Handicap bets on tennis

Handicap bets on tennis

Handicap bets on tennis
Autor betsonly 21 Nov 2018

This form of betting is getting more popular and we explain under what circumstances you should place a handicap bet on tennis.

Handicap betting in general has become an increasingly popular way for the casual player to bet on sport in recent years, and tennis is no exception. This is because handicap odds offer more chances to win, and a bet can succeed even if the player on whom you are betting loses their match overall.

What is a handicap bet? Put simply, it is a way of evening up the odds between two players, where one is higher ranked or stronger than the other. It is a bet on the number of games that each player will win in a set or match in total compared to the other, once the handicap has been taken into account.

There are two types of handicap – plus and minus handicaps. In terms of a plus handicap, the total number of games that a player wins in total will be adjusted upwards by the handicap set of games set by the bookmaker, to determine an adjusted amount. And, as the name suggests, a minus handicap works in the opposite way, and the number of games that they win has a handicap deduction applied.

In practice, handicaps are not expressed in whole numbers but in fractions – for example +/- 1.5, +/- 2.5 etc. This is because, in order to ensure that bookmakers always earns something on a bet, as opposed to whole numbers where they could end up earning nothing. They do this by dividing their gamblers into two groups – those on the plus side of the handicap, and those on the minus side. Thus, even if more people bet on the plus side of the handicap and succeed, the bookmaker has partially laid the bet with those who have bet on the minus handicap and lost.

This form of betting is best illustrated by two examples.

For example, if Novak Djokovic was expected to beat Kei Nishikori, and was given a handicap of -3.5, then a bet on a 6-4.6-4 victory would still win. This is because the total number of games won by Djokovic with his handicap of 8.5 (12 – 3.5) would still be greater than the number won by Nishikori (8).

If, however, you bet on Kevin Anderson to beat Grigor Dimitrov by two sets to love with a handicap of -1.5, and he only won by the odd set in three, then the bet would be lost. This is because Anderson’s handicapped score of 2 would be less than Dimitrov’s adjusted total of 2.5 (1+1.5).

Under what circumstances should you place a handicap bet. Usually the best advice is to look for a heavy favourite who is in form, as they will have a very good chance of beating their handicap, despite what their opponent may do.

Another good tip is to stick to ATP events rather than the WTA. This is because, at the elite level, matches between the top players are actually much more predictable between men than women, as evidenced by the fact that the same three players – Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer – have won all the Grand Slam titles between them in the past three years, whilst, on the women’s side, there have been no fewer than eight separate winners in the same time.

Another good tip is to look for a heavy server, who may not have enough weapons to win a match overall, but could take their opponent to tie breaks in each set, and thus beat their opponent’s total number of games when the handicap is applied.

Betting on the handicap, therefore, gives you higher odds of a good pay out, rather than having a straight wager on whether a player will win a particular match, or even set.