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Betting on low level ITF tennis tournaments

Many betting sites, especially our favorite site Bet365, allow you to place bets on tennis tournaments as low as the category 1 ITF tennis tournaments (also known as F1 Futures). There are loads of tournaments like this being played on a weekly basis all across the World. Those tournament are mostly meant as an entry for young, aspiring players. They usually have a qualifying round consisting of 32 players, with two rounds being played to boil down the field to eight players. Those eight players will then enter the main draw.

In addition to that, the organizing body has the right to hand out 4 wildcards. Those go to local players most of the time, thus giving them a chance to win a first round and pick up a single point for the ATP ranking. It is easy to imagine that for a young player, even being ranked in the ATP at all is a matter of pride, even if you end up with a ranking of #2000+.

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What does that mean for the betting?

There are a few interesting aspects that can help you make some money while betting during those ITF events.

  • The wildcard players are often huge underdogs to the other main draw players. Under normal circumstances, a player who survived the qualifier tends to be stronger than a wildcard.
  • At the same time, you want to check where the wildcard player's opponent comes from, what the local weather is like and at what time of the day the match is scheduled. Let's take a look at an extreme example: A serve-and volley player from Russia plays a tournament in the Caribbean, his opponent is a local clay-court, counter-puncher type of player and the match is scheduled for midday, with temperatures around 35 Celsius. Who would you put your money on? Of course the climate advantage can only help a player as long as the other guy is not too superior in terms of skill and technique, but when 2 players are otherwise evenly matched, those advantages can make the difference.
  • The fact that they play on home soil is another advantage for the wildcard. They have more time to get used to the type of court, and they will have the local spectators cheering them on. Also, we should not neglect the fact that the locals often are players that do not get to play too many of those events, while the guys or girls from abroad oftentimes travel permanently. A player who participates only in 2 or 3 events close to home over a year will often have better focus and motivation, compared to someone who travels and plays on a weekly basis.

Where to get good information before betting

This is, in fact, the biggest problem if you want to find a profitable bet for those low level tennis tournaments. Often you will find that the players involved have had very little activity, so that the ITF website does not give you many clues as to what that player is about. Previous head-to-head results will be the exception, and going by simple ranking is a very bad idea when you are looking at players lower ranked than #500. 

Some tips:

Very often, the players in those tournament are very young, so you may want to check the information you find on their performance as juniors (you will find these on the websites of their national federations mostly).

Check the timeline of his activity. Has he played tournaments week after week (meaning this guy is serious about his career, at least at this time), or does he just play tournaments from time to time, when there is an opportunity close to home?

If you do find info about the player, check his activity. At this level, you will want to check the wins vs losses rate. As a ruke of thumb, a player with more wins than losses during a 6-month period is on his way up (obvious, right?). Equally important is the quality of the players he has beaten - so do not just take a look at the round that he got eliminated in, but look at the ranking of players he has beaten. That said, you have to bear in mind that the difference between player A ranked #1300, player B ranked 1500 and player C ranked #2000 is that A has 5 points, B has 3, and C has one point. Consider that the points in a $10k ITF F1 are awarded as: 1-2-6-10-18 points between a player who wins in round won (1 Point) and tournament winner (18 points), and it is easy to see that in the lower parts of the ranking list the difference between #1300 and #2000 does not mean a lot.