of $220 (original bet of $100 plus $120 profit).
  • However, if you want a safe bet, wagering $140 on Murray can win you $100. The total payout will be $240 (you get your $140 stake back, along with $100 in winnings).

Again, betting on the underdog is designed to give you a bigger profit, not necessarily a higher payout.

If you bet on the favored and that player loses, you will lose your $140 wager and not profit at all.

Like hockey and baseball betting, bettors can choose to wager on the first set instead of the whole match (tennis has 2 sets each match).

Spread

Another popular way of tennis betting is through spread bets. Unlike football or basketball, there are two ways of spread betting in tennis.

Game Spread

In sports betting, spreads are usually designed to give the underdog an advantage. How? Bookmakers give tennis players a set margin of games that they can lose by, and still “cover the spread” or win the bet.

Conversely, it gives the favored player a disadvantage by providing a number of games they should beat to win the bet and “cover the spread”.

In a tennis match, opponents play in 2-3 sets. A player wins a set by winning at least six games. In each game, scores are a maximum of 4 or 40 points. The first point is “love” or zero. The next is 15, 30, and then finally 40.

In a Game Spread bet, the favored player should win a number of games more than the spread assigned by the bookmaker. Meanwhile, the underdog can lose by the same amount of games or less, and still cover the spread.

Example:

  • Petra Kvitova -3.5 odds vs. Venus Williams with +3.5 odds
  • If you bet on Kvitova, she must beat Williams by 4 more games to win the bet.
  • If you bet on Venus Williams, you will win the wager if she 1) loses the game by less than 3.5 games or 2) wins the match itself.
  • However, you will lose the bet if she loses the matchup by more than 3.5 games.
  • Final Score:

Petra Kvitova: 5 4 5 score in 3 sets, with a total of 14 games

Venus Williams: 3 6 2 score in 3 sets, with a total of 11 games

  • If you bet on Kvitova, you lose the wager because she failed to cover the spread. She won by only 3 games, and not 4.
  • If you bet on Williams, you win the wager because she managed to lose by 3 games (less than the spread)

Set Spread

The Set Spread is a type of bet that’s only available for tennis

It is essentially the same as the Game Spread. However, the only difference is that tennis players must win or lose by a number of sets and not games.

Most tennis matches are best of three sets (Grand Slam and Davis Cup are best of five), and the usual set line in sportsbooks is either +1.5 or -1.5.

Example:

  • Tyler Mercier has odds of +1.5
  • Roger Federer has odds of -1.5

In this example, if you bet on Roger Federer, you are wagering that he will win the matchup by straight sets (win all the sets).

If you bet on Mercier, who is the underdog, he must beat Federer by at least 1 set for you to win your wager.

Over/Under or Totals

Over/Under or Totals betting is simple. You must wager whether the total number of games will go over or under a specific number posted by the bookmaker.

Example:

 

PLAYERS TOTAL
Bueno Tapia O 17.0 (-110)
Alexander Zverev U 17.0 (-110)

 

Sportsbooks think that a matchup between Bueno Tapia and Alexander Zverev will have 17 total games. If you feel that the total games are more than 17, bet over. If you think it will be less than 17, then bet under.

However, if the total number of games ends up being exactly 17, the bet is declared a “push,” and your money is refunded back to you.

Handicap

Handicap betting involves giving the players a number of games or sets in an attempt to level the playing field.

Basically, the bookmaker will give the matchup a handicap figure, and bettors can wager on whether Player A will win with a handicap advantage. They can also bet on whether Player B will win despite their handicap disadvantage.

Betting on Naomi Osaka will give you this handicap score:

Player Handicap Actual Score Handicap Score
Serena Williams -6 (6-4, 6-3, 5-7) 17-14 17-20
Naomi Osaka +6 (4-6, 3-6, 7-5) 14-17 20-17
  • Actual score: (6-4, 6-3, 5-7) are set scores, with a total of 3 sets.
  • William’s score is 6, 6, and 5
  • Osaka’s score is 4, 3, and 7

Plus handicap shows the figure that will be added to the final number of games won by Naomi Osaka.

In this example, she won 14 games (actual score). But if you were to bet on the positive handicap which adds 6, it would give her a handicap score of 20 over Serena Williams’ 17.

Meanwhile, the minus handicap shows the number that will be subtracted from the actual number of games won by Serena Williams.

If we bet on Serena Williams, she’ll get a handicap score of 11 vs. Naomi Osaka’s 14 (actual score).

In handicap betting, the total number of games is the only thing that matters.

Prop Bets

Prop or Propositional bets are some of the more fun types of tennis wagers. Essentially, you are wagering on whether certain tennis events will happen during a matchup.

It can range from betting on the actual score, whether there will be a tiebreak, to which player will end up serving first.

For example, you bet that a matchup between Andrey Rublev and Paolo Lorenzi will end with Lorenzi serving last. This is an example of a prop bet.

Futures

Futures bet involves betting on events that are far off in the tennis calendar.

An example of it could be gambling on possible tournament winners for tennis tournaments like Wimbledon or the Roland Garros French Open.

It could even be wagering on whether Rafael Nadal beats Novak Djokovic before the Australian Open finals.

Futures odds will look like this:

  • Novak Djokovic -110
  • Rafael Nadal +800
  • Adam El Mihdawy +1200
  • John Isner +2000

The smaller the odds, the higher the chances of the player winning a specific tournament.

Parlay or Accumulators

Parlay bets or accumulators are basically multiple bets that you combine into one major wager or bet slip. Parlays are popular among bettors who want to increase their potential winnings. However, it’s also an incredibly risky gamble.

Let’s say you bet on the spread between an Ashleigh Barty and. Simona Halep matchup. 

But you also want to make a moneyline bet on Kei Nishikori vs. Daniil Medvedev, and a prop bet on a game between Cori Gauff and Sofia Kenin.

If the bets you’re making in these matches are all relatively safe, you can combine them into one parlay and increase your payout.

The catch is that all of your bets have to win so you can cash in your betslip. If even one bet loses, you lose the whole parlay.