The French Open, which starts on Sunday, kicks off a busy season of tennis. Between ow and early September we see three Grand Slam events, with each one lasting two weeks. For casual tennis bettors there is no better time to get into the sport and make some money. If you aren’t a regular tennis bettor, though, betting on tennis can seem intimidating. Like any sport, it doesn’t have to be if you have even just a little bit of a sense of what to look for. Here are six different angles and approaches that you can use to spot potential plays in the Grand Slam tournaments that can lead to profit:
1. Be blind to rankings – Tennis rankings can be useful, but they are also imperfect. It can take a long time for a player who is coming into form to have his or her play reflected by the rankings, and formerly good players who have fallen out of form can stay highly ranked for longer than they should. Much of the betting public relies on those rankings to make their betting decisions, though, so that can provide real opportunities. What you want to look for is players that have had a lot of recent success but are still ranked at 20th or below, or players that have been knocked out early in recent prep tournaments, but are still in the top ten. By spotting players that aren’t playing like their rankings say they should you can often spot surprising value – especially in the first couple of rounds of a tournament.
2. Look at players that are worn out by travel and play – It’s easy to find the playing schedules of players leading up to the Grand Slam tournaments. What you want to see are players that have clearly deliberately prepared to do the best at the Grand Slam. That means a combination of some prep tournaments on the surface of the Grand Slam to get prepared, and enough rest to be fresh and sharp. Players – especially lower ranked ones – will often work far too hard coming into the Grand Slams in an effort to earn as much as they can, and they aren’t prepared to play to their best when they are facing a more rested, prepared player.
3. Is the surface a good one? – Each of the three Grand Slam tournaments remaining are played on very different surfaces. The French Open is played on a clay court that typically favors European specialists. Wimbledon is played on grass. The U.S. Open is on a hard court surface that leads to lightning fast ball movement and lets big hitters excel. It’s like tennis is a slightly different sport on each surface, and the difference is most pronounced on clay. The easiest thing to do, then, is to look for highly ranked players who have not had a lot of success on the surface and bet against them. Andy Roddick, for example, is a real threat on hard courts, and a factor at Wimbledon, but he’s all but useless at the French.
4. Look at the draw – Players have to win seven matches over two weeks to win a Grand Slam, so who they play is obviously important. The more easy matches they can play early on, the fresher and stronger they will be when the matches really matter. What you want to look for, then, are payers that have been given punishing draws that will make it difficult early on, and could wear them down. One way that this can happen is if a player isn’t ranked as highly as they should be. For example, Justine Henin has won five French Open titles, but she is coming back from retirement, so she is further down the seeding list than she is used to. She’s solidly favored to win the tournament, but her low seeding will make her early matches tougher, and could test her stamina and health after her time off.
5. Check the stamina – For most of the year men plays three set matches just like the women do. In the Grand Slams, though, the men’s matches are extended to five sets. Most players can handle that reasonably well, but there are some players that just don’t have it in them. You can capitalize on their weakness by looking for players that haven’t been as successful as the Grand Slams as they have been elsewhere, of for players who have struggled in the third sets of matches. A player who struggles late against a player who thrives on long matches is a dream matchup.
6. Parlay legitimate favorites early on – There aren’t many places where betting a parlay is your best option, or even a particularly good idea, but Grand Slam tennis is one of them. Given the size of the fields t only makes sense that there is a massive class difference between the top five or ten players in the world and the last five or ten in the field. Those are the players that meet up in the first round, and the matchups in the second round often aren’t much tougher for the elite players. Betting the players individually leads to some lousy, wildly unattractive prices. When you parlay together three or four of the players, though, you can get some solid payoffs that can more than compensate for the risk involved.