A Guide to Online Tennis Betting

Best Betting Sites for Tennis Odds

Different bookmakers quote their own odds on tennis matches, so it’s up to you to find the best deal. You could be forgiven for thinking they’re all pretty much the same, working to the same kind of numbers – in fact, nothing could be further from the truth, and there are some real openings for additional value when you compare the odds available across different sportsbooks.

If you’re a tennis betting regular, or you’re stacking up a massive tennis coupon in the hope your ship comes in, there’s nothing worse than finding out you’re getting shorted on the odds. Shopping around can make a huge difference to your winnings, and long-term, this can be the difference between profitable and break-even.

Let’s look at some actual odds available across our  betting sites by way of comparison. Hopefully, we’ll spot some patterns we can use to decide where is best, in terms of odds, to place your tennis bets.

Example 1: Roger Federer v. Adrian Mannarino, Outright, ATP / Basel, 27 October 2017.

This is an example of a tennis match where there’s a heavy favorite. Undoubtedly one of the best tennis players to ever live, Roger Federer, comes up against the current world no. 29, Frenchman Adrian Mannarino at the ATP event in Basel. The last 4 times these two have come head to head have resulted in comprehensive wins for Federer, with Mannarino failing to pick up a single set.

Although Federer is advancing in years at 36, few would bet against the maestro pulling out another relatively straightforward victory. Anything else would be seen as a major upset, and this is reflected in how the bookies have priced up their odds. Let’s look at the outright markets.The Verdict: Federer Paddy Power, Mannarino 888/Grosvenor

The bookies aren’t expecting this one to be close, and there seems little doubt that Federer will steamroller Mannarino to progress to the next round of the event. Tennis isn’t like the Premier League where Huddersfield can spring an upset on Manchester United – in this game, favorites are more likely to win on balance than in football, by way of example. Yet some punters might be looking for a value bet, and the odds on Mannarino vary almost as widely as the odds on Federer.

The verdict – Federer win – Paddy Power Sports at 1/25 – or a £4 return for a £100 bet. But compare that to the odds at the other extreme, from BetBright Betting– 1/50. That’s literally half as much in your pocket if Federer does as expected and comes good, and over time, these types of discrepancies can make a serious dent in your winnings.

On the Mannarino side, odds range from a feeble 9/1 at Paddy Power and BetBright, right up to 14/1 for those betting at 888sport and Grosvenor Sport– again, a sizeable divergence between the odds markets available.

Bookmaker Federer To Win Mannarino To Win
888 Casino Review1/4014/1
Betfair Casino Review1/3312/1
Sky Bet Review1/3312/1
Betway Casino Review1/3311/1
Grosvenor Casino Review1/4014/1
Betbright Casino Review1/509/1
Paddy Power Casino Review1/259/1

Example 2: Simona Halep v. Elina Svitolina, Specials, WTA Tour Finals, Singapore – 27 October 2017

While our first example might have the bookies in unanimous agreement about the expected outcome, this next example is a little more of a close affair. Halep is still the marginal favorite coming into the match, but Svitolina is no pushover. This is a matchup between the world number 1 and the world number 3, so while Halep has the edge in the outright, it’s more difficult to be certain which way this one will go.pji

For this example, we’re eschewing the outright in favor of taking a closer look at some of the specials on offer, and the corresponding odds across our sample of recommended bookmakers.

Bookmaker Set Betting Halep 2-1 Total Sets Over First Set Score 6:2
888 Casino Review13/42.5 – 29/20Not offered
Betfair Casino Review3/12.5 – 5/47/1
Sky Bet Review16/53 – 11/87/1
betway Casino Review11/43 – 5/47/1
Grosvenor Casino Review13/42.5 – 29/20Not offered
Betbright Casino Review11/43 – 5/415/2
Paddy Power Casino Review3/12.5 – 5/47/1

The Verdict: Set Betting 888/Grosvenor, Total Sets 888/Grosvenor, First Set BetBright

A real mixed bag here, then SkyBet edge it on the set betting front here, offering 16/5 on a Halep win at 2-1, but it’s really only a fractional difference from the odds quoted elsewhere. For first set, most of the bookies are in agreement at around 7/1, with BetBright the outlier at 15/2 – again, there’s not much in that, but still enough to make it worth shopping around. Total Sets is an interesting one, with some bookmakers going for an outright bet on 3 total sets, and others offering a spread around 2.5, with odds for Over/Under. 888 and Grosvenor offer the join best odds here on the spread option, at 29/20.

For some sports, it’s easier to draw hard and fast rules about where you’ll likely find the best odds. In tennis betting, this appears to be a little trickier, and there’s not much wiggle room between the different options in terms of the odds they’re quoting.

In our examples, 888 and Grosvenor came out as the joint top winners, in terms of offering the best value odds in both examples. As a recommended starting point, it’s worth checking either of these bookmakers out first – they quote identical odds on these examples, so this can be used as an effective benchmark for good value when you’re looking to find the best sites for odds on your tennis bets.

Best Sites for Tennis Markets

As we saw in our example there, not every bookmaker offers the same run down of markets on the tennis matches they cover. While the main markets like outright, correct set score and the like are covered universally, differences start to emerge when you dig a little deeper into the specials and other more granular markets on offer.

888sports was our joint winner in terms of odds, scoring most strongly out of all the bookmakers we tested in our examples. Yet while they offered the most competitive odds on both the Set Betting and Total Sets front, they didn’t quote odds on the First Set score. This is a bit of a downside with 888, and Grosvenor for the same reasons – the selection of markets just isn’t anywhere near as in-depth as those available with some of the other bookies.

For the Halep v. Svitolina fixture, there were 21 markets quoted at 888 in total, compared to 46 markets at Betfair – that’s more than twice the selection. This is arguably a downside for 888/Grosvenor, so it’s really worth thinking about whether you prize marginally better odds over a much larger selection of betting markets on each event.

Of course, there’s nothing to stop you signing up for an account through, say, 888, and another account with Betfair, and chopping and changing between the two, depending on whether you’re looking for the best odds or the widest selection of markets, but certainly, the others do tend to offer more selection than 888 and Grosvenor respectively.

BetBright also doesn’t fare too well in the comparison of available markets. They offer outrights, set betting, total games and handicaps, but beyond the score and winner at various points in the match, there aren’t too many more granular markets available.

Contrast that with Betfair, where you can bet on the total number of aces, double faults, player to win first service game, exact games winning margin, and many, many more markets. Especially for punters looking to find value bets, having access to this wider array of markets is important, and Betfair certainly holds the edge in this regard.

Paddy Power is similar, as you might expect from a fellow industry big dog, with 62 markets on offer for their tennis fixtures, whereas Betway comes somewhere in the middle of the pack. SkyBet is similar, but at least offers a RequestABet option, where punters can get custom quoted odds.

Verdict: Generally, as you might expect, it’s the very biggest players in the sports betting industry that offer the widest selection of markets – that’s Betfair and Paddy Power, respectively. But as we saw from the odds examples earlier, they don’t always offer the most competitive odds on these events.

Best Sites for Live Streaming

Betfair has a strong live streaming offering, but the snag is you can only watch the live streams once you’ve actually bet on an event. The ‘What’s On TV’ menu gives a rundown of the live streaming fixtures they are covering across different sports – it’s not something they shout from the rooftops in their marketing, but this is yet another great feature of betting with Betfair.

Paddy Power goes to similar lengths, although it doesn’t have quite the same breadth of live streamed events as Betfair players enjoy. This might not matter too much if you’re intending to watch the match on your TV, or if you’re just interested in the final result, but it’s worth bearing in mind that it’s often a bit trickier to get the specific tennis match you’re looking for on live stream as Paddy Power than it would be at Betfair.

The same applies to SkyBet, who only cover streaming for a handful of live events. As for Grosvenor and 888sports, there are no live streaming options available at the moment. Live streaming is the kind of feature that you don’t miss until it’s gone, and for many, this might be reason enough to check out Betfair or Paddy Power over the rest.

Verdict: Betfair

Best Sites for In-Play Betting

In-play betting goes hand in hand with live streaming, and is right up there in terms of exciting developments in sports betting in the last five to ten years. In-play betting allows you to place bets once a match has started, and dynamic odds are quoted throughout each event.

Tennis betting lends itself more closely than most to in-play betting, far better than horse racing betting as an example where there’s not enough time for in-play bets to be generated, and its is often amongst the best ways to get better value on your odds. Say you wanted to bet on Roger Federer, as per our first odds example above. Instead of backing him before the event at 1/40, a heavy favorite, you might get better odds if you bet in play. If Mannarino takes even a one or two game lead, these odds will start to move, and you’ll get better value on a Federer win. This is the beauty of in-play betting.

All of the sites we recommend offer in-play betting options on a wide range of fixtures, so you’ll not be stuck for options about where to bet. Most bookmakers position their live markets out front, so you should easily be able to navigate to the list of in-play markets at each of the sportsbooks we’ve listed.

You might also want to have a think about cash-out. Betfair and Paddy Power offer this on the widest selection of events, but it’s worth noting that the likes of 888 and Grosvenor are much more restrictive in when they allow cash-outs. So, if it’s flexibility in in-play betting you’re after, Betfair and Paddy Power represent your best bet.

Verdict: Betfair / PaddyPower

Best Sites for Promotions

Bookmaker Free Bets Price Boosts Ongoing Promotions
888 Casino Review£30 free bets plus £10 casino bonussometimesgood
Betfair Casino Reviewup to £100 free betsregularvery good
Sky Bet Review£10 free bet plus ongoing weekly free bets in Sky Clubregularvery good
betway Casino Reviewup to £30 free betregular – daily specialsgood
Grosvenor Casino Review£20 free when you bet £5sometimesaverage
Betbright Casino Reviewup to £50 free betsometimesgood
Paddy Power Casino Reviewbet £10, get £30 free betregularvery good

Each of the sites we recommend offers a welcome bonus, in the form of a matched free bet for setting up your account. You’ll also find price boosts and other ongoing promotions available across the board, although these do vary in both their frequency and quality between different providers.

SkyBet is notoriously good for their promotions, and they offer a weekly £5 free bet for members of their Sky Club programme. That’s in addition to the £10 free bet you get for signing up, plus regular price boosts and ongoing promos.

Betfair serves up an up to £100 free bet to new sports betting customers, while BetBright also perform well, with up to £50 available for new bettors. Grosvenor and 888 are arguably not quite so generous in terms of their ongoing promotions. While their initial free bets are decent, the lack of ongoing promos, price boosts and other specials means there’s generally less chance of picking up a deal.

Verdict: SkyBet

Types of Tennis Bets

Bet Type Description
Outright Betting on the winner of a given tennis match. Not the best odds for betting on tennis, which often sees stronger players against much weaker players, and thus big imbalances in the outright odds. Can be useful as part of an accumulator, or for a just-for-fun bet.
Total Games How many games will be played in total during the match. A good option for those who want to drill down into the specifics of the match and how the game might pan out. Another good bet to use in combination with other outcomes, e.g. outright + total games.
Total Sets How many sets will be played in the match. This is often quote as a range e.g. Over or Under 2.5, or expressed as a whole number, depending on who you’re betting with.
Set Betting The specific set score – equivalent to the correct score in football. This gives better odds than the outright because it’s more specific.
Specials Total minutes, total tie breaks, double faults – there are plenty of narrow and granular specials available for tennis, where you can get better odds than those that might be available for the outright. Often harder to predict, but handy when you’re using a value betting strategy, or looking to find the biggest discrepancies between odds across different sportsbooks.

Popular Tennis Offers

Free Bets: Free bets are the most common type of promotions offered up by bookies, and you’ll commonly see these offers enticing you through the door to setup an account and bet on tennis for the first time. Usually you don’t keep your stake, but you can withdraw the money you win from your free bets, subject to any rollover requirements. Betfair currently offer up to £100 in free bets as a deposit match bonus for new betting accounts.

Price Boosts: These occur where bookmakers want to push a promotional event, usually in the case of big matches. They are generally better odds than would otherwise be available, or specific betting lines that have been priced at a more generous, promotional rate by the bookmaker. SkyBet have a price boost option for the Halep v. Svitolina match, where punters can back Halep to win and under 21.5 games at 9/4 – up from its previous odds of 7/4.

Enhanced Odds: Enhanced odds work similarly, where bookmakers give punters the opportunity to get better odds on certain lines, as part of a specific promotion. More common during major tournaments like Wimbledon and the Davis Cup, to entice you to get involved.

Andy Murray Specials: Andy Murray specials always do a roaring trade at UK online bookmakers, thanks to our fierce loyalty and support for the home player. You’ll find these kinds of promotions regularly surrounding Andy Murray matches, and there are often special promotions tailored to specific competitions when he’s playing.

Tournament Specials: Similarly, it’s common to see tournament specials, both in terms of enhanced odds and other promotions, available across different betting lines. This is all part of getting players excited about these events, and is one of the most effective strategies the bookies can deploy to encourage more armchair pundits to put their money where their mouths are.

Tennis Betting Tips

Betting on tennis can prove to be a minefield for less experienced punters. Don’t let a lack of knowledge set you back. Some simple analysis and research will put you ahead of most of your fellow punters, even if you simply stick to the back page news. Here are a few things to think about when making your analysis:

  • Fitness. Always check a player’s recent fitness record before backing them to win. An injury can often end a player’s tournament prematurely. This is even more critical if a player is known to suffer from a recurring injury. Rafael Nadal is the best example of that in recent times. He has often retired from a competition due to a shoulder or elbow injury despite being priced very low to win a match.
  • The Conditions. Keep an eye on the conditions. If a player has a big serve in their arsenal then their game is likely to be affected by the wind speed. The fitter a player is, the more easily they will adapt to more intense weather conditions. If a grass specialist is playing on clay then it could be a match to be wary of given his form against top-ranking players on clay over the years. Some players also perform better indoors than outdoors. All of these factors can affect the outcome.
  • Head-to-Head. Sometimes a player just cannot get the better of a certain opponent. Sites such as the ATP Tour web page provide the stats for head-to-head encounters. If one player is ranked 30 places below their opponent but is undefeated in head-to-head match-ups, then you know where to put the money.
  • Left-Handers. What a random proposition these guys are! Some right-handed tennis players really struggle against left-handed players. Before backing a favourite it is always worth seeing if their opponent is a “leftie” and, if so, what their track record is – both against the opponent and against other “lefties”.

Despite the fact that tennis has become one of the most popular sports to bet on, it’s still way behind football and horse racing when it comes to reliable tipsters and in-depth statistical analysis. Tennis Abstract is a good place to start for up-to-date stats, schedules, forecasts and searchable head-to-heads, while journalist Sean Calvert (@seancalvert1) is well worth a follow for betting previews and expert tennis writing.

Tennis Betting Strategies

Value Betting: Value betting isn’t always about backing the winner – in fact, it’s a strategy that relies on the mathematical probabilities over the longer term. Say in our earlier example you thought Mannarino had a 10/1 real chance of beating Federer. The odds available at 888sports are 14/1, so there’s value in this bet – even if Mannarino doesn’t win. The idea is that by exploiting the gaps between true chance and the odds offered up, over time, this turns out to be a profitable strategy.

In Play Strategies: In-play is a godsend for tennis betting, because matches that look certain at the outset can quickly turn on their heads in the space of a few games. Odds can slide all over the place, and provided you have a view on how a match will pan out, this can be a great way to get better odds, including on the outright. You can also bet into the momentum of the game for next set winner, next game winner and so on, reacting to the changing events in the match.

Tailoring Strategy By Event Type: Not all tennis events are the same. Factors like the conditions, outdoor or indoor, the court type and speed, the seeding, form – they all play a factor, and it’s important to have this information at your disposal when you’re working out how to bet and who to back.

Tennis Majors

There are often a lot of promotions available for Wimbledon betting, so keep an eye out in the days leading up to the event. Back players to come through from certain halves of the draw, or back a player through a number of matches on the same line for decent odds. .

French Open

The start of May brings clay into the picture, with the French Open at Roland-Garros. It’s a slow playing surface offering an advantage for the fittest players rather than most powerful servers. Study the form of different players on clay – clay is a totally different beast.


Starting in June each year there’s often a lot of promotions available for Wimbledon betting in the days leading up to the event. Back good servers and players to come through from certain halves of the draw, or back a player through a number of matches on the same line for decent odds.

US Tennis Open

The  season ending grand slam look out for the tie-breakers in every set rule – something that can be used to your advantage, creating additional betting markets that aren’t available through other events in the calendar. It’s the only grand slam event to use this rule.

Australian Open

Australia’s outdoor artificial surface makes for different playing conditions than Wimbledon rewarding fit and fast players. Fitness is a key variable here, so look out for players that are looking sluggish around the court – a good opportunity to lay.

Tennis Rules

Specific betting rules have developed around tennis, and you need to be aware of these whenever you’re considering placing a bet. These mainly deal with what happens when events change, move or are cancelled, and when and how bets will stand in a variety of different circumstances. Each bookie will have their own specific tennis rules in play, but they generally follow similar patterns.

If there are changes to the venue, the surface, the schedule or the day of an event, you will generally find that your bets still stand, including if any of these occur during the course of a match. These are rare events in tennis, as in any other sport, but it’s useful to know whether this holds true at your chosen bookmaker.

No runner, no bet is a good general rule of thumb that most bookmakers apply. Similarly, any matches that start but do not conclude for whatever reason are deemed to be void, including in-play betting options.

In-play bets are subject to availability, and betting markets will be temporarily frozen with changing events in a match. Bets are not valid until you have a valid confirmation of your bet slip.

Bets are usually settled according to the official event statistics, or the data presented on the official event website.

Tennis Grand Slam Winners

Roger Federer – 19
Rafael Nadal – 16
Pete Sampras – 14
Roy Emerson – 12
Novak Djokovic – 12
Rod Laver – 11
Bjorn Borg – 11
Bill Tilden – 10
Fred Perry – 8
Ken Rosewall – 8
Jimmy Connors – 8
Ivan Lendl – 8
Andre Agassi – 8

Margaret Court – 24
Serena Williams – 23
Steffi Graf – 22
Helen Wills Moody – 19
Chris Evert – 18
Martina Navratilova – 18
Billie Jean King – 12
Maureen Connolly – 9
Monica Seles – 9
Suzanne Lenglen – 8

History of Tennis

Living in a French monastery in the 12th century probably wasn’t a barrel of laughs. But it was the breeding ground for the sport that we know today as tennis. Monks used to slap a ball with the palm of their hand, using walls, fences and other obstacles to create the bare bones of a sport. By the 16th century, the idea had caught on in England, and the court of Henry VIII was responsible for introducing rackets for the first time.

By this stage, tennis had become known as real tennis – a play on ‘royal tennis’, rather than real vs. unreal. The game developed complex rules, far beyond what you can expect on center court today. While real tennis is still played according to its original rules throughout Europe to this day, it is now firmly secondary to its evolved modern version.

By 1900, the modern game was more seriously beginning to take shape, with the launch of the first Davis Cup event, which saw national teams of male players coming together to compete for the first time. By 1963, the Federations Cup was launched for women, in celebration of 50 years of the founding of the governing body, the International Tennis Federation.

Since then, tennis has gone on to become one of the world’s most watched spectator sports, with a truly global reach. Major stars began to emerge through the 60s and 70s, with many remaining household names to this day. The modern era of the game has been dominated by the likes of Roger Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic, following in the footsteps of Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg.

In the women’s game, the dominance of the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, has been the story of the last decade or so, with other global stars like Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova helping propel the sport from the fringes into the mainstream consciousness.


In terms of different bookmakers, not all sites are created equal, and there is some mileage in comparing between the various recommended providers before settling on one specific bookmaker. This can be worth as much as 2x the winnings to your bet, such is the divergence in some markets between bookmakers, so it really does pay to shop around.

Generally, football matches or racing events have a clear favorite, but there’s always the chance of an unexpected win. In tennis, a ‘sure thing’ is often even surer than in these other sports, and the odds tend to reflect that. Instead, it’s important to look beyond the outrights, and to find value in the special markets and more particular outcomes, markets that are more useful to gamblers who’ve gone the extra mile in doing their homework.

With the right approach, and comparisons before you bet, it’s possible to get good value with your tennis betting, and to build a strategy that works for you across different matches and events.

Thanks to the rise of online betting, it’s never been easier to take your money and open an account with a new bookie. There’s no excuse to put up with sub-standard tennis betting experience. Take a look around our latest recommended tennis betting sites and grab a free bet offer in time for the next big tournament.