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Laying a book in a tennis tournament

originally published at betting.betfair.com

Scott Ferguson talks us through the golden rules of laying an ante-post book on a tennis tournament

Tennis punters aren't treated to many chances in long-term antepost markets. Racing fans get their big races up to 12 months in advance and a swarm of other races in a shorter time-frame, while football and golf punters can have weeks or months to get involved in their big events.

There is an art to laying a book in any market - it comes down to timing, margin and anticipating what the market will do between now and the end of the event. There was an excellent thread recently highlighted in our InPlay newsletter discussing laying every player in a major golf tournament, read it here.

Tennis, as you'll soon notice, is quite different. Having a draw full of knockout matches means the overall champion needs to defeat only seven opponents rather than the entire field. One player, such as Roger Federer, can dominate the market meaning you have to be careful about withdrawals and how to price up players based on which side of the draw they may be. With the advent of Winner with Federer markets, this adds a large safety net for layers - no longer can you get skinned when the 1.6 shot pulls out unexpectedly due to injury or fatigue.

When laying a book, the aim to is lay as many selections as possible at as low a price as possible. The longer the period before the event, the more margin you need to build in, to allow for various events - some players will run hot, others may have injury scares. When the players concerned at well down the market, then prices are independent of each other but if Djokovic or Nadal succumbed to an injury a few weeks before a Grand Slam event, the price of players around them in the rankings would shorten.

The first thing you need to be aware of is that bookmakers don't get green books very often. Before an event (race, match, tournament), they'd be in profit for every selection maybe once in every 1000 markets, unless they were laying off along the way. Bookies can't tell a punter that he can only have £23.17 on a selection so they could have a perfectly-framed book, nor can they tell someone to double their bet to smooth out their risk. Betfair traders have options - you set the risk you're prepared to take and which selections you are prepared to lay.

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