Once again, Rafael Nadal leads the charge as the odds-on favourite to win the French Open. Will it be an incredible ninth title for the Spaniard or can somebody challenge his tight reign over Paris? Find out what early futures odds are currently available and what our selected value free picks are.
At first glance, it’s immediately apparent
that the ATP French Open betting market is a two-horse race between, arguably, the two best clay-court players in
today’s game – Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. The rest are deemed contenders
but not serious threats with tennis odds trading in the quadruple digits. Without doubt the market has it right. But
that doesn’t mean that it will go to plan. After all, the first grand slam on
the 2014 season didn’t.
the hot favourite
serve up Rafael Nadal as the hot favourite at -150
to win outright. With tennis odds
trading above even money, you can safely assume the Spaniard has the market
cornered. Not for nothing is he known as the ‘King of Clay’.
Nadal will be bidding for an incredible
ninth French Open title, 14th overall Grand Slam title. He very nearly
accomplished the historical mark, which would’ve seen him rival Pete Sampras in
the books for 14 major titles, at the Australian Open last week but for a back
injury – aggravated during the second set of the final – that severely hampered
his ability to play at 100% and which saw him eventually (and heartbreakingly)
succumb in four sets to Stanislas Wawrinka.
Undoubtedly, Nadal deserves this fancied
nod. Not only has he won the title in Paris eight times but also he’s only ever
suffered one defeat at Roland Garros – to Robin Soderling in the R16 of the
2009 instalment. That is a mark few can argue within tennis betting circles, making him the instinctive tennis pick in early French Open betting
markets. What’s more, if Nadal enjoys another standout run (as he’s wont
to, gobbling up just about every event he enters) in the lead up to the grand
clay-court showpiece, his market price will only swell.
Novak Djokovic, who’s frankly been the only
player to stand up to Nadal on his beloved dirt in recent years, willing to
slug it out with the nigh-indomitable Spaniard, is quite correctly listed as
the second favourite to win the title at + 175 (or thereabouts) across sportsbooks. The Serbian starlet has
made no secret about his Parisian intentions, it’s the only major to elude him
to date and without which he’s denied entry into an illustrious group – the
so-called group of ‘Career Grand Slam Champions’, of which Nadal and Federer
are members. That exclusion matters to Djokovic. It’s probably his singular
motivation for the season.
Djokovic reached the French Open final only
once in his career, in 2012 where he lost to Nadal. Last year, he very nearly
beat Nadal in a five-set marathon in the semis to advance into the final. Alas, when push came to shove and the dust
finally settled Nadal was left standing victorious. It was a huge
disappointment for Djokovic, one he’s sure to take a page from this year. It
remains to be seen how well he’ll perform over the course of the European
clay-court swing in comparison to Nadal. But knowing the competitor that he is,
he’s sure to accomplish meaningful results that will go towards underscoring
his tennis betting value for the French
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After the top tandem of Nadal-and Djokovic,
odds makers are being a bit funny.
Although the futures odds spike up significantly, the pecking order is
questionable, if not mind-boggling. So tread carefully with your tennis picks
in this category of so-called contenders.
Andy Murray, who has yet to reach a
clay-court final at a meaningful event in his career – such as a Monte Carlo,
Rome or Madrid final for instance – is listed as the third favourite at +1200 at Bet365! Huh? And then Juan
Martin Del Potro – an adept clay-courter though he might be – is listed at
+1400, putting him ahead of Roger Federer (only the 2009 French Open champion)
at +1600, and ahead of both Stanislas Wawrinka (very good clay-courter) and
David Ferrer (exceptional clay-courter and French Open finalist last year), who
come in as the sixth and seventh favourites priced at +2200 and +2500,
Where does one begin dissecting all that is
wrong with this pecking order? For starters, how can there be any value in
Murray’s tennis odds when his clay
court game is suspect. He’s not a gazelle on the red stuff that’s for sure. Heck,
he skipped the event last year in order to (amongst other things) improve his
chances for Wimbledon, which in the end proved to be a most fortuitous decision
when he won the title, effectively ending Britain’s 77-year drought at
Wimbledon. Draw a talented clay-courter such as Wawrinka, Ferrer, Federer or
Del Potro into his section and he’ll prove beatable, make no mistake.
Federer is being held back in the markets
largely because he’s no longer up to his lofty standards at the majors. And
against Nadal (his personal kryptonite) he has no answers. Still, Federer
promises betting value, which will
only increase if he manages to avoid Nadal or Djokovic in the draw. Therefore,
an early wager on Federer could prove a savvy tennis pick, not to mention a
sentimental one as well. Pay attention to his European clay-court deposit when
the time comes.
Wawrinka leaps off the page as another value tennis pick for your
consideration, largely because of his recent induction into the champion’s
circle. But it remains to be seen how he’ll handle his newfangled fame and its
ensuing expectations. Often, players unused to this unique sort of pressure
buckle under its overwhelming weight. So don’t be surprised if Wawrinka
crumbles like an Oreo cookie.
Betting Verdict: From this early vantage point,
it’s a two-horse race, end of. Nadal is the hot favourite at -150 at Bet365 but Djokovic is more than capable of
dethroning the Spanish King in France and, hence, the betting public is split evenly between this pair. Loyalists will
back their man, naturally. Neutral tennis bettors can back either or put an
each way bet on the pair The only outside tennis
pick that holds any appeal right now is Federer at +1600 in our opinion.
The rest of the contenders have flattered to deceive all too often. They can do
damage, take out some big names. But short of the draw, it’s hard to predict
whether either will (if at all) have a coming out party in Paris.