Why Is Tennis Betting So Popular?

tennis match at wimbledon viewed from standsThe moment that someone mentions sports betting most people to automatically turn to football or horse racing. Yet one sport that many people haven’t brought to the forefront of their minds is tennis. And even though that is the case, it is actually one of the most popular sports for bettors to bet on. But why? What does tennis bring to sports bettors that other sports do not?

When it comes to the general popularity of tennis, it resides in fourth place behind such sports as the aforementioned football but attracts more betting activity relative to its general popularity.  This is partly due to the fact that there are only two possible outcomes to a tennis match and most matches are played by single individuals.  Considering that many other sports have masses of markets and competitors, and all sorts of things can be a factor in gameplay, tennis by comparison is relatively simply.

It is the simplicity of the games and markets that mean odds themselves tend to be more competitive, if there are less variables to factor in bookies can run lower margins as a result as there is less overall risk to them.  The added value that can often be found in tennis compared to other sports is a common reason seasoned punters and professionals like to bet on the sport, even if they are not necessarily big fans.  Tennis matches also tend to happen frequently with many matches in a single day, which is good for multiples betting and for those that like live betting there are in-play markets that allow people to bet on single points, which means they are fast moving.

The popularity of tennis markets, however, has also made it open to match fixing and courtsiding.  Tennis attracts more than its fair share of controversy when it comes to fixing and betting abuse as a result of it’s low margin markets, multitude of matches and fast moving in-play markets.

Less Random Factors Affect The Game

unibet match graphic exampleIf you were to consider betting on football or rugby or cricket for example, you have to factor in to the equation that multiple players are active per team, with substitutes, injuries, penalties, red cards and all sorts of other things. Where tennis is concerned, just two players exist on the court to play out the match (or a maximum of 4 for a doubles game). Therefore, you won’t have to evaluate the variables of dozens of players, as is the case with so many other sports incorporating teams of players. The only thing you need to do is consider the stats of each player participating and make your decision based on that information. This makes the random factor more minimal when you compare it to most other sports.

Keep in mind that this does not mean that punters who bet on tennis will win more often just because the random factor is smaller. Various other factors still need to be evaluated and analysed before a wager is placed, and as is always the case, nothing is ever guaranteed in sports betting activity.  Bookies also evaluate all the stats to set the odds in the first place and the fact there are less variables means they can afford to be tighter with their margins, meaning better value for bettors compared to other sports.  Still, margins will always be weighted in the favour of the betting site so you still need to employ your own research to find value and weaker lines.

The markets for tennis are also very simple to deal with. The fact that there are just two possible outcomes to a match, because a draw never takes place in tennis, makes things easier for bettors. Games play out until a winner is crowned, and even bets placed on who will win a specific set or who will win the next point (for in-play betting) remains a simple affair. Tennis can often be considered as a good sport to bet on if you’re a newcomer to the gambling world for these reasons. Nobody likes to tackle something that is difficult when they’re a novice and it is often one of the first sports people turn to for betting after football and horse racing as a result.

Frequent Games & Events Good For Multiples

accumulator graphic

Accumulators can be created on any sport, but tennis allows for these to be created in a much simpler way. The fact that games take place so frequently, and do so year-round, enables acca bettors to proceed with their favoured way of gambling often. This is because while many tennis matches take place on open courts on grass during the summer months, others occur indoors on clay surfaces and so on, which is what helps the game to occur throughout the year.

Most of the major tennis tournaments take place across 10 months out of the 12 each year, and even outside of those months, tennis matches still take place on a regular basis. There is little doubt that regardless of the time of year, you can still find matches playing out in the world of tennis.

The sport has four major tennis tournaments, with several players becoming Grand Slam champions by ranking in first place at each. Those are the championships of Australia, France, Great Britain and the United States of America. Alongside those championships are many minor tournaments that players enter around the year. Thanks to the invention and subsequent popularity of online sports betting, as well as live gambling opportunities, tennis betting is much more accessible today than ever before. This has led to an increase in it as a popular sport for wagering on.

And the fact that many tennis matches occur throughout the year means that fans of acca betting get the most out of it, as noted. Some sports are highly seasonal, and others have matches occurring infrequently, which makes taking advantage of such bets difficult. American football and basketball are examples of such sports.

Live Streaming & Simpler Markets

betfair stream exampleIn-play betting is provided at many online sportsbooks, and this is offered on various sporting events, too. Yet with regard to tennis, the in-play betting markets are very easy to understand and take advantage of. And in fact, this has become one of the most popular ways to bet on tennis matches in recent times. As a match progresses, you can make a new bet based on what you have witnessed so far. Following every breakpoint won, the numbers change in live betting, and this gives gamblers the chance to change their minds or make a new wager.

Crucially live streaming of tennis matches is possible at most big-name sportsbooks. This means that anyone betting on a tennis match can watch it live through their computer or mobile device. And we’re talking about the large tournaments, as well as the smaller events taking place. Therefore, you can easily track players and their statistics to obtain direct information on them. That can then be used in future bets on tennis matches.

The excitement that comes from watching the game unfold in front of your eyes and then placing bets based on how things look is something completely different to making a pre-match wager. And even if you don’t watch it in a live stream format, you can still place live wagers on an event with in-the-moment statistics and data being provided to you as the game goes on.

Lower More Competitive Margins On Match Odds

margin under a magnifying glass

Due to the fact that even set and point betting is so straight forward when it comes to tennis, the margins on the odds are kept fairly low. Therefore, it exists as a competitive sports market to get involved in. Of course, the easiest type of bet to engage in when it comes to tennis is a wager on who will win the match in question. And there is usually always a clear favourite when it comes to a match. Bettors can therefore find odds of 1/8 or lower on the top players in the opening rounds of a large tournament, such as the large four championships.

Handicap betting does have quite a home when it comes to tennis gamblers, though. When there is an unequal match-up taking place, this is something that players can utilise to try and even the playing field. This brings an extra element in to the game, with the handicap being decided by the number of games added on to the player’s score and the same number being subtracted from the opponent’s score. Therefore, you can bet on not just who you think will win the match, but by how much they actually win by.

Liked By Professional Back-to-Lay Bettors

exchangeTennis is a popular sport for those professional gamblers who engage in back-to-lay betting. And it is due to some of the epic battles that have taken place between tennis players that this is the case. You only need to look at rivalries between Djokovic and Thiem or Murray and Raonic to see that it can bring quite the excitement to the fore. But not only that, these rivalries can often never predict a definitive winner from the outset.

These types of tennis matches serve as a tennis bettor’s paradise, because there is no shortage of matches taking place to start off with, and this makes betting exchanges fascinating places for such bettors. Of course, it always pays for a bettor to do plenty of research prior to engaging in what could be considered tennis trading. But back-to-lay gambling is very much a possibility with such games.

Because sportsbooks will often list different odds for high-profile players when they are in matches against rivals, it is easy for those professional gamblers to get involved and spot the platforms with significantly different odds to others. A punter may place a bet with odds of 2/1 on Thiem winning against Djokovic in the Australian Open, for example, while they may be well aware that the typical odds for the market on the exchange are set at 6/4.

A professional can choose to lay a bet on Thiem at the exchange at odds of 6/4, which if they set the back and lay stake amounts correctly allows them to lock-in a return. And because there are so many of those rivalries and tighter margins in place, there is the chance for more potential value to be found for tennis, and on a more regular basis too.

Popularity Can Lead To Match Fixing

match fixing on chalk boardMatch fixing and sports betting will always be synonymous with one another, regardless of the sport involved. Yet due to the fact that tennis has gained so much popularity with sports bettors over the years, there has been a noticeable increased in match fixing as well.

Top tennis players are paid millions but many players low in the rankings on the qualifying circuit may earn low five figures a year in prize money.  This makes them more open to potential bet fixing.  It isn’t necessarily a player being asked to lose a match, with modern betting markets it can be as simple as making sure they don’t win a specific game or point or even serve a double fault at a specific time.

This isn’t something that has happened every now and then, either. In actual fact, various instances of match fixing have been recorded throughout the 2000s, 2010s and into the 2020s. It’s also possible that prior to this time, match fixing was also taking place. Yet tennis has grown a lot more in popularity since online sports and in-play betting became possible, which has led to more instances of match fixing coming to light.

Even at Wimbledon 2021, investigations of fixing at two matches had to be conducted following reports of what were described as “irregular” betting patterns. A first-round singles match and a first-round men’s doubles match were being looked into by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), as a total of 36 suspicious activity alerts were raised with the independent organisation. It was said that during the matches in question, several suspicious and very specific wagers were placed, and this was what alarmed betting officials.

In June of 2021, Russian tennis player Yana Sizikowa was also arrested for allegedly being at the centre of a match fixing scandal in the 2020 French Open. And while she denied any misconduct on those grounds, the investigation still took place. She was released from police custody on the following day of her arrest. Suspicions were originally raised when she and American player Madison Brengle lost an opening round match to Romanian players Andreea Mitu and Patricia Maria Tigin. At the time, hundreds of thousands of euros were wagered on a break of serve in the second set, and it was this that led to Sizikova being suspected of fraud as part of an organised group.

Ultimately tennis is a victim of its own success in this regard.  There are so many games going on almost every day of the year and this means that there are ways and means for potential fixers to try their luck.  Monitoring of suspicious betting patterns is also getting better but the fixers are also getting better at being more anonymous, such as spreading bets out more thinly through shell accounts (accounts bought from other people)

Courtsiding Is A Pain For Betting Companies

tennis umpire in chair with electronic results recorderCourtsiding is the process of placing a bet on a market after the result is known but before the official notice is given to the bookmaker to suspend the market.  In theory you can do this in many sports but it is tennis where it is most common and most popular and from where courtsiding gets it name.

In tennis a result is recorded when the umpire hits the relevant button on their chair.  Naturally there is a short delay between the result of a point being known and the umpire recording it.  The idea with courtsiding is someone attends a tennis tournament and looks for ‘slow umpires’ they then sit in the stands to watch the game while in communication with someone at home who places bets for them.  They may see that a ball is out and get the person on the outside to bet on the point before the umpire officially calls it, if they can do this quickly enough they can make huge amounts of money from bookies in-play markets.

Naturally bookies are savvy to this and close accounts they suspect of courtsiding.  Therefore, these people tend to ‘buy’ other peoples accounts (illegally) and place bets through them.  It is common practice for courtsiders to buy accounts from students for this practice.

It is not technically illegal in UK law but it is 100% against the terms and conditions of a betting site. Courtsiding often involves a syndicate of people working together, with a spectator utilising an electronic device to be able to send a signal to someone else at another location in order to place a bet on the outcome of a particular event. In 2014, a British man was arrested on suspicion of courtsiding during the Australian Open. A series of other individuals were also being sought out by the authorities who were also thought to be involved in the courtsiding scandal. The 22-year-old man was arrested during a game taking place at Melbourne Park after receiving intelligence from Tennis Australia.