Let’s take a quick journey back to March, when the absence of major-market sports caused degens everywhere to turn to betting Korean Baseball, Madden Sims, and even weather markets to get their gambling fix. Among these, Russian Table Tennis emerged from the depths of the motherland, becoming popular on books of all sizes.
Nobody knows much about these games. Are Russia Liga Pro games fixed? Probably. Personally, I theorize that the games aren’t necessarily fixed, but that each night, the Russian Mafia feeds winning players while the others watch. Why else would they be motivated to try? The league has no playoffs and no apparent prizes for top performers.
The games feature players from apparent grandpas with white hairs and knee braces to young boys who hardly look old enough to drive. They are played in a small room with tarped walls, with only the scorekeeper and players in view. The league is practically made to be bet on, and with over 100 twenty minute games a day, there’s plenty of opportunities for aspiring degenerates to get the rush of gambling without sitting through 90-minute soccer matches and three hour-long tennis matches.
Now, why should you take advice from me? I’ve maintained about a 78% record on my Russian TT picks, and have doubled my bankroll multiple times over. I’ve been banned from a few books for “sharp action,” and had my table tennis limited on others. Feel free to PM me to get access to the discord where I post all my picks for free 😉 But enough of that, let’s talk about my betting strategy.
Step 1: Narrow Down the Slate
Before you even sign in to your book, I recommend narrowing down the upcoming games within the next ~3 hours on Flashscore. Don’t worry about the odds at this point, simply pick the games that stand out to you. Go down the list, and click on each game to view the stats for the matchup. When you see a game you like, simply click the checkbox next to it and it will be added to the “My Games” section for easier access. When looking for games to bet on, I look for two main criteria. In order of importance:
Head to Head Results – This is my most important criteria when selecting games to bet on. In most cases, I only take games where one opponent is clearly dominating the H2H category. I look for games where one player has won AT LEAST 4 of the last 5 games head to head, and preferably at least 8 of the last 10 games head to head. As a rule of thumb, if the recent H2H look solid but the longer-term head to head is split between the players, avoid betting that game. If there are less than five previous meetings between the players, I recommend avoiding the game. Remember, we want to bet high-probability games to beat the house edge. If you are unsure about a matchup, avoid it. There are plenty of other games to bet on, so don’t force it. Here is an example of a game with a great H2H record. Molodstov has won all five of the recent meetings, and nine of the previous ten. Here is an example of a game with a bad H2H record. While Poletaev has an advantage having won six of the previous ten meetings, Nikiforov has won three of the most recent five. Avoid betting on games like these!
Overall Form – Once you’ve checked off the head to head category, check out the players’ recent non-H2H games. Look at their most recent ten matches rather than just the previous 5. If their form is mostly similar, such as this example where both have a similar number of wins in their previous ten, then the bet meets the criteria. Another possibility is that the player that has dominated in H2H is in significantly worse form than their opponent, such as here. In this situation, avoid betting the game. The best-case scenario is when the player who has dominated H2H is in significantly better form than their opponent, who may have a losing record over the previous ten or be on a losing streak. In this example, Kutuzov has dominated head to head, and is in significantly better form than Migalov, who is on a 10 game losing streak. We would take action on Kutuzov here. As a rule of thumb, never bet on a player on a 5+ game losing streak to win, and vise versa.
Step 2: Making the Bets
Once you have your shortlist, it’s time to place your bets. One important thing to keep in mind is that it’s perfectly fine to take a juiced line to get a bet you’re perfectly confident in. Often times, I play lines that are as low as -270 to get a moneyline bet that I like. When we’re betting heavy favorites, your win percentage should be at least 70% to stay consistently profitable. I typically bet 2 units on most straight plays, though you can play around with your unit size to see what works best for you. Consistency is key!
Often times, you will find that the lines on the games you’ve picked simply have too low odds. In this case, don’t give up on it yet! There are a few strategies you can use to still take action on these games while not having to risk a significant amount. Keep in mind, not all books will offer these options. Bovada is one of the worst books to use for table tennis! Bet365 is my favorite, as they have the most options for action beyond only moneyline bets.
Parlay Favorites – You can parlay two of your selections together to get it down to very good odds, and often times even plus-value odds! Some books will only allow you to parlay games from the same league (Liga Pro), others will only let you parlay from separate leagues (ex. 1 game from Setka Cup, 1 game from Liga Pro). If your book lets you parlay Table Tennis, you have a great tool at your disposal, use it! If you usually bet 2U on your straight bets, I recommend betting only 1.5 on parlays, as you are spreading the risk over two games instead of one, even if they are heavy favorites.
Play -1.5 Sets – Be careful with this one! Most books will let you play -1.5 sets at odds between -105 and -145. Make sure you look at the H2H scores before placing a bet on this prop. If the player you’re betting on usually wins 3-2, avoid this bet. If he is winning 3-1 and 3-0 the majority of the time, then this bet makes sense. Use your judgment here! For this bet to hit, you need your player to win with a score of either 3-1 or 3-0.
Play the Under – Most books will give you an over/under on total points. If you’re really confident on your player to dominate, you can take the under (total will typically be between 72.5 and 76.5). This is usually the riskiest of the options, as even a set score of 3-1 can hit the over if the game is close. I typically do not recommend playing the under, unless it is a particularly high number (74.5 or above) and the player typically wins 3-0 in head to head.
Step 3: Enjoy the Games, Reverse Jinxes are Key!
Unless your book offers you a live stream, it’s often hard to find a good stream to watch Liga Pro games. If you’re hell-bent on watching the game, I recommend using sportplus(dot)live, though they are inconsistent with their TT streams working. I usually keep track of the live scores on FlashScore. Now, when you’re watching these games, NEVER, not even for a second, get confident that your bet is going to win. This is how you get screwed. I cannot stress enough how many times I’ve seen -300 or lower favorites go up 2-0, only to blow a 9-5 or such lead in the third set and get reverse swept. If you want to win your bets, you must be consistently reverse-jinxing Vladimir or Pavel or whoever you’ve bet on. He’s up 10-5? Screw him. He’s going to choke. He gives up a point? Screw him and everything he stands for. This mindset will work you wonders, trust me. No positivity until your bet wins. The moment you become confident, they fuck up – it happens every time!
I hope this guide is helpful to my fellow degens out there. I will likely publish a second edition discussing Live Betting tactics and other betting strategies I use to pick lower-juice plays in the near future, but this should be a great starting point for anyone looking to make some money betting Russian Table Tennis. As always, best of luck! Feel free to PM me or comment with any questions.