When most people think of tennis, they think of Grand Slam events. The largest annual international team competition is also a tennis competition, but not the Grand Slam – it’s the Davis Cup. What is the Davis Cup? How does the Davis Cup work? Read on to find out.
As with betting on any sport, there are certain tournaments or competitions in tennis that attract a lot attention from the market. The ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) and WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) are the events most commonly bet on, from the low-end ATP Tour 250 series and WTA International events up to the major Grand Slams, and year-end ATP Tour Finals and WTA Tour Championships.
If a recreational bettor has bet on tennis but has little to no interest in the sport, the chances are they have likely bet on one of the four Grand Slam tournaments in the tennis calendar: Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open. However, given the popularity of these tournaments and the volume that is bet into the market, it is often very difficult to find inefficient lines that could offer betting value.
While professional tennis bettors will analyse and bet on tennis matches in lower tiers of the professional circuit (ITF Men’s Circuit and ITF Women’s circuit), the Davis Cup provides bettors with an opportunity to work with a wealth of available data and still bet into a market with less competition from other bettors compared to the more popular events.
While it is often argued that knowledge of a particular sport, league or competition is secondary to data analysis and an ability to read the market in betting, taking time to research the Davis Cup, the tournament format and how it works could benefit tennis bettors who struggle to beat the more efficient markets.
The history of the Davis Cup
The Davis Cup, also known as the “World Cup of Tennis”, officially started in 1990 but its origins can be traced back much further than that. International tennis competition began as early as the 1890s when James Dwight (then president of the United States National Lawn Tennis Association) arranged matches between the top American and British players of the time.
In 1892, the format now common with Davis Cup started to emerge when England and Ireland competed in an annual team-based competition that included both singles and doubles matches.
The first ever official Davis Cup match took place at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston, Massachusetts in 1900. Originally known as the International Lawn Tennis Trophy, the tournament format and purchasing of the trophy was arranged by Dwight Davis (a member of the Harvard University tennis team), hence why it is now known as the Davis Cup.
- Read: How to bet on tennis
There have been numerous additions and iterations to the tournament over the years and plenty of nations have lifted the trophy along the way. The United States lead the way in Davis Cup victories with 32, Australia are close behind on 28, with Great Britain and France a rather distant third with 10 wins each.
How does the Davis Cup work?The 2019 Davis Cup introduces a new format. The finals will now be played over seven days with 18 teams competing for the title.
The teams are split into six groups of three, with six top seed. The six group winners and two best runners-up progress to the knockout stage.
The ties are contested in a best-of-three rubbers format with two singles matches followed by a double match. Matches will be played in a best-of-three set format.
What to consider when betting on the Davis Cup
Whilst the players are playing for their national side it is important to remember that the singles matches should probably be treated as no different to the two players meeting in regular tournament play.
Teams with two strong singles players are favoured by this format since winning the singles games ensures the doubles matches will be irrelevant to the match result.
Favourites Spain will enjoy home advantage which is another consideration for bettors.
The new format does offer some room for analysis bettors may consider. Teams with strength in depth should benefit from the condensed schedule, as they can rotate their players without risking elimination.
Perhaps those better-rested players will have an edge as the tournament progresses, although this may be mitigated by the move to best-of-three set matches.