What Is Break Point in Tennis?

min read
Controversial tennis star Nick Kyrgios is featured in Netflix's series, Break Point.
(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Chase Kiddy @chaseakiddy Aug 22, 2023, 1:45 PM
  • Break point occurs when a tennis player is in danger of losing their service game.
  • Creating and converting break points is key to winning most tennis sets.
  • Netflix developed a tennis series that is also called Break Point.

Seasons may change, but tennis betting is a year-round spectacle. 

With so many new bettors checking out tennis odds for the first time, there is a great deal of exploration and learning centered around key tennis phrases and ideas. 

Few definitions are more important to understand than break point. 

What Is Break Point in Tennis?

In tennis, players are expected to win their own service games because of the strategic advantages attached to putting the ball in play. It is much easier to serve a ball at 100 miles per hour than to react and return a serve that’s hit at you at 100 miles per hour.

Therefore, when a player manages to win a game despite the disadvantage of returning serve, that player is said to have broken serve.

Break point, by extension, is any individual point played where the server is one point away from losing their service game.

Tennis Betting: Why Break Point Matters

Understanding break point – and how it affects the live tennis betting market – is crucial to being a successful live tennis bettor.

Tennis is a fascinating sport to bet on because a match will typically swing on a handful of high-leverage moments. Once a player converts on a break point opportunity, they’re on track to win a set. 

Because breaks are uncommon, odds fluctuate dramatically once a player has successfully achieved a break. A player who was just -150 moments earlier could be adjusted to -300 immediately after winning a break point.

But the converse of this is also true. A player who is down a break really only needs to create and convert a single break point to even the score in a given set. 

That means betting on live underdogs, in anticipation of a potential break point conversion, can be enormously profitable. 

If you’re looking for far more information, as well as an hour-long podcast explanation, I wrote an extensive guide on how to bet on tennis last year. Go check that out when you’re done reading this.

Women’s Tennis Odds Is Where Break Point Is Particularly Relevant

There are many nuances that differentiate professional men’s tennis from professional women’s tennis. Understanding how break point is different on the women’s tour is particularly valuable for tennis betting.

In men’s tennis, the average first-serve speed is around 120 miles per hour on tour. In women’s tennis, the average first-serve speed is down near 95 mph. Men gain a greater advantage from their own service game because they put the ball in play at a 20% greater speed.

As a general rule, this means that successful break point conversions are a bit more common in women’s tennis. This, in turn, means that live tennis odds will dramatically flip more commonly on women’s tennis.

Bettors who back WTA underdogs for a comeback at big returns, understanding that women’s breaks are a bit more common, can find huge profit margins in tennis.

Netflix Tennis: Break Point Offers New Look at Tennis

One other reason the term “break point” is on the tip of so many tongues is Netflix. After the success of Drive to Survive, a popular Netflix docuseries on F1 racing, the streaming giant elected to give tennis a similar sports docuseries treatment. 

Thus, Netflix produced and released Break Point. The series highlights a dozen or so players from the men’s and women’s tour, drawing fresh American eyes to one of the most popular international sports in the world.

As you may have noticed, Break Point is a clever double entendre between an important tennis moment and the general psychological term related to a critical moment of high stress.

Break Point Netflix Release Date

The first five episodes of Break Point came out on January 13, 2023. Part 2 became available on June 21, 2023. 

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About the Author

Chase Kiddy

Read More @chaseakiddy

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.