Bet Chat Diaries: Anyone for tennis?

Pimm’s, strawberries and cream, Cliff Richard, Henman Hill, the royal box and lashings of rain. Sadly, we had none of these this year but the LTA who run Wimbledon may have been the only sporting organisation in the world to have actually made a profit, having taken out pandemic insurance years ago. 

The good news is the tennis is back and the US open will be underway next week. 

It’s been a long time coming and it’s a great opportunity to improve your tennis betting and trading. I’m a tennis fan myself and have started to play regularly again. The sport’s combination of skill, finesse, power, athleticism and psychological pressure make it absolutely fascinating. Of course, with absolutely none of this on show when I play with my mates, it makes me admire the pros even more. 

It can also be an extremely lucrative sport to bet on, with so many events in the calendar. I’m still no expert but I’ve improved my tennis trading in recent times. I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts and some basic strategies to get you started and maybe make you a little profit along the way. 

Avoid the big favourites

The men’s game has been absolutely dominated by the big three of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic (or four if you count Andy Murray). They are three of the greatest of all time but all of them are ageing and in decline. 

The market is still pricing in recreational bettors who are betting on them purely on their name and reputation and not their current form. No one has risen to take their throne just yet, but the likes of Tsitsipas, Thiem and Medvedev are waiting in the wings and I’ll be keeping an eye on them next week. 

The women’s game has the likes of Serena Williams and Simona Halep but is full of rising stars. The WTA produces some big odds winners and finalists, so don’t be afraid to look further afield for better value. You might be better off laying a big favourite in the women’s game because of the depth of quality on the tour right now. I’m keeping an eye on Cori Gauff, Anna Kontaveit and Naomi Osaka to name just a few for next week. 

Don’t bet pre-match

Tennis is notoriously difficult to bet pre-match. You are either faced with the prospect of very short odds favourites or games that have so many swings that the price you take will change wildly in play. 

The smarter way to bet is to use the exchange but if you want to use a bookie, then find one that you can bet in play. Wait for opportunities to bet with value on your side. If the player you want to back goes a break or a set down, if you think they’ve been unlucky and will make a fight of it then back them at a better price. 

If you really want to bet pre-match, take on a heavy favourite who you think might be vulnerable. If your bookie offers a cashout, you can take an instant profit (although this is a much better idea to do by laying them on the exchange as the bookmaker takes a big margin from your bet). 

A lower ranked player will usually know they need to go hell for leather in the first set to give themselves a fighting chance. 

Especially in the non grand slam tournaments, motivation and fatigue might set in for the big favourites and plenty of shock upsets do happen. 

Look at alternative markets

Look beyond the traditional match winner markets to find some better value. If you think a match might be closer than expected or you think a heavy favourite will dominate, then look at the match handicaps or game totals. 

Other niche markets are well worth following. A big server might be worth backing to get the most aces in a game or a poorer server to get the most double faults. Neither will necessarily affect the final outcome of the match but can still lead you to profit. 

Get to know the players

Although commentary can sometimes be less than helpful, in tennis, the anecdotes and perspective by the panel add a layer of context to a player. Some players will fold in pressure situations and some will rise to the challenge of being a double break down and smash their way out of trouble. 

Long term success in tennis is about a deeper knowledge of the players that goes beyond the statistics and current form. The more you watch, the more you’ll be able to better read the games (at least that’s the hope for me!)

“I reckon it’s your best one yet!”

Reporting from Bet Chat HQ, south west London…

I’d like to start today by thanking those of you who have already grabbed a copy of this season’s Prem Bets guide. All of your kind words have been much appreciated, none more so than from trusted racing tipster Miles Tredwell, who got in touch to say:

“I had a read through this last night and… I reckon it’s your best one yet!. It’s always been pretty, but this layout and format lends itself brilliantly to the flow and it’s a very enjoyable read. Also a collection of interesting and surprising stats.”

If you’ve not yet got your copy, you can do so by clicking this link

As with all truly valuable betting resources, this one has stood the test of time, and I fully expect it to be another winning year.

Speaking of Miles

On the subject of Miles Tredwell, tomorrow’s ‘Free Tip of the Week’ will be coming from his racing service, so do look out for that. The last time he provided it the horse duly won and, win or lose, what you will be sure to get is a thoroughly researched and good value selection.

And of course, that’s what it’s all about… value.

To give you a slight Prem Bets spoiler,  I don’t think Chelsea will win the league this season, I don’t think they’ll come especially close and I think odds of 12/1 massively overestimate their chances…

However, if they were 100/1, would I back them? Of course I would! It doesn’t matter that I don’t think they’ll win the league. What matters is that they have a better than 1 in 100 chance.

I know you’ve probably heard it 1000 times before but it really is that important, so I make no apologies for bringing it up again… 

Keep the idea of value in your mind at all times, and you’ll instantly be one step ahead of the vast majority of sports bettors.

“Is that the last thing we need?”

Reporting from McBet Chat HQ, the east coast of Scotland…

Just a quick email from me today as it’s been hectic.

In fact, given I’m on my third glass of wine, am due out in 10 minutes, have been working since 8am and just cooked a ‘dinner to impress’ for four, it’s a wonder I’ve had time to write anything.

But, here’s the thing…

I’d be doing you a massive disservice by not getting in touch to let you know that my Prem Bets guide will be ready to go in the morning!

You see, this ever popular guide is once again packed full of value bets, with this tenth anniversary edition including 50/1, 22/1 and two 25/1 shots among plenty of slightly shorter prices.

With so much juiciness on offer, I don’t want you to get in late when the prices have already moved, hence this early evening heads up.

All being well, I’ll be emailing you with a link to get the guide at about 10am tomorrow, so set your alarms… 

If you’re not working or working from home then there’s no excuse. If you are working, I’m sure the boss won’t mind a short break to attend to far more important matters than the daily grind!

Anyway, that’s all I wanted to say for now. Have a cracking evening.

Help a Bet Chatter: Check out this prediction league

Bet Chat may only be seven months old but I feel like we’ve already built a great little community with lots of you getting involved, be it through commenting on our emails, joining our service Telegram groups or even taking part in our lockdown quiz.

That’s why we’ve launched Help a Bet Chatter, in which we’ll give a little bit of publicity to a good cause, small business or group that one of our readers is involved with.

We’ll aim to do one of these a month, so we need  your submissions! You can send in the details of anything you’d like to share to

Obviously there’s no pressure on anybody to donate to or even engage with any of these shout outs, so don’t worry about that – we know times are financially tough for an awful lot of people at the moment. This is just a chance for us to use our platform to provide a little bit of extra coverage.

Have you got what it takes to win this league?

Bet Chatter Clive runs a correct score prediction league and he’d love for some fellow Bet Chatters to join this season. There are cash prizes and I’ll be getting involved so it’ll be fascinating to see who comes out on top.

Here’s Clive with the details:

The footy comp has been running for 9 years now so is well established.

Each week, (and sometimes midweek depending on the fixture list), you are asked to predict the scores of ten games; the Premier League Saturday and Sunday games, made up to ten with Championship fixtures, with preference given to the televised games.

 The scoring is as follows:

  • Home or away correct result, score incorrect – 2 points
  • Home or away correct result, score correct – 3 points
  • Draw correct regardless of score – 3 points 

That gives you a maximum of 30 points but, of course, nobody has ever got 30! 

The important thing to remember is that you are simultaneously playing two competitions. Firstly, a league match against one opponent and secondly a “monthly” which awards prizes to the highest scorers each month. So you can win a league game by scoring 4 if your opponent scores 2 but you may need 60 to win the monthly which you won’t do with regular scores of 4. 

Your entry fee is split in half with one half paying for the league and cup prizes (Prem winner £400 last season) and half for the monthly which always peaks in December because of the increased number of games (£80 first prize last year). There are currently two divisions but I hope to reach three this year. There is promotion and relegation between them as you might expect. 

In addition to the league, we play a Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup, League Cup and even a Checkatrade Trophy competition using the fixtures from each tournament.  

It is basically an email competition. You will always get fixtures sent by email, results, updated tables, cup draws and general news and, importantly, you always have to send your scores in by email. 

We have one person playing from Australia in their 80s who is somewhat technically challenged but email seems to work for everyone anyway!  

The great thing about this game is that you can spend 10 seconds or ten hours working out the likely scores depending on how much time you have available (and still get most of them wrong anyway!) and you are never out of the running as the monthly scores are reset each month for the “monthlies”. 

Entry is £10 per month for August-May by standing order, making a nice round total of £100 a year. You will soon see from the Order of Merit tab on our master spreadsheet that seven of us won over the £100 last year (sadly not including me!). Four of the top seven earners were second tier players. 

If you’d like to take part or have any further questions, you can reach me at


So, there you have it. Hopefully that’s of interest and, if so, I look forward to pitting my wits against you this season!

“He’s still got it”

Reporting from McBet Chat HQ, the east coast of Scotland…

Do you have a Facebook account?

If so, can you please do me a quick favour? It’ll take about 5 seconds.

Just toddle over to this page and hit ‘Like’.


Believe your eyes

It may sound obvious, but in spotting value bets there really is no substitute for watching sport, ideally live or, failing that, without knowing the result (so there are no preconceptions).

While that obviously takes up a lot more time than simply checking the result, reading a short summary or looking at the stats, you WILL spot things that those who didn’t watch it will have missed.

Over the last two days I’ve been making hay backing Stephen Hendry in the World Seniors Snooker Championship…

I also backed him to win the tournament at 6/1 earlier today, prior to his comfortable quarter-final victory…

Stephen has played in this event the last couple of years and, despite having by far the greatest pedigree of all the entrants, hasn’t done especially well. As a result, this time he’s been available at some very juicy odds.

I didn’t place any bets on him pre-tournament but what I did do was watch his first round match against Nigel Bond, one of the few players in the tournament who still plays professionally and a player who actually belied his years by making the quarter-finals of the UK Championship in December, the second most prestigious snooker event of the year.

Bond went 2-0 and 3-1 up in the match (which is when I placed the first spread bet that you saw above) but it was apparent that Stephen was in really good nick and looking capable of making big breaks…

Something that very few players in this event are, giving they’re all well past their best (Dennis Taylor, another entrant, is 71!)

Having that ability, and Hendry’s winning pedigree, is a huge advantage and those who hadn’t been watching, or just saw his results in the last two years and the fact that he only won 4-3 in round one, wouldn’t have adjusted their pricing accordingly.

I was watching and saw that he was primed to blow players away, which he duly did in winning his quarter final 4-1, making one visit match winning breaks in four of the frames and a should-have-been match winning 61 break in the one frame he lost.

Whether he’ll win the tournament from here I’ve no idea, but I’ve undoubtedly had the outright value and also picked up a tidy match bet profit, and all that triggered it was some time spent watching his first match and putting 2 and 2 together to make 4.

“GTL: Gym, Tan, Laundry”

Reporting from McBet Chat HQ, the east coast of Scotland…

Despite yesterday morning’s portents of doom and a subsequent incident where I managed to get on the wrong connecting train, I did eventually make it to my destination in Scotland, hurrah!

I then had a nice little 11/2 winner on the Champions League qualifying, hurrah again!

Alas, that was the last hurrah for the day, as a picture from Bet Chat Bec filtered through, reminding me that, after one too many cancelled flights to Australia, she had instead taken a trip to sunny Spain.

Still, the east coast of Scotland is just as good as the south coast of Spain, right guys?


Full steam ahead

One thing that’s certainly more Spanish sun than Scottish storms is my annual Premier Bets guide and I’m making good progress with this year’s edition…

In fact, I’ve already flagged up a 20/1 shot which I’m very keen on indeed.

As I said yesterday, this will actually be the 10th edition of the guide, but in case you’ve never seen it before, I thought I’d share with you a page from last season…

Take a look here.

As always, this year will include a page on each team packed full of analysis, plus real value bets. It should be ready next week and I look forward to sharing it.