How do tennis odds work?

Discover how tennis odds work and get tips on what influences tennis betting markets.

Tennis odds and betting

Understanding tennis odds is the first step to placing winning bets on the next Grand Slam champion. If you’re new to tennis betting then you might not know all the jargon around sports odds – and that’s why we’re here to help.

This guide will take you through the basics of tennis odds, looking at what you can bet on and why the odds change like they do. Learn the basics of tennis betting and discover what influences the varying prices available in the Paddy Power sportsbook.

How tennis odds work

Tennis odds display the likelihood of something happening in a match, tournament or season. The point of the odds is to show you how much you stand to win if you bet on that eventuality.

These odds are displayed in either fractional, decimal or American formats. Here’s an example:

Player A is the underdog to beat Player Z. Player A’s odds to win are displayed as:

  • Fractional: 5/1 – you win £5 in profit for every £1 you bet
  • Decimal: 6.00 – you win £6 in profit and returned stake for every £1 you bet
  • American: +500 – you win £500 in profit for every £100 you bet

It doesn’t matter which format you choose, the odds reflect the same outcome. In the case of fractional and American odds, they show you how much you stand to win relative to your stake. Decimal odds show you your total return (profit + stake) relative to your stake. Use the Paddy Power odds converter if you’re struggling to understand the odds.

Now we know about the odds types available in tennis, it’s time to look at the most popular tennis odds in the sportsbook:

Tennis match betting

Match betting in tennis is all about backing a winner. The odds reflect the chance of either player (or doubles partnership) winning the match. The shorter/smaller the odds, the more likely that player is to win.

So, if Player A is priced at 1/5 to win, and Player Z is 10/1 to win, then Player A is the favourite. You might only win £1 for every £5 staked on Player A but you’re probably going to win that bet.

Correct score betting

Correct score betting in tennis primarily focuses on guessing the final score in sets, or the score of a specific set. It’s particularly popular in men’s singles betting during the Grand Slams when matches go to five sets. The odds might suggest the favourite will win comfortably 3-0, or perhaps acknowledge that the underdog could win a set or two.

Tennis odds

Handicaps in tennis

Handicap betting in tennis works by applying a weight to the final score or the set score, in order to change the odds. For example, you could bet on Player A to win the first set in their match with Player Z, while carrying a -1.5 handicap. Here, Player A needs to win the first set by two games or more in order for you to win the bet! The benefit of handicap betting here is you get better odds on Player A, to the extent that the wager is now worth the risk.

Over/Unders

Betting on totals in tennis is also referred to as Overs/Unders. These markets focus on stats, such as the total number of games in a match or the total number of aces. Bet either above or below a set line. For example, you might bet on +9.5 games in set two of a match at Wimbledon. If there are 10 games in set two, you win your bet.

What influences tennis odds?

Perhaps the most important thing to know when betting on tennis is understanding what affects the odds. There’s no point betting on the French Open, for example, if you’re unaware why one player is priced so heavily against another. Research is hugely important here and below are some of the key areas you should check before placing a bet.

Form – The form of each player has a massive impact on the tennis odds. A player might be coming back from injury and struggling to win sets, let alone matches. Meanwhile, another player could be on a hot streak. Bettors should always look at form to understand why the odds are set the way they are.

Rank – Ranking is a good indicator of predicting who will win a tennis match, particularly when a seed faces a qualifier. In this instance the odds will often narrow very sharply in favour of the seed. Keep an eye on rankings but be mindful that upsets happen, especially in women’s singles tennis where rankings change more readily than in the men’s game.

Head to head – It’s always worth checking the head to head record of the two players in question before betting. A player may have a lower seeding than their opponent but could also have a 5-0 winning record over them. The tennis odds don’t always take head to heads into account as much as they perhaps should.

Surface – Check the player you’re about to bet on actually fares well on the surface they’re competing on. Some players are hard court experts, while others much prefer the softer clay surface. Others flourish on grass, where the ball has a far less predictable bounce.

Venue – Some players love certain tournaments and the tennis odds shift accordingly. Rafael Nadal is the king of clay and usually odds-on to win at the French Open. Novak Djokovic has made the Australian Open his home and is arguably the greatest hard court player of all time. Roger Federer, meanwhile, dominated Wimbledon during his playing days and mastered grass like no other.

Durability – Tennis players need to be physically durable to compete across the season, especially on the men’s tour where speed and muscle trumps technique and tactics. If a player is injury prone then their odds may reflect this, so make sure you’re aware of who is likely to physically get through matches.

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