Wimbledon, You Can Not Be Serious! Or Can You?

This entry was posted on Sunday, June 21st, 2009

WITH Wimbledon just around the corner, I thought it might be worth turning the attention of this online gambling blog’s regulars to the world’s most famous tennis tournament – and, more specifically, how one can make a few bob from betting on it.

But first of all, like in all betting mediums, one has to ask the question: How straight is the game?

That’s a pre-requisite for betting on any sport. Horseracing has probably the worst reputation in this department. Most punters – and almost all losing ones – feel that the game is bent.

They’d rather blame a jockey on the take/make for their own inadequacies. Almost certainly a losing punter will simply have picked the wrong horse. But rarely will he admit to making such a basic mistake. He rather go on about how the jockey ‘threw’ the race.

The late, great Phil Bull, who founded Timeform, once said that he believed that almost every race was straight. He reckoned he couldn’t carry on betting if he didn’t think that – and I’m definitely in the Bull camp on that one.

But what about tennis?

There have been rumblings in recent years that tennis had attracted some dodgy gambling characters, just as all sports have done. Three low ranked Italian players – none of whom played on the main tour – were fined and suspended for betting on games.

And there was the much more high-profile case involving the Russian Nikolay Davydenko in a minor tournament in Poland.

Davydenko, ranked No. 4 in the world at the time, was playing against little-known Argentinean Martin Vassallo Arguello. Money poured in for Arguello even after he had lost the first set and the match finally ended with Davydenko quitting on his stool in the third set.

Both players were cleared after an inquiry that last for more than a year, but the reputation of tennis is still suffering.

But don’t let these incidents put you off; you can make tennis betting pay, particularly on the bet exchanges.

For a start it’s a game with only two possible results – a win or loss for your selection.

But with most matches taking an up-and-down course there are plenty of opportunities for either backing both players at odds-against or laying both at odds-against, locking in a profit either way.

You can also back or lay one player to guarantee your screen ‘greens up’.

The best time to get your claws into a tennis match is when a much higher-ranked player loses the first set, preferably in a best-of-five game. His price will probably drift quite markedly – and there is often an over-reaction as soon as the set has been lost. That’s the optimal time to back the pre-match favourite at better odds than he was at the outset. And when, hopefully, he has recovered his poise you can either lay him back at a shorter price or hand on and let the bet ride knowing that you’ve got the value.

With most of the big games televised on terrestrial television there’s plenty of liquidity on the exchanges and you find too many problems getting matched as long as you’re not too greedy. But there is plenty of entertainment on the way during the frenetic fortnight at an event that is almost drowning in a sea of nostalgia.

Fred Perry isn’t just a brand of sportswear; it’s the name of Britain’s last men’s championship way back before even I was born!

And who can forget those epic duels between Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe?

There was even one Wimbledon champion – Boris Becker – who ended up in a broom cupboard with a willing young lady and is still paying for their love child!

Will we ever have another British champion? Well, gentleman Tim Henman couldn’t manage it despite trying ever so hard in a very British and very sporting sort of way.

Andy Murray isn’t so fussed about the sportsmanship side of things and he isn’t half as popular as the man who spawned the annual outbreak of Henmania, but he’s a much better player and seems less fragile physically these days, he now doesn’t have Nadal is his side of the draw with the Spaniards retirement from Wimbledon this year but he’ll still have to go some to beat theincomparable Roger Federer if they both are there in the Final.

But above all, remember Wimbledon isn’t just about strawberries and cream nor is it about checking out the decibel levels of some grunting Georgian.

And it’s also not about ogling the latest super babe in the shortest of short shorts!

As ever, we look at if from a cold, calculating cash point of view and, yes, there is a real chance to lock in some net profits from those bookies.

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