Tennis player hitting shot

Walkover in Tennis Betting – Explained

Walkovers in tennis betting can be a confusing occurrence, with different bookmakers having different rules.

Understanding what these rules are is crucial if you are betting on tennis – particularly if you are doing matched betting or arbing where walkovers can be especially damaging.  

In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of walkovers and explore how they can affect your tennis betting.

A walkover occurs when one player is unable to compete in a match, resulting in their opponent winning by default.

This can happen for various reasons, such as injury, illness, or disqualification.

Understanding walkovers is essential in assessing the potential outcomes of a match and adjusting your betting strategy accordingly.

We will discuss the implications of walkovers on different types of tennis bets, including match winners, set winners, and tournament winners.

Additionally, we will explore strategies to mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities that may arise from walkovers.

Whether you’re aiming to maximize your profits or simply increase your enjoyment while watching tennis matches, understanding walkovers is an important part of tennis betting. 

So, dive into this article and equip yourself with the knowledge to dominate the court in tennis betting.


What is a walkover in tennis?

A walkover occurs when one player is unable to compete in a match, resulting in their opponent winning by default.

This can happen for various reasons, such as injury, illness, or disqualification and can happen before a match starts or during a match.

Walkovers are relatively rare but have a dramatic impact on your bets when they do.

Walkovers can occur at any stage of a tournament, from the early rounds to the final.

When a walkover happens, the player who is unable to compete forfeits the match, and their opponent advances to the next round without having to play.

It is essential to understand the implications of walkovers to make informed decisions when placing tennis bets.

Let’s have a look now at the different scenarios around walkovers and how they affect tennis bets.


Different Scenarios Around Walkovers

It’s crucial to understand the various scenarios under which a walkover can happen as the betting rules differ depending on the bookmaker or exchange.

It is also important to differentiate between match bets (who will win the match), side markets (e.g. set betting, handicaps etc) and tournament outright bets (who will win the tournament).

We will go through each scenario and how it affects the various bet types below.

Please note the information in this article is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of writing. Bookmakers can change their terms so it is vital to check the terms with your bookmaker or exchange before placing any bets.


Scenario One: Player retires before the start of the match

This is the most straightforward scenario and what is generally understood by the term “walkover.” 

A player cannot start the match, in the vast majority of cases because of illness or injury. 

Therefore, their opponent is automatically deemed the winner of the match. 

In the vast majority of cases in this scenario, match bets will be voided by the bookmaker or exchange and your stakes returned. 

This makes sense because the match has not started yet and it is generally felt to be the fairest outcome for all market participants. 

The same is true for side markets like set betting, handicap and total games etc – if the match has not started, bets will be voided. 

If you have backed a player in the outright market to win the tournament and they withdraw once the tournament has begun, then unfortunately in most cases your bet will be lost.


Learn to trade like a pro with this top tennis trading service


Scenario Two: Player Retires Before Start of the Tournament

If the tournament has not begun yet and a player withdraws before the start, then in some instances your stake will be refunded on tournament outright bets. 

The Betfair exchange for example states that “If a player does not start a tournament then all bets on that player will be void.”

The same is true for Bet365 who state: “Bets on any player not taking part in the tournament will be void. Markets may be subject to a Rule 4 (Deductions).”

Not all bookmakers offer this refund though, so it is best to check their terms and conditions on this point. 

If a player retires from the tournament before the start, then of course all match bets on them will also be void.


Scenario Three: Player Retires During a Match

A more common scenario is a player retiring during a match. 

Player injuries during matches do happen now and then.

Sometimes players will be carrying an injury into a match and aggravate it during the match.

On other occasions they can pick up a fresh injury during the match. 

They might have a nasty fall, turn over an ankle or strain a muscle. 

Whatever the reason, if a player retires during a match there are basically two camps that bookmakers and exchanges fall into when dealing with this scenario:

  1. At least one set needs to be completed, otherwise all bets are void.
  2. The whole match needs to be completed, otherwise all bets are void.

Pretty much all bookies will void bets if a player retires BEFORE the end of the first set – it is more a question of what happens if at least one set has been completed and that is where the bookies tend to differ.

Camp One – At Least One Set Needs to be Completed for Bets to Stand

The Bookies falling into the first camp – at least one set needs to be completed for bets to stand include: 

  • Betfair Exchange & Sportsbook
  • Betdaq
  • Betfred
  • Bwin
  • Coral
  • Fitzdares
  • Ladbrokes
  • Matchbook
  • Paddy Power
  • Sky Bet
  • Smarkets
  • Sporting Index
  • Unibet

So that’s the major exchanges and a number of the biggest bookies. 

Under these bookies and exchanges, if for example a player retires during the second set, the other player will be deemed the winner and bets would be settled accordingly.

If you have backed the player who retires, then unfortunately your bets will be lost. 

In terms of set betting, generally if the stated set is not completed all bets on the market will be void. 

So if you’ve backed a player to win the second set and they retire mid-way through the second set then bets will be void. 

If you have backed the set correct score (e.g. 2-1 in sets), then generally if a player retires before the completion of the match all bets will be void.

Camp Two – Whole Match Needs to be Completed for Bets to Stand

Those bookies falling into the second camp – the whole match needs to be completed, otherwise all bets are void, include:

  • 10Bet
  • 888sport
  • Boylesports 
  • LiveScore Bet
  • Spreadex 
  • William Hill 

Then there are those who fall into the same camp – the whole match needs to be completed, otherwise all bets are void BUT with the caveat that if a player is disqualified, then their opponent will be settled as a winner.

These include:

  • Bet365
  • Betway
  • BetVictor
  • VBet

It is worth noting however that disqualification is very rare and has only happened a handful of times over the past couple of decades. 

All of this refers specifically to the match odds market.

In most cases it should also refer to the side markets (i.e. a match would need to be completed for set bets to count), but this varies by bookmaker so it is best to check out their individual terms if you are betting on side markets.


What All This Means for Your Bets

It may sound a little complicated but in essence in most scenarios the walkover is quite straightforward: if it happens before the start of the match or before the first set has been completed, then all match-related bets are void. 

If a player retires after the first set has been completed, then it depends on the specific bookmaker as to whether they require just one set to be completed or the full match in order to settle bets. 

Walkovers can work both for you and against you and if you bet on a large number of tennis matches, then hopefully walkover wins and losses should broadly even out over time. 

On some occasions you will benefit from the opponent of the player you have backed retiring, whilst other times the player you have backed will retire.


Check out our list of the Top 6 Tennis Tipsters here.


Warning for Matched Bettors & Arbers

Where you really have to watch out for these rules however is if you are doing matched betting or arbing. 

It is crucial in such circumstances to ensure that the two bookies/exchanges you are betting with have the same rules.

What you don’t want is for them to have different terms and one of your bets is voided whilst the other is settled, ruining your matched bet or arb. 

So be careful to check the terms of the the bookmakers/exchanges you are using to try and avoid this scenario.  


Tips for identifying potential walkover situations

Identifying potential walkover situations can be a valuable skill when it comes to tennis betting.

Here are some tips to help you identify possible walkovers:

  1. Pay attention to injury updates: Stay up to date with player news and injury reports. If a player is struggling with a persistent injury or has recently suffered an injury, they may be more likely to withdraw from a match.
  1. Consider player workload: Players who have recently played a series of matches or have a busy schedule may be more prone to withdrawing from a match due to fatigue or injury.
  1. Evaluate player motivation: Assess the importance of the match to the player. If they have already secured their spot in a significant tournament or have achieved their season goals, they may be more likely to withdraw from less crucial matches.
  1. Analyze past behavior: Research a player’s history of withdrawals or retirements from matches. If a player has a pattern of not completing matches, they may be more prone to walkovers.

By applying these tips and keeping a close eye on player news and updates, you can improve your ability to identify potential walkover situations and make more informed betting decisions.

Betting Strategies Around Walkovers

In reality, it is generally quite difficult to predict when walkovers will happen.

There is the odd occasion when a player is widely known to be carrying an injury, but it is not very often.

If you are trying to base a betting strategy around walkovers, there are two possible options we would consider:

  1. Watch matches in-play – with match betting, you can only benefit from a walkover if more than one set has been completed. So predicting a player will pull out before the start does not gain you anything. However, watching a match in-play you may see a player struggling with an injury who might be about to retire. The catch is that a lot of other bettors will be watching too and the odds will tend to drop significantly if there is a possibility of a retirement. It is a question of gauging the severity of the injury and how likely a retirement is – sometimes it can actually pay to oppose the market direction if you think the injury is only minor and the player will continue through to the end of the match, as sometimes the odds can overreact to an injury.
  2. Back a player in the tournament outright market who may benefit from a walkover. This is somewhat of a guessing game but if you think a player is likely to retire, backing their opponent in the outright tournament market could be an option. If the walkover does happen, that player’s odds will drop as they get through to the next round automatically and have the added benefit of additional rest from not playing a match. If it doesn’t happen and the match starts, you can always trade out your position using the exchanges. Although it is worth noting that this would only be a viable strategy in grand slams and big events as the liquidity isn’t normally there on week-to-week tour events in the outright markets.

Conclusion – Walkovers in Tennis Betting

In conclusion, walkovers in tennis betting present a unique challenge due to the varying rules imposed by different bookmakers.

Understanding these rules is crucial, especially for those engaged in matched betting or arbing, as discrepancies between bookmakers can lead to significant losses.

A walkover, resulting from a player’s inability to compete due to reasons such as injury, illness, or disqualification, can happen at any stage of a tournament and impacts various bet types differently.

For instance, most bookmakers void match bets if a walkover occurs before the match starts or before the first set is completed.

However, the treatment of bets after a set has been completed varies among bookmakers, with some requiring the entire match to be completed for bets to stand, while others settle bets if at least one set has been finished.

Developing strategies like in-play betting or backing players in tournament markets who might benefit from potential walkovers can be advantageous.

Ultimately, while predicting walkovers with certainty is challenging, a thorough understanding of the rules and careful monitoring of player news can enhance your betting strategy.

By applying the insights and tips discussed in this article, you can better navigate the complexities of tennis betting and improve your chances of making informed, profitable decisions.

Now read: Tennis Betting Strategies – Ace Your Game With Winning Bets





0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *