Djokovic ahead in French Open Betting
For the first time in many seasons, the French Open has a new favourite in outright win markets: Novak Djokovic.
The Serbian starlet doesn’t have this market cornered, by any stretch of the imagination; he’s listed at +138 futures odds, which is a smidgen shy of Nadal’s +150 futures odds. Djokovic does come into this year’s French Open on decidedly more convincing form than perennial favourite Nadal, which he underscored by beating Nadal in Rome in a three-set marathon. That has shifted the French Open betting outlook this week.
Speaking of Nadal, the Spaniard boasts his worst form ever ahead of his beloved Frenchy: a solitary clay-court crown in the European swing, the Madrid Open, which he won under dubious circumstances according to many pundits (Nishikori retired in the third set with an injury, after having Nadal on the ropes for most of the match). For most tennis betting and Nadal fans alike, that isn’t a good omen for the Spaniard.
First/ Nadal’s Quarter: The World No.1 and defending champion has benefited from a good draw, which in his case is a blessing in disguise, as it should allow him to work his way into form over the course of the first week. After his opening match against Robby Ginepri, the names that could emerge include Paul-Henri Mathieu, or Dominic Thiem (2nd Rd), and then Leonardo Mayer, Teymuraz Gabashvilli or Vasek Pospil. In the R16, Nicolas Almagro (+10000) or Tommy Haas (+25000) could emerge. The former beat Nadal in Barcelona, and he might fancy his chances. To do it in best-of-five scenario, however, is a big task for Almagro, who – let’s face it – isn’t known for his amazing consistency. Haas meanwhile is a one-handed backhander that typically struggles off that wing with the Nadal spin.
David Ferrer (+1600) flanks Nadal’s quarter, which means he’s sat adjacent to Nadal and is on a collision course with the World No.1 in the quarterfinal – if all goes according to seeding, of course. Incidentally, that matchup was the final last year (Ferrer lost in straight sets).
Ferrer’s section is steeped in stumbling blocks, prompting many tennis bettors to consider the possibility of an alternative to Ferrer in the quarterfinals. Grigor Dimitrov, whose star is rising in tennis betting markets, is a possible alternative to emerge at Ferrer’s expense. The Bulgarian is listed at +6600 to win the French Open.
Also drawn into this section are Andreas Seppi, Ivo Karlovic, Kevin Anderson, Juan Monaco and Igor Sjisling. They are players that might not leap off the page to win the title, but could do some damage in early match-betting markets.
Second/Wawrinka Quarter: Stanislas Wawrinka is a popular alternative tennis pick at +900 futures odds for those looking to come out of the pocket on an outsider to win the French Open. This notion is underscored by the Swiss’s appealing section, which is flanked by Andy Murray (+2200), a player that typically has proven to be beatable on clay. Only recently, he proved dangerous against Nadal in Rome, but it remains to be seen whether that was a one-off performance.
In fact, this entire section is stacked with complex players that are a blend of talent, but intrinsically inconsistent, including Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Fernando Verdasco, Feliciano Lopez, Bernard Tomic and Gael Monfils. It’s difficult to predict in which character each will arrive to court, making it impossible to dismiss them entirely out of hand. There could be some significant shake-ups in this section mainly in early French Open betting.
That said, with Wawrinka’s newfangled confidence, having already entered into the illustrious champion’s circle, his improved consistency this season, and his new coach Magnus Norman (who coached Robin Soderling during his epic win over Nadal in Paris), Wawrinka should reach the quarterfinals at the very least, if not go deep. Similarly so for Andy Murray, who showed some real chops in Rome, and came very close to beating Nadal.
Third/Federer’s Quarter: Roger Federer’s quarter is flanked by Tomas Berdych, and the pair would collide in the quarterfinals, if all goes to plan. Most tennis bettors are ready to count on Federer coming through. With Berdych not so much, as he can turn in brilliant performance one day, but a baffling one another day. It beggars belief that a player as talented as he is hasn’t won any major titles.
Roger Federer is listed as the fifth favourite to win the French Open, a title he won in 2009 incidentally. At +1800 he strikes an appealing pose for those looking for value tennis picks. Federer has enjoyed good form this season, even beating Djokovic a couple of times already. His quarter appears negotiable as well with a few threats lurking such as Ernests Gulbis and Tommy Robredo.
Fourth/ Djokovic’s Quarter: Djokovic arguably has the easiest quarter of the entire French Open draw, as if the in-form Djokovic needed any help from the gods. He falls into the same section as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Marin Cilic: a pair of players that seem to crumble on the big occasion, more often than not. In his immediate path, he has Joao Sousa, Jeremy Chardy, and Pablo Andujar (to name a few), all of whom are decent clay-courters, but players that Djokovic is apt at making appear pedestrian. The only players that could potentially surprise Djokovic are Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori and Alexandr Dolgopolov – assuming they earn their respective opportunities to challenge him. Still, just like Nadal, beating Djokovic in a best-of-five scenario is easier said, than done.
Tennis Betting Verdict: Given Djokovic’s convincing form and, conversely, Nadal’s unconvincing form ahead of the 2014 French Open, it’s hard to disagree with odds makers on this score. Djokovic has earned the right to be the favourite, and so it must be considered correct. What’s more, odds makers rarely get things wrong.
That said Nadal is the eight-time champion, and he typically plays his best tennis in Paris. In Rome, we also saw glimpses of that high-level game, namely against Gilles Simon and Andy Murray. The early rounds appear ideal for Nadal to find good form ahead of the second week, and if that does happen, we should be slated for another Nadal-Djokovic showdown in the final. May the best player win!
Free Tennis Picks: Djokovic to win at +138, Nadal to win at +150, and best outside pick Roger Federer at +1800.