As Wimbledon is about to start I though it might be an idea to explain one of the simplest but most effective trades in tennis anyone can do.
The strategy is known as ‘Laying the 1st set winner’ and it’s one that’s been around a long time but used at the right time and in the right circumstances it can produce a decent return long term with little risk.
Its a good stratergy for a number of reasons, to start with if you select the right matches the first set winner will be trading at relatively low odds keeping any liability to a minimum, there is also the insentive for the losing player to throw everything into the 2nd set to save the match even if its a mens grand slam match (which are the only ones played over 5 sets) no player wants to see themseleves 2 sets down, if they do they know they its a very uphill task of needing to win all 3 of the remain 5 sets to win the match so the so from a trading perspective and the way the odds move in a tennis match the risk to reward is on your side
Once you have placed your lay you then have a few options on how to proceed, you could wait till the end of the 2nd set a green up if the player you layed does indeed lose or if you would rather take a smaller but more regular profit you can look to green up if the player you have layed is broken.Of course you could do both and trade out part of your liability following a break to put yourself in a no-lose situation then green up properly at the end of the set.
Identifying the best matches
If you simply lay every first set winner it won’t produce a positive return over the long term but add a little bit of careful selection and you can easily begin to tip the balance in your favour. There is a wrath of tennis stats sites which will give you just about every stat you could possible want including those players who frequently give up a set lead so you might want to do some home work in advance and make a note of these players.
Another way (and this is the way I generally approach this stratergy) is to begin by looking for matches between equally matched players, you can do this quickly in Bet Angel by adding all the days matches to Guardian then quickly remove those that don’t fit the criteria or if you intend to automate the stratergy you can use rules within your automation to identify those with similarly skilled players at the start of a match and ignore those with strong favourites.
Then with just the competative matches left at the end of the first set check for the number of breaks that have occurred (you can do this using the Betfair website) if both players have broken their opponents serve at least once and they are equally skilled then it’s an ideal opportunity to look at laying the 1st set winner.
Putting it into Practice
Last week during the Eastbourne International (while I was prepping for the upcoming Wimbledon) the following match between Wozniacki and Konta caught my eye. It was Konta took the first set and after a quick look at the charts and first set service breaks here is what I posted to the forum at the time
“Given whats just happened in the first set it was a bit of a no-brainer to lay Konta at the start of set 2
Worst case you lose around 28 ticks if she wins the set and you do nothing else, if she is broken or even just struggles to hold serve the drift and reward will be much bigger.
Start of 2nd set Wozniacki holds her first service game, then breaks konta’s first service game – trade greened up in minutes at 2-0″
You can see in this instance I greened after she was broken early in the 2nd set and took around 50 ticks easy profit (much more than the potential loss could have been even if she won the whole set and I done nothing else) I could of course held on to the position and took even more profit as she lost the set but my plan at that time was always to exit after a break and it was that plan I stuck to in this instance.
Don’t forget if your trading tennis to also take advantage and make use of the Tennis Trader profiling tool and the advanced automation feature of Bet Angel, which has dozens of ready-made templates (including laying the 1st set winner) avaliable to download from the forum.
Finally be sure to keep an eye on the dedicated Wimbledon thread on the forum where the community and myself will be active and posting up comments etc daily.