Top Ten Tips For Trading Tennis

Tennis is one of the most popular sports to trade because no matter the outcome of the match, if you hold your nerve and keep your discipline you can almost always make a profit. This doesn’t mean that you will but if you follow these top tips you will increase your chances.

1. Do your research – you wouldn’t buy shares in a company without doing research on that company so don’t trade a tennis match without doing your research. If you are using the Back the Server strategy, its important to look at the Service Stats for each player, a strong server will win around 80% of their service games and you can also see what percentage of points each player wins on both their first and second serve.

Write these stats down and use them to draw up your strategy, if you know for example that a player wins 80% of their first service points and 58% of their second service points then the Back the Server SHOULD work well. This same player may also have fairly weak return stats so you may come to the conclusion that you can adopt the Back the Server strategy on both players.

If a players odds look too high or too low before a game, ask yourself why, if you have good knowledge of the market then there will be a reason why the price is not as you expect. For example, Nadal was playing Tsonga last week and his odds before the match were 1.36 which we thought were very high, it turned out the reason they were high were because he had a fever! You all have access to the Internet, there is no excuse for not doing your homework.

2. Write down your strategy – We find that if you physically write down what you are going to do it helps because it is visible and keeps you focused during the match. An important part of this strategy is your Exit strategy, know what this is before you ENTER a trade and do not deviate from it.

3. When starting out, only trade on a couple of specific points eg. only back the server at 0 – 0 before a service game starts or Lay the Server at 15 – 40. This can be boring as you may not enter many trades but it is good for discipline and you will learn a lot just by watching how the odds move on each point when you’re not actually in a trade. Remember its quality of trades not quantity!

4. Give yourself the best chance of success – use the technology available – use a Trading Tool such as ISI Trader so you can instantly see whats going on in the market. If you can watch the game live on TV then all the better, a live scoreboard is OK but it doesn’t give you things like a players facial expressions, or you can’t see if a player is struggling physically for example. If you intend to trade tennis then its worth getting the satellite channels, most of the tour events are on ESPN.

sometimes there is a lag on these scoreboards but they are usually good enough and when you get used to trading tennis you will know the outcome of a point by looking at the market anyway.

5. Liquidity in the market is Key – do not trade on matches that do not have at least 60k matched on them before the match starts. This is very important as remember you can only Exit a trade if someone is willing to match your trade. If things go against you in a match that has low liquidity you can find yourself unable to exit the trade or having to take a ridiculous price to exit. Remember its better not to trade than to trade the wrong market.

6. Remember to switch ladders – Tennis is a two competitor sport so as one players price increases his opponents will decrease. Always trade on the favourite’s ladder at the start but if he is losing and his odds go above 1.9 then look at his opponents ladder as you will find that the majority of traders will always be trading on the players ladder with the lowest odds at that time. Remember to hedge out on one ladder before you move to the other players ladder. Don’t worry if you have a red figure on the favourite you can still make this up on the other ladder.

7. Never be afraid to leave a match with a loss – some matches just don’t go the way you expect them to – that’s sport. Maybe a very strong server just has a nightmare day on serve or maybe the underdog plays the best tennis of his life. If you are following a strategy with discipline but the points just keep going against you then sometimes you just have to accept that its not your day. Move onto another match. Its actually incredibly satisfying to leave a match in control with a small loss and then if you continue to trade with the same discipline, you invariably make the losses back and finish the day in profit. Remember minimising your losses is the Key to Successful Trading.

8. Only trade the first set of a match – even for experienced traders I would recommend this for several reasons. If you only trade the first set then you can trade several matches in a 3 hour trading session with fairly low stress levels and still make good profits. Consider this scenario: would you rather trade one match until the end and make 100GBP or trade 5 matches for the first few games of the match and make 20GBP per match – same total of 100GBP?

The latter is much lower stress and the more games you trade the more opportunities you have open to you. If you trade 5 matches you may Back the Server on 2 of those matches and have made your profit in the first 6 games if both players hold serve, you may trade 2 matches that are extremely one sided so you Back the player on top and leave the trade open with a Stop Loss that will get you out at your minimal profit level. You can then leave that match and just keep one eye on the scoreboard in case of a dramatic change but even then your Stop Loss would get you out for a profit.

If you trade a match all the way through then not only are you missing out on other opportunities but you are exposing yourself to unnecessary risk as the odds fluctuate much more wildly the closer you are to the end of the match, these odds will fluctuate massively if its a deciding set especially as remember one players odds has to end up at 1 and the other 1000 so imagine a scenario in a deciding set where the score is 4 – 4 and Player A has a break point to go 5 – 4 up, his odds may be trading as low as 1.2 but if Player B saves that break point and goes onto win the game so the score is 4 – 5, Player A’s odds may be as high as 2.8, do you really want to expose yourself to that risk? This is too much like gambling.

9. Discipline, discipline, discipline….you can never say this too many times. If you trade with discipline and follow our strategies you will make profit but 9 times out of 10, when we analyse why traders are losing its because they are not trading with discipline. To help with this use Stop Losses as a matter of course and only trade with small stakes until you feel you can control your discipline. Work on percentages, if you are trading with 10GBP and you are consistently making 2.50GBP profit (25%) on each match you trade that is excellent, if you are trading with 1,000GBP and use the same discipline you will make 250GBP per match!

10. If you feel your blood pressure rising and you start thinking about doing stupid things like increasing your stake to claw back losses take a deep breath, hedge out and go and take the dog for a walk. This will give you perspective back and when you come back you will trade much better with renewed discipline.

Oh and nearly forgot, get a lock on the door in the room in which you trade! Maybe this is a bit extreme but distractions can be very dangerous so only trade when on your own and when unlikely to be interrupted.

Tennis Betting – Tips For Exchange Betting on Tennis Matches

By choosing tennis as your preferred sport for betting, you have already given yourself an “edge” against those who bet on or offer odds on other sports. To use this “edge” to make money consistently, however, you’ll need to understand two fundamental principles first. Then apply the power of mathematics.

Principle #1

It is sheer folly to place a tennis bet (or a bet on anything) with a “traditional” bookmaker. The expression “You can’t beat the bookie” is axiomatic; you just cannot beat the bookie over time. It’s because the odds are always mathematically calculated in favour of the bookmaker. Everyone knows (or should know) that the bookie’s mathematical “edge” against the punter is necessary for him to make a profit so that he can stay in business.

Computer technology has given rise to a new form of betting, known as “exchange betting” or “matched betting”. With “betting exchanges” there is no bookie to beat; in other words, there is no middle-man. Every punter bets against another punter or punters somewhere out there in the Internet ether. Any punter (or “trader”) can place a “back” bet that a player or team will win, and/or place a “lay” bet that a player or team will lose. Thus, any punter can choose to act as an ordinary bettor and/or as a bookmaker.

With exchange betting the odds are not set by a third-party or middle-man; they are set by the punters themselves, who place requests for odds at which they are prepared to place bets (if they wish to act as an ordinary bettor), or place offers of odds at which they are prepared to lay bets (if they wish to act as a bookmaker).

As the “back” bettors gradually lower their requested odds and the “lay” bettors gradually raise their offered odds, the software on the exchange betting web site matches all the back bets with all the lay bets at the instant they coincide. The accounts of the “backers” or “layers” are then credited with their winnings automatically a few seconds after the end of the event according to its result.

Obviously, the technology for providing such a “fair” betting service must be paid for somehow. This payment is taken in the form of a commission on the punter’s net winnings on an event (or “market”). That is, commission is charged only on any positive difference between winnings and losses on the same event.

This betting system is as close to a perfectly fair betting environment as it is possible to achieve.

There are very few betting exchanges in existence, however, perhaps because the exchange betting software is so complex and therefore costly. The giant among exchange betting web sites is Betfair, with about 90% of the market at the time of writing. Others are the Global Betting Exchange (BetDAQ), ibetX, Betsson, Matchbook and the World Bet Exchange (WBX). Betfair is by far the most popular because it was the first to offer this “perfectly fair” betting environment, and is trusted to perform accurately and instantly.

Principle #2

So, why does tennis betting give you that “edge” over betting on other sports? The answer, though simple, is often overlooked even by those who bet tennis regularly. And if you’re someone who’s never bet on tennis, you’d almost certainly not have realized the significance of the tennis scoring system on the betting.

Consider this fundamental difference between the tennis scoring system and that of probably any other sport you can think of.

In other sports and games the trailing player or team must make up the points gap by winning a point for every point they have already lost in order to catch up to the leader. Only then can they start to move ahead. This fact seems obvious.

In tennis, however, the trailing player or team can lose the first set 6-0 (possibly with a deficit of 24 points). That team can then win the second set by the most narrow of margins, 7-6 in a tie-break, winning the set by very few points (or even by winning fewer points than the opponents, a rare but possible occurrence!).

As soon as the trailing player or team wins the second set, the two sides suddenly have even scores, even though one player or team might have actually won many more points than the opponents.

This anomaly often has a profound psychological effect on one or both sides, which affects the way they play for the next few minutes, and therefore also the betting odds requested and offered by punters on the match. This, however, is another aspect of tennis betting which may be the subject of another article. This article deals with the mathematical aspect of tennis betting and how to win money with this knowledge.

How to win at tennis betting

Now that you’re aware of these two fundamental principles, how can you use them to your advantage when making tennis bets?

The key is not to be just a “backer” or a “layer”, simply betting on the final outcome of an event. If you do that, you will lose out over time, because there’s always a small difference between the “back” odds and the “lay” odds — there must be, otherwise there’d be no incentive for anyone to offer odds and there’d be no betting at all. Combine that with the commission you pay on your net winnings, and the “edge” is against you mathematically (although it is not as great as with conventional bookmakers).

The secret to winning at tennis betting is to be BOTH a “backer” AND a “layer”, but at different points during the event. This is another aspect of betting that distinguishes the exchange betting web site from the traditional bookie. At the betting exchange you can place a back or lay bet at any time during the event, right up until the very last second or the final point. This is known as “in-play” betting.

Because in-play betting is allowed, the odds for each opposing side change as the event progresses, according to the likelihood (as perceived by the punters) of either one side or the other being the eventual winner. The trick is to place a back bet on one side at certain odds and later place a lay bet on that side (or a back bet on the other side) at better odds as fortunes change and the odds swing in your favour. If you can achieve this, you will win your bet overall, regardless of the outcome of the event — a true “win-win” scenario.

Why bet on tennis and not on other sports?

Apart from Principle #2, explained earlier, tennis is ideal for such “swing” betting, because the odds fluctuate after every point is played. There are therefore very many small swings to one side and then to the other. This doesn’t happen in soccer, for example, because goals are so rare and a goal shifts the advantage suddenly and hugely to the scoring side.

Furthermore, a tennis match can have one of only two results; there can be no draw or tie; and one of only two players or teams can win. In horse racing, for example, the winner can come from a large number of runners.

The more possible outcomes there are to factor into the equation, the more difficult it is to win. (Despite this obvious logic, soccer and horse racing remain the two most popular sports for betting, probably for historical reasons. Tennis is already third in popularity, however, as more and more punters discover the fact that it is easier to make money betting on tennis than on any other sport.)

“In-play” betting or “pre-event” betting?

Now that you have — it is hoped — understood and absorbed the generalities of exchange betting and the peculiarities of tennis scoring, it is time to explain the details of how you can win at tennis betting.

Earlier it was stated that the secret to winning at tennis betting is to be both a “backer” and a “layer”, but at different points during the event, placing bets at different times during the event as fortunes change and the odds swing in your favour. This can be done with both “in-play” betting and “pre-event” betting.

One method used with in-play betting is called “scalping”. As its name suggests, scalping involves skimming a tiny profit by backing or laying at exactly the right moment as the odds move slightly in your favour, perhaps when one player scores two or three consecutive points, and repeating the process again and again. The biggest drawback of scalping is that it is very time-consuming and fraught with mental and physical tension. Not only must you pay full attention to what’s happening during the match by live video broadcast, but you must also catch exactly the right moments at which to bet, which is, in fact, made impossible by the 5-second delay imposed by the exchange betting software between the time you place the bet and the time it is accepted.

We’re not elaborating on this here because, as stated previously, this article is about winning by mathematics, not by the sweat of your brow. The maths aspect involves betting, not during the event, but before the event starts. That is, pre-event betting.

Mathematics do not lie!

There are a few tennis betting “systems”, some purely manual, others using software programs, some of which are enormously complicated. From the investigations of the writer (a mathematician), they all require the input, at some point, of a “probability factor” by the bettor. This probability factor is usually the odds at which you want your “balancing” bet (the “lay” bet on the “backed” side or the “back” bet on the opposing side) to be triggered, giving you the “win-win” scenario mentioned earlier.

So, how do you determine the value of this probability factor? That, dear reader, is the crucial point of the whole matter, the linch-pin that holds any exchange betting “system” together and determines whether it succeeds or fails, whether you win or lose.

Up to now, it seems, this probability factor has had to be determined by the sheer experience of a few seasoned professional gamblers, or by trial-and-error guesswork by lesser mortals. Little wonder that so many punters lose or do not win as much as they could because they do not know the EXACT value needed to optimize their bets!

Accuracy is of paramount importance when determining the probability factor, in order to maximize the chances of winning consistently. A search on the Web for a tool to calculate it proved negative. The writer therefore created one that encompasses not only all aspects of exchange betting but also the peculiarities of the tennis scoring system, and called it the Abacus Exchange Betting Calculator, for want of a better name. The probability factor is calculated to two decimal places, merely by entering the pre-event odds of both opposing sides, and has enabled the writer to make consistently more than 10% profit from tennis betting since Wimbledon 2009.

As a parallel test, the writer also placed bets according to “gut feeling”, in sufficient numbers to establish a trend. It resulted in a loss of 10% of the working capital (or “bank”).

Other tests were done, using the Abacus Exchange Betting Calculator, by betting on other sports where small odds swings occur, such as American Football, snooker and darts (very long matches only, otherwise the swings are too large). The results here just about covered the commissions paid on winnings; so, it is not worthwhile.

It seems, then, that the particular mathematical formula or algorithm (which is very complex) discussed here works well only in conjunction with the unique scoring system of tennis.

Conclusion

As a scientist, the writer feels that it is highly probable to win at sports betting consistently over time only when the following factors are present:

1. An exchange betting web site is used, not a conventional betting web site. (Beware of many sites that pretend to offer exchange betting by appearing in search engine results for “exchange betting”! Ensure that their software system enables you both to back and to lay bets at any odds you want against other punters, not against the house. If in doubt, check that their web site looks like the one at Betfair.)

AND

2. The sport is tennis, because of its unique scoring system.

AND

3(a) You learn about and become experienced in in-play betting and are prepared to devote almost all your time glued to a computer screen while following each match, sometimes more than one simultaneously.

OR

3(b) You use software that tells you exactly the odds to request and offer and the stakes to place in pre-event betting in only a few minutes, thus allowing you to get on with your normal life.