Tennis Scalping Without Live Pictures

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Tennis Trading by Tradeshark

A popular way of trading tennis matches is to watch the game live and place backs or lays as soon as you see a point being won. This makes it a low risk strategy but it has its drawbacks.

If your back/lay gets matched then you will profit. What you are more likely to experience is that your order won’t get matched. The market will move too soon and you get left behind. No harm done. Just cancel the order. But no profit either.

Everyone is trying to get an edge over everyone else. Where you are getting your “live” pictures will make a difference. Even a second delay compared to people trading at the event or those using the fastest pictures and you will always miss out. So traders have developed ways of beating that delay. If you trade tennis regularly you will have noticed the “speculators”. These traders try to anticipate where the market is going to go and get in early. Ofcourse sometimes they get it wrong which means there will be false market moves. Anyone trying to follow the score simply by watching the price will come unstuck.

Rather than trying to beat the big boys we need another yet similar approach. The idea behind this is to play the percentages. We need entry points for our trades that offer a bigger upside than downside. Ofcourse not every trade will profit but over the course of a match this can prove very profitable.

So what are the best times to place our orders? Let me break it down by indiviual score and try to explain the pros and cons for each one.

Good or bad entry points?

Please note the server’s score is shown first and the price movement is based on typical numbers of ticks for a first set. Price movement in later sets are often larger as the match is closer to its conclusion.

What I am looking for is minimum risk. The larger price movements in a tennis match are caused by breaks of serve. The number of ticks reflect how much nearer the last point takes us to a potential break of serve.

When I use the following tactics I select a match where the players are fairly even and there is a good chance of breaks of serve. The price on the favourite player shouldn’t be too low and anything below 1.30 wouldn’t be selected as a suitable match.

I’ve tried to explain my thoughts without too much waffle. Apologies if I haven’t achieved that!

The points are analysed seperately and are not intended to reflect consecutive points in a game.

0-0 – Lay the server

Small price movement if the server wins the next point ( 1 or 2 ticks ). Larger movement if the receiver wins it. (3 to 4 ticks)

15-0 – No trade

The price movement for the server going to 15-0 will have been 1 or 2 ticks. If the receiver wins the next point for 15-15 the price will simply move back to where it was at 0-0. If the server wins the next point for 30-0 the price will move a further 1 or 2 ticks. Therefore the potential gain is identical to the potential loss. No real value in entering here.

15-15 – Lay the server

One of my favourites J. I lay the server at this score. If the receiver wins the next point for 15-30 you wil get 3 to 5 ticks in your favour. If the server wins the next point for 30-15 the market will move 1 or 2 ticks against you. The upside far outweighs the downside. Also if the receiver goes to 15-30 you have the option to let the trade run a further point. If the server pulls back to 30-30 you can scratch the trade for no loss. However if the receiver gets to 15-40 you are in a very strong position for a potential total gain of 10 to 15 ticks if the receiver goes on to break serve.

15-30 – Lay the server

If the server pulls back to 30-30 the price movement will be 3 to 5 ticks. This is because each of the receivers points has moved the price by 3 to 5 ticks and the market price will be brought back to roughly where it was at 0-0 (maybe a tick or 2 higher especially near the end of the set). If the receiver wins the point for 15-40 there wil be 4 to 5 ticks movement. So the upside movement is equal to the downside price movement. However I am often inclined to lay the server. If the score moves to 15-40 you are obviously in a strong position.

15-40 – Lay the server

The basis to the “15-40 Method”. If the receiver has got to this score there is a very good chance that they will complete the break of serve. Can be very profitable on its own.

30-0 – Back the server

This is quite a popular entry point. If the server wins the next point for 40-0 then they are obviously very strong favourite to win the game. If the receiver wins the point for 15-30 the price movement will only be 1 or ticks to correct the price movement from 15-0 to 30-0. Therefore very little downside. The upside for the next point isn’t huge but you are then in a good position to let the trade ru to the end of the game.

30-15 – No trade

From this score the game can look very different following the next point. If the server wins it for 40-15 then there’s obviously a strong chance of him winning the game. However if the receiver pulls back to 30-30 the sever is under pressure to win the next point. I feel there is more of a potential downside and you aren’t playing the percentages to enter the market at this point.

30-30 – Lay the server

If the sever wins the next point for 40-30 the market will move a 2 to 3 ticks. If the receiver wins it for 30-40 the price will perhaps move 3 to 4 ticks and you have the option to wait for the receiver to complete the break of serve for a bigger profit. If the server were to pull back to 40-40, scratch the trade for no loss.

30-40 – No trade

This looks like a tempting entry point. The receiver has a break point which would bring anything from 10 to 20+ ticks profit (depending on the stage of the set) if the break is completed. If the server pulls back to 40-40 the market correction will move the price by approx 5 to 6 points.

On this occasion the potential upside far outweighs the potential downside but in my experience you will lose more often than not. An entry at this score feels like a gamble and in my opinion isn’t playing the percentages. But make your own choice on this one!

40-0 – No trade

If you haven’t entered the market at this point you have missed the boat! The larger part of the price movement has already happened. If you back the server at this point it is quite possible that by the time the next game is ready to start you have actually lost a tick as some traders will simply back the server at the start of the game which will move the price against you. Laying the server at 40-0 isn’t playing the percentages!

40-15 – No trade

Very similar to 40-0. Most of the price movement has happened already.

40-30 – Lay the server

One for the brave! Whoever wins the next point will probably bring about a similar price movement. I tend to lay the server if I have already built up a profit in the match. I wouldn’t use this entry point early in the match as you can be left with an early loss that can affect confidence.

40-40 – No trade

The price movement if the receiver wins will be greater than if the server moves to A-40. So laying the server seems attractive. However you need to remember that more games are won by the server ( even WTA matches on clay! ). I feel this entry point is too much of a gamble for my liking J

0-15 – No trade

For me, not enough indication as to how the game will go. The size of the price movement will be very similar whichever way the point goes. Not playing the precentages to enter here.

0-30 – Lay the server

Again the size of the price movement will be similar whichever way the next point goes. However what makes this a good entry point is the potential of 0-40 being the next score which leaves us in a very strong position.

0-40 – Lay the server

This is a fairly safe entry point but because of that the potential profit will be 2 to 3 ticks at best. Most of the price movement has already happened at 0-40.


By using the thoughts that I have listed above, and I should point out that that is all they are – MY thoughts, over the course of a full match you will end on a profit.

I feel you must get out of a trade and accept the small loss if the next point doesn’t go your way. Because the entry points are selected to “play the percentages” then the overall result will be a profit if the method is used for a full match.

After each individual trade whether a profit or loss I always hedge.


Forum discussion from BetSeventyTwo

Tennis Scalping Without Live Pictures Discussion

by begi88 » Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:17 pm

Hey Tradeshark,

today any good match for that tactic, maybe Ferrero v Monfils ? Ferrero very high rated because of the win against Hewitt i suppose. Maybe observing the first 2-3 games and then join the market or do you see a better opportunity for the scalping tactic today ?

best wishes,


by TradeShark » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:49 pm Sorry guys I have been snowed under the last couple of days.

If you’re wanting to try this method, read my blog each morning. I try to pick out a couple of games from the days diary that will be suitable.

by begi88 » Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:50 am

Great. Added to the favourites

Do you know what i have had afor a problem ? I have tried your tactic but it didn’t worked easily. If the odds of one player went down to 1.8 or 1.7 the increaments between the other player where to high for a profitable trading situation. Have had big problems with that, so i have tried to back the not serving player if he is the one whose odds are below 2.0. It worked better but also not “that” good. Think i have to learn a lot more of tennis trading….

best wishes,


by TradeShark » Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:50 am

Always try to place your trades on the player with the highest amount of money matched on them. That is always the favourite and their price will be below 2.00 . Occasionally you will have 2 players so closely fancied that there won’t be much difference in price or in the amount matched on them but this is rare.

The reason for trading on the player with most money matched is simply because there will be fewer gaps between the prices and you stand more chance of getting your bets matched.

So if you are wanting back the underdog, you actually place a lay bet on the favourite.

by begi88 » Fri Aug 21, 2009 9:00 am

Hey Tradeshark,

have done a few of your mentioned trades. 3 of 4 were successfull. Achieved a 30-40% profit of my stake at the middle or end of first set and then i stopped to trade because i didn’t want to loose it.

Have had big problems yesterday with the Davydenko match. Seemed there was a huge delay and so i was don to 80% of my stake on both because i backed davydenko at the start of his service games which was a big mistake at the beginning. I saw the odds were not moving so much if Davydenko makes his service game in the going of the set then i backed him at the start of simons service and also laid simon and davydenko breaked beack!!! Was in profit for 15% again, so i achieved a win with this one trade of 95% !!! After that i decided to stop also because i felt there was a delay of less 10-15seconds and that was too much for me.

I have a question, if you say a good scalping match you only use the tactics which are mentioned ? (lay the server at 0-0,15-15 and so on…) Because i sometimes i feel i made not that what you made for instance the Bennetau – Lopez match. I have had a loos of 30% after the first set with laying the server “scalping” methods but you wrote a great scalping match ??

Maybe you can help a bit.

best wishes,


by TradeShark » Mon Aug 24, 2009 3:14 pm

Hi Begi,

One of the mistakes people make when scalping a match is in feeling they need to be in and out of the market constantly. Very often “less is more”. Pick the right situations before entering a trade. Sometimes i will not place a trade for 3 or 4 games if the situation doesnt feel right.

Patience is definately a strength!

Also don’t try to use ALL the entry points that i talk about. Pick 2 or 3 and concentrate on those. Definately the 15-40 unless there are 2 strong servers. If you DO have a strong server then back them at the start of their service games. if they go 0-30 or 15-40 down then take the loss and wait for the next one ( if he goes 15-40 down and you’re quick enough, hedge out and then back the receiver! ( or lay the server )

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