It’s one of the most watched (and most bet-able) events on the sporting calendar, with more than 493,000 attendees, 13m home viewers, and multiple opportunities to collect a big win at the bookies. Wimbledon 2017 might still be a few months away, but the anticipation has already begun.
So, what should you know about Wimbledon, who’s good to follow, and what are the best punts to place?
First Thing’s First: What Is Wimbledon?
Wimbledon is the oldest, most watched, and most prestigious tennis tournament in history. This year, the event will be played out over two weeks from 3rd-16th of July with the two key culminating matches (the women’s finals and the men’s finals) taking place on the final two days. The tournament itself is made up from several sub-tournaments including men’s and women’s doubles and singles, junior events and invitational events played out across eighteen grass courts.
The beauty of the game stems from its simplicity: a player needs four points to win a game and the first to win six games wins a set. Once you win a certain number of sets – three for women, and five for men – you’ve won the match. While this may appear complex on the page, it’s simple to understand as soon as the ball is in the air. This segmented scoring means matches are broken up in such a way that bets are easy to place, predict and track.
The game is firmly embedded in British culture and is the second most popular form of sports betting after football. Tennis also has a huge international draw and, consequently, pulls in a wealth of seasoned punters looking to make a mint or casual punters looking for a straightforward flutter. Those taking advantage of online punts can also avail of live betting or in-play gambling and many offers will be available closer to the start date of the tournament to let you watch and make your money.
But with 128 players competing in the men’s and women’s singles tournaments, who should you be keeping an eye on?
While the final line-up has yet to be announced, these big names are worth following:
Andy Murray: Currently ranked world number one, Murray has faced an uphill struggle to retain his form recently as a rocky start to the 2017 leg of the season saw him diagnosed with shingles and suffering from an elbow injury at Indian Wells. While he has been declared fit to compete at the recent Miami Open, it remains to be seen how much punishment he can take before the gruelling Wimbledon tournament.
Rafael Nadal: The world-famous Spaniard continues to stick to the script, most recently besting Albert Ramos Viñolas to clench the 10th Monte Carol Masters. However, this was not without contention. He scraped his way into the final after a poor call in his favour against David Goffin broke his opponent’s tempo and gave Nadal the opening he needed. Historically better on clay than grass, Nadal is going to be disadvantaged; will this be enough for a well-playing opponent to unseat him?
Novak Djokovic: Rattled by his recent dismantling at the hands of Goffin at the Rolex Masters, the number two seed has been showing glimpses of his former form lately. However, Djokovic is a notoriously emotional player, which can work against him as the pressure builds; but Murray and Federer have both bounced back after a slump. Is this potentially his year?
Johanna Konta: The current world No.7 has been touted by Andy Murray as a potential No.1 after besting Caroline Wozniacki earlier in the month and beating Venus Williams earlier this year. The survey says this is a possibility, but she is likely to clash with previous victor-
Maria Sharapova: While there are questions about contention about Sharapova’s being allowed to compete after a drugs suspension and a recent loss at the Madrid Open, she is showing solid form – she recently beat Roberta Vinci 7-5, 6-3. With the majority of the crowd against her, her biggest battle may be psychological, with a bet against her being dependent on whether she feeds on the pressure or falls under the weight of the narrative.
Angelique Kerber: The number two seed has had a rough go of it lately, besting a returning Sharapova 6-3, 5-0 before going on to bow out of a match against Eugenie Bouchard due to a leg injury. If she recuperates in time for Wimbledon, punters may have a strong contender to take Serena Williams’ empty crown.
Now you know the names, what about some of the types of bet you can place to make the most of your Wimbledon punting?
Correct Score: This asks you to predict the correct final score of a complete match. Calling this correctly requires a degree of skill and should ideally be paired up with matched bet., For example: The outcome of your chosen match will be a 3 – 2 score-line to the winner.
Handicap Betting: One of the reasons why Wimbledon is such an exciting tournament for punters is the seeding system. This creates early matches which often find seasoned players stacked against relative newcomers, who then summarily demolished. While boring for audiences at home (or for those that have won lottery seats), the deployment of handicap betting can allow you to make the match more exciting by deciding a point-margin of success or failure, laying money on how they will do. For example: John Smith will lose his match against Federer by no more than three points.
In-Play: For those of you who are seasoned tennis punting professionals, in-play gambling offers an opportunity to take advantage of fluctuating odds to increase your chances of a payout. This demands that you flex your own muscles and make sure that you don’t pull the ripcord to early, or too late.
Match Bet: This involves placing a straightforward punt on the winner of the matchup between two players as part of the tournament. For example: £100 on Federer to beat Nadal in match three.
Outright Winner: This will be placing money on the winner of a distinct element of the tournament, such a singles or doubles champion. Like betting on the winner of the Grand National, this is the standard punt that most novice gamblers place on the tournament but can still be profitable. For example: £100 on Andy Murray to be men’s singles champion.
Set Betting: this allows you to choose a player who you believe would win a set within the game. This is very similar to correct score betting but for an individual set. For example: Roger Federer to win the first set
Start shopping around for deals: Wimbledon is one of the worldwide highlights of the punting calendar, which means all major sites will be bursting with promotional offers to tempt punters new and old into putting their money down on the site. Find the best one on the market, and make good use of it.
Find reliable sources: Finding a reputable source of pre-and mid-tournament information will be invaluable. As always, tipsters are a great shout here to bolster your own experience or to double-check your findings before you go on to place a punt.
Know your favourite’s form: Before you put any money on a player, always be sure to ask yourself some key questions: What is the player’s immediate and historic form? How do they fare on grass? Have they previously won the tournament? If so, how strong was their opposition and have there been any recent incidents in their life that can set them back? Who have they been pitched against for their opening game? And what are the range of odds currently at play for them?