In an ideal world, tennis matches are close, with opponents of similar potential and very juicy odds. But this is not always the case. Sometimes tennis matches can be very lopsided, so a simple moneyline bet may not be enough. At those times, handicap betting on tennis can be very useful to add some juiciness to the final odds.
Is this the best option, and are there others? There is no doubt that handicap betting on tennis is a great tool, especially in matches with a big disadvantage or mismatch. It makes great sense to make them in the early stages or when a competition starts, as this is when the top players of the ATP meet against more discreet players. However, we can already tell you that this is not enough to opt for this type of betting.
What is a handicap bet in tennis?
A handicap bet on tennis (or any sport) consists of adding a fictitious handicap to a certain event. In this way, the player we are betting on must not only win the match, but must also achieve a certain advantage (the one necessary to overcome the established handicap). While in other sports, such as football or basketball, we can bet on handicaps by final result or by halves or quarters, in tennis we have two options:
- Handicap by games: Let’s imagine that we bet on a Nadal victory with a handicap of 3.5. In the match, he wins 6-3 and 6-4. To see if it has been fulfilled we would subtract those 3.5 to Nadal. If the aggregate is 12-7, it would end up being 8.5-7, so we would have won the bet. The handicap can also be positive, but in this case, we add the points, so it would be logical to bet +3.5 on Nadal’s opponent.
- Sets handicap: In practice it would be similar to a bet on the exact score, because if we bet at -1.5 in practice it would be a 2-0. If it is 2-1, the final result would be 0.5-1 and we would lose the bet.
With this, we can see that handicap bets on tennis are really useful in tennis, as they fulfil their function of converting modest odds into interesting odds, and interesting odds into very good odds, although you have to be careful, as they take away probability.
How to place handicap bets on tennis? Key tips
However, this type of betting is not magic. Otherwise, there are some dangers involved. What are they? Quite simply, the risk is much higher. And the frustration of seeing your winner come true, but not the handicap, can get even better. In these cases, the ideal is to find a middle ground between being too conservative and greed breaking the bag. What are the keys to getting your handicap bets right in tennis?
- Know the market well: As always, there is no magic in betting, and success lies in knowing the sport. The more you know, the more you win in the long run.
- Check the head-to-head history: Don’t just rely on the ATP level, there may be players who are highly motivated against certain opponents.
- Terrain is key: It’s not just the overall level and your particular head-to-head record that affect. Hard court or clay, for example, will be critical.
- ATP ranking: It’s not everything, but it’s obviously a factor. The number 200 against the number 1 will have a tough time, even if the type of court is good for him and he is on a good run and the number 1 is not.
- Check the odds: If a prediction seems feasible but the odds are excessive, check the data… you could miss something!
Other tennis bets
We have already seen that handicap bets in tennis are very useful, and above all how to place them. But it doesn’t end there. With the same function, to add excitement and improve odds, there are other options, such as total games (over/under 21 for example), betting on specific set markets or a simple money line. The first two cases will make more sense in more one-sided matches, and the last one in finals or final parts of a tournament.
However, if you know the industry very well, there is nothing to stop you from venturing into any of the phases. You should always seek a balance between knowledge of the sport itself and knowledge of the betting world. The latter can only be achieved with a record and a lot of practice.