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A Beginner's Guide to Tennis Betting Online


First Serve

Tennis Betting GuideTennis betting has been around for an awfully long time, and it has grown steadily in popularity. The game is very traditional and has actually been around for centuries. 

The sport of tennis came about thanks to a 12th century game known as 'Paume', which simply means palm (as in the palm of your hand). The game escalated from there and none other than King Henry VIII built the first tennis court, in the year 1530.  It was always a game exclusively played by rich people or Royals, up until it was brought to the general public in the 19th century.

And then as they say - the rest is history. Tennis has evolved from there into a global sport, which is played by millions around the world. There are two forms of the game, singles (played by 2 players) and doubles (played by 4 players).

In terms of professional competition, the two major governing bodies are the ATP for men's tennis and the WTA for women's tennis. Tennis is also played at University level, more commonly referred to as 'College Tennis' in the United States. The game is played across three main surfaces. These are grass, clay and hard court, which all of the major tournaments are played on.

There are 4 major tournaments for both the men and women's game. These are known as Grand Slams, and the major tournaments are the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open. Both the Australian Open and US Open are played on hard court, the French Open on clay and Wimbledon on grass.

Besides the history of this game, it is very easy to get started with online tennis betting these days, as we will show below.

Finding a Tennis Bookmaker

Firstly, it is important to know that there are many tennis bookies around the globe. Since this is the very starting point for online tennis betting, you need to know that you must first find a bookmaker that offers tennis betting. This is not overly complicated, and a simple Google search will reveal the available online bookmakers for your country of location. The vast majority of online bookmakers do offer tennis betting, so this first step should be fairly simple.

After finding one, simply sign up and head into the relevant section that shows all of the tennis sportsbooks available.

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Basics Tennis Bets

Here is where the fun begins! We have identified the three most common types of tennis betting below, and explained each one in detail.

  • Match Winner

In tennis betting there can only be one winner, and betting on either one player or the other to win a match is known as a single bet to win a match.  

  • Over/Under - set betting

Tennis is mainly played using a 'best of 3' format, which means it is the first player to win 2 sets that wins the match. With set betting, you can bet on a game to go over 2.5 sets or under 2.5 sets. The only exception to this rule is men's Grand Slam and Davis Cup tennis, where they play best of 5 sets.

  • Over/Under - game betting

This bet allows you to bet on the total number of games played instead of sets. In a best of 3 tennis match, it is common to see a bet such as over 20.5 games or under 20.5 games. 

Other Types of Tennis Bets 

Besides the basic three tennis bets, there are a few others that are slightly more advanced but these are still within reach for beginner tennis bettors. 

  • Handicap 2-way - games won

This type of bet allows you to bet on games rather than sets. For example, the favorite for the match may have a -4.5 handicap bet available. The underdog may have a +4.5 handicap available. This means that the favorite needs to win by a margin of more than 4.5 games for this bet to win, and the underdog to be within 4.5 games for this bet to win.

  • Tournament outright

This is a bet placed before a tournament begins, and here you are betting on the overall winner through this option. For example, you could bet on Roger Federer winning Wimbledon before the event begins - this is a tournament outright bet.

  • Set betting

This is different to over / under set betting. Through this bet, you are betting on the specific set score of a match. For example, if Serena Williams (one of the best female players) played a lower ranked player, you may choose to bet on Serena Williams winning the match 2-0. This is set score, not game score.

General Advice for Tennis Betting

There are three key pieces of advice that you should follow when starting out with online tennis betting:

  • Start small to develop understanding

Only place small wagers to begin with, as this will limit any likely losses sustained as a beginner with tennis betting. 

  • Pay attention to court surface

Tennis is played across three major surfaces, and each player will have a preferred surface as well as one that they don't particularly like. This has a big impact on potential results.

  • Watch big tournaments to learn about tennis

This is especially true for Grand Slams. Try and watch them as often as you can to gain a better understanding for the game and the athletes who play. 


Online tennis betting should be approached just like any other form of betting, with caution and with the ultimate goal of enjoyment - not profit. All sport betting is risky, and although outcomes may seem predictable, at the end of the day sport is sport. Tennis betting can be highly enjoyable, and should always be so.

As long as the terms are understood and the advice throughout this article is followed, you will be enjoying online tennis betting in no time at all.  

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