Tennis Trading Strategies -The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!

Tennis Trading Strategies - Aus Open
Tennis in Melbourne

Introduction to Tennis Trading

In this article, I will explain the tennis trading strategies I use on a daily basis to make a living.

Tennis trading is not new, It has been around since the introduction of Betfair back in 2001. If you are not aware what Tennis trading is it is basically trying to lock in a profit through the placing of multiple bets in a single tennis match.

It is usually achieved using a betting exchange like Betfair or Betdaq but it is also possible to achieve using conventional bookmakers.

In order to be able to trade a tennis match, you need a good understanding of tennis trading strategies and how to fit them to specific matches. In this guide, I will explain each of the tennis trading strategies I use and how I apply them to specific matches.

Tennis Trading Strategies – Back The server

This is one of the most popular tennis trading strategies that many have been using for years. In a nutshell, it involves doing exactly what it says on the tin. When a player is serving you place a back bet on them and once they have held their serve you can lay the money back.

In my honest opinion, this is almost a flawed trading strategy in that you can call six trades correct in a row and make a small profit on each they to be wiped out on the seventh attempt.

With that being said it does have a place and I sometimes use this strategy when everything else aligns to support it. For example. In the third set between two strong servers, I may use this strategy as the market is generally balanced on a knife-edge in this stage of the game. Particularly on slower surfaces like clay.

Because of that, the movement in the odds will be a lot more volatile than they would have been in, say the first set. I may be able to lay a player at 1.5 and hedge one they have held serve at 3.0. This means I need to call this strategy correct around 3 in 4 attempts to see a positive expectancy over time.

In terms of finding out which players have better records on specific surfaces, I use my own compiled data but there are lots of statistics available for free on sites like the ATP.

Below is a screenshot showing which Roger Federer’s serve data against all players in 2019. Take a look at this helpful tool and have a play with it.

Check out the latest Live Tennis Scores here.

Roger Federer

Tennis Trading Strategies – Lay the Server

Laying the server is very similar to backing the server, just polar opposites. This strategy is one I use almost every day. Again there is a process to go through in order to find matches and players that will suit this tennis trading strategy.

I generally use this strategy when trading either WTA matches or matches on slower surfaces like clay. I typically only use this strategy when the risk to reward ratio is very much in my favour, for example when a player is winning a set 5-4 on serve and serving to take it.

In this kind of position, the odds will not be too far away from what the odds will be if they go on to win the set. If they fail to hold serve you will have a big move on your favour and be able to lock in a decent return on your risk.

The ideal set up for this type of trade is having a player with a low serve hold % playing a player with a high % of return games won. Add a slow clay court and you have the perfect recipe for a trade.

Spread ex offer

Tennis Trading Strategies – Lay server when winning by set and break.

The tennis scoring system implies that when players are leading a three-set match by a set and a break, they are almost at the finish line. This is generally reflected in the odds and a player that was 2.0 pre-game will be trading about the 1.1 ish mark.

This is however not always the case. In fact in ATP just over 30% of the time these players lose there break lead to at least go back on serve. In the WTA this number is much bigger at just over 40%.

The best thing about this strategy is low risk with big returns if successful. You can still find yourself in a winning position even if your player fails to break their opponent and just merely makes the game a test for the server and you remove some of your liability during the match.

To make the most of this strategy I suggest you watch the match live and follow some in-play statistics to judge whether the player winning by a set and break is doing so because they have been the better player or just because they have won key points at the right time.

Tennis Trading Strategies – Lay the first set winner.

Laying the player who has taken the 1st set is a strategy I generally stay away from and one I have had little success with over the years. This doesn’t mean it cannot be of use to others and I would encourage you to at least have a look at it.

I suggest only really doing this when one of two situations occur. Firstly when the 1st set has been a very close affair and the set was decided by a tie break. This implies that the match is likely to be more competitive than the scoreline suggests and you may be able to squeeze a trade out of it.

Secondly, when a big pre-match favourite, (<1.2) has lost the 1st set. You would expect the pre-match favourite to at least make the match competitive and you are very likely to be able to have the opportunity to trade out of your position for a profit.

In general, though, I would rather wait and see if I can lay the same player at a lower price if/when they go a set and a break in front. Trading is all about winning more than you lose and ensuring a low risk, high reward strategy will certainly help you to become profitable faster.

Tennis Trading Strategies – Over and under reactions

This may seem a simple one but often at key points in matches, the prices will both over and under-react. The best way to look out for these is by using trading software like Gruss or Betangel. I have written a Gruss software review and a bet angel review which will help what is best for you.

Ultimately, at the end of a set, a players price may be backed into a price much lower than the market anticipates, you will be able to see this from the matched volume amounts and at what price it is being matched. I often use bigger stakes in this position if I think a player may move 2 or 3 ticks. As the ball is out of play you are not at risk of being picked off by courtsiders.

Tennis Trading Strategies – Spread betting

Spread betting seems to be overlooked a lot but it has become a big part of my overall tennis betting/trading strategy. That much so I even wrote an article just about it. Take a look at that here if you want to go into more depth.

Tennis and spread betting go hand in hand due to the catatonic and dynamic way the game is scored. I particularly like buying total games when we have two very strong servers that are both not great at returning. Players like John Isner and Ivo Karlovic are perfect examples.

On top of that, we need a fast-paced court surface like grass or indoor hard. This sets up a perfect storm for a lot of games to be played in said match.

Like I said, If you want to know more about Tennis spread betting take a look at the article. It contains videos and step by step guides.

Tennis Trading – Top tips.

  1. Use Betting Software – I recommend Bet Angel. I’m sure you can get a free trial with them. There are literally hundreds of videos on the bet angel youtube channel explaining how to use the software. It is a must for any serious tennis trader.
  2. Be aware of people with faster data. There are usually courtsiders at a lot of the tennis tour events. These are people who take advantage of the latency between live and data transmissions. Where there are not courtside bettors there are faster feeds and people betting directly with official data. To ensure you don’t get stung, only bet when the ball is out of play.
  3. Make sure you only trade one match at a time and have access to the fastest feed you can get. I usually use Betfair or Bet365 as they seem to be best.
  4. Always have a trading plan – Planning to fail is failing to plan.
  5. Finally, don’t force a trade, There are 48 weeks of tennis a year, there is always another match. If a said match is not on your trade plan for the said day, don’t even look at it.

I hope you have found this article helpful. If you have any queries, leave a reply below or contact me on Twitter HERE