I find that Tennis is a great sport to bet on and it’s definitely the case when using the handicap markets. Another positive with tennis is the fact there are only two outcomes – and that’s before we think about betting on the Asian Handicap!
As tennis is played all year round it throws up plenty of betting opportunities but be aware of the certain pitfalls in terms of player injuries, form and favoured surface.
Here are my favourite Handicap bets on the tennis and how the markets work.
The game handicap markets comes in handy when backing the strong favourites. Instead of backing Roger Federer to win the match at odds of 1.06 I will look towards the game handicap market to add a bit more meat to the bones. So backing Federer with a -5.5 game handicap will give you much better value than the straight winner market.
However, a few words of caution. I would avoid trying to cover large game handicaps as one bad set will give you a losing bet. I.e. Federer may only win the game 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 but the bad second set means he only won by three games and wouldn’t have covered the handicap.
But I also use this to my advantage and go on the other side of the handicap and back the underdog with a +5.5 game handicap. I specifically target big servers who are tough to break down when they are the underdog. Ivo Karlovic is a great example.
Most of his matches go to tie breaks or the sets will end either 7-5, 7-6 or 6-4 as his service is almost unplayable but he lacks any other weapons.
i.e. Ivo Karlovic may lose 7-6 6-4 6-4 but your bet would still be a winner if you backed him with a +5.5 game handicap advantage.
The Set Handicap markets require less maths than using the game handicap and I find it a very good way of siding with the underdog to pinch a set. I prefer to my focus my attention on the Men’s ATP events as they can be more reliable than the WTA where form can be unstable and break of serves are very common.
But remember; the Grand Slams are the best of five sets while the tour events are best of three sets.
I like to oppose the top players when their form is patchy and they are facing an underdog in good form.
The above match between Djokovic and Goffin in the Cincinnati masters is a great example. Djokovic had never won this tournament and he was complaining of an elbow/arm injury the previous week. Goffin, meanwhile, is ranked 14th in the world and should be able to trouble Djokovic by taking a set here.
You could have backed Goffin +1.5 sets at odds of around 3.26, which is great value when your selection just needs to pick up one set.
Another angle to tackle in the tennis is via the over/under games handicap line. Here I look out for two evenly matched competitors that is likely to produce a marathon match.
Also, the big servers will be involved in tight sets that usually go to 7-6 or 7-5 so you take be sure to pick up plenty of games to meet your over bets.
The over/under game line also throws up good opportunities if you fancy the underdog to take a set against one of the better players. The handicap line will be set giving a 50/50 scenario, so using the Djokovic/Goffin game as an example, the line was set at 19.5 games which means you need at least 20 games to be played if you are to win the bet – which should be well in reach if the underdog wins a set.
The result was 27 games in total, so it would have been a comfortable winner and it’s definitely a good market to explore rather than restricting yourself to just the match winner market where the odds can be very prohibitive.