Tennis Trading Guide & Strategies
Chances are you’ve heard of people trading the horses, and probably even trading football markets. However, there’s another market that can provide just as lucrative…
In this guide, we’re going to teach you the best Betfair tennis trading strategies to get you started.
Table of Contents
Tennis is a sport that often gets overlooked by bettors outside of the ‘big 4’ Grand Slam events; Australian Open, The French Open, Wimbledon and The US Open.
While these events do provide an excellent opportunity for tennis trading, the Betfair tennis trading strategies that we are about to teach you can pretty much be used all year round.
Think about that! Get these Betfair tennis trading strategies right and you can be making steady profits throughout the year.
How is this possible?
The men’s ATP tour runs events consistently throughout the year. The women’s tour, WTA, does the same.
Traders have realised the potential of this and have been trading tennis on Betfair Exchange since its inception in the early 2000’s.
This might sound like competition to some but there’s more than enough to go around. In fact, the more people in the market means the more chance you’ll have of getting your bets matched.
This is just a snapshot of the day’s tennis available on Betfair Exchange.
As you can see – it’s popular. Even without any of the big-name players, events are matching tens of thousands of pounds. Getting up to six figures in some matches.
So, it’s pretty clear – tennis is a great sport to start trading on.
Do I need to know everything about tennis?
Probably the next stumbling block to getting you started is thinking that you need to have great insider knowledge about the sport.
Is this true?
Luckily the simple answer is no! With the simple tennis trading tips that we’re going to teach you, it’s possible to start learning about the markets, rather than the sport itself.
However, knowledge is king – as the adage goes. We want to put ourselves in the best position to make money. With this in mind, we recommend that you read up about the day’s tennis ahead and definitely about the match you’re looking to trade on.
With a wealth of stats, information and supposed ‘insider knowledge’ floating about, knowing where to take value can be a daunting task.
This is what you should look for…
While not always an indicator of who will win this is a good starting point to get an idea of what kind of matchup is in store. A wide difference between the two usually correlates to who the favourite is going to be. The first round of a tournament will normally throw up a fair few mismatches.
This is where we can start to get an edge and build a tennis trading strategy. For example, a high ranking favourite is in poor form and is up against a similarly ranked player who is in red hot form. This presents angles for us to take. More tennis trading tips on this topic to come…
It is important to note the surface being played on. Different players prefer different surfaces. Just something to be aware of.
The service game is another vital bit of information. Trading the serve of a player is a market where you can make small, quick profits.
Knowing how good a player is at serving and returning will give you a good head start. If 6’ 10” John Isner is playing the first round of a tournament he doesn’t tend to lose many service games.
With all of this knowledge prepped and ready to be used, we can start to look at the markets available to us.
And there are quite a few!
Fear not, we’re going to focus on the exact markets where it’s possible to execute the best tennis trades.
A massive advantage to tennis trading, especially for beginners, is that there are only two outcomes – Winner A or Winner B.
This simplifies things and means there are less variables to think about. With no option of a draw or other competitors, the market odds are only going to move one of two ways.
The matchwinner also tends to have the most money put into it. There must be enough liquid (money) in the market for our bets to get matched, this provides a great option to trade around.
Think of how many games there are within a tennis match. If you can scalp in and out of the market quickly you can start to add together a string of small profits. They’ll soon start to add up!
Within a match, you’ll have between two and five sets that are up for grabs. A player winning a close set really gets the odds to shift. Here we can look for moments where the market over-reacts. The aim is to open the trade at the biggest reaction and trade out when the market settles.
With all the theory out the way, we can now get into the trenches and start learning tennis trading tips that can earn you some cash!
How to Trade Tennis
Pre-match or In-play?
Pre-match doesn’t quite offer the opportunity it does in other sports. The only market that is of value to us is the match-winner. Keep an eye out for news about a players fitness.
Knowing someone is carrying a knock and getting into the market first by backing the opposition and trading out as news filters out and the price shortens.
This is a basic trade example but the more profitable tennis trading strategies are in-play.
Reading the Market
This is what separates punter from trader. Learning how to read the markets will be the skill that takes you from novice to making consistent profits.
While it may help you to watch the games while you are getting started with trading. Some professionals can do it blind. Meaning they are looking at the points and the odds and picking out points of value.
If a player is holding his serve throughout the set and the other player isn’t. The matchwinner and set winner odds will start to fall for the winner.
This represents a steady movement in the market
By placing a back bet and waiting for the price to fall and placing a lay bet we will have made a small profit.
This is an example of trading tennis on a market that is moving slower.
There are also times when the market moves quickly, often causing over-reactions in the odds. As a trader, we want to stay away from placing emotional, spur of the moment bets. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t take advantage of it.
If a player wins a closely fought set it might cause people to jump into the market and back them to win. This will cause the match-winner odds for this player to greatly shorten, perhaps more than they should.
What we want to do is anticipate this. You would be looking to place your back bet as it looks like the player is starting to close out the set. This is when the price for the match-winner market should be at its highest. If the player goes onto to win that set the price will start shortening. This is the time you want to lay.
You can then green up your bets so that you will make money whatever the outcome. This is the advantage of trading tennis. We want to be in and out of the market quickly to minimise our risk and take consistent profits irrespective of the match outcome.
While software is not completely necessary to start making your first tennis trades – it does make it a lot easier.
Software programs like Betangel and Geeks Toy allows users to view the market in a much more organised way. It also refreshes the odds at a faster rate meaning you can get into the market as quickly as possible. They also have many more features that make trading more functional.
This is worth looking into if you are serious about making money with trading.
We’re now going to reveal to you some of the exact Betfair tennis trading strategies that are used by traders making serious profit.
Scalping the Server
Scalping is the art of placing two bets – a back bet and a lay bet on the same market. You want to back high and lay for a lower price.
We will ‘green up’ (sometimes referred to as hedging) all of our bets. This means we will place a lay bet with a slightly higher stake. By doing this we aim to guarantee a small profit whatever the outcome.
In the below example we are in the current game market and Alexandre Muller is currently 30 – 15 up and serving. We think he will hold his serve so we decide to place a £10 back bet for the current price of 1.35.
We’ve chosen an entry point and now we are looking for our exit point. If Muller looks like he is going to win the game his odds should start to fall.
Remember, the game betting market moves pretty quickly. We should be aiming to close out as the odds start to move in our favour.
Muller manages to serve towards game point with the scores now 40 – 30. This our cue to exit.
This is where trading software comes into its own. It will calculate the lay bet you need to make to green up for a profit. However, the theory still stands.
Using a hedging calculator we can see the bets we need to make.
With this knowledge, we place an £11.07 lay bet at the odds of 1.22. This locks in a profit £1.02.
It doesn’t seem like a lot but let’s put this into perspective. From opening this tennis trade to closing it we were in the market for less than five minutes.
There is an average of 9 games a set. This gives us the chance of betting on somewhere between 27 – 45 games depending on the format of the match.
While we won’t bet on all of them – those small profits would start to add up! With a full day of tennis, there’s no reason why you couldn’t repeat this for several matches.
Successfully trade on three matches in a day and you’re looking at a healthy profit. As you get more experienced you could even start to slightly increase the stakes.
Note – not all trades go the way we want. If a trade looks to be going the wrong way, you should always cut your losses and trade out for a small loss rather than let it run for a bigger loss.
Small losses are what keeps the profit high.
Tip – Scalping can be done in many markets! Take a look at the set winner market in a match. Watch the odds move as the match progresses.
Laying the Favourite
Another trading method that can be exploited is laying the favourite.
Let’s look at an example.
Andy Murray, a former Wimbledon winner and world number one heads into most matches as favourite by precedent. However, with our pre-match research we know is returning from injury slowly.
He begins the match with Marius Copil slowly.
Copil takes the first set. This will cause the price to jump around a bit. Being a trader we don’t want to make any impulse bets.
With the research we’ve done, we still think that Murray should come through this game and beat Copil.
Copil’s odds will have fallen slightly after going a set up in a three-set match. This is our entry point.
We lay Copil.
Now we wait.
Andy Murray takes the second set. We then decide to exit the trade and back Copil now his price has risen.
This time we have done a lay to back trade. The idea still stands. Lay at the shortest price and back at the highest price. Then green up so you win whatever the outcome.
Look how close the last set was!
No need to be watching the screen biting your nails. You have taken your profit and are already on your way to the next one.
Note – we will avoid bets where the odds of the lay bet is too large. The liability will be too large for our bankroll and put us in too much risk. Bet sensible.
Trading the WTA
Women’s tennis provides a great opportunity to find value. This is because there are, on average, a fair few more breaks of serve.
Breaks can cause bigger movements in the odds. You can put to use the above tennis trading strategies to find your entry and exit points.
If a player breaks a serve it will cause not only the match winner market to move but also the set winner.
If we look at the set winner market there will be chances to back the winner and hopefully watch as they take charge of their own service game. We can then look to place our lay bet.
It is important to look for a match where you have a good server and not so good returner. Women’s tennis has a lower percentage of service games held than the men’s matches. It should be easier to find discrepancies.
By putting all of these Betfair tennis trading strategies into use there is some good profit to be had.
Head over to the exchange and take a look at some of the tennis trading markets mentioned. Watch how the odds move in respect to the score and imagine your entry and exit points.
Start small, remember we want to be taking profit whatever the outcome. That’s the art of tennis trading.
About the Author
This post was written by Max. Max has been writing and editing for Beating Betting since August 2019. He's a massive sports fan and got into matched betting a few years ago.