The simple answer – yes it is. However it’s far from simple to achieve. Which is logical when you think about it or everyone would be doing it and bookmakers certainly wouldn’t be awarding their CEO’s hundreds of millions of pounds each year. In this guide we’ll take a deep dive into the world of tennis betting so we can arrive at a definitive conclusion on the question of ‘Is tennis betting profitable?

Table of Contents

man looks confused while considering tennis betting markets at laptop

With the range of betting opportunities available at most bookmakers it can feel simultaneously overwhelming and encouraging for those looking to unlock an additional income stream from tennis betting.

Available Markets (Bet Types)

The plethora of tennis betting markets is certainly daunting but does pose the question – surely within all these markets there has to be opportunity for the shrewd punter. And this is indeed the case. There will be mispriced betting markets in abundance especially when lines are first released. That’s why there is always a flurry of activity and the odds move (often significantly) over the first few hours post publication.

Match Winner – Money Line

The most common tennis betting market. It’s often the most prominently featured on a bookmaker match page. These markets often have low spreads (bookmaker margin) meaning they can be a good place to start when trying to find value bets.

Asian Handicap

Handicaps are often used by smarter punters as a way to back underdogs without the extreme variance. This could be achieved through the use of a positive games handicap (e.g Player A +5.5 Games Handicap). Similar options are available to for if you want to back a player to win at least a set. Watching the line movements of these markets can give a great insight into where the smart money is going.

Total Games & Total Sets

Sometimes the data doesn’t point towards a specific player but instead that a large or small total number of games or sets are probable. These bet types are widely available and the spread is usually tight at the major bookmakers – meaning the expected returns from that wager are higher.

Odds vs Probability Relationship

A key factor separating the average sports bettor and those taking it seriously is the fact that that the later automatically converts odds into probability. In other words a percentage chance of that outcome. This mindset is crucial as it the foundation of profitable tennis betting. The only way to win consistently is to back markets where the actual probability of that outcome is greater than that suggested by the odds.

How to identify + EV markets

So you may be thinking it’s all very well knowing there needs to be a discrepancy between the available odds and true probability of that outcome but how on earth do you reliable figure this out? The truth is its challenging and requires data modelling. Many make the mistake of focusing on over simplified factors such as ‘Player A is good on clay courts’ I’ll back him. However if this factor is relevant it will already be baked into the available odds. Your looking instead for little known factors the wider market hasn’t responded to yet such or hasn’t attributed as much weight as required.

tennis betting probability graphic

Player A is competing tomorrow. He is significantly higher ranked than his opponent but has very poor recent form. In this case bookmakers will often price the ‘big name’ player slightly lower than they should be based on true probability simply in anticipation of betting volume. In other words they expect casual tennis bettors to just assume the player name they recognise will cruise through and bookmakers don’t want overexposure if that outcome does indeed occur. That means the underdog opponent could offer an opportunity. It’s essential to develop a strategy that you will commit to long term. Remember ‘a good value bet can lose and a bad value bet can win’ meaning just because the outcome for an individual match is undesirable this does not mean your approach was not valid. It will yield a profit over a large sample size assuming you are correctly identifying when odds are mispriced. The example above is just one of hundreds of potential metrics that affect an outcome so there is many possibilities for identifying opportunities. See the list below for a more comprehensive list.

Example of +EV Market Identification Process

Full List of Edge Factors

These are elements that contribute towards the odds available for virtually all tennis betting markets. It’s not to say bookmakers forget them for certain matches but you may think its more relevant than their traders and subsequently allocate more weighting in your model when calculating true probability odds.

  • Player fatigue (total court time over recent days)
  • Court surface speed (this can vary year to year even at the same event)
  • Meteorological conditions such as weather and temperature (certain players struggle or adapt)
  • Personal issues in player private lives that are not widely documented
  • Injury concerns although we advise caution putting too much emphasise of this

We have some impressive analysts who have built entire models around these factors over the years. You can benefit from this insight through our premium subscription. It’s also possible to build these yourself but remember to back test first before deploying with real funds to mitigate risk.

A Word on Bookmaker Limitations

So you’ve successfully managed to develop an approach that let’s you identify value bets across tennis markets. Pop the champagne? Well, not quite. Bookmakers are very trigger happy with the ban hammer nowadays and will either close your account or severely limit your maximum stake if you win consistently. There are work arounds which many of our premium subscribers utilise such as bet brokers, bookmakers that permit winners and betting exchanges.

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Conclusion: Is tennis betting profitable?

For most people it will be losing venture but for a small percentage it is possible to achieve a positive outcome. You’ll need a few tools and resources such as the aforementioned bet broker, exchange access, multiple bookmaker accounts and a method of finding value tennis bets. The later will need you to develop a statistical model yourself or using a subscription service to provide the advised bets directly. For those of you wanting to make a go of it by yourself; the team behind our premium service have kindly shared some pointers from their decade plus of experience.

Watch Sharp Bookmaker & Exchange Line Movement

Some of the world’s smartest tennis punters often focus their betting activity on bookmakers like Pinnacle and exchanges such as Betfair as their odds are above industry average and crucially they will not limit persistent winners. Note these can be accessed via bet brokers if not available directly for example because of geographical restrictions. So why is this relevant? Well you can see the odds movement at these places and use it to inform your betting choices.

Bookmaker tennis odds line movement

The feed shown on the left is an example of historical price movement for a match winner Grand Slam market. The first price is what bookmaker traders released odds at initially. Note they often limit maximum stakes at a low level for this stage to avoid over exposure. The price then moves, often significantly, as money flows into the market. Focus your attention to what happens when the odds are first released and also in the last minutes before the scheduled start time as that’s when smart bettors often time their entry into the market.

How to utilise this odds data for profit

The most accurate odds are always found at sharp bookmakers and exchanges. In fact the closing line at Pinnacle was found to have an almost perfect correlation with true probability. That’s where the higher limits and most signficiant liquidity is and so it attracts the big players.

Pinnacle vs probability graphic

Chances are if you’re reading this article then you’ve at least dabbled in the world of tennis betting. If so you’ve probably noticed that the odds available for the same bet vary across different bookmakers and the exchange price is often much higher. This is significant because if sharp bookmakers have almost perfectly correlated odds with true probability then if you beat their price elsewhere you will probably have just found a value bet. Often it’s just a case of timing – be quick and watch for signficiant movements at sharp sources then respond with fast wagers on other platforms before they can shorten their price. This will lead to account restrictions at most bookmakers but there are options available which we prefer to discuss within the premium service community to retain value.

Image Source: Data Golf

How much money can be made from tennis betting?

It’s realistic that with the correct tools and resources combined with discipline that anyone can make money with tennis betting. Is it possible to develop this into a significant income stream? Again yes but only a small percentage will achieve this. We do not have data for how general punters fair across tennis markets on sportsbooks as this consolidated data is not publicly available but we have the documented results of prediction providers and subscribers within our paid service who commonly achieve monthly profits in excess of £2500-£3000 with some significantly higher although this requires large bankroll investment.

Caution is the key ingredient

Develop a tennis betting strategy over time. There is no need to place real world wagers to backtest an approach or if you do keep the stakes very low. As your confidence builds over time you can gradually scale up the bet sizing but even then follow the principles of responsible gambling and never place a wager that you can’t afford to lose. Remember our adage that ‘good bets will lose’. Losing is part of the game. If you can’t handle losses don’t even attempt to place tennis bets with real money. All you should focus on is getting bets placed at value prices. That’s what will deliver the desired returns over the long term.