You might not know it, but the French have actually contributed a whole lot to the world in terms of games of chance, card games, and various sports. The sport of tennis actually got its start in France in the 12th century, under Louis X. At the time, this "game of the palm" was played more like handball, but it would eventually evolve to use a racket, a net, and be played on beautifully manicured grass. Tennis was a sport for the higher classes for many years, until it started spreading to places like America, where it become a sport for the everyman.
Today's tennis world is a whole lot larger than what most people realize. There's the WTS, WTA, the USTA, World Team Tennis, National Tennis League, and a lot of other tennis leagues and associations. The most popular league in the world, however, the one that plays the majors like Wimbledon, is the ATP. And this is the one we're going to focus on here in this guide to betting.
Best USA Tennis Betting Site
Betonline has been in the industry for over a decade providing players from all over the world an all inclusive gambling platform which offers players the ability to enjoy betting on sports, casino games, poker, horses, scratchoffs and a lot more. Betonline is a name you can trust. They always pay their players and as of 2016 they now accept Bitcoin which facilitates getting money both on and off the site. As a matter of fact most players report getting paid within 24 hours if they use Bitcoin.
New players can claim their amazing 50% bonus up to $1000 on their first deposit. And aside from having all the standard perks such as live betting, a mobile friendly site and all the betting lines you would expect from a 5 star site, Betonline is home of the 25% bonus for life promotion. This basically entitles all players a 25% bonus up to $1,000 on every single deposit for life. So if you want to play with a site that is not only very reputable, but also one that understands how important it is to take care of loyal players, then Betonline is an excellent choice.
Is Betting On Tennis Matches Legal In The US?
Is online sports betting legal in the United States? Many sources of information you'll find online complicate this issue by unnecessarily telling you about state laws and statutes and federal laws mixed in with information that should be very simple. We're here to tell you, without equivocation, that gambling at a sportsbook is 100% legal for you as an American! "But how is that possible?" you ask. Well, it's because the government doesn't put any sort of laws in place to stop people from gambling.
After all, states still have lotto tickets to sell, and Las Vegas and AC still need tourism, so the government banning the act of gambling would be stupid on their part. Therefore, a back door is opened up to anyone living in America, outside of Washington State. If you want to gamble on tennis via an online sportsbook, all you need to do is find an offshore site that's allowing you to sign up. An offshore site is located outside of America's jurisdiction and thus there's nothing the USA can do to stop this site from accepting whomsoever they choose.
People who offer gambling don't have this back door available to them, unfortunately. The act of offering gambling or accepting gambling wagers is something that's considered illegal all throughout America, except in the case of New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada, and then only if the state licenses you. So gambling's not legal across the entire board. It's legal for you to gamble; it's illegal for you to offer gambling as any sort of business. And the federal government has plenty of legislation in place to punish people who set up gambling businesses.
The Federal Regulations Against Gambling In The United States
The Federal Wire Act
Back in 1961, decades before Al Gore dreamed up the Internet, states were having issues in enforcing gambling laws by way of wired communications. If a player in Connecticut phoned in a bet to a New York bookie, whose jurisdiction is it? How does a state enforce this? Enter the federal government with their sweeping interstate regulation called the Federal Wire Act, which made it illegal for anyone to accept a wired transmission of a gambling wager. Rather than getting weaker with age, the Federal Wire Act is actually stronger than ever, even lending itself to the framework of the UIGEA nearly 50 years later.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 came about, according to politicians, to help protect players in amateur sports and even in professional sports. Protect them from what, is the question many people have been asking since, as all PASPA seems to have accomplished is forcing betting to go underground where it's even more dangerous. However, the federal government will not relent with PASPA, and even the DOJ, who ruled in 2011 that the UIGEA was unlawful, still insists that PASPA must be enforced. The only exempt states were Colorado, Delaware, Montana and Oregon, who already had preexisting state sports lotteries. Nevada managed to wiggle its way into legality eventually. But every other state has to face the federal wrath if they attempt to allow sports betting.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 is the reason that you won't find many online sportsbooks licensed by the USA today. Prior to '06, America was booming with casinos, poker rooms and sportsbooks. But somehow George Bush and other federal politicians got it into their thick skulls that online banking was somehow funding terror and skirting IRS laws, and they wouldn't let that idea go. So they signed the UIGEA into law, and this wiped out the entire expanse of sites based in the USA, and it's why you need to go find an offshore sportsbook today, unless you live somewhere like Nevada.
All of these regulations are covered in more detail on our US gambling laws page.
A User's How-To Guide for Tennis Betting
That legal stuff in no way has to be tricky. We hope we explained it all very concisely for you, and we hope you understand that sports betting is 100% legal and that you just need to find the right offshore sportsbook with which to bet. Now that we've covered the legal information surrounding betting, we can get right into the meat of the matter, the types of lines that you're going to find on a sportsbook with tennis, and even some tips to help you get started in the right direction when betting on tennis.
Types of Common Tennis Lines
The Match Winner
Far and away the most popular line, and the easiest to understand, the match winner line is basically just the moneyline. So, let's say Serena Williams, the world's #1 player, is playing the world's #2, Simona Halep, in the finals of Wimbledon. Being a close match-up, you're probably going to see a line like Williams -175, Halep +150. This is a very close line, meaning that you'd have to pay in $175 to win $100 betting on Serena, who's the favorite, while you would get $150 by betting $100 if you took Halep, the underdog.
Of course, many lines are going to be farther apart than this, with someone like Williams having a line like -250. But once you grasp the basic principle of who's the favorite and who's the underdog, the number itself doesn't matter until which point you want to bet for value. The match winner is simply selecting which player you think will end up winning the match.
The Match Spread/Handicapped Betting
A very popular type of line, handicap betting for tennis isn't exactly like handicapping the greyhounds at the track. If you're an inexperienced gambler, like the type we're creating this content for, then things can become extremely confusing in a hurry. To put it as simply as we can, let's say that Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray are facing off, and the line says that Nadal will cover 5.5 games (-5.5). This means that not only does Nadal need to win the match, but the total of number of games he wins must be 6 or better.
So, you'd need a set line like 6-3, 6-3 to win. However, if in between Murray stole a set, then it wouldn't even matter if Nadal won 6-1 and 6-2, because you'd still have to factor in the 6 games (minimum) that Murray won in his set. This is perhaps the most complicated of the tennis lines, and we hope we explained it well enough. To recap: Nadal -5.5 means he must win by a total of 6 games in all sets played, once you add up all the games.
Full Tournament Futures
Another type of bet you can make at most high-end sportsbooks is a futures bet on a full tournament. For instance, let's say it's a week or so before the US Open starts, and you think you know already who's going to win it because of the way it's been seeded. You can get a fantastic line on this and win a lot of money if you're correct, typically even if you're taking the favorite. After all, a favorite at this juncture is more like 6:1 rather than 30:1, not 5:3 or anything like that. So you can find some good lines.
However, we cannot recommend that players new to betting start betting on futures. We recommend a slower, more controlled line of action for players just starting. But once you start winning and have a few bucks in profit you can spare without having to sweat the loss, throwing it down on a future might be a move that will pay off. You can also find some futures that allow you to take the field vs. a player, which gives you even better odds of winning as you have around 60+ players on your side and any one of them can win and you still win.
First Set Bets
A first set bet isn't exactly like any other type of tennis line you're going to find. There's no real spread here with which to contend, and if there's a moneyline it's not going to be big or small in favor of one player or another; typically something like -120/+120, depending on which player you take. So, say that Nadal is playing Andy Murray in the Wimbledon semi-final match-up. Instead of betting on which player wins the entire match, you can instead bet on which player will win the first set.
These types of short-term bets are appealing, especially considering the general makeup of the tennis field. That is to say, you can find information on many tennis players who start very, very hot and have a habit of winning the first set. This sort of line can be extremely lucrative if used correctly, and we'll give you some further information about that below in our tips section.
Live and Prop Bets
The last sort of lines you're going to find on a tennis sportsbook are the live bets and prop bets section. The live bets are just how they sound. Rather than having to bet on a line before a match starts, you can actually click on the live betting section of a sportsbook and put your money down on different lines as the game is actually unfolding. For instance, let's say you took Maria Sharapova over Serena Williams in an upset because the moneyline was just too great on Sharapova.
Though after one set, Serena has flat dominated 6-0 and Sharapova looks completely over-matched. You can leverage your bet here by actually adjusting your bet and taking Williams. It means having to risk even more money to cover, but you live and you learn – and what you learned here was that the underdog isn't always a good wager, because we don't live in a Rocky movie, and thus live betting helps you actually come out ahead instead of having to eat that loss.
With prop bets, or proposition wagers, you're betting on things that aren't necessarily about the outcome of the match. For instance, you may find a bet on the over-under for aces in a match, or how many faults a player will have, or how many times a set needs to be extended by another point before a player hasn't won by two in the final. These bets can be very fun to make, and even very lucrative if you can find a sucker bet (which is typically the case since they're communal bets and not the sportsbooks' bets), but be very cautious when betting props. You can get sucked in easily to some bad wagers.
Your Tennis Betting Options
The great thing about tennis is that the sport is very large. While you might think that the only tournaments happening all year are big-name matches like Wimbledon and the French Open, the fact is that there's tennis being played all over the world, and you can find it on the amateur circuit and the professional circuit. For the purposes of this guide, however, we want to deal with pro tennis only. Now, collegiate tennis and other amateur tennis matches can be very exciting to watch.
The players are very talented. But when it comes to researching the players to find out about their stats and how well they do, amateur players don't have a very long sheet attached to them, whereas professional players do. You can find pros on the men's side of the aisle, on the women's side of the net, and you can even bet something like doubles. So when it comes to finding enough matches to bet on, you should have no problem whatsoever on that front.
Just remember that your best option is to keep things aimed at the pros. You can watch and enjoy an amateur match, especially just to learn more about the game of tennis in general. But when it's time to put your money down, sticking with the pros is your best bet.
Five Must-Use Tennis Betting Tips To Implement
We hope that you enjoy reading these sorts of guides from USA Sportsbook Sites. We know that they can run a bit on the lengthy side, but we try to cover every single aspect that you're going to need to know about before you can make a secure, winning bet on a high-quality sportsbook. Unfortunately, information like that cannot be explained with a tweet-length posting. You need to learn about the legality of the betting situation and understand the federal regulations to give it further context.
And, of course, you need to know about the types of popular betting lines you'll find when you go to bet on tennis. And now that we have explained those aspects to you, all that's left to learn is some betting tips that you can use to bet on tennis as you're first starting out.
1: Bet Small-Scale Wherever Possible
The first tip we want to give you here is to bet small and on a small scale whenever you can. Now, this doesn't mean betting $5 on something; this doesn't really have anything at all to do with the amount. Although we would advise against risking more than 10% of your stake on any one bet. That being said, we mean small-scale as in a short-term betting structure. As you read above with the tennis betting lines, you can pick the winner of a first set of a match, so you don't even have to wait around to see who wins what. This is the type of bet that you'd do well to make when just starting out.
Find a favorite whose odds have value (more on that directly below) and put down a few bucks on them to win the first set. If you can get great value on a favorite, you could maybe put down $50 to win $25 and only have to get out of the first set. Sure, this isn't money that's going to make you rich and have you retiring any time soon. But a win is a win. Pretty soon, those small increment wins will start to pile up and those $25 wins can turn into $50, $100 and more. And you can do all this without ever having to make any sort of complex or prolonged bet. You can stick small-scale and really rake in the winnings.
2: Avoid Long Spreads
As you saw up above in the betting line about the match spread, you can bet for player A to beat player B by a total number of games. Keep in mind that a tennis match is made up of multiple sets, and you're typically going to see scores like 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, which if that were A over B by, say, five games, you'd be dead in the water even though your player still won. Some matches are much, much tougher than others and the scores will be very tight.
A player can win a game while technically barely covering any sort of spread, and this is because a player can lose a set in the middle of a match yet still come out the victor, so you have to subtract the sets he or she lost in the losing set, and this really puts a damper on your odds of trying to clear something like a 5-game spread. While the odds might seem generous for this type of bet, this is a bet that you want to avoid, if you can.
Even for pro-style tennis gamblers who know their stuff in and out, this sort of bet is just too risky to make, especially when you can bet on such small-scale stuff that doesn't rely on you having to get lucky over an extended duration. Think of it much like a roulette spin. It's one thing to bet on black and win it once; it's another thing entirely to bet on black and hit it 6 times in a row. So, if you can, avoid anything that's covering a long spread over the duration of a match.
3: Know the Court Differences
The type of surface on which a tennis player plays makes all the difference in the world. For instance, back about six years ago or so, Roger Federer was considered perhaps the greatest of all time, tearing through the competition, until which point he would meet up with Rafael Nadal and play on the clay courts in France. Nadal had his number on clay. And while Nadal has his number all-around in today's tennis world, as Roger is getting older and slower, there was a time where the two men only appeared as equals on the clay surface.
Some players are the inverse of that, meaning they can play on clay very well but then suffer on grass when the ball is faster and bounces higher. So understand that there do exist court differences. Before you make a bet on any tennis player, just hit up Google or Bing and check out their winning history on the types of courts. You will be able to find this information easily.
For instance, if you want to take a Williams sister against a lower-seeded opponent but find out that she cannot play well on clay, then you may want to find another player on whom to bet or just switch your bet to the underdog for the bigger value here. Court differences matter greatly to a player's ability and even a player's psyche. If he/she has been struggling on a certain type of surface, this will be there in their mind as they're playing. Let information like this guide your betting.
4: Look for Value Among the Entire Field
If you need to know how to find value in a bet, we have literature throughout our network that can help. However, we like to set a colloquial rule of thumb for value: If you can take a good, notable player whose odds pay back at least 50/1 (i.e. -100; $200 to win $100), then this is a big value bet. Oh, but you don't think that any actually solid, good, talented player would have a line so low as a favorite? Think again! You see, tennis is a huge sport, much larger than you may initially be aware.
Not only do you have the men's and women's branches of tournaments, but you also have doubles matches on which you can bet. And you also don't have to stick with the French Open, the US Open or Wimbledon to bet either; you can find a wide array of tennis tournaments around the globe, and the odds are great that those star players you follow are going to show up there to play for the cash and prizes associated.
So it's a lot easier to find value than what you think. In tennis, we're describing value as an odds-on favorite whose line will still pay half or better. This way you don't have to risk a ton to win a lot, and you're still in a solid position to win since the player him/herself is superior compared to the opponent. This is the type of value that can have you cleaning up in your sports bets.
5: Rank is Very Important
Can you remember the last time you heard about an unranked player beating the #1 tennis player in the world? Or how about even the #12 player beating the #2? Sure, these things do happen in tennis, just as they happen in every sport out there; there's always going to be a lower ranked player who upsets a higher ranked player. But historically speaking, this happens in tennis a whole lot less frequently than it happens in many other sports.
That is to say, it is exceedingly rare in tennis that a low-ranked or unranked opponent will knock off a top seed. So while we cannot say that betting on top-ranked tennis players in the opening rounds of events is any sort of mathematical guarantee that you will win, we can still look back on history and see that this happens very, very rarely. So taking the favorite, especially if the gap is large, is a very smart bet. You have to consider what goes into a tennis ranking.
These players play all over the place, not just in big tournaments, and they compete on multiple types of surfaces and in an assortment of matches. Players who work their way into the top ten are truly superior players, whereas players 20 and below cannot usually match up. You won't win as much due to the moneyline status as favorites, but it's a much safer play to take a high-ranked player of a low-ranked opponent.
With some information on the legality issue, the types of bets you can make, and some starter tips to get you off on the right foot, we at USA Sportsbook Sites hope that this guide to tennis betting will come in handy and make it easier for you to navigate the field. If you need a recommendation of a great sportsbook with which to play, just check out our recommendations from our site, read our reviews, and find out about the sites in question. Have fun while betting, and always bet responsibly.
Biggest Tennis Matches And Tournaments To Bet On
US Open - Aug 22nd - Sept 11th, 2017
Wimbledon - July 3rd - July 16th, 2017
French Open - May 28th - June 11th, 2017
Australian Open - Jan 16th - Jan 29th, 2017