This is one of the more popular live tennis wagers. The bettor has to choose both the winner of the set, and the amount of games each player will win. For example, you could wager that Player A will win 6-4, or Player B will win 7-6. Naturally, the odds will pay less for scores that favor the better player, and bigger payoffs will result from choosing a lopsided set score in favor of the underdog.
There is a lot of strategy and forethought that can go into this type of wager. Below is a simple three step process outlining how you can choose your set score.
1. Will the better player win?
The first question to ask yourself is whether or not you think the favored player will win that given set. You can base your decision on how the head to head matchups have gone historically, what surface they are playing on, the progress of the match thus far, etc. While thinking about which player you think will win the set, consider how long it takes you to decide. If you quickly decide that Player A will prevail, that should be a good indication that you are anticipating a lopsided score. If you debate back and forth over Player A or B winning the set, you probably are leaning toward a close score in the end.
2. Who is serving first?
This is important particularly if you don’t expect very many breaks of serve within the set. Say Player A serves first in a set, holds every serve, and breaks once. That set would result in a 6-3 set score in favor of Player A. However, the same one break and all holds set would wind up at 6-4 if Player A served second within the set. Understanding this simple difference is crucial when choosing your set score. Take note of who is serving first and use that information to your advantage.
The playing surface has a major impact on tennis matches, and you must factor it into your thinking. Sets played on clay tend to be closer because of the increased frequency of service breaks. Matches played on grass, such as at Wimbledon, usually favor big servers and see a lot of games held.
Once you have gone through these three steps, you should have a pretty good idea of what you expect the set score to be. Resist the temptation to just guess at a final score without thinking through this process. There are always hints and clues to how a match will play out – you just need to take the time to consider them carefully and combine them all into a smart choice.