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  • Understanding the Handicap Line in Tennis

    Understanding the Handicap Line in Tennis

    Many sports have a handicap line that you can use when betting and tennis is one of them. The handicap line on tennis is not as popular as with some other sports, rugby and American football for example, but it is something that more advanced tennis gamblers should know about and should understand. This is an alternative market that is great for using when you are looking for additional value on a pick that you have, and a way to increase your profit by backing a player at longer odds.

    As a punter, you should always be looking to learn as much as possible and finding out how alternative betting markets work is certainly something you should do. These markets may only be used once or twice per year, but having an understanding of them means that when the time comes you can use them to your advantage. The more betting markets you understand and can use, the better chance you have of beating the bookmakers and taking home a nice profit.

    What is a Handicap Line?

    The explanation of a handicap line is something that remains the same regardless of which sport you are betting on. This means if you bet on multiple different sports and you want to look at the handicap line, you can use this explanation to understand how it works, this isn’t just specific to tennis.

    The first thing to note with a handicap line is that the line itself is created by the bookmakers. This means that one of the most important things you should do is look around for the different lines on offer. For example, while two bookmakers may be offering the same price for their handicap betting, the line could be slightly different, meaning one of them will offer you better value. Even if this is just one point difference, it could be the difference between winning and losing so it is imperative that you always side with the bookmaker offering the best line for your selection.

    When you are betting on the line, what you are doing is using the line to change the score and bring the two players closer together, fictionally for betting purposes. For example, a favourite for the game is given a minus score that makes it more difficult for them to win, while the outsider gets a head start to give them more chance of winning. If you are looking to add additional value and gain more profit by using the handicap line then you will have to back a favourite on the line. Outsiders will shorten in price because they are gaining a head start, so you will get a smaller price on them on the handicap.

    One thing to note when you are looking at the handicap line is that the line will always end in .5. This is to ensure that the line is two way, and one of the two outcomes will always win. For example, when betting on tennis games, even if the number of games is a tie the handicap line will have a winner because of the .5 on the line.

    Betting on the Tennis Handicap Line

    The tennis handicap line is based around the number of games that each player wins and not the number of sets or the eventual outcome. This is important to know when betting so that you know what you are looking for and you know what you have to cheer on. This makes it slightly different to other types of tennis betting, which all rely on the outcome, or the correct score in sets and various other things like that. Your player doesn’t need to win for you to win on the handicap line, something you must always remember when making your picks.

    Here is an example of what a tennis handicap line looks like and what needs to happen for your pick to win.

    Men’s three-set games with a handicap line of 4.5

    For the favourite to win, he needs to win by a margin of five games or more, while the outsider gets a head start of 4.5 so he needs to win or lose by four games or less.

    If the favourite wins the match 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 then if you have backed the favourite on the handicap line you will have won. The winning margin was six games in total, which is more than the five that was needed.

    If the favourite wins the game 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 then he will lose the game on the handicap line, despite winning the actual real-life contest. The margin here is just two games, so it is the outsider that has won because he has only lost by two games and he was able to lose by up to four and still win on the handicap line. This example is important because it shows that you can win the game, but lose the handicap.

    The final example shows that you can win the handicap, but lose the game, showing that the overall result has no real impact on whether your bet is a winner or not. If the favourite loses the game 4-6, 6-0, 4-6, 6-1, 4-6 then despite losing the contest he will actually win on the handicap line. The game total for this is 24-19, meaning the player has won by five games in total, and he needed to win by five games or more.

    This is certainly the most complicated outcome of them all, but it shows that when you bet on the handicap line because it uses the number of games won, the actual full result does not matter at all. When the handicap line grows there will be instances where it is impossible for a player to lose the game but win the handicap due to the number of games he needs to win by, but this only occurs when the handicap line is a big one.