Beginners Guide to Tennis Betting

As exciting team sports are, they always involve a multitude of factors. There are just too many things going on at the same time, and it can be hard to follow them all. That’s why tennis betting might prove to be a great solution. It’s played either in 1v1 or 2v2 form, so you can do extensive research about the athletes. At tennis betting sites, your research and preparation mean something.

With that in mind, we wanted to show you how to get started. Our guide will teach you about the rules while also giving you insight into the best bookies and the most popular competitions. After just a few days, you’ll be able to turn your bets from faults into aces. Ready to take control of your slips? If so, let’s dive right in.

Page Navigation

Understanding the Rules

tennis game on a stadium

It’s hard to sum up decades of history and development into just a few lines, but that just happens to be our speciality. The NostraBet team condensed the rulebook into a few essential pointers. Study them thoroughly, and you’ll be able to make use of any tennis odds you encounter.

Tennis is played on a rectangular court, separated in two equal halves by a net. The net is relatively short in height, and its bottom part is placed at ground level. Each half has several components to it. There’s the baseline, which marks the outer limit of where a ball is allowed to land. The service area is just beyond the net, and players have to serve the ball in that exact spot. Also, it’s worth mentioning the tramline. It goes right down the length of the court and separates the service area from the sideline.

A tennis court can be made out of several different surfaces. Grass, hard, clay, and artificial grass are the most common ones. They all cause the ball to bounce differently and affect the players’ movement and decision-making.

The sport can be played in both singles and doubles. Singles allow tennis players to move anywhere they want in their own half. On the other hand, doubles restrict each player in the pair to a quarter of the court. They can move when the ball is served, but the same player cannot touch the ball with their racket two times in a row. So, if they defend a shot, they must fall back and let the other person take the next shot.

As for the objective of tennis, it’s to score four points and win a game. Unlike other sports, where ‘game’ means ‘match, duel, sporting event,’ it’s just a unit in tennis. In each game, a different player serves. The exact order is determined by a coin toss at the beginning of the match. The tennis player who wins the coin toss gets to pick who serves first or who will play. This is important, especially during outdoor events during the daytime. Having the sun shining in your face for a whole set can be a detriment.

A server must hit the diagonally opposite serving area, and he/she mustn’t make a mistake two times in a row. After the first attempt, they get another try. However, if they fail the second one, it’s a double fault, and the opponent gets the point.

When the ball is served or hit in any way, it can only bounce one time before the player has to hit it. If they manage to return it right away, the ball is still alive. If it bounces two times or goes out of bounds after the first bounce, you lose the point.

When a player serves during a game, he or she has several chances of reaching the four points. They aren’t scored in the form of 1, 2, 3, and 4, but instead go like this — 15, 30, 40, and the winning point. A player can only win the game if they win by two points or more. If the score is tied at 40-40, it’s a deuce. Then, a game can theoretically last for an infinite amount of time until someone scores two points in a row.

Games comprise a set. To win a tennis set, you have to win at least 6 sets by a difference of two or more. The only exception is when there’s a 6-6 score. Some tournaments required you to always win by two games or more, which created multiple hour-long battles on the court. To shorten the duration of tennis matches, the tiebreak was introduced. It’s basically like a game, but points are counted regularly (from 1 to beyond). The player or double that scores 7 points first, and leads by 2 points or more, wins. So, if the score is 6-5, a normal game is played. If the score is 6-6, the set ends by either 7-6 or 6-7.

tennis racket and balls

A tennis match is finished when a player wins the most sets in a best of 3 or a 5 system. In tennis betting, you’ll find that all women’s events are played in a best of 3 due to the increased stamina that men possess. However, it’s also worth mentioning that men only play the best of 5 at Grand Slam tournaments. Masters, challengers, the ATP 250 Series — everything else is a best of 3.

The only thing left to discuss is the equipment. You need a racket to hit the tennis ball. It’s a carbon fiber tool with a round area at the top, covered by highly-strung strings made out of various types of material. Since they are so tight, a ball that’s struck can bounce off with lots of velocities. As for the ball, it’s always fluorescent yellow and can be up to 2.7 inches in diameter and 2.1 ounces in weight. Special tennis shoes are also used.

Basic Terms

See, those rules weren’t so hard, were they? If you want to try tennis betting online, there’s no way around them. Even when they do become ingrained in your mind, it’s still hard to navigate the glossary. That’s why we went on a journey to see what are the most essential tennis terms.

We found a bunch and explained them in as few words as possible. Whether it’s tennis spread betting or something else, you’re going to need them. So, here are the essential terms.

  • Break – When a player loses the game during which he’s serving.
  • Deep shot – Any shot that first touches the opponent’s side of the court near the baseline.
  • Chip – A block was performed with the racket on a backspinning ball.
  • Down the line shot – A shot that’s parallel to the sideline.
  • Drop shot – A shot that’s placed to fall just beyond the net and is considered hard to reach.
  • Forehand – Hitting the ball with a swing that impacts the ball when it’s behind your body, to the side.
  • Backhand – When you hit the ball with a swing that goes across your body and hits the ball just as it’s in front of you.
  • Hold – When the server wins the game and prevents a break.
  • Jam – Striking the ball right into the opponent’s body, preventing them from hitting it properly. It’s considered a dirty play.
  • Out – Whenever the ball’s first bounce occurs outside the permitted area of the court.
  • Forced/unforced error – An error that occurs without the influence of an opponent’s play is an unforced one. A forced error is when the other player hits the ball so that you can’t return it properly.
  • Game/set/match point – When only one point is needed for a tennis player to win the game, set, or match.

Where to Find Tennis Betting Websites?

Rating: 5.0/5
  • Different bonuses
  • Cash Out
  • Different payment methods
  • High odds
New Customers only. Registration required. Bet £10* & Get £30* in Free Bets. Sign up, deposit between £5* and £10* to your account and bet365 will give you three times that value in Free Bets when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. +18 | Terms & Conditions time limits & exclusions apply. #Advertisement
Rating: 4.9/5
  • High odds
  • Great markets
  • Superb support
  • Welcome offers
New customers only. Min Deposit: £10. First deposit matched up to £10. 1 x wagering at odds of 1.75+ to unlock Free Bet. Debit Card & PayPal deposits only. This offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. Terms apply 18+ | |
Rating: 4.6/5
  • Fantastic bonuses
  • Good sportsbook
  • Amazing casino games
  • Many payment methods
#ad • +18 Min deposit £10 • A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 • Min odds 1/2 (1.50) • Free Bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days • Free Bet stakes not included in returns • Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days and expires after 14 days • Bonus valid on selected Casino games only • Bonus wins capped at £500, excluding Jackpot wins • You must wager Bonus amount x40 – this requirement varies by game Full T&Cs apply | begamblingaware | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.2/5
  • An amazing sportsbook
  • Superb bonus offers
  • Cash-out feature available
  • Mobile apps
18+ | New Players only | Get up to £50 in FreeBets, an Odds Boost Token, 20 Free Spins and £10 Casino Bonus when you sign up to Sportingbet today. | T&C apply | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.7/5
  • Big range of sport betting options
  • High odds
  • Casino games
  • Poker platform
18+ | New UK players only | Min deposit req. £10 | Certain deposit methods excluded | Pace 1 sport bet (3+ selections) } Excl Horse Racing| Min stake £10 | Max stake £20 | Min odds 1/5 (1.5) for each selection | Max FreeBet £20 for football only | FreeBet valid for 7 days | FreeBet stake not returned | T&Cs apply | |
Rating: 4.9/5
  • Wide range of casino games
  • Hundreds of sports betting markets
  • Lots of other betting options like bingo and poker
  • Cash Out option
New customers using Promo Code P30 only, min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15 (30 days expiry), free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply. 18+ T&C apply | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.5/5
  • Variety of sports markets
  • Good odds
  • Mobile apps for Android & iOS
  • Bonuses for existing customers
18+. UK Customers (Excluding NI) only. Cash stakes only. Min £10 stake required for initial £5 free bet. Min odds ½. Max £25 in free bets. Subsequent free bets equal 50% average of each 3 £5 max qualifying bets. 13 settled bets required to receive full £25 free bet. Qualifying bets must be placed on sportsbook within 30 days of opening account. Cashed out bets will not qualify towards your average stake. One free bet offer per customer, household or IP address only. Free bet expires after 7 days. Payment method restrictions apply. T&Cs apply | |
Rating: 4.6/5
  • Great selection of sports betting markets
  • Competitive Odds
  • Various Betting Features
  • Android and iOS mobile apps
NEW Significant terms: T&Cs apply. New customers, Deposit & Place a Bet within 7 days, and settle a £10 minimum bet at odds of 4/5 (1.8) or greater, to be credited with 3x £10 free bets: 1 x £10 Horse racing, 1 x £10 Free Bet Builder and 1 x £10 Football. Stake not returned. Opt-in required. 18+ | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.6/5
  • Great selection of sports markets
  • High-level Odds
  • Casino Games
  • Excellent Betting Features Included
*New members. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Register before 17:59 8/04/20022 and after 18.00 9/04/2022. Win part of the E/W bets. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: accept in 7 days, valid for 7 days from acceptance (ex E/Ws & Multiples), stakes not returned. 18+ T&Cs Apply | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.6/5
  • Good looking website
  • An operator with a long history
  • Great selection of sports
  • Helpful customer support
18+ Eligible UK+IRE players. Paypal & some deposit & bet types excl. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. No cashout, restrictions + T&Cs apply. | |
Rating: 4.6/5
  • eSports betting markets
  • Live Casino
  • Mobile apps for Android and iOS
  • Cash out option
New Customers only. Deposit, opt in and place a £5 qualifying bet at odds of 2.00 or greater within 7 days of opening a new account; excludes cashed out bets. Receive 2x £10 Free Sports Bets, valid on set events only at odds 2.00 or greater, expires in 7 days.  Plus a £10 Game Show Bonus, selected games, wager 40x to withdraw a max of £250. PayPal and Card Payments only. Geographical Restrictions and T&Cs Apply. Please Gamble Responsibly. | |
Rating: 4.6/5
  • Good bonuses
  • Big range of sports betting options
  • Different casino games
  • Mobile apps
New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 50x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. No deposit required for NI customers. Call 08081699314 to claim. Full T&Cs apply | 18+ | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.6/5
  • Huge amount of promotions
  • Live dealer and casino games
  • VIP program
  • Helpful customer support
New Players Only. Free bet is a one-time stake of €/$/£10, minimum odds of 1.5, stake is not returned. 10X wagering the winnings. Wagering occurs from real balance first. Wagering requirement is calculated on bonus bets only, wagering starts from real funds. Max conversion: €/$/£20. Valid for 7 Days from issue. Excluded Skrill deposits. 18+ T&C apply | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.6/5
  • Licensed Brand
  • Easy-to-navigate Platform
  • Excellent Odds
  • Great Betting Products
New customers & 18+ only. Min. deposit of £/€10. Qualifying real money bet of £/€10. Min. odds greater than or equal to 1.50 required. Each way bets excluded. Offer credited within 48 hours. Additional T&Cs apply. | 18+ | |
Rating: 4.6/5
  • Attractive Odds
  • Fun bets available
  • Cash-out feature
18+ | UK new customers only | KYC verified | Min £10 bet | Max £20 free bet (2 x £10) full amount awarded on losing first bet only | Min odds 7/10 (1.70) | Free bet stake not returned | Certain Markets/sports/payment methods restrictions apply | Cashed-out and Bet Builder bets are excluded from this offer | Qualifying bet must be made within 30 days | Free bet valid for 30 days | T&C's apply | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.5/5
  • Odds promotions
  • Good sports betting
  • Opportunity to watch the games live
New 18+ UK customers only. Register using the promo code WELCOME40, deposit and place first bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+) within 7 days of registration. First bet must be on Sports. £30 in Free Bets and £10 in Free Spins (50x20p) credited within 10 hours of bet settlement. Free Bet stakes are not included in any returns. Bonuses have a 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required. Full T&Cs apply. | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.5/5
  • Many betting markets
  • Cash-out option is active
  • Superb website design
  • Fantastic casino section
New customers only. Max one £10 Free bet. Qualifying bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater. Paid as bonus token with min 4/5 odds req. Skrill, Neteller, Paypal not eligible. T&Cs apply. 18+ | |
Rating: 4.5/5
  • Good welcome offer
  • Active cash-out option
  • Plenty of sports
New bettors get 50% of deposit up to £50; Once per household; Min deposit £15 (no Skrill/Neteller); Wager 8 times deposit + bonus, max qualifying bet equal to initial bonus amount; valid for 60 days; Min odds of 4/5 on singles or 2/5 per acca leg; Some bet types excluded; See full terms; 18+ | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.5/5
  • Reputable and licensed brand
  • Excellent horse racing section
  • Outstanding Club in Central London
  • Good odds
New customers only aged 21+. Minimum deposit £10. Qualifying bet must be placed at odds of evens (2.0) or greater. Get 50% back on first day losses as a free bet up to £50 plus 10 free spins on Reel King, credited within 24 hours. Free Bet and Spins expire in 7 days. T&Cs apply. Please bet responsibly. | |
Rating: 4.6/5
  • High Odds
  • Good Mobile Apps
  • Reliable Customer Support
  • Quick Payments
18+ New UK+IRE customers. Certain deposits and bet types excl. Min £/€5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x /€5 free bets. Free bets valid available to use on selected sportsbook markets only. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. Rrestrictions + T&Cs apply. | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.6/5
  • Big list of sports
  • Great betting features
  • Variety of casino games
  • Nice payment options
New Players Only. Minimum stake €/£/$10, minimum odds 1.5, stake not refunded. 10X wagering the winning from the free bet. Wagering occurs from real balance first. Wagering requirement is calculated on bonus bets only wagering starts from real funds. Free bet is valid for 7 Days from issue. Maximum conversion: €/£/$20. Excluded Skrill deposits. 18+ T&C apply | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.5/5
  • Variety of sport markets
  • eSports and Virtuals in place
  • Cash-out option available
  • Helpful customer support
New Players Only. Minimum £10 qualifying bets, stake not returned. Free bet is a one-time stake of £10, minimum odds of 1.50, stake is not returned. 10X wagering the winnings. Wagering occurs from real balance first. Wagering requirement is calculated on bonus bets only, wagering starts from real funds. Max conversion: £20. Valid for 7 Days from issue. Excluded Skrill deposits. Full Terms apply. 18+ | |
Rating: 4.7/5
  • Licensed bookmaker and casino
  • Trusted brand
  • High odds on sports
  • Professional Support
18+ Opt in, bet £10 on football (odds 2.00+). No cash out. Get 6x£5 football free bets at specified odds for set markets, 7 days expiry. Valid from 12:00 UK Time on 25/08/2023. Card payments only. T&Cs apply | | | Please gamble responsibly
Rating: 4.5/5
  • Competitive Odds
  • Great range of betting markets
  • Exclusive Features like Bet.Battle
  • Various Payment Methods
New Customers Only. Max one £10 Free bet. Qualifying bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater. Paid as bonus token with min 4/5 odds req. Skrill, Neteller & PayPal not Eligible. T&Cs Apply. 18+ | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.5/5
  • Good welcome bonus
  • A ton of sport markets
  • Casino games in place
  • Helpful customer support
New Players Only. Minimum £10 qualifying bets, stake not returned. Free bet is a one-time stake of £30, minimum odds of 2, stake is not returned, maximum Conversion £30, 10X wagering the winnings. Wagering occurs from real balance first. Wagering requirement is calculated on bonus bets only, wagering starts from real funds. Valid for 5 Days from issue. Excluded Skrill deposits. Full Terms apply. 18+ | |
Rating: 4.5/5
  • Great selection of sports
  • Casino games available
  • Helpful customer support
  • Competitive odds
New customers only. Max one £10 Free bet. Qualifying bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater. Paid as bonus toket with min 4/5 odds req. Skrill, Neteller & PayPal not eligible. Real money bets required. First bet required to opt into next tournament. T&Cs apply. 18+. | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.5/5
  • Good looking website
  • Great selection of sports
  • Cash-out feature available
  • Helpful customer support
Sig. terms: New customers only. First £10+ (£10 E/W) real money bet at odds of 2.0+ qualifies. £10 free bet credited following bet settlement and to be used on sports. Stake not returned, use within 7 days. |
Rating: 4.5/5
  • Generous bonuses
  • VIP program for punters
  • Lots of features for Sports & Casino
  • Great payment methods
New Customers only. Max one £10 free bet. Qualifying bets must be placed at odds 1/1 or greater. Paid as bonus token with min 4/5 odds req. Skrill, Neteller & Paypal not eligible. T&CS APPLY. 18+ | |
Rating: 4.5/5
  • Rich Sports betting section
  • High Odds
  • A lot of betting features
  • Mobile apps
18+ T&C apply | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.5/5
  • Useful and good looking design
  • You can easily get mobile apps for Android & iOS
  • Good promotions including a welcome bonus
Deposit at least £10 to claim £20 free bet credit. Winnings from free bet credit paid into cash balance, minus the free bet credit amount. Match condition for the first three Bet Request received. Any losses from first three Bet Requests covered by free bet credit up to a maximum of £20 in total. | 18+T&C apply | | |
Rating: 4.5/5
  • Good payment methods
  • Allows easier access to mobile betting games without the need of a browser
Sign-up today with bonus code MB20. Place your first bet at odds of 1.8 or more, and if it loses, we will refund your stake as a single free bet. Once your first bet has settled, you will receive 20 free spins on Starburst.. 18+ T&C apply | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.5/5
  • Amazing sportsbook
  • Offers a welcome bonus for new customers
  • Provides applications for iOS and Android

Show More

NostraBet’s list of the top-rated bookmakers for tennis betting has everything you need. We did all the work just so you don’t have to put up with all the hassle. Not only did we create accounts and look around, but we also chased down countless tennis betting lines, claimed bonuses, and much more. So, once you master the rules and watch a few matches, you can choose from our recommended tennis bookies and start playing. Good luck!

Which Are the Most Popular Tournaments?

tennis player on court playing

Make no mistake. Tennis isn’t a niche sport. As it’s being played worldwide, on multiple levels, you can always find something to bet on. However, the NostraBet team has a bit of advice for you. Only base your strategy around the top events. Not only do they feature the best players, but they also have excellent coverage in terms of stats or tips. Choose between these tournaments:

Grand Slam

The big four of tennis tournaments. They yield the highest amount of ATP/WTA Tour points and make the winners a part of tennis history forever.

Australian Open

As the first Grand Slam of the year, it gives you a good feeling of what the season is going to look like. It’s also a great excuse to try out tennis handicap betting.

Roland Garros

This is the second Grand Slam tournament in the tennis calendar. Usually, this competition takes place in May, and its home is France. The surface is clay.


Played during the summer in London, this is the most historic tennis Grand Slam of all. The grass is the surface, and athletes traditionally wear white clothing.

US Open

The last Grand Slam of the year, it’s played on a hard surface in New York.

ATP Tour

A cumulative name for every men’s tournament during the year that contributes to the ATP rankings. From the Masters to the 250 series, there are always tennis betting markets to go around.

WTA Tour

The female equivalent of the ATP Tour features many of the same events that men play. However, some WTA Tour events don’t have a male counterpart.

ITF series

As the lowest tier of professional play, it gives young male and female athletes a chance to ascend the ranks of the tennis world. Organized by the ITF.

Challenger tournaments

If you’re successful at the ITF Tour, you can play ATP/WTA Challenger events. If you win enough, you can ascend to the main ATP tour and play the biggest competitions.

Short History and Facts

Modern tennis can be traced all the way back to 12th century France, where King Louis X fell in love with the ‘game of the palm’. It was a favourite of European nobles at the time and was the same as tennis, except that they used to hit the ball with their palms. It wasn’t until the 16th century when the first rackets were used, that the game started evolving.

We can also trace the modern game back to 19th century Britain, where the invention of the lawnmower led to the first grass courts appearing. However, when talking about tennis history, we usually think of the Open Era. It was only in 1968 when all Grand Slams allowed anyone to qualify, regardless of professional status. Basically, it’s the first time tennis was standardized. It allows bettors and fans to realistically compare and analyze matches and events in a linear fashion.

And top it all off, here are some fun facts you might not have known:

  • Yellow balls are used for better visibility on TV. White ones were used up to 1986.
  • Initially, women had to wear dresses during matches.
  • Arthur Ashe is the first African American player to prevail at the US Open and is considered an icon and a trailblazer.
  • The average tennis player runs a whopping 3 miles during a match, despite the fact that they mostly move in short bursts.

Final Thoughts

Tennis betting is a great solution for any punter looking to eliminate a lot of risks. If you bet on singles, you only have to focus on two players and two different strategies at a time. And the best part? There are no draws, so there can only be two outcomes, as well. It’s also one of the fastest and most fun sports you can play, watch, and bet on. It will make your time at online bookies fun and worthwhile.


How to bet on tennis?

Pick one of our recommended tennis betting sites, learn the rules, prepare, and find odds that suit you.

Is it easy to bet on tennis matches?

Yes. There aren’t any convoluted rules or things that you have to watch out for. However, you still have to do research and avoid overly big risks.

Where can I find tennis betting markets for Wimbledon?

All the best tennis bookmakers offer lines for Wimbledon matches. Whether it’s the qualifiers or the main event, you’ll find a lot of action.

Can I bet on tennis doubles matches?

Of course, but we believe singles are easier, have better odds, and are more fun to watch.

What are the best tennis betting sites?

Everyone has a different taste, but you can check out our custom-made list to see what we think are the best picks.

Can I profit from tennis betting?

Yes, if you play things smart and don’t pounce on markets without doing the necessary research. Be patient and don’t chase losses.

Should I only bet on the favourites?

Not always. Sometimes, the bookie gets things wrong and overlooks some important factors. Differences in style, nagging injuries, and coaches are important too, believe it or not.

Veselin Ignatov
Veselin Ignatov
Certified Expert Certified Expert
Veselin's primary job is to create unique content, such as reviews and analyses of different bookmakers and other topics from the iGaming industry.