Trading Tennis Strategies and Systems

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With the new season approaching, I’ll give you here some of the things I have been writing. Some of you might already know these approaches

They are not new ideas or anything, but I think they can be helpful in some way to those who are just starting off on Betfair.

1 – ATP: Scalping during a service game

In the ATP circuit the best system in terms of risk/reward is to back the player who is serving. The main reason for that is the low percentage of breaks conceded by the players who serve better.

Since there are more holds of serve than breaks, we can be sure that if we apply this system, taking advantage of the odds variation during the time period of a game, it has a positive expected value in the long term.


Before moving any further, I’m now going to explain the definition of a system: a trading system is a precise set of rules that define when we go in and out of the market.

That means, we got to have a completely mechanical approach to the market.

In this case, our entry point should be right before the service game starts. Before we place our bet, we need to check/study:

  • Serve strength of the player who is about to serve: here i look for someone who has this kind of stats during a certain time period (tournament, season or career): 1st serve percentage above 65%, Points won on the 1st serve also above 65% and a serve hold percentage of over 75%.
  • Odd: Any odd under 1.35 or over 1.90 is not volatile enough during a service game. The ideal would be finding an odd somewhere between 1.40 and 1.80
  • Market liquidity: I don’t advise working in any match with less than 250 000 Euros traded.

To summarize, we will back the player who is about to serve if this player has a consistent serve, an odd between 1.4 and 1.8 and if the market has the required liquidity.

TI have two different categories of players, which affects the way i trade and my exit timing:

• Big servers: Players whose main weapon is their serve and whose percentages on the above mentioned requirements are well above average (1st serve and Points won on the 1st serve > 65% and serve hold percentage > 75%). In this case, I will cut my losses at 0-30,15-40 or 30-40.

• Players who are consistent on their serve: Every player whose percentages are averaging close to the ones I said before. In this case, I’ll cut my losses right at 0-15, then go back in if 15-15 happens, and then I will exit for good if it goes to 15-30 or 30-40.

• Finally, the positive scenario: Closing the trade in profit when the player wins their service game.

System: Finding a market with enough liquidity and a player with the above mentioned percentages and with an odd between 1.4 and 1.8. Set the exit points according to the serving player.

Additional notes: I normally use this system exclusively in the 1st set and never on deciding sets, which is when the odd is more volatile, both for good and bad. This system also works better on hard and grass courts, where the service is usually stronger.

2 – ATP: Back the favorite

Backing the favorite in the beginning of the match is the only way to fully take advantage of the odd variation that might occur if there is a break of serve or if our favorite wins a set.

Although simple in theory, this method can be quite risky, despite still being excellent in terms of risk-reward, so we need to have something in consideration before using it:

  • Recent form: It is a good idea to follow every match of a tournaments, even if we don’t do any trading on some of them. Djokovic This way we can gather a lot of information regarding the way the players are performing. Having a record of both players’ last matches as well as their last 10 results on that surface can also help to paint the picture of how they match up.
  • Head to Head(H2H): Sums up how good the players are when compared to each other and how they adapt to each other’s style. It is also important to give special emphasis to the matches played on the same surface as the one we are analyzing.


These two guidelines are the basic information we need to analyze a match and understand who is the favorite.

Regarding the market, we have got to take into consideration other aspects:

  • Odds: avoid betting on odds lower than 1.30, since the possible profit caused by a break of serve for our player wouldn’t be enough to compensate the risk of a loss. It is also important to avoid backing an odd above 3 since the liquidity will become an issue in case we have to cut our losses.
  • Market liquidity.

System: Finding a match who meets our criteria and, after our analysis, choosing which player to back (favorite). Closing with profit after a break of serve for our favorite or cut our losses after a break of serve against our chosen player.

Additional notes: It is vital to respect our exiting criteria, and to be disciplined, because if we get exposed for too long, it can be disastrous.

3 – WTA: Break Points

If you usually follow the WTA, you probably have noticed by now the great number of break points there is per match as well as the great number of breaks of serve that occurs in comparison to the ATP circuit.

WTA Although less decisive for the final result of a set, a break of serve ensures a good variation on the odds and we can take advantage of that.

Since there are just a few matches where there’s a single break of service per set or even less, taking advantage of that odds variation can be a good way to obtain profit with a match, when using a good system and considering the correct exit and entry points.

The goal of this system is to back whoever is receiving whenever the score is 15-40 or better and closing the trade if the break happens.

As i said before, our entry point will be when the score is 0-40 or 15-40, but only when the following requirements are met:

  • The favorite’s odds have to be above 1.40, because if the odds are lower than that, the variation and consequentially the profit in case of a break of serve won’t be good enough to pay off the risk of a possible loss, since the odds won’t vary too much.
  • Market liquidity.

Exit points: Cutting the losses if the score goes to Deuce or closing in profit when the player breaks.

Additional notes: I advise using this strategy only on the 1st set or using it only when the player who won the 1st set will be receiving. I don’t advise using this on matches who are already “decided” or during the final set.

4 – The market after a break of serve

The goal of this system is simple. After the break of serve, the odd of the player who just broke tends to go down soon as he confirms the break, by winning the next game on serve.

It is a good system to use on balanced matches in which both players can hold serve relatively easily and when a break is almost always decisive for the final result of a set.

Our entry point, as it was said before, will be after a break of serve, and we are supposed to back the player who just broke serve and is about to serve. This entry must obey the following conditions:

  • Must be the first break of serve of the set.
  • Server’s percentages on the previous games of serve: Any value above 60% regarding 1st serves and a win percentage on those 1st serve points of over 70%. These sort of percentages tell us that there’s a high chance the break gets confirmed, and our server gets an easy hold of serve.
  • Odds: Starting odds of the favorite player should be between 1.4 and 1.9. If the match is less balanced and one of the player has odds lower than 1.4, the market will react to that and should read the game as being one-sided and in that case, if the favorite gets broken, the risk/reward of placing our bets after the break won’t pay off. This happens because the odds variation will be much lower.
  • Market liquidity.

We will close the trade and cut our losses whenever the score goes to 0-30,15-40 or 30-40.

System: Finding a market with enough liquidity and a player who meets the required criteria as well as his odds, that need to be between 1.4 and 1.9.

Closing on profit after our player wins his service game. Using the mentioned exit points when things go wrong.

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