Deprecated: Methods with the same name as their class will not be constructors in a future version of PHP; plgContentRokbox has a deprecated constructor in /homepages/12/d457616922/htdocs/tennisbet.net/plugins/content/rokbox/rokbox.php on line 11

Betting on the next service break in tennis

In a tennis match, a service break often decides a set, both in the ATP and the WTA. Correctly predicting a break in the next game can easily net you 2-3 times your bet, but it is not easy to tell when a service break is going to happen. But if you have been watching the set from the start, there are a few tells that can help you.

First off, you will often hear people referring to "the seventh game" - the reason being the fact that often times, players take turns winning their games until the score is 3:3, and then one player takes a significant lead by winning the other player's serve. Obviously, the "seventh game reference" is misleading here - if player A started out serving at the beginning of the set, his crucial game may just as well be the eighth game, after taking a 4:3 lead by winning his own serve. In any case, most breaks do happen in the middle of a set.

Signs to watch out for

Here are a few things that may give you a clue about when the break may or may not happen:

If a player has been winning his serve with ease, never conceding more than one point during his own service games, he is less likely to have his next serve broken. If the returning player has gotten very close to breaking before, chances are he may do it during the pivotal game #7 or #8. Obvious, right?

Not quite so obvious: the quality of the previous first AND second serves. Let's say, player A is serving. So far, he had 80% first serves in, which made it easy for him to win his service games. But we need to look at the "points won with 2nd serve" here. If that statistic is significantly under 50%, it means that if the first serve fails to come, he may be in trouble. Considering the fact that players tend to get a little more tense in crucial spots, especially with their serve, this is very significant.

Another tiny, but extremely important detail: Does the consistency and accuracy of the serving player's first serve go down in situations like 30 all, or deuce, or advantage out? That is an indicator that his service will eventually be broken.

Take a look at the returning player's behaviour. Has he been gambling, i.e. picking one side hoping to get lucky with his choice and getting a really strong return in? Well, if so, he will probably get better and better at reading the other guy and eventually gain that fraction of a second that you need to be in the right place to successfully counter a strong serve.

Very important: While the score may be 3:3, often one of the two players has been dominating the match. The result may not reflect it (yet), but he is the one "calling the shots", showing a game plan and doing the acting while the other player reacts. Usually, this dominating player is more likely to first win the other player's break at some point. Since he knows about the importance of such a break close to the end of the set, he will often display that little bit more willpower necessary to turn the scale in his favor, right at this moment.

Men and Ladies difference

It is a fact that there is a huge difference between men and women (at the pro level), both when it comes to serving and returning. You may say "what - I see women serving with 180-190 kph all the time", but the fact is that there is a world of a difference between 180 kph and 210 kph. A 180 kph serve gives you time for 2-3 steps before returning it, but at 210 kph, you would have to be really fast to even make two steps. The conclusion is that breaks are much more frequent on the WTA tour, compared to the men's circuit.

Final thoughts

If you are watching a match where both player seem to win their service games with great ease, then it might be good idea to place a bet on the number of games in that set. Not all sportsbooks allow that kind of bet (our favourite sportsbook, Bet365 does - click here to check them out). Of course, what you have to do is bet on a number of 13 games in that set because under the circumstances, chances are the set will be decided in the tie-break.