Tennis is one of the most bet-upon sports in the world thanks in part to the sport’s international appeal and the many thousands of tennis matches that are held every year both at home and abroad. According to some estimates, online tennis betting alone is worth nearly a billion dollars a year at the international level.
The widespread legalization of sports betting in the United Sates, which could very well become the world’s largest market in due time, has the potential to even further propel tennis betting handle to new highs. Thus, it is no surprise to see the nation’s first legal sportsbooks debut with a healthy selection of tennis betting options.
Best Tennis Betting Sites and Apps
In addition to discussing the best tennis betting sites, we will also be digging into the sport’s relationship with betting, recap recent developments in the fight against corruption and explain how the most popular types of tennis wagers work. In short, you can consider this your official guide to betting on tennis.
States with Legal Tennis Sportsbooks
The US sports betting market is still very much in a growth phase as of today. Multiple states have already legalized and more are set to join the fun over the next few years. The map below shows where tennis betting is already legal and we will keep this map up to date as legislation advances in other states.
States with Legal Sports Betting
- Blue: Online/mobile betting is legal
- Green: Land-based sportsbooks only (no online betting)
- Red: Tennis betting coming soon; legislation fully passed but waiting for implementation
Although it may be tempting to consider offshore sportsbooks if you live in a state that has not yet legalized online sports betting, we urge readers to be patient and stick with what is strictly legal wherever you live.
Offshore betting sites operate contrary to US law and subject your money to serious risks including payment processing issues, hostile legal actions from US regulators and lack of regulatory oversight.
A better alternative for people who do not have access to legal sportsbooks is daily fantasy sports (DFS). DraftKings Fantasy in particular is our number one pick for tennis. DraftKings tennis contests give you a virtual salary of $50,000 which you then use to draft a team of players slated to compete in an upcoming tournament.
After drafting your team, you can sit back and enjoy the tournament as your players earn points for winning games and sets, serving aces, winning by retirement and so on. Each contest lasts for a single tournament round and then real money payouts are awarded based on the number of points earned by each contestant’s fantasy lineup.
The money that can be won playing in daily fantasy online can be just as significant as straight-up sports betting. DraftKings tennis contests, for example, occasionally award upwards of $100,000 in prize money to the top finishers. Most importantly, fantasy sports are legal in most US states.
ATP Stance on Sports Betting
In light of everything discussed above, the ATP has not surprisingly taken several positions on sports betting. The organization as a whole is generally pro-gambling as we can see with the sponsorship deals signed between numerous ATP World Tour events and gaming companies that have been reached over the years.
For just two examples, the Mercedes Cup counts gaming company LeoVegas among its premium sponsors while the Generali Open is sponsored by Interwetten. A handful of other ATP events are also supported by similar agreements with gaming companies.
However, sponsorships of ATP events by betting firms could come to an end at some point in the near future. The SportsBusiness Journal reported in mid-2018 that the ATP World Tour had told tournament organizers to stop accepting sponsorships from gaming companies as recommended by an independent review into tennis integrity.
Some tournaments still feature betting companies among their lists of sponsors as of this writing, but that could be set to change as various agreements near their expiration dates. Professional tennis has almost certainly benefited over the years from the increased viewer engagement legal sports betting generates, but the sport’s first priority has to be maintaining a clean image so that people can confidently enjoy a sport they know is actually competitive.
Best Tennis Betting Sites
The legalization of online sports wagering in the United States has done much to level the playing field when it comes to ranking the best tennis betting sites. Prior to legalization, players were left comparing offshore sportsbooks run by questionable providers and powered by questionable software.
The legal betting landscape in the United States looks completely different because today’s licensed sportsbooks are not only subject to strict regulations, but also work with big-name software suppliers that previously avoided the US market altogether due to legal concerns.
Most importantly, new regulatory oversight eliminates many of the safety and security concerns that still plague illegal, offshore sportsbooks. Licensed sportsbooks are now governed by US law and are closely supervised when it comes to maintaining adequate funding, paying out customers in a timely manner and dealing with disputes in a transparent manner.
Nearly any licensed sportsbook in the United States will have you covered when it comes to safety and integrity. States such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania now have entire divisions dedicated specifically to overseeing the online wagering industry. If you play at a site that is licensed in your state, you have little to worry about concerning the safety of your funds and fairness of your experience.
You can visit our big states archive here to see a list of licensed sportsbooks in your area. Alternatively, you can also visit your state’s gaming control website to see a list of sites that hold active licenses.
Well-known software providers have also gained access to the US market, which in turn has greatly increased the overall quality of betting sites that are accessible to US residents. All states that have legalized online betting so far have also implemented licensing systems for software providers.
With companies such as William Hill and Bet365 now entering the US market in addition to major domestic companies such as FanDuel and DraftKings now offering sports betting, you’ll find they all offer a wide range of tennis betting options.
As a result, the majority of ranking factors come down to personal opinion and preferences. Just about every licensed sportsbook in the US today covers tennis to an extensive degree with betting options on tournaments big and small hosted around the world.
You can see our top picks near the top of this page, but know that you won’t be in bad hands as long as you stick with sites that are legal and licensed in the USA.
How to Bet on Tennis Online
Online sportsbooks intentionally make it as easy as possible to place wagers, but the one thing you need to know first is how the odds work. Once you have a grasp on what the various odds mean, you’ll be able to apply that knowledge to the many different types of tennis bets out there.
So, we’ll start with a quick rundown of the basic moneyline wager. The moneyline odds format is used for all different types of wagers, but the most basic of these is a straight up bet on which of two players will win their upcoming match. It’s similar to betting on which team will win a football game, except in this case we happen to be dealing with tennis.
A typical tennis moneyline wager between Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray will look something like this no matter which sportsbook you visit:
- Rafael Nadal: -190
- Andy Murray: +155
The odds listed next to each player’s name essentially tell us how much we stand to win for backing each player. In most cases, one player will be priced as the favorite and one will be priced as the underdog.
Rafael is priced as the favorite in this match with odds of -190. The negative sign always means you’ll be risking more than you stand to win. In this case, Rafael Nadal is widely viewed as more likely to win the match, so you’ll have to pay a premium to back him.
To be specific, the -190 price means you’ll need to risk $1.90 for every $1.00 in potential winnings. Thus, a $190 wager on Nadal Rafael would set you up to win $100 in net profit if he does win. Your total payout on that $190 wager would be $290 (your original $190 wager plus $100 in winnings).
Andy Murray is widely viewed as the underdog and his price has thus been set at +155. This tells us we stand to win more than our original wager if we back him. Every $1.00 you risk on Murray has the potential to return $1.55 in winnings. Therefore, a winning $100 bet on Andy Murray would return $255 (your original $100 wager plus $155 in winnings).
Sportsbooks set the odds in this manner in an attempt to make both sides of every bet somewhat appealing despite any discrepancies in player skill. In this example, the sportsbook has made it reasonable for you to take either side of the bet: you can back the player who seems to have the best shot of winning at the cost of risking more, or you can back the player who is the consensus underdog in return for receiving a better potential payout.
Other types of tennis wagers also rely on this principle. Once you have the basic idea of moneyline odds down, you’ll find it easy to understand how other types of tennis wagers work.
Other types of tennis wagers include:
- Tournament outright: A simple wager on one player to win the whole tournament. You only get paid if your player finishes in first place, but the payout will likely be significant due to the difficulty of accurately predicting which player will win the tournament.
- Totals: The sportsbook lists a total number of games or sets a match will last, and you attempt to predict whether the actual total will be higher than or lower than that number. Who wins the match or what the final score is are both irrelevant for this wager; the only thing that matters is whether or not the match exceeds the posted total.
- Tennis spreads: A spread bet is similar to the basic moneyline wager explained above but is usually priced at odds much closer to even money. Perceived disparities in skill are instead accounted for by requiring the favorite to win by X number of games. For example, Rafael Nadal may be priced as a -3.5 game favorite. In this case, he would have to win by at least four games (say with a final score of 6-4, 6-4) for wagers on him to be counted as winners.
- Winning margin: If you’re especially confident on how an upcoming match will go, you can bet on not only the winner, but also by how many games he or she will win the match. This wagers only pay if you get the winning player and the winning margin correct, but pay better than regular wager on who will win.
- Correct score: Similar wager to the winning margin – you are attempting to predict the final score and stand to win more money than simply betting on who will win.
- Tennis props: This is a catch-all category that involves all sorts of other side bets not directly related to who will win. Examples of tennis props include betting on whether or not an ace will be scored in a certain game, if there will be a tie break, who will win the first set, total aces and much more.
In-Play Tennis Betting
In-play tennis betting operates in the same basic manner as standard betting with one key exception: you can place bets during matches as the game progresses. This means instead of making sure you have all your wagers placed before the match begins, you can tune in to watch the action live and place short-term wagers throughout the match.
Tennis is a natural fit for in-play betting due to frequent breaks in action that give you a chance to assess the action and the sheer number of things that happen during a typical match. In-play wagers allow you to bet on who will win the current set, who will win the next game and so on.
In-play tennis betting has proven quite popular in Europe, fueled in part by the large number of matches that are held every year. Online sportsbooks operating in the European market have also secured broadcasting deals that allow them to stream live video while also offering in-play markets.
In 2018, FanDuel CEO Matt King predicted tennis in particular stands to benefit from in-play betting in the United States due to the many short-term opportunities that manifest during a match.
“The beauty of tennis is that you could literally bet on every single hit in the match – every single point – and so it creates a lot of opportunity for people to engage in the sport,” he told CNBC.
He also noted that early cashout features, which allow customers to close their bets early during a match, will further fuel the popularity of in-play tennis betting.
Fantasy Tennis Sites as An Alternative to Sports Betting
Is sports betting not yet legal in your state? No problem – that doesn’t mean you’ll be relegated to mere spectator status in the meantime. Daily fantasy tennis offers an experience that is similar to sports betting both in terms of the money that can be won and in how it feels to watch a match when you have a stake in the outcome.
With only a few exceptions, fantasy sports sites are legal across the US. This includes states that are nowhere near passing a sports betting law. If tennis isn’t legal where you live, fantasy tennis provides an alternative that is just as engaging but entirely legal.
The best fantasy tennis sites host new contests for each round of every major tournament, which means you’ll spend more time engaged in every event and less time sitting back and watching. If the first round doesn’t go your way, you’ll always have the next round to look forward to.
Participating in a fantasy tennis contest is in many ways similar to actually betting on the sport at a traditional sportsbook. In both cases, the key to winning money is making smart selections, doing research and looking for players who are capable of making a deep run in their upcoming tournaments.
More importantly, both provide the opportunity to earn some serious cash. Some of the largest fantasy tennis contests boast prize pools upwards of $150,000 with as much as $50,000 reserved for the first-place finisher. Even traditional sports betting struggles to create situations in which a single customer can win that much money in one shot.