Tennis betting rules explained

The rules of tennis can be a little complicated but tennis betting is much easier when you know how to play the game.

tennis betting rules

Betting on tennis requires a basic understanding of the rules. That might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised by the number of people who place bets on sports they know absolutely nothing about.

If you’re new to the world of tennis betting or simply want to brush up on your knowledge then you’re in the right place.

In this guide we’ll take you through the basics of tennis, the rules you need to know, and how they apply to betting. Learn about the core bet types in tennis, including what happens if there’s a retirement during a match.

First off, we need to outline how to score points and win matches in tennis. We’ll keep it brief.

tennis betting rules

Basic rules of tennis

In tennis, players use a racket to hit a ball over a net and into the opponent’s ‘court’. The aim of tennis is to score points against the opponent. If the opponent fails to successfully return the ball over the net to you, then you win a point. Points begin by a player serving the ball to their opponent. Players can only strike the ball with their racket once per action. The ball is allowed to bounce in court once but, if it bounces outside of the court, then you lose the point.

How tennis scoring works

Tennis scoring can feel needlessly complicated. The aim is to win individual games, which accumulate into sets. If you win enough sets then you win the whole match. Most matches are best-of-three sets, although men’s Grand Slam matches run to best-of-five.

Players need to earn four points to win a game of tennis. The scoring is as follows:

  • 0, 15, 30, 40, game

If both players reach 40 (they both win three points) then the game goes to deuce, which is effectively extra points in the game. A player needs to win by two clear points from deuce in order to win said game.

Players need to win six games to win a set. Again, you need to win by two clear games to win a set, which is why 6-4 is a common set score. Sets can stretch to an 11th game to see if someone will can 7-5. If the scores are locked on 6-6 then a tie-break decides the set winner.

Tennis betting rules

Now we know the basics of tennis, it’s time to focus on the betting aspect of the sport. That’s what Paddy’s here for, after all. Below are the core tennis betting rules you need to know before accessing the sportsbook. Remember, knowledge is king when it comes to sports betting and the more you know, the smarter your bets are likely to be.

Tennis outright betting

Outright betting focuses on who will win specific tournaments. There are four Grand Slam events in tennis each year (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open) and a string of other big tournaments. Paddy Power offers bets on who will win each tournament, including: men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles, mixed doubles.

Match betting

Match betting is about backing a player (or a doubles pairing) to win a specific match. It works in the same way as football match betting. Tennis is, generally, a tournament sport where players advance to the next round every time they win. Victories are therefore hugely important as there are no second chances.

Set betting

You can bet on the correct score in sets for all tennis matches at Paddy Power. You can also bet on individual sets and predict what the score will be in games. This gives bettors flexibility to be creative and chase better odds than what’s available in the match betting markets.

Game betting

Bet on the score in individual service games. This is primarily available in Paddy’s in-play tennis betting markets, where the odds are continually changing.

Tennis point betting

Similar to game betting, point betting is as detailed as you can get in tennis. Here, you can bet on which player will win the next point. Usually the odds lean towards the server.

tennis betting

Tennis handicap betting

Tennis handicap betting is a means of evening out the odds during contests featuring a heavy favourite. Paddy applies a weight to the final score, meaning players need to win or lose by a greater or lesser amount than usual in order for you to win your bet.

An example of tennis handicap betting is backing Player A to win the first set with a -1.5 game handicap. Player A needs to beat Player B by two games or more in the first set in order for you to win your wager.

In applying the handicap, you’re able to bet on Player A at bigger odds and therefore chase larger potential profits.

Tennis stats betting

Betting on tennis stats is one of the best ways to follow alternative outcomes in a match that have no bearing on the final result. These odds types are ideal for bettors who don’t care much about the score, or who can’t figure out who is going to win. Here are some popular examples:

Most aces – An ace in tennis is when the player returning the serve doesn’t even touch the ball as it’s served to them, and loses the point. You can bet on which player will record the most aces in a set or match.

Total games – You need to win six games at least to win a set of tennis. Matches usually feature around 28 games if they stretch to three sets and you can bet over or below a specific line. For example, you might bet on there being +27.5 games in a quarter-final match of the Italian Open.

First service game score – You can bet on what the score will be in the first service game for each player. This is a great little opening wager when betting on live tennis.

Total tie breaks – Bet on there being one, two, or more tiebreaks across a match. Many close matches run to multiple tie breaks, especially at Wimbledon and the French Open where dominating matches is tougher than on hard cards.

Tennis retirement betting rules

Paddy Power has specific rules regarding retirements in tennis. The sport is so gruelling that, sadly, players often withdraw either before or during matches due to injury.

Our tennis retirement betting rules aim to offer a fair resolution to bets that are affected by a player pulling out. In general, all bets are void if there is a retirement and your stake is returned to your account. However, if a player(s) retires after the first set and you have a bet on their opponent to win, then your bet is paid.

Read our full tennis betting rules here