If you already enjoy betting on tennis or are thinking about wagering on one of your favourite events such as the Wimbledon Championships, there are plenty of markets to consider. One that often confuses beginners is the handicap market. But this market is worth exploring if you want to take a serious and statistical approach to tennis betting. In this guide, we show you how to bet on the tennis handicap market.
What is tennis handicap betting?
Handicap bets give an advantage to one player in an event and a disadvantage (or handicap) to the other. In most events, there is one clear favourite and the handicap can be used to create a more even playing field.
In practice, this allows you to back a player even if you don’t think they will win the match. The handicap is applied in the form of games.
- In a match between player A and player B, the bookmaker may offer a price of Evens on player B with a handicap of +3.5 games.
In simple handicap tennis betting terms, this means player B is handed a head start of 3.5 games. When the match is finished, the player with the most games after the handicap is applied is the bet winner. The actual result of the game does not matter only who has the most games.
So, player B does not have to win the match for your bet to be successful.
- Player A (the favourite) beats player B (the underdog) by a scoreline of 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
Player A won the match by 2 sets to 1 but who won the most games?
Player A won 14 games and player B also won 14 games. But once the handicap is applied, player B has 17.5 games and wins the bet.
- Player A wins the match by a scoreline of 6-4, 6-7, 6-4.
Player A won by 2 sets to 1 but who won the most games?
Player A won 18 games, while player B only won 15 games. But once the handicap is applied, player B has 18.5 games and wins the bet.
- Player B wins the match by a scoreline of 6-7, 6-0, 6-7.
This time, our underdog (player B) wins by 2 sets to 1 but who won the most games?
Player A won 18 games, while player B only won 14 games. Even with the handicap applied, player B only has 17.5 games. So, despite winning the match, player B did not win the most games, even when the handicap is applied.
With tennis handicap betting, the final result is not that important. A player can lose the match but still win the most games or win the match but fail to win the most games. It is more about momentum, who can start and finish well, and who will be most consistent throughout the match. Bettors who have good knowledge of the players can use this information to make predictions in the handicap markets and pick out those high-value underdogs.
Punters should look at historical matches between the players and work out who would have won if the handicap had been applied, the results can be surprising. If one player has lost the majority of matches but won more games, there might be good value to be had by backing them in the handicap market.