Market Behaviour And Observations At Wimbledon | Tennis Trading

Over the past week, I’ve been exploring the tennis markets extensively. I’ve observed several interesting aspects that are quite different from racing.

I thought sharing these insights and hearing your thoughts would be valuable. Don’t be shy—drop us a comment below!

Emotional Game?

Tennis trading is a whole different beast in many ways, though there are some similarities, especially regarding human behaviour both inside and outside the markets.

What makes tennis particularly interesting is that once you’ve developed an effective in-play tennis trading strategy, theoretically, it should be easier to scale up compared to racing. One peculiar observation I’ve made is the behavioural patterns of players, particularly in the WTA, when they are about to close a set or match, or even consolidate a break of serve.

You might be curious about the screenshot I’ve mentioned. Let me explain…

In the recent match between Makarova and Radwanska, it seemed that Radwanska, the 1.3 favorite, was on the verge of an upset. However, the play was halted due to rain. This break creates a unique scenario where Radwanska might return highly motivated and Makarova could be quite nervous, potentially making Radwanska a valuable bet at the current odds.

Admittedly, I’m currently in the red, largely due to my own error. I missed an opportunity to hedge for a significant profit just before the delay. I believed Radwanska had the potential to turn the match around—let’s hope she does!

When the match resumes, Radwanska will serve to stay in it. Assuming she holds, I might even consider backing her with an additional wager (despite risk-taking not being my forte). You might wonder why I don’t just back her now for a better price. While tempting, based on my recent learning, it would be a poor entry.

The common urge to back a player on serve might seem appealing, but realistically, it’s safe for only a few players, and the numbers often don’t justify it. It makes more sense numerically to lay the server in the markets. Let me explain…

Based on a match with a 1.36 favourite:

  • If the favourite is to serve and WIN the first point the price will contract 1 tick, maybe 2 if you’re lucky.
  • If they are to go 2 points ahead again 1 more (3 ticks total – tops)
  • If they are then to win the game again once more you may get 1 more tick although depending on the market and previous points played it may just remain the same!

Now let’s look what would happen if you was to lay the serve instead:

  • If the favourite is to serve and loses the first point the price will drift 4 ticks, maybe 5 if you’re lucky.
  • If they then go 2 points down you get an extra 10 ticks profit on top of your existing position!
  • If they then lose the game you’re likely to get another 21 ticks on top of that!!

When comparing the two potential outcomes in tennis trading (especially at price ranges where the odds are more compressed), it’s crucial to evaluate the risks and rewards carefully. For example, if you back the server for the game, you stand to gain a maximum of 4 ticks. Alternatively, the potential loss could reach up to 36 ticks! Clearly, the safer option becomes apparent.

Another observation is the common tendency to feel more comfortable placing larger stakes at shorter odds—likely because the outcome seems more certain—and smaller stakes at longer odds. However, this often doesn’t make sense, particularly in the unpredictable nature of tennis matches. This suggests that a robust staking and bank management strategy is even more critical in tennis than in horse racing.

Regarding the odds, it’s an overlooked aspect that the price of Player A always mirrors the price of Player B. For instance, if Player A is at 1.02, Player B will be around 55 (slightly less, but let’s not dwell on the specifics). But what happens when a player is trading at 1.01, especially when they’re leading and there are still many games to go? The odds from 100 to 1000 can represent a ‘value’ zone in tennis, particularly if the favourite begins to falter—this is a crucial point to consider if you’re looking to find value in your bets.

I hope these insights provoke some thought and discussion. If you have anything to add or questions to raise, please feel free to comment below!

Related: Simple Tennis Trading Strategies

13 thoughts on “Market Behaviour And Observations At Wimbledon | Tennis Trading

  1. Just a thought waiting hoping for a player to turn things around really is gambling not trading . I suppose also betters just bet players who are serving knowing they can get a couple of ticks if they hold serve then are scrambling like mad to try and get out if they don’t hold think there’s software that can predict odds at tennis matches point by point


    1. Sure, maybe i should have mentioned had Rad broke back or even gone two points ahead on the serve i’d of been looking to hedge up in that instance – for a hefty sum too no doubt. Interesting, just seems no value in backing the serve for a few quid and risking a large stake.

  2. Is trading not gambling? If its risk free then surely its arbing? neva really thought about the prices over 100

  3. There is no point with scalping under 2.00. If you scalp every point, isn’t that a luck (there is a good servers but still…)? Someone who is under 2.00 is a fav, why would you lay a fav at his serve? There is no long term profit from that. But if you do it a few times during the match at higher odds you can make a good profit.

    1. I’m not too sure what you mean there onecapo – scalping every point would be a bit scary im sure. But there is no value in backing a favourite at a short price on serve especially – look at radwanska today! I fail to see how there is no long term profit from that when winning a service game gives us 4 ticks supposed to loosing 21 ?! Laying at low odds is always going to be preferable with the risk/reward ratio im sure, no ?!

      1. Suppose you have to weigh up risk and reward not worth risking a possible 21 ticks to win 4 in essence you’re betting a 1/5 shot espically in women’s tennis where breaks of serve are more common than in the men’s game

      2. I know what are you trying to say with that risk/reward thing and i totally agree with you…but i have a way different strategy which makes me a constant profit. maybe this strategy just doesnt fit for me ….i cant feel it hahah…also there is so much factors included in this strategy. maybe its just not for me…i think there is a problem. anyway, great post!

  4. Are you saying that generally the market moves too little for a hold or too much for a break of serve? Wouldn’t that mean that the markets would be fundamentally wrong as soon as the match has started and hence massively exploitable?

    I’d suggest looking into the Markov models for tennis matches and some basic data on the probabilities of players on the ATP and WTA tour holding serve.

    I have to say it is interesting to see the observations of someone who usually trades Horse Racing playing on the Tennis markets, so thanks for your posts.


    1. Hey Chris, im not suggesting it moves too little or too much for either – im just saying it moves far more for a break! (only exception is with momentum at the end of a set for example with one player ahead) So to go with the server all the time is insanity in my mind for their service game… you could back the server for 4 games and make a profit every time, but on the game you get it wrong….. ouch. Thanks – im not great at it and still learning but its something new to keep me awake!

      1. One thing I’ve always found interesting is comparing the amount the Betfair market moves for a hold/break compared to the ‘game betting’ prices for a player to hold/break at a bookmakers or on Betfair when offered.

        For the Radwanska match you mentioned, I think the best price for holds were around 1.25 for Radwanska and 1.44 for Makarova. Obviously as the match moved on and didn’t go as the markets expected these prices would have changes. For the Lopez/Isner match today you would have been doing well to find 1.10 on either to hold serve (wasn’t following that one closely but wasn’t it one break in 48 games?).

  5. Hi

    Interesting post.

    I’m not a tennis trader by any means (horse racing takes up too much of my time!) but it is always an ‘art’ that has fascinated me and I have started looking into it a bit deeper recently (very recently).

    I had always believed/thought that there was potentially easy money to be made when looking to scalp a huge server on their service game and watched the Lopez/Isner game with interest yesterday. What you mention in this post is spot on, based on my (limited) observations. When Isner held service there was a small shift in his price (4 to 6 ticks maybe) and then when Lopez also held his serve Isner’s price trickled back out to what it had been pre-Isner’s last service game. However, if there was a wobble from Isner say 0-30 even 0-15 his price drifted 10+ ticks, a move to 15-40 would have seen even more. That is surely where, as you mentioned, the real juice sits with regards to trading profits. If the players held their serve up to say 5-5 you would probably be able to exit the trade for scratch or maybe a few ticks loss.

    As I said though this is from limited analysis from myself so ask me again next week and I may give a different answer!!

    Cheers – Ben (BDH)

  6. You’re all acting as if these are unchartered waters, tennis is one of those sports that is probably more automated than any other with plenty of teams botting the markets using very sophisticated stats based software. Surely the recent courtsiding legal issues should have shown you that.

    The markets are very efficient and driven by probabilities, stats dictate what the prices should be, overall they earn the operators fortunes by being more informed than the majority. Of course there are chinks in their armour and they’re happy to leak a few quid here and there on the basis the majority will pay it back with interest. Just don’t go in assuming because you’ve come out on top in a few markets you’ve cracked the tennis because you can be pretty sure someone’s put in a lot more effort to crack it.

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