You’ve probably picked up a paddle and played table tennis at some point, but have you ever considering betting on ping pong?
Table tennis betting started picking up steam in the spring of 2020, as the COVID-19 outbreak brought nearly all sports to a halt.
Many table tennis leagues kept going despite the emergence of the pandemic. Bettors were happy to find something to wager on, even if it’s a game that most people play in their friend’s basement.
Major league sports have since returned, but many people have continued betting on table tennis. Keep reading this article for everything you need to know if you’d like to jump in on the fun.
Table Tennis Betting Overview
Let’s start by looking at how table tennis betting became popular, some of the key countries and leagues involved, and if wagering on this sport is legit.
History and Popularity
The coronavirus pandemic forced most sports to shut down in early 2020, but table tennis was in a unique position. As one of the only competitive games still running, sports betting on table tennis quickly grew in popularity.
A regulation table used for table tennis is nearly 9 feet long, which obviously gives players more than 6 feet of separation. Table tennis leagues like Moscow Liga Pro were able to continue hosting tournaments with little or no modifications.
Bettors were looking for anything to wager on, and as one of the only sports available, table tennis became an unexpected boon for gambling spectators.
Don’t believe us? Just look at these figures from the state of Colorado.
|State||Month||Table Tennis Betting Volume|
|Colorado||May 2020||$6 million|
|Colorado||June 2020||$9 million|
The return of leagues like the NBA and NFL has caused a dip in these figures, but table tennis remains a popular and viable option for sports bettors.
Key Countries and Leagues
The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and the European Table Tennis Union (ETTU) halted their sanctioned tournaments in response to the outbreak of COVID-19.
As two of the largest governing bodies in all of table tennis, these tournaments’ cancellation presented an opportunity for smaller leagues to steal the spotlight.
Tournaments hosted by Eastern European leagues grabbed a firm hold on the emerging table tennis betting market. Some of these competitions include the following:
- Moscow Liga Pro
- Setka Cup
- Win Cup
- TTSTAR SERIES
Many of the Moscow Liga Pro matches take place from undisclosed locations. This is supposedly done to prevent fraud and stop anyone from contacting the athletes.
Leagues like Moscow Liga Pro frequently host games in some of the following countries:
- Czech Republic
These countries are easily accessible for Russian athletes. While Liga Pro stated they halted their games at the start of the pandemic, many of their athletes were still playing in these undisclosed locations.
Athletes from China have long reigned supreme in table tennis, but players from Russia and Ukraine have since emerged as dominant forces in the world of ping pong. They’ve always had great athletes in the sport, but the extra attention brought on by the pandemic took everything to a new level.
The power of online betting has given this wide-ranging sport an entirely new audience.
Is Table Tennis Betting Legitimate?
This is where things get a little bit foggy. Plenty of legal sportsbooks offer table tennis betting, but it hasn’t come without controversy.
Betting on smaller sports where the official statistics don’t get as much attention always comes with a bit of risk. Table tennis is no different in this regard.
Take Moscow Liga Pro for example. The ITTF and ETTU canceled their tournaments when the pandemic began, but Liga Pro athletes continued to play. This raised questions regarding who officially oversees the matches.
Some viewers have accused tennis table athletes of fixing matches for their own personal gain. In fact, spectators aren’t the only ones questioning the legitimacy of wagering on table tennis.
New Jersey suspended table tennis betting in July 2020 due to concerns over corrupt matches. In December 2020, Australian authorities charged a man with using corrupt information to bet on table tennis, alleging he had pocketed approximately $378,000.
Nevertheless, bookmakers have continued to offer betting on table tennis events. New Jersey has since lifted the suspension, with online betting sites like BetMGM offering lines on Moscow Liga Pro for bettors in the Garden State.
Here are some examples of online sportsbooks offering wagers on Liga Pro in 2021:
- William Hill
These are just a few of the major bookmakers offering wagers on table tennis in 2021. It appears as if they’ll continue accepting bets despite previous questions surrounding the legitimacy of table tennis betting.
US sportsbooks use odds providers like Sportradar to help them with betting on smaller sports, and Sportradar supports the legitimacy of table tennis leagues like Moscow Liga Pro.
On the other hand, another sports data company by the name of Stats Perform stopped offering small table tennis leagues as an option for their sportsbook clients.
If you see a legal sportsbook offering wagers for table tennis leagues like Moscow Liga Pro, you should feel comfortable in making a bet.
As always, it’s up to you to handicap the risk, but go ahead and place your bets if you think there’s money to be made on bouncing ping pong balls.
Basic Rules of Table Tennis
You should know the basic rules of competitive table tennis before you risk any money. Here’s a quick list of rules, pulled from the US Olympic Committee website:
Rules, Scoring, and Games
- Two players, one on each side of the table
- Players get two serves each, alternating
- Each game is played to 11 points
- If a game is tied at 10-10, a player must win by 2 points
- Matches are determined by a best of 5 or best of 7 game system (i.e first player to win 3 or 4 games is the match winner)
- Table tennis paddle/racquet must be black on one side
- The plastic ball is 40mm+
- Table dimensions are 9ft long, 5ft wide, and 2.5ft high
- The height of the net is 6 inches
If you’re looking for more information on the official rules, see the handbook from the ITTF.
Table Tennis Betting 101
Betting on table tennis works just like many other one-on-one sports, like MMA for example. Here’s a quick rundown on the types of wagers you can make on table tennis.
Each game has a favorite and an underdog. The favorite is listed with a “-” symbol beside the odds, and the underdog has a “+” beside their lines. Take a look at the following example from PointsBet:
Nikolai Zhurba is the favorite to win at -200 odds, while Roman Pavlenko is the underdog at +145. Betting on either of these players to win is known as moneyline betting.
If you bet $100 on Pavlenko and he wins, you win $145 for a total payout of $245. On the other hand, you would need to successfully bet $200 on Zhurba to win $100, which would result in a $300 cash out.
You can also bet the over/under on table tennis matches! Totals betting is a simple wager on how many points are scored during a game above or below a specific value.
Table tennis totals usually end up around over/under 70 points.
Parlays work the same in table tennis, too. You can find a lot of matches going on at any given time, and betting two or more games on the same bet slip can be very lucrative.
All you have to do is select two or more outcomes from different matchups to create a parlay with your favorite sportsbook.
Here’s an example from FanDuel:
You have to win every leg of your parlay to win the full payout, but the potential winnings go through the roof for betting on multiple outcomes.
Some sportsbooks offer parlay insurance that will cover a portion of your wager if you lose a parlay by one leg. Check out our guide on parlay insurance if you’d like to learn more.
Live Betting on Table Tennis
Live betting allows you to wager on the outcome of a table tennis match as the game is played. The odds shift based on who is winning the match, and momentum can swing quickly in table tennis.
Competitive table tennis matches are decided by a best of 5 or best of 7 game system, so in-game betting odds can shift dramatically in table tennis. If a player takes the first 2 games in a best of 5 match, then they only need 11 more points to win the entire match, and the live odds will reflect their advantage.
Take a look at how the live betting odds look when they change on FanDuel:
In this example, Shirshov’s odds increased to +370, while Mihaylov’s odds have decreased to -650. Shirshov is still losing the match as the underdog, but he just made a play that makes it a little bit more likely that he will win.
These odds can shift with every serve, so live betting on table tennis can be a bit of a rollercoaster. You stand to win a nice payout if you catch the right lines.
There are a few types of table tennis bets that you won’t find in many other sports.
Some examples of these unique wagers include the following:
- The exact number of games
- Games decided by extra points
- 1st game winner
- 3rd game point handicap
Check with your favorite sportsbook to see what kind of table tennis wagers they have to offer.
Table Tennis Betting Tips & Strategy
As an emerging sport, it’s challenging to plan your strategy for betting on table tennis.
Athletes in leagues like Moscow Liga Pro are relatively unknown to the common bettor, so it can be hard to gauge if the betting lines are worth it or not.
Still, there’s a few things you should look out for when you’re handicapping a bet on table tennis. Pay attention to the following details:
- Player ranking
- Play style – some players struggle against left-handed opponents
- Competitor fitness – some athletes don’t have the conditioning required to excel at table tennis
There isn’t a ton of information readily available for table tennis, so the more research you can do on each player, the better.
Why You Should Bet on Table Tennis
The lack of inside information is actually a great reason to bet on table tennis. You can get an edge on your bets if you find the right motive to make a particular wager.
Another reason to bet on table tennis is the time it airs. Most matches in leagues like Moscow Liga Pro take place at times when other major sports aren’t live. This gives you the chance to win money while other North American games aren’t being played.
And last but not least, it’s fun! Table tennis is played with more intensity than you might imagine, and betting brings that excitement to another level.
Best Betting Sites for Table Tennis
While several sportsbooks accept bets on table tennis, these are a few of our favorites:
|Sportsbook||Table Tennis Betting Offered?||Learn More|
These sportsbooks offer great welcome offers if you haven’t already registered with them. You could sign up for one of these promotions and use your sign up bonus on a table tennis game.
Check out our guides on sportsbook bonuses if you’re looking for more information.
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