When it comes to betting on Grand Slam tennis there are big differences between betting on men and betting on women. I’m obviously not suggesting that one is better or more worthwhile, but different rules and strengths lead to the necessity of different betting approaches if you wish to succeed equally well betting both sides of a tournament. Here are four distinct differences between the two genders on the court, and the betting impact they have:
Stamina – Men face a much tougher test of endurance over the course of a Grand Slam tournament than women do. There is one simple and obvious reason for that – their matches are the best of five sets, while women play best of three. That means women could win a major tournament by winning just 14 sets over three weeks, while men have to play at least 21 games – and often many more than that. Since all of the tournaments are played in places that can get hot and where the heat is a real issue, so the extra action can be a real issue over the tournament. That means that while stamina is always a concern when handicapping a Grand Slam tournament, it is especially a concern on the men’s side. If a male player comes into a tournament at less than full physical capacity – either because of poor training or general conditioning, or because an injury has affected his preparation – then it can be very challenging for him to reach his potential. It can be easy for bettors to be blinded to the full impact of stamina issues for male players because the tournaments players play to prepare for the big events are only three set affairs so a player can succeed in those while not having the stamina to succeed on the larger stage.
Wear and tear – Because men have to play more games over the course of a deep tournament run, there is a much bigger chance of getting run down or banged up. The longer games are, the more likely they can be delayed, and therefore the more likely that players will have to bounce back quickly from a tough match. Heading into any game in a two week tournament it is absolutely crucial to get a sense not just of what the player is capable of at their best, but what they are capable of now given their health, fitness and general readiness. That’s even more important on the men’s side, though, given that they are asked to endure more. The added potential for wear and team also means that there is a greater potential for a large gap in readiness and general wellness between opponents in a match. If one opponent has had an easy road and is well rested then they could have a huge advantage over an opponent that has played long, tough matches with little rest – even if the more rested player isn’t the best one on paper.
Serves – Men simply serve much, much harder than women do. There are many top male players who have second serves harder than the hardest serves women can manage. Depending on which Grand Slam it is – serves are much more of a factor at Wimbledon than the French Open, for example – a big, powerful serve can be a big handicapping factor on a game. The serves can also be a big factor for women, but because the serves aren’t typically nearly as strong the impact of a strong serve isn’t as significant. In other words, a man with a huge serve has much more of an opportunity to change a game than a woman with a cannon attached to her racket.
Public attention – The public tends to view mens and womens tennis differently. Things change depending upon the players involved and the strength of both sides, but as a general rule more attention gets paid to the male players than the female – as is the case in most sports. If there is a particularly dominant woman player or a big rivalry then they will get plenty of attention, but there will be more known about more male players by the general public. It’s also far more likely that a female player will be more well known and therefore popular for bettors because of things other than their play – their looks, relationships, fashion choices, and so on – than men, and that can have a big impact on how people bet and where the value is as a result. Another factor is that men tend to develop and mature more slowly, but stay in their prime longer once they do, so it is easier for a casual bettor to have a reasonably accurate sense of male tennis strength than it is on the women’s side.