Tennis Trading Tips: Which Events Move Odds The Most?

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In this tennis trading tip, we look at the different events that occur during a tennis match which create the biggest opportunities for trading.

Certain events during a tennis match have a greater or lesser effect on the odds.  When we’re tennis trading we want to focus only on the events that move the odds the most so we can trade them them if we believe the odds will come back to where they were.

But what are the events that cause the biggest swings?

1. Losing the 1st set

Starting with the biggest swing the first one is losing a set.

Compared to the starting odds, if a player wins the 1st set their odds will typically fall by around 75%.  So a player starting at 1.8 will end the set, if they win it, at around 1.2

Now, if you believe the 1st set winner is not the dominant player and will lose the second set then, if you’re right, their odds will return to their starting position of 1.8 (almost).

So from a 75% fall in odds we’re now looking at a whopping 400% uplift (1.2 - 1.8).

Let’s look at an example:

Player A SP 1.6 they win the 1st set and their odds drop to 1.15

You place a lay trade on them for £10 so you’re liability if they win the 2nd set is £1.50.

They then lose the 2nd set and their odds return to 1.6.

You now hedge/close the trade backing them for £7.19 (see hedging) and make a profit of £2.81

So you risked £1.50 and made £2.81, that’s a return of 287%. (How?: 100% uplift would generate £1.50 based on your risk).Wow!

This can also be applied to the underdog although the return on investment is slightly less.

Player B has SP odds of 2.7 and they win the 1st set.  Their odds drop to around 1.45.

So you place a lay trade for £10 with a liability of £4.50

They then lose the 2nd set, their odds return to around 2.7 and you hedge out for a profit of £4.63 which is an ROI of 107%.  Still very respectable.

So laying the 1st set winner can be a great way to make money.


2. Break of Service

The second largest swing in odds is a break of service

The odds in this case typically fall by around 50%


Player A 1.6 breaks the opponent’s serve so their odds fall to 1.3

You think this break of serve is unlikely to hold so you place a Lay trade on Player A for £10, so your liability is £3.00

You’re right and the opponent breaks back so the odds return to 1.6

You hedge out for a profit of £1.87 which is a healthy ROI of 144%


3. Tie Breaks

Tie breaks can generate really scary jumps in odds!

But these are too volatile for trading.  In just one tie break 'game', the player could win or lose the set, the odds move violently up & down.

Advanced Traders can and do trade tie breaks but you need to be very clear on what you’re doing, understand your potential liability at all times and be very quick in trading. 


4. Break Points

The 4th swing we’ll look at is during a break point.  This is when the server is behind on their serve: the biggest swings are 30-40 or Advantage because the next point decides whether they win or lose that game.

Depending on the odds of the player (i.e. low for the Fav or high for the Udog), the movement from 30-30 to 30-40 can be significant. The largest swings will be seen on the Underdog

Example, Player B has odds at the start of their service game of 3.2.  At 30-30 their odds are still the same, but at 30-40 they are likely to jump to around 3.6.

If you think their serve is strong enough for them to get back to deuce (where the odds return to 3.2) then you place a Back trade for £10 @ 3.6.

You’re liability here is very small because if they lost the game their odds will go a little higher to around 4.2 which would generate a loss of £1.43

If you’re right, you hedge out @ 3.2 for a profit of £1.25.  An ROI of 87%.

Forex traders would love to get these kinds of returns


5. Holding Service Games

The least swing movement during a match but still worth trading is during games when the serve is held.  Both players odds move slightly from the start of the game to the end.  It isn’t much but, if the players have strong reliable serves, it can be a very reliable trading strategy.  It’s called Back the Server trading strategy


So Swing trading is definitely a worthwhile trading strategy BUT you must plan your trades and be confident that the outcomes will actually happen. 

Use the free tennis trading tools on our website to calculate your liability for each trade and potential profit so you only trade worthwhile opportunities.

As always, we’d love to hear your comments, ideas and suggestions for future trading tips.

I hope this has been useful for you.

Thank you