14.11.2023, 18:25
27.05.2024, 00:03

What is the handicap in tennis betting?

Making winning bets on tennis matches for beginners will help by understanding what a handicap means in tennis, what outcomes exist and how betting is calculated. Handicap in tennis is an advantage or lag of a tennis player in sets or games.

The handicap offers the opportunity to artificially level the players' odds and bet on a strong tennis player with higher odds or a weak participant with lower risks. Sportsbooks offer markets for handicaps in the sets, games in the match, and games in the sets.

Types of handicaps in tennis

Tennis fans will find 3 types of handicaps in sportsbooks – negative, positive and zero.


Sportsbooks give negative handicaps to favourites.

The bettor will win if the strong tennis player wins with a set or game difference exceeding the handicap value.

Negative handicap is given by bookmakers to favourites

For example, a bet on H(-1.50) by parties will succeed in case of the participant's victory in the match with a gap of 2 sets or more. A deal on H(-2.50) by games will win if the favourite wins with a difference of at least 3 games.


Sportsbooks set positive handicaps for underdogs.

Choosing the market with a handicap will yield a profit if the tennis player with a low rating does not lose with a set or game difference exceeding the handicap value.

Positive handicaps are offered by bookmakers to underdogs

For example, a bet on H(+1.50) by sets will win if the athlete does not lose with a difference of 2 parties or more. A bet on H(+4.50) by games will yield a profit if the underdog does not lose with a gap of 5 games or more.


Zero handicap in tennis is a rare type of bet, not available in all sportsbooks and only on matches of opponents of approximately equal strength.

If a tennis player beats the opponent by at least 1 game, the sportsbook user will win the bet regardless of the match result.

In case of an equal number of games won, the sportsbook will refund the customer's placed naira, if less, it will calculate the bet in its favour.

Betting examples: win, loss, refund

The player bet 100 naira on the victory of Constant Lestienne by sets H(-1.5) in a match up to 2 wins in games with a quote of 5.70.

Possible outcomes:

  • the tennis player won the match clean with a score of 2:0, the final score taking into account the handicap, is 0.5:0 in favour of Constant Lestienne - win: 100 * 5.7 = 570 naira;
  • the participant won with a score of 2:1 or suffered a defeat - loss of the bet.

The sportsbook client bets 300 naira on the victory of Griekspoor Tallon by games H(+1.5) with a coefficient of 1.23.

Possible scenarios:

  • the tennis player won, played a draw or lost at most two games, for example, lost with a score of 14:16 - payout: 300 * 1.23 = 369 naira;
  • the player suffered a defeat in 3 games or more, for example, with a score of 7:12 - loss of the bet.

What are Asian handicaps in tennis?

Asian handicap in tennis - a bet on the advantage or lag of a participant in games, a market multiple of 0.25 or 0.75.

When choosing an Asian handicap, the sportsbook splits the deal amount evenly between the nearest whole and fractional handicaps.

For example, the Asian handicap for games (-3.75) implies betting on H(-3.5) and H(-4).

Coupon calculation:

  • Win - a tennis player's victory in 5 games or more, for example, with a score of 16:10;
  • H(-3.5) wins, and H(-4) returns - a player's victory with a difference of 4 games, for example, with a score of 15:11;
  • bet loss - other outcomes of the match.

Tennis handicap betting strategy

To place winning bets on handicaps in tennis, you can use strategies, for instance, on the favourite in the first or second set.

On the favourite in the first set
Experts conventionally divide tennis players into servers and receivers - the former play well on their serves on fast courts, the latter successfully fend off others' on slow ones. Grass and hard courts are considered fast due to the quick bounce of the ball. The advantage of the game is a strong serve. Clay courts are considered slow because of the high bounce of the ball. The advantage of the game is the high endurance of athletes during long rallies. By the strategy, sportsbook customers place bets on the victory of the serving favourite in the first set taking into account H(-1.5) under the following conditions:

  • the pre-match odds for the victory of the strong participant - from 1.40 to 1.60;
  • the favourite gets the right to serve first, which becomes known a few minutes before the start of the match;
  • odds for H(-1.50) of the favourite in the first set - from 1.60 to 1.90.

The handicap of 1.50 in tennis will win if the strong athlete wins the first set with a lead of 2+ games. Additionally, fans consider the quantitative ratio of the favourite's victories on their serve and the outsider's breaks, athletes' form and motivation, and the type of court coverage.

Fast courts - grass or hard - will suit the strategy.

On the favourite in the second set live
According to the strategy, players bet on the victory of the strong tennis player in the second set, taking into account H(-2.5) with odds from 2.00. Conditions for placing a live bet:

  • pre-match odds for the victory of the strong participant - up to 1.40;
  • the favourite won the first set, the total of which - more than 9.5 games;
  • the match is played until 2 winning sets.

Handicap 2.50 in tennis will win if the athlete wins the second set with a lead of 3+ games.

In most matches where the weaker tennis player has expended a lot of energy in the first set, the athlete will lose the second set by a significant margin.


Handicap is one of the most popular markets in tennis, which allows to conditionally level the chances of participants and place bets with higher odds or lower risks.

Experienced players choose a positive handicap if they are sure that the outsider can compete with the favorite. If the participants' powers are unequal, it is worth choosing a handicap with a negative value.


What does the handicap mean in tennis betting?

Handicap is an advantage or lag in sets or games that a player gets before the start of a match.

How to correctly calculate a handicap bet on tennis?

When choosing the optimal handicap value, sportsbook users consider the positions of tennis players in the ATP rating, the results of their latest performances and the form of the participants, the importance of the tournament for the players, and the type of tennis court cover.

What is the difference between European and Asian handicaps in tennis?

With the European handicap, the fan will get a full settlement of the bet, either a win, a loss, or a return.

With the Asian handicap, a full win or loss is possible, as well as a partial win and return, or loss and return.


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