Did you have any fun with Wimbledon bets this year?!
Moving on! Amiright?
Time to think about the US Open at Flushing Meadows now that we’re in the dog days of summer.
See our picks and predictions:
- U.S. Open Tennis Women’s Preview: Who Will Win It All?
- U.S. Open Tennis Men’s Preview: Who Will Win It All?
Read on for a tennis betting strategy …
Bet On Who Will Win the Match
The simplest bet you can make in tennis is by picking who you think will win and wagering based on the player’s odds.
Each US Open player will have moneyline odds assigned to each of their matches. These odds imply how likely that individual is to win the match. Your task as a bettor is to decipher the meaning of those odds and decide if you will bet on the favorite or the underdog.
The odds can feel tricky at first. Because the sport is played worldwide, you may see odds for a match expressed in one of three ways: American odds (a positive/negative whole number), as a decimal, or as a fraction.
Reading the Odds
Based on where you place your bet, you may see odds for each player/match represented in one of three ways:
- American Odds
- Decimal Odds
- Fractional Odds
It’s important to understand how to read each type of odds so you know what the odds on an individual player/match imply.
Additionally, you’ll want to shop around and do your research before placing your bet. Tennis is an international sport and that research is going to pull from all three types of odds.
1. American Odds
You read American odds first by identifying if the symbol is a minus or a plus.
- – = in order to win $100 you have to bet #
- + = betting $100 wins you #
– = IN ORDER TO WIN $100 YOU HAVE TO BET #
In this scenario, with the odds set at -110: You walk up and place a $110 bet. If you win you will get your $110 stake back, plus you will collect $100 in winnings.
Remember the vig is a ratio. You do not have to bet $110. Instead of $110, you could place a $55 bet in order to win $50. Or $11 to win $10.
+ = BETTING $100 WINS YOU #
When the odds are written with a + sign, it indicates you win a little more than you bet.
For example if the odds are +100 that indicates you must risk $100, but if you win you would collect $110 in winnings.
2. Decimal Odds
You will see decimal odds used throughout Europe and a few other places in the world. These odds indicate the return on your investment, including your stake.
Thus, if the odds are 1.5 you can calculate your return my multiplying your wager and the odds. Let’s say you want to wager $100:
$100 (wager) x 1.5 (odds) = $150 (stake + profit)
Your profit in this instance would be $50.
3. Fractional Odds
Fractional odds originated with horse racing in the United Kingdom. These days, you will see fractional odds associated with other European-based sports as well. Some sportsbooks offer odds for tennis in a fraction format.
You multiply this fractional number with your wager to get your total potential return (not including your stake).
So, if the odds for a Rafael Nadal in an upcoming match are 3/2 then you calculate your return this way:
$100 (wager) x 3/2 (odds) = $150 (profit)
Your profit in this instance would be $150. You add back in your $100 wager and your total return would be $250.
Understanding What the Odds Imply
You can expect players such as Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams to have less appealing odds in their early round matches.
Odds help you understand who the sportsbook thinks is likely to win. They set odds with the intention of making money. For this reason, the likely to win player (or the favorite) in a US Open match is going to have odds that require a bettor to risk more and he or she will receive less compensation for a winning bet.
Sportsbooks don’t like losing money!
You can expect players such as Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams to have less appealing odds in their early round matches. We know their dominance on the court means they are almost certain to crush early opponents. Sportsbooks are not going to offer substantial winnings to you for knowing the same thing everyone else knows.
Conversely, if you are willing to wager money of Rafael Nadal’s first round opponent, you’re probably going to get very attractive odds. The potential ROI for an extreme underdog is high.
Examples of American Odds
The starting point for most American odds is -110. The more negative these odds get, the more a player is considered a favorite in their match. Thus, -120 and -130 would indicate the player is slightly favored over their opponent.
If you see odds like -1800 assigned to Rafael Nadal, that indicates his opponent will be lucky to score a point or two. Odds of -1800 mean that in order to walk away with $100 you have to give the sportsbook $1800. You are risking a lot of cash to win very little in comparison.
Examples of Decimal Odds
Decimal odds start at anything over 1.0. Typically, the lowest odds you’ll see are 1.01. With decimal odds, lower numbers are favorites. Higher numbers indicate potentially larger returns and imply you are betting on an underdog.
Heavy favorites will have very small return on investments. For example, a recent Rafael Nadal vs. Guido Pella match had moneyline odds for Nadal at 1.02. If you wagered $100 in this instance and Nadal won, you’d walk away with a $2 profit. That’s not very exciting.
In another recent match (Kohlschreiber vs. Fucsovics), Fucsovics’ odds were 2.63. This tells us he’s a significant underdog. If you wagered $100 on Fucsovics and he indeed won the match you’d profit $163. More exciting (and riskier) than the Nadal example above.
Examples of Fractional Odds
Fractions that have a larger number on top indicate an underdog. Fractions where the denominator is larger indicate a favorite.
In a recent Anderson vs. Mayer match we can tell from the odds that Anderson is the favorite:
- Anderson odds: 1/4
- Mayer odds: 13/4
In this example, betting $100 on Anderson and winning would only garner you a $25 profit. However, taking the riskier bet on Mayer and winning would give you a $325 profit.
Bet on the Over/Under
Some sportsbooks will let you bet on the number of sets it will take the winner to succeed. This is particularly fun with players like Serena Williams or Rafael Nadal who are famous for not dropping many sets (or points for that matter!).
Men’s professional tennis plays to the best of five sets. Women’s professional tennis play best of three sets.
Tennis bettors can bet on whether the match will go over or under a certain number of sets.
In women’s tennis the over/under is always set to 2.5 sets. Thus, if you take the under you are saying the winner will succeed in two straight sets. If you take the over you indicate that it will take the winner three total sets to walk away victorious.
The over/under for men’s tennis is most often set at 3.5 sets, but you may see 4 and 4.5 set bets on occasion.
Bet on Who Will Win the Tournament
As with betting on who will win a particular match, you can bet on who will win the overall tournament. You would place a moneyline bet based on odds set for each player.
The current odds* for Men’s Singles has the three following men at the top:
- Novak Djokovic 3/1
- Roger Federer 4/1
- Rafael Nadal 9/2
The current odds* of Women’s Singles has the three following women at the top:
- Serena Williams 15/4
- Angelique Kerber 8/1
- Simona Halep 10/1
*Updated August 2, 2018.
You could go with one of the favorites and try to squeak out some winnings there. Or, you could make a riskier bet and choose someone further down the list like Andy Murray 12/1 or Caroline Wozniacki 16/1.
These riskier bets are risky for a reason: experts do not think those men and women are likely to win the overall tournament. But, dang it if the potential winnings aren’t pretty looking!
Prop Bets in Tennis
There are a few common prop bets in tennis.
As a reminder, prop bets are bets where you have a defined outcome. For example, the coin toss at the start of a game: is it heads or tails? Betting on that aspect of a sporting event is a prop bet.
One common prop bet in tennis is number of ace serves. These are especially fun with players known for their wicked serves, like Serena Williams. In major matches there’s likely an over/under set for number of aces.
Here are some US Open tennis prop bets this year:
- Who will win the first set [of a particular match]?
- How many aces will Rafael Nadal have in his first round match?
- Will there be a rain delay during the tournament?
As you can tell, betting opportunities abound to keep you busy during US Open 2018.