Set Handicap is used in Tennis as an alternative to the more popular totals markets and the match winner markets. With the handicap bet, you bet on one of the players to win more games than the other one. Depending on how strong a favorite one of the players is considered, the bookmaker will offer a set handicap bet which will start at a certain number.

For instance, in sports betting, if Rafael Nadal was playing against someone who is very low on the ATP list, the set handicap would probably start at around -5.5 games. This means that Nadal will not only have to win, but he would have to win with at least a 6 games difference. If this example is placed on a two-set tournament, Nadal would need a minimum of 6:3; 6:3 score so you can win the bet. However, you can also place a set handicap just for the sets. So if you think, Nadal will win both sets, you can place a 1.5 handicap on him. Learn more about Set Handicap right below.

What is 1.5 Handicap in Tennis

This is not too dissimilar from the game handicap betting. Replace games with set and the more inferior-ranked players are given that positive handicap and the superior-ranked player afforded a negative one to allow punters to get better odds instead of rather one-sided ones. Just like any other handicap bet, you handicap the favorite with a “-” and you give an advantage to the favorite with a “+”. If there is no sign before the handicap number, bookies count it as a “+”.

This works way better during Grand Slams when men’s matches are played over best of five sets. However, you can also use tennis handicaps with best-of-three set matches as well, especially if you think the underdog is capable to clinching one set but won’t probably win the match. This is a perfect way to get a winnable bet in a tennis match that has a favorite but his opponent is not a complete outsider. For instance, lets take a match between Djokovic and Isner as an example. Djokovic is favorite to win but it wouldn’t be a shock if Isner won because he is a top player as well.


If you put your money on a Set Handicap at Isner +1.5, it means that you will win your bet if Isner wins one or two sets in the match. For you to lose your bet, Djokovic will have to complete a straight-set victory. All of a sudden, an overwhelmingly one-sided match in favor of Djokovic, allows the bettors to have a shot at winning at better odds. As we already mentioned above, this is even more useful in Grand Slams. Heavy favorites win 3:0 only in the opening rounds. After that, their opponents often win at least one set.

This is where Set Handicap becomes the best tennis bet type. The odds will be better than a simple moneyline bet on the favorite and your chances of winning the bet are much bigger. A lot of heavy-favorites get surprised during a Grand Slam and lose. The Set Handicap bet is a much safer choice while also offering higher odds.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Handicap Bets

As part of handicap betting, taking advantage of tennis bets can have both advantages or disadvantages. Its important to note that the (“-“) set handicap is used against the favorite while the (“+”) one is in favor of the underdog. When it comes to the first one, its always better to bet on the biggest handicap the bookmaker offers.

This means -5.5, -6.5, -7.5, -8.5, etc. is the best option when a strong favorite is playing an outsider. You would be at a disadvantage if you play this set handicap on a match where the two players are close in quality. Even if the player you think will win gets all three sets, if the score is something like 7:5; 7:5; 7:6 a -5.5 handicap would be failed.

Additionally, making a set handicap on the outsider will work the same way. A large + handicap won’t work good if the favorite is much stronger than the outsider. Even if the handicap is +6.5 or +7.5, if the underdog gets crushed you will still lose your bet. However, a small handicap of +2.0; +2.5 on a game where the two players are close in quality can give you nice returns. Even if the game ends 7:6; 7:6 against your guy, you still win the bet.

When it comes to just the sets as a betting type, they are usually 1.5 or 2.5, depending how many sets you need to win. In this case, betting on the weaker player can be smarter since he will need to win only 1 set for you to win the bet. On the other hand, the favorite will have to win all the sets so you could win your bet.

Placing a Set Handicap Bet

Lets imagine R.Bautista-Agut is playing against Rafael Nadal. Nadal is a strong favorite and the odds for his victory are small. Thats why you decide to put a 1.5 set handicap which means Nadal will have to win 2-0.

On the other hand, in a match between
D. Thiem vs M. Klizan, Thiem is a favorite but not an absolute one. That means a -1.5 handicap will have bigger odds.

Set Handicap
Set Handicap
Set Handicap

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