Betting on tennis in the Olympics is different than betting on other sports. Tennis is a very popular betting sport essentially year round, and the Olympics fall right in the middle of the busiest and most popular part of the schedule. That means that there are more bettors who will be interested in tennis than many Olympic sports, and more informed bettors as well. You can do very well betting on Olympic tennis if you have a strong plan for picking winners. Here are six factors for Olympic tennis handicappers to consider when crafting that plan:
What’s the surface? – The surface the Olympic tennis tournament is played on is not consistent. It varies depending on the venue, the preference of the organizers, and the details of the Olympic bid. As is always the case in any major tennis event, the surface is perhaps the single biggest factor in handicapping. Some surfaces act as a major advantage to players suited to them, while others can be a huge handicap for players better suited for other surfaces. A clay specialist, for example, will have serious issues if the tournament is played on hard court unless he is able to adapt. It’s important, then, to make sure that you are truly betting on the players best suited to playing on the particular surface of the tournament as opposed to the best overall players. Some simple research into what the surface is, how it impacts players, and which players it best suits will be an excellent investment of time for the sports handicapper.
Look at recent form and workload – The Summer Olympics occur, shockingly, in the summer. That’s an incredibly busy time for the tennis world. The French Open kicks off the summer and ends the clay season, then the brief grass season is capped by Wimbledon. Then it is the transition to hard courts for major Masters series events and other big tournaments leading into the U.S. Open in Early September. For players who have had particularly successful summers, the Olympics can come in the midst of a long season in which they have played a whole lot of tennis. That can be positive or negative. On one hand it makes it easy to get a sense of their recent form because they have played so much. On the other hand it can mean that top tennis players can be worn out and unable to perform at their best. Spotting players who have been very active and are showing signs of wear and tear is a great way to avoid making costly bets with little chance of profit.
How engaged is the player? – For some tennis players the Olympics are an incredible honor – the biggest event on the calendar and something they have been looking forward to for years. For others it’s just another event, and perhaps one that isn’t even as significant to them as a Grand Slam. The more sense you can get of how the players are viewing their participation in the Games, the more you can tell about their focus and commitment. Sports bettors need to understand that when two players have similar talent levels the difference in commitment can be the defining factor in the outcome of a match.
How does the bracket play out? – Like almost every tournament, the Olympics feature a single elimination format. That means that the way the brackets are drawn can seriously affect the outcome of a tournament. A tennis player could be worn down after facing multiple very strong opponents in a row, or could be in top form later on if he faces weak opposition. In the Olympics studying the bracket is especially important because the country format and the comparatively small field can mean that there are some competitors who are much weaker than what a top player would typically face in the round of 64 or 32.
Look for upset potential – As a general rule the betting public will heavily back the big names and biggest stars – especially in early rounds. That means that the biggest single betting opportunity in Olympic tennis is to look for spots where those stars are vulnerable to an upset. The public won’t be looking for those upsets so they can offer a whole lot of value. Smart sports bettor when handicapping will look for things such as players who have had surprising success against a star in the past, a star who isn’t well suited to a surface playing a player who is a specialist, or a fresh underdog in top form against a worn out favorite coming off a grueling stretch of tournaments.
Consider doubles – In Olympic tennis, normally doubles doesn’t get a whole lot of betting attention. In the Olympics, though, it is well worth paying attention to. Doubles are very much an international affair on the WTA and ATP tours. Top teams frequently are made up of players from different countries. In the Olympics, though, those teams cannot play together. That means that elite players are forced to play with fellow countrymen – often ones that aren’t at their same level. That means that the biggest names in the sport may not perform up to their potential. It also means that those top teams that do play with a fellow countryman can have a particular advantage heading into the Olympics because they will have much more chemistry and familiarity heading into the tournament than many of their opponents. If you want to be a winning sports bettor be sure to consider this when handicapping Olympic tennis.