Tennis has one of the least-covered betting markets in the US, with more wagers coming in on the sport than you might think.
Some of the major tournaments like the Grand Slams have wagers available nearly year-round, and bettors can also place wagers each weekend as various tournaments take place around the world. The volume of bets and ability to live bet on tennis matches can make for a fun wagering experience with nearly an unlimited number of betting options.
In this guide, we will take you through the basics of tennis betting in the state of Ohio.
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How to bet on tennis in Ohio
The number of ways you can bet on tennis will likely increase in the years ahead as sportsbooks continue to get more and more creative. Before we get into some standard bets, it’s important to fully understand how to read the odds. Even if you’re new to sports betting in Ohio, you have likely seen the positive and negative numbers, but you may not have a full understanding of what they all mean.
- Rafael Nadal (-275)
- Novak Djokovic (+210)
The negative odds for Nadal show that he is the favorite, and Djokovic is the underdog. The easiest way to understand what the payout could be is in reference to $100. The -275 odds mean a $275 wager on Nadal would result in a $100 profit if he were to come through with a win. To calculate the payout on a Djokovic bet, we will also use $100, but there’s a twist. Positive odds of +210 mean that a bettor would profit $210 on a $100 wager if Djokovic were to pull off the win.
Now that you have an idea of how to read betting odds, here are some common tennis bets:
- Moneyline: This is the simplest way to bet on tennis, as you just wager on which side will win, with a correct bet on the favorite paying out less than one on the underdog.
- Outright: Outright betting is a wager on the entire tournament, such as picking the overall winner.
- Game spread: Wager on the margin of victory — in games — in a given match.
- Set spread: Similar to the game spread, the set spread is a bet on how many sets one side will win by.
- Over/under: The over/under, also referred to as the total, could be a bet on the total number of games or sets in a match. Sportsbooks will set the projected line, and you can wager whether the actual number will be over or under the line.
- Futures: A futures bet is a wager that you could place far in advance of the outcome. Big events like Wimbledon see a significant amount of interest, so you can place futures bets on the tournament months in advance.
Easy beginner tennis bets
The easiest way to bet on tennis is by taking a look at the moneyline odds, as all you are taking into account is who will win a particular match. You can take a look at the Nadal vs. Djokovic example above, but because oddsmakers know the moneyline is such a popular bet, they put a lot of work into setting the numbers in an effort to mitigate their risk. Therefore, it can be difficult to find an edge via a moneyline bet.
While betting on the favorite to win on the moneyline is likely to be the correct wager more often than not, the odds often do not make it worth the risk. In the above example, with Nadal at -275, you’d need to wager a significant amount of money to return a large profit. As a sports fan, you understand upsets happen, so that could be a risky wager. Meanwhile, a bet on Djokovic is another significant risk because relying on the underdog to win on the moneyline consistently is unlikely to be a successful strategy in the long term.
To receive a nice payout with a decent chance at winning, you could instead try betting on something that has about a 50% chance of happening. For example, a bet on the total number of games in a particular match might have a line at 22.5 with the standard -110 odds on both sides. You may have a roughly even chance of winning in this scenario, and a bet of $110 would return a profit of $100 if correct. Something like this may be a more attractive option than a bet with two possible outcomes and extremely lopsided odds.
How do you bet on live tennis?
Live betting has a significant place in tennis wagering, and that place could continue to grow as bettors get accustomed to what sportsbook apps have to offer. With live betting, you can pull up your preferred sportsbook app and place a wager as the tennis match is taking place. Tennis odds will fluctuate based on what’s happening on the court, so you’ll need to be quick if you see a line you like.
Live betting on tennis can be particularly fun if you notice a trend like a player who tends to perform well after losing a set, or if you’re able to spot a shift in momentum early. You’ll be able to place bets at updated odds on the moneyline, total games, total sets, who will win an upcoming game or even who will win an individual point.
Bet on Grand Slam tennis tournaments
The Grand Slams will tend to see the largest amount of betting volume among tennis tournaments throughout the year. You’ll be able to check out increased betting options, and you should be on the lookout for extra promotions and odds boosts
Futures bets will become available early, and you can take a look at the options long in advance of the start of a particular Grand Slam tournament. The earlier you get your bet in, the higher the payout is likely to be. This is because picking the winner so far in advance is difficult given the large pool of competitors and all the variables that can come into play.
Live betting plays a significant role in wagering on these tournaments, with options to wager on who will win the next point and more. You can also wager on whether a player will advance to a specific round, among many other choices. Here is a rundown of all four upcoming Grand Slams:
Grand Slam betting tips
If you are looking to place some bets on the next Grand Slam tournament, here are some basic betting tips before you get started:
- Playing surface: One of the distinct aspects of tennis is that the surface of the court could play a factor in who wins. Certain playing surfaces will suit different players better than others, so looking back at previous results on each surface can be important when getting ready to bet.
- Results vs. opponent: There are many competitors in a tournament, but sometimes rematches do occur. If two players have a large enough sample size against each other, that could play a factor in which side you pick.
- Avoid long shots: Sometimes in sports, the underdog goes on a miraculous run. Soon after, someone will point out how much money bettors would’ve won with just a small wager on that underdog. What they don’t tell you is how much money bettors lose in wagers on long shots who don’t perform miracles. They are underdogs for a reason, and picking a very unlikely winner is a poor long-term strategy no matter how high the payout could be.
Year-round betting on the ATP/WTA tours
While the Grand Slam tournaments are going to see a lot of betting and attention, the ATP and WTA tours will offer dozens of events each throughout the year, making tennis a year-round betting sport. Successful bettors may be able to take advantage of the tennis betting odds in the smaller tournaments that can fly somewhat under the radar.
Betting on the Davis Cup/Billie Jean King Cup
Other tournaments that might see a solid number of wagers are the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup. The Davis Cup pits men’s teams from various countries against one another, and it can be fun to take a look at where the United States stacks up against the rest of the world. The Billie Jean King Cup, which changed its name from the Fed Cup in 2020, is the women’s international team event, and both tournaments should offer plenty of betting options.
Betting on the Western & Southern Open
The Western & Southern Open is an annual event that takes place right here in Ohio at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio. The tourney takes place on a hard court, so that is definitely something to keep an eye on if you plan to bet on the tournament in the future.
Tennis betting rules and fine print
Below are some of the tennis betting rules for a suspended match that you might find at your sportsbook. Note that these could vary depending on the sportsbook, which is why it’s always important to check the rules of whatever sport you are betting on at your particular book.
- Ball served: All bets count after the first serve has taken place.
- First set: Bets are valid once the first set is complete.
- Second set: Bets are valid once the second set is complete.
- Match completed: The entire match must play out in full for wagers to count.
If you have any questions, the sportsbook’s customer service department should be able to point you in the right direction.