Updated Updated: April 2, 2020

Table Tennis Betting Guide | How and Where to Bet Explained

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Table tennis betting overview

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When most people think of table tennis, they probably think of beachside holidays, sports and social clubs and youth centres. However, despite the easily accessible nature of table tennis, it has managed to gather a sizeable number of devotees and evolve into a professional sport in its own right, with the high-level players operating at an incredible level of both speed and skill.

The sport has made it into the Olympics, where virtually every country will enter a team. Sometimes referred to as ‘ping pong’,  it has become especially popular in Southeast Asia (particularly China and areas like Cambodia and Vietnam), where it has spawned multiple leagues and a thriving level of gambling speculation alongside it. However, it may surprise people to learn that even in the UK, it is possible to bet on table tennis matches and turn a tidy profit doing it.

How to bet on table tennis

Like many other sports, it is relatively simple to find odds being offered on table tennis tournaments on bookmakers’ websites (e.g. William Hill, Paddy Power, Bet365 etc.). These will typically cover matches being played in the UK and Europe, as well as some of the larger international competitions. For the more regular events happening in Asia, it may be necessary to go into a physical betting shop and enquire in order to source odds. Alternatively, a more specialized betting site could be used, or one based in the relevant country. That said, customers should always do their best to make sure that a site is up to the standards of British gambling regulation rules and can be trusted with their transactions.

The most widely recognised events are the ITTF championships, which are held all across the world in a large variety of countries. These are the contests (aside from the Olympics) that will typically appear on the more mainstream bookmakers’ sites.

Table tennis basic rules

ma long table tennis player

To the casual observer, the game is often described to basically look a lot like a miniaturised tennis match. In actual fact, whilst there are some fairly obvious similarities, there are also some crucial differences between the sports which impact greatly on the flow of gameplay.

Table tennis is typically played between single competitors, though two players can sometimes team up to form what is known as a ‘double’ and face off against another two-person team.

In a match, the competitors will take up position on either end of a table divided in half by a low net, and will take responsibility for their end. The players will then use wooden paddles to strike a small ball back and forth across the table to one another. 

The most basic objective of the game is for a player to not allow the opponent to bounce the ball onto their end of the table and past them, thereby scoring a point, whilst trying to score a point against the opposition.

Once one of the players reach eleven points, then the game is considered won (provided they are able to secure a two-point lead). The winner of a full match is decided by looking at who gets the best result across three different games.

However, there are some further rules that add a fair amount of depth to the game.

  • Firstly, it is considered illegal (and thereby conceding a point to the opponent) to hit the ball into the net or allow the ball to bounce more than twice in the player’s own half of the table.
  • It is also illegal to hit the ball into the sideline margin of the table or to hit back a ball that has entered the side-line, thereby creating a hazard for both the player who originally knocked the ball out of bounds and the defending player.
  • Likewise, a ball struck into the opponent’s half must exit the table via the back edge – falling off the side will result in the attacking player conceding a point. Understandably, this means that the higher a player’s reaction speed and ability to think on their feet, the better they will perform at table tennis.

Table tennis also requires each player to serve (meaning that they are the one to strike the ball first and begin a game) twice in succession before alternating, regardless of who scored the last point. This is in contrast to regular tennis, where the serve will alternate back and forth between each set, or the player who serves the ball will sometimes be the person who scored the last point. Additionally, some competitions may have their own particular rules about which side of the table the serve should be performed towards or from, putting some more pressure on the players.

Furthermore, once a game has been concluded, the players will switch ends of the table in order to ensure that no advantage can be claimed due to the layout of the venue or any small flaws in the construction of the table itself. This also provides a natural stopping point for the players to refresh themselves with water and for judges to confer amongst themselves.

Table tennis odds

Table tennis betting odds are for the most part relatively low. It is, for example, unusual for individual players to pick up odds greater than 3/1 in a single game.

Larger winnings are almost always found when speculating on the results of tournaments, where the additional uncertainty can give some dependable players good odds.

This is especially the case in the Olympics, where the team aspect of some of the events will further raise the stakes, making it not altogether unusual to find teams with odds above 5/1.

However, it is worth pointing out that some countries such as China or Japan will typically dominate the rankings year after year, due mostly to the sheer popularity of the sport in that part of the world.

To maximise the potential winnings that can be had from table tennis, gamblers should instead keep an eye on national competitions, where top players will be competing against each other and a fair amount of less well-ranked competitors. By researching the main figures in a given countries’ ping pong leagues, some fairly certain conclusions can be drawn about the results of the early matches as the less talented players are whittled away. There are also table tennis live betting odds offered on many such contests.

However, one way that bookmakers have sought to make the sport more attractive to punters is to offer odds on the number of points that will be scored in a given game. This is commonly known as ‘Over/Under’ betting, whereby the gambler will make a decision as to whether the points scored will be above or below the presented total. These odds tend to be more favourable, though they can rely more on guesswork and luck than on exact calculations in order to win. 

Tips and Strategies

Some gamblers who are new to the idea of betting on a sport like table tennis can find themselves uncertain of how exactly to make a good profit, especially given the relatively short odds that are often presented. However, there are some basic methods that can be used to improve a player’s luck. 

  • The first method is fairly obvious and applies to every sport; do research. It goes without saying that nobody can make an educated wager on the outcome of a football game if they don’t have the first clue about the teams and players involved; the same goes for a table tennis match.

By familiarizing themselves with the sport, a player can quickly gain the ability to make more educated decisions and protect their wallet. This information can also help with over/under betting as well as just picking out an overall winner. 

  • As mentioned above, less capable players will often be eliminated by the favourites in the early rounds of competitions. This enables a fast-acting gambler to pick up some easy cash in the opening stages of tournaments by simply betting on the best players before they start to get eliminated themselves in the later rounds.
  • Additionally, it can pay dividends to stay current with the status of the top players in the countries that tend to dominate the leader boards (i.e. China, Japan and South Korea).

This means keeping track of injuries or extra training done in the run up to prestigious events such as the Olympics, which can boost their performance even further.

  • A common but overlooked method involves using short odds offered on a Match Winner bet to the gambler’s advantage. When betting on over/under betting, bet low if a talented player is facing off against someone less skilled. This is because they will typically win by a decent margin, resulting in fewer points being scored than if the game went on for some time and was a close-fought victory.

If the gambler is unfamiliar with the players, then a simple check of the odds can inform a decision in an over/under bet.

  • Lastly, due to the relative obscurity of table tennis when compared to some other sports, the bookmakers in Britain can sometimes misjudge the odds being offered on a given match.

This allows gamblers with a strong knowledge of the sport to pick up some easy winnings if the match in question involves a strong player who is yet to rise to prominence on the international or Olympic scenes.

To conclude, table tennis is seldom seen as a major sport in the western world, much less a way for gamblers to turn a profit. However, with some patience and due diligence, the quirks of the table tennis betting world can be turned to the advantage of the customer and some decent winnings can be made.

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If you are based in The UK and want to bet online there are several sites offering odds on table tennis such as:


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