Updated Updated: October 16, 2019

Table Tennis Betting Guide | How and Where to Bet Explained

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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 specialised 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.

Rules

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.

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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