A positive experience betting on tennis begins with and hinges upon finding a safe, high-quality bookmaker. There are literally hundreds of tennis betting sites out there that would love to have you as a customer, so finding any old bookmaker is easy. Finding the best betting site for your individual needs is another matter altogether.
The good news is that’s where we come into play. In fact, helping you find a worthy betting site is one of our main jobs here at TennisBetting.com. We can talk about tennis betting and discuss strategy all day long, but it’s all moot if you don’t have a reliable place to bet on tennis and get paid when you win.
Let’s begin with a quick look at the sites we recommend first for tennis betting. We’ll discuss more about what all goes into finding a reputable bookmaker below.
Best Tennis Betting Sites
Experience has shown us that the most efficient way to narrow down your options and find a site that will treat you well is to begin with a set of “must have” traits that are vital whether you are a complete beginner or a seasoned handicapper. This drastically narrows down the list of options and cuts through a lot of the noise you encounter when you go hunting for a safe betting site.
Must-have traits that we believe punters of all types should look for include:
- Is an established business that we can research (didn’t just pop up one day under mysterious ownership)
- Licensed by a legitimate regulatory body
- A successful, financially stable business
- Pays winners quickly
- Wide variety of tennis betting options
- Markets for big and small tennis tournaments alike
- Has a positive reputation among current and former customers
This list is just a starting point, but it works very well as a filter. At least 90% of the tennis betting sites you send through this filter will be eliminated, which leaves us with a much more manageable number of options.
The filter method has always served us well because it is so demanding. The fact is the vast majority of tennis betting sites never make it through the filter to even meet our minimum required standards. Fortunately for all of us, there are so many bookmakers out there that some do ultimately make it through the filter.
Betting sites that do not make it through the filter are discarded and put out of mind. What this means is we do not review, rank or recommend betting sites that cannot. If we even review a site, you can know that it has already made it through the filter and is – at a minimum – a safe place to bet online.
Choosing a Tennis Betting Site
Once we have whittled down the number of options to a manageable number, we can begin looking at more specific traits such as the types of bets on offer, number of markets offered each day, how the odds compare across various bookmakers and so on.
This helps us further refine our list of recommended betting sites by looking at them with a critical eye from the point of view of a tennis punter. Does the site cover tennis in great depth? Are the live events run on time so that you can watch tennis on TV and still bet in real time? Does the site offer frequent promotions? Is the interface easy to use?
Our list of additional questions goes on and on. In short, we want to be as demanding and as thorough as possible when reviewing betting sites. The sites that ultimately make the top of the list are those that make it through the entire process with the highest marks.
Admittedly, there is a degree of subjectivity once we get past the initial filter. Every betting site has its strong points, weak points and unique quirks. Your favourite tennis bookmaker isn’t always going to be the same pick as our favourite. That is to be expected. We do our best to make our lists as objective as possible, but there is always going to be some room for personal preference.
The most important thing from our point of view is to first point you only to betting sites that can be trusted. That way, the worst case scenario is you decide you’re not a fan and have no problems withdrawing your money to try a different site. We are confident in our picks, but we also understand that personal preferences are bound to vary.
Here are some of the other things we look at when ranking tennis betting sites.
Types of Tennis Bets Offered
One of the nice things about tennis betting is the wide variety in types of wagers you can place. Tennis betting is not just limited to picking the winner of a match or tournament. You can also bet on set totals, game totals, the set exact score and much more. This is advantageous because it isn’t just more fun to have options, but it provides you with more potential places to find an advantage.
The best tennis betting sites should at a minimum allow you to bet on the winner of a match, winner of a tournament, the set and game total, set score, choose between moneylines and spread bets, place accumulators and each-way bets, place double-result bets and props. The more variety in types of bets offered, the better.
A wide breadth of bet types is a good thing to see, but it’s even better if that variety extends beyond major tennis tournaments. You can count on every bookmaker offering a variety of bet types during the Grand Slams and other major tennis events, but the best betting sites for tennis provide a variety of markets on smaller tournaments at the ATP 250, WTA International and ITF-level competitions.
Number of Markets Offered Each Day
Carrying on from that last point is the number of betting markets offered each day. Again, you want to find a bookmaker that covers more than just the biggest tournament events. Covering all levels of ATP and WTA play is a good start. Ideally, the bookmaker also hosts markets for ITF events for both men’s and women’s tennis.
Bookmaker Margin and Generosity of the Odds
Bookmaker margin (a.k.a. “vig”) is how all bookmakers make their money. We won’t go into too much detail right now, but the main thing to know is the margin is baked into the odds you see posted for every wager. The higher the margin, the less generous the odds. The lower the margin, the more generous the odds. Less margin equals more money in your pocket over the long term.
One of your goals as a punter should be to always get the best odds for every bet you place. In a perfect world, it would be possible to keep an account open with every safe betting site on the planet and make every wager at the best possible odds every time. Managing your money, however, would be nearly impossible.
Instead, you can keep an account open with just a 2 or 3 bookmakers that are known for offering generous odds on average. Doing so allows you to compare the odds across a smaller number of bookmakers and be fairly confident that you’re not missing out on too much value elsewhere.
One of our ranking factors for tennis betting sites is how generous their odds are on average. Let’s work through an example to show how we figure this:
Decimal odds are the easiest format for calculating the margin, so we’ll stick with those for now. There are ways to calculate the margin for American and fractional odds as well, but that’s beyond the scope of this article.
To calculate the margin, you divide 1 by the odds offered for each possible outcome. This gives you the implied winning percentage. Then, you add all percentages up and anything above 100% is the bookmaker’s margin. It sounds complicated, but it’s easy.
Here are the actual odds that were offered by two different bookmakers on a recent tennis match between Grigor Dimitrov and Nick Kyrgios:
- Grigor Dimitrov: 2.40
- Nick Kyrgios: 1.60
- Grigor Dimitrov: 2.30
- Nick Kyrgios: 1.61
Let’s start with Bookmaker A.
The odds offered on Grigor Dimitrov are 2.40. Divide 1 by 2.40 and we end up with an implied probability of 41.67%.
Now do the same thing for Nick Kyrgios. His odds are 1.60 so we divide 1 by 1.60 to end up with an implied probability of 62.5%.
Add them up and you get 104.17%.
This bet at Bookmaker A has a margin of 4.17%. If the bookmaker has priced the event correctly and attracts punters on both sides of the bet, it means this bookmaker will have a little more than 4% left over after paying off the winners with the losers. What’s left over is the bookmaker’s profit for this bet.
Now, let’s look at Bookmaker B.
Grigor Dimitrov is priced at 2.30, which works out to an implied probability of 43.48%.
Nick Kyrgios is priced at 1.61, which works out to an implied probability of 62.11%
Add them up and you get 105.59%.
This same bet at Bookmaker B has a margin of 5.59%.
Bookmaker A has the most generous odds for this bet overall.
Note: If you were betting on Kyrgios, you would still want to book that bet at Bookmaker B for the biggest payout. The point here is to look at the margin on average across many bets so that we can narrow down the list to a few bookmakers that tend to have lower-than-average margins.
Now, this is just for one bet out of thousands that are available at each bookmaker, so we wouldn’t rush to a conclusion based on this one example. However, we can keep margins in mind at all times and compare them across many bets until we get a general sense of how generous various bookmakers are compared to one another. Generous odds result in bigger payouts on average.
In-Play Betting Considerations
A strong in-play betting platform ranks fairly high for us as a ranking factor due to the nature of tennis at the professional level. Pre-market favourites tend to be priced so low that it is barely even worth betting on them due to the returns being so low compared to what you must risk.
Looking back at past results of major tennis tournaments, the one thing that jumps out is how dominant a small handful of players have been over the years. For example, if we look at 15 years’ worth of French Open singles champions, we see a total of five champions: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Roger Federer, Gaston Gaudio and Juan Carlos Ferrero.
In-play betting provides us with more opportunities to find bets that are both shorter in nature and more evenly-matched. If you still want to bet on the favourite but he loses the first set, you can drop a quick bet on him to win the second set or even the next point at odds that will be more attractive.
In other words, in-play tennis betting provides you with more options and opportunities. These additional options give you more chances to find bets that are priced more in line with what you’re willing to risk relative to what you stand to win.
What we want to see from an in-play betting platform is widespread coverage of live tennis matches extending beyond just the big events. Within individual matches, we want to see many different markets such as set exact score, up-to-date match handicaps, set exact score, next game winner, next point winner and more.
A strong live streaming offering pairs nicely with in-play betting for obvious reasons. Whether you’re cable cutter and no longer have cable or a specific event isn’t shown on TV in your area, live streaming allows you to watch tennis matches in real time as they happen. The best tennis betting sites let you watch tennis matches for free even if you don’t bet on them as long as you have a funded account.
Live streaming is most useful when you want to bet on an event in real time but are unable to watch it on TV for whatever reason. It is possible to bet on events live without watching TV (live scoring updates are offered by all major bookmakers), but it is much easier to get a sense of the momentum when you can actually watch the players perform in real time.
When it comes to live streaming, we look for several things. First, we want streams that are as high quality as possible. Your internet connection will play some role in this, but it is ultimately up to the bookmaker to provide fast, reliable streams.
Second, we look for bookmakers that offer a wide range of live streaming events. The more matches they cover in real time, the better. We don’t just want to be able to watch Grand Slam events live; we want as many events as we can get.
Third, live streams should not be super delayed. All live streams are going to be delayed by a few seconds just to ensure the bookmaker can update the odds and prevent customers from placing bets before the bookmaker has even seen what happened, but overly long delays are no good.