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Tennis player Roger Federer

How to become a tennis betting champion

Betting on tennis can be a love match or a grand slam. But, if not done correctly, it can be like a bit fat deuce as well.
To avoid temper tantrums to rival that of Nick Kyrgios, here is a simple guide to the do's and don'ts of tennis betting.
So you can look more like Roger Federer and less like Wayne Arthurs.

Understanding the rules of tennis

Tennis player Nick Kyrgios

Tennis can be a confusing sport, just ask Nick Kyrgios

If tennis is not a sport that you watch regularly, then the scoring system may be confusing at first.
Basically, it works like this. Each player (or players if you are watching doubles) is looking to win 'sets'.
To win a set, the player must reach six games first and lead the other player by at least two games. For example, if you reach 6-4, the set is yours.
If both players reach five games, a player can also win by making it to 7-5. If both players reach six games, a tie-breaker will be held with one player taking the set 7-6.
In the final set of most tournaments, there is no tie breaker in the final and deciding set. In this case, competitors will keep playing until one player leads by two games.
The longest example of this was at Wimbledon in 2010, when John Isner defeated Nicolas Mahut 70-68.
Major tournaments will be held over five sets for men and three sets for women. In the smaller tournaments, often both men and women will only play three sets, so be sure to check before you wager.

To win a game within a set, players alternate serve (which is a major advantage). To take the game the player needs to win four points, broken up into 15, 30, 40 and then game.
If both players reach 40, it is called deuce. This means a player will need to win two consecutive points to take the game.
For example, if John Smith and Joe Blogs are at deuce, John Smith wins one point to gain advantage, and then another to win the game.
If Joe Blogs wins the point while Smith is on advantage, it goes back to deuce and they try again.

Key match ups

Tennis players Andre Agassi and Andres Gomez

He might have been a champion tennis player (with a champion mullet), but Andre Agassi struggled to beat Andres Gomez - even losing a French Open final to his nemesis

Picking an 'upset' in tennis can be a bit more obvious than in other sports, if you do your homework.
Because while the dimensions of the court remain the same, the styles players adopt changes a lot. This leads to interesting match ups, where lower ranked players can mark up very well against more-fancied opposition.
Head-to-head history means a lot in this sport, so always look to see if your gun player has struggled against their opposition in the past.
You can delve deeper as well. In tennis, players can be baseline runners (meaning they rarely come to the net), serve and volley (where they run to the net straight after serving) and they can be left or right handed.
There are many players on the tour that specialise in big serving, others that are more running players and others who have strong power games.
The greats like Federer, Nadal and Djokovic (although he gone off the boil) don't have any major weaknesses, but most of the other top 20 players will. Study their losses and look for parallels.
Do they tend to lose against big-serving lefthanders? Is there one player who has consistently beaten them, even when they tend to lose to other players?
Finding these chinks in the armour can deliver great rewards when it comes to tennis betting.

Know your surfaces

Clay tennis court

There are four primary tennis surfaces, which suit different players

Another unique variable in tennis is the court itself. Depending on which country you are in, the surface could be fast and bouncy hard court, slow and loose clay or traditional grass courts which play true but deteriote over time.
There are players that are clay court specialists, but struggle on grass. Those from western countries tend to favour the hard courts, while South Americans and Latin players will love clay.
It is important to analyse both players' form on the surface they are playing on, as they are very different courts. 

The withdrawal rule

Tennis injury

Injuries are common in tennis and can sway the odds against you

The bookies have wrestled some advantage back in their favour by changing the rules on what happens if a player withdraws through injury, illness or sookiness (we're looking at you, Kyrgios).
If you are betting on a player to win an entire tournament and they withdraw, that's bad luck. You lose.
But it is match betting where the changes have been made. Previously, you would be entitled to your money back if your player withdrew. Now, you only get a refund if they retire in the first set.
Anything beyond that will be declared a win to the opposition player and your money is gone, despite the fact your player didn't complete the match.
It is hard to predict, but be wary if your player is carrying an injury into a match or has a tendency to spit the dummy and retire (again, Kyrgios).

The markets

Outside of the main head-to-head markets, there are many other options in betting on tennis. Here are the main ones:

Game handicap: To get some value out of an outside you fancy, you can have a handicap where they have addition games. For example, if you took Joe Blogs at +3.5 games and he lost 7-6, 7-6, 7-6 - then you would win.
This is a good way to get value out of raging favourites as well, especially in the early rounds of major tournaments when they should breeze past their lowly opposition.

Set betting: You can predict how many sets your player will win the match by, with options including 5-0, 4-1, 3-2, 3-0 and 2-1 - depending on whether the match is a three or five setter.

Total match games: This is a good market if you think it could go to the wire. If you selected over 21.5 games, for example, in a three set match you are basically betting that this will go to three sets or two tight sets.
A final score of 7-6, 7-5 would win, for example. If this match were to go to a third set, you would almost certainly win unless it was an absolute smashing with a final score like 6-0, 6-1, 6-0.

About the Author Josh Alston

Josh Alston is a hack with over 12 years industry experience, covering sport across all codes for newspapers and online agencies. Known to frequent grade matches because of their cheap tinnies. Eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in sitting on the hill when the local cricket side was playing. Softball premiership winner, rugby league legend in Year 10 and no stranger to Doomben Racecourse.

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