by Simon Noble - 06/30/2006
With Wimbledon in full swing, a lot of Pinnacle Sports players are taking a much closer look at tennis betting. If you're thinking about trying your hand at Wimbledon or other tennis events, there are a few pitfalls a little preparation can help you avoid.
Many new tennis bettors don't understand the difference between the Grand Slam events versus the traditional "best of three set" tournaments. In the Men's Grand Slam events, all matches are "best of five". This means that the fair price of a match between the same two players can be very different, depending on whether it's best of three or five.
Let's consider a match-up between players "A" and "B", where "A" will win each set 60% of the time. If p = 0.6 (odds for A to win each set) and q = 0.4 (odds of him not wining a set), the odds of him winning the match are: M = p*p + p*q*p + q*p*p
There are three terms, just as there are three possible ways to win a three-set match. He can win the first two sets (p*p), the first and third set while losing the second (p*q*p), or lose the first and win the last two sets. So, the odds of "A" winning this match are: M= 0.6*0.6 + (0.6*0.4*0.6) + (0.4*0.6*0.6) = .648, or 64.8%.
It gets more complicated in a five-set match. In terms of winning or losing a set, player A can win the match in three ways: win three straight sets, three sets to one, or three sets to two. There's only one possible way to win three straight sets. There are three possible ways to win 3-1 (since the match ends if he wins the first three). So how many ways can a player win three sets to two? It's easier if you remember that "A" must win the last set. Since he won exactly two of the first four sets, there are (4 choose 2 = 4*3/2) or six ways to win 3-2. Therefore, the odds of "A" winning a best of five match are: M= p*p*p + p*p*p*q*3 + p*p*p*q*q*4 = .6^3 + .6^3 *.4*3 + .6^3 *.4*4 = 0.821, or 82.1%.
This example shows how much of a difference it makes in playing the best of five versus the best of three. When considering the match format, one must also realize that the greater the difference in skill level, the more it helps the favorite to play best of five.
You can use this method of analyzing matches to set lines for any series bet, or many prop bets such as "Will the Yankees win its playoff series in exactly six games". Once you have the tools in place to analyze these kinds of problems, you'll be surprised at how many opportunities present themselves with an edge over the bookmaker. Often bargains can be found on series plays where you're laying -400 or greater, since these types of bets mainly attract underdog money from public bettors.
Another area new tennis handicappers sometimes fail to understand is the effect the surface has on play. The difference between grass, hard court and clay is so significant that you can practically treat them as three separate sports. Even casual fans know that Nadal is amazing on clay, but how well will he play on the grass at Wimbledon? If you're handicapping a match involving Nadal, you'd get a better indicator of his play by only examining his play on grass than considering his recent play on clay (including his dominant play at the French Open).
If you know a player's strengths, you can improve your results further. Does he have a big serve or a potent ground game? In Wimbledon, the fast grass surface enhances players with a strong serve and volley game, whereas clay courts do just the opposite. Understanding a player's strengths should help handicapping their matches on the various surfaces. This can be helpful, especially if a player's form has changed in the past six months or if they haven't played many matches on the surface of the upcoming match. For example, if a player has a very balanced game, you might consider both clay and hard court matches to handicap a later grass match.
The most important thing for tennis bettors, like with any other sport, is to find the most value on their wagers. At Pinnacle Sportsbetting we offer a 10-cent line on for all Wimbledon matches, which represents at least 50% better odds than most traditional sportsbooks. Additionally, PinnacleSports.com provides a comprehensive betting menu on every Grand Slam event including sets betting, propositions, updated futures and in-running betting.
While Wimbledon has just started, the World Cup has already reached the quarterfinal round. So what are soccer players betting?
Brazil to advance versus France: Yes -260
The early opener at Pinnacle Sports listed Brazil as a -210 favorite. Of the eight teams in the quarterfinals, Brazil has both the greatest population (over 188 million) and the greatest national following. A few sharps bet this early, but most of the early betting (notably after the line moved to -240) was public money.
Brazil to win World Cup: Yes +251
At the start of the tournament, Brazil was +360 to win. Brazil started slowly, but improved through the group stage, winning all three matches in its group. They defeated Ghana 3-0 in the round of 16, bringing them one round closer to taking their sixth World Cup title.
With three elimination matches remaining, the "Yes" would only have value if Brazil were expected to be an average of -195 or higher favorite in each match-up. Given that they're playing France (where early openers made Brazil a -220 favorite), and will most likely play England then Germany as a smaller favorite, the "No" looks like the right side. One way to leverage this is to play the "No", and use progressive hedging by playing Brazil to advance each round.