The tipping question: who will be left standing when the dust settles? Find out as we breakdown which player is the bankable play.
Review our Quarterfinal Women's French Open Picks.
Serena Williams closing in on a second French Open title
When the early French Open futures market was released, Serena Williams did lead the field but only as a nominal +250 odds-on favourite bet (what was a steal at the time and those that jumped on it must be preening in delight right now). Progressively, as the clay-court swing moved through various events and Serena continued to quash all opposition en route to title after title, her tennis odds shortened in proportion to those results. As Serena gathered momentum so did her odds and eventually they crossed even money.
Before the semis, she was listed as the -250 odds-on favourite to win the title and now after her crushing 6-0, 6-1 win in the semis over Sara Errani, last year’s French Open runner-up, and with just Maria Sharapova – a player she has utterly dominated – standing in her way, she is a runaway favourite at -600 at Bet365 to clinch the title.
Admittedly, not much of a bargain anymore is Serena as far as the futures market goes but she is still a smart play nonetheless. To all intents and purposes, it’s now Serena’s tournament to lose as the de facto favourite for the title.
While nobody is about to dispute that score she still has to accomplish the feat. Clay has been her weakest surface of all, evinced by the fact that she is on the verge of claiming only her second French Open title and first in over a decade. In fact, until this year, she’d not seen into the semis of the French Open since 2003.
That said Serena Williams threw down the gauntlet at the start of the European clay-court swing and her focus has been razor sharp since. No wonder she enters the final as the hot favourite at Bet365, listed at -500 to win outright, as well as the -400 favourite to win the first set and the -188 favourite to win in straight sets.
Adding weight to her odds is an utterly one-sided head-to-head with Maria Sharapova. Simply put: she has dominated the Russian starlet (cringingly so) 13-2, a run of form that includes 12 straight wins – one has to feel for the Russian. It can’t possibly be fun to be on the receiving end of a spanking so often.
Maria Sharapova labours into the final
Defending champion Maria Sharapova would love to defend her title successfully in Paris, what would mark her first-ever successful grand slam title defence. But what chance does she have really?
Inasmuch as Sharapova has proven she is a great competitor and on the big occasions especially – her wins over Jankovic in the quarters (when she came back from 0-6 to win in three) and over Azarenka in the semis are case-and-point – the doubt she’ll win the French Open title is wholly evident in the marketplace, conspicuous by the significant +400 underdog odds nestled next to her name on the Bet365 board.
Curiously, she’s priced shorter to win the first set at +275. A bit of a departure, no? In any event, it’s back to the status quo though in other facets of the match as she’s a +650 bet to win in straight sets and a +900 bet to win in three sets.
Tennis Betting Verdict: Look, it would be great to suggest that there is value on both sides of the coin but it couldn’t be further from the truth. The smart choice for your tennis picks has to be Serena Williams and most will probably wager on her odds to win outright, siding with the tried and tested champion. Sharapova, as good as she is, has to be considered the quintessential long shot bet – the riskier play.
That Sharapova fought back against both Jankovic and Azarenka is commendable indeed, and it might encourage some to bank on her regardless. As well, there is the notion that streaks are meant to be broken. Eventually, laws of averages, says it is so. All that is fine, and if you are so inclined, why not. The value odds – that take to mean the bigger payouts – are in Sharapova’s corner.
Consider this: to labour so throughout the tournament also reveals just how much she needs to do to win. Granted, Sharapova is a fighter, second only to Serena in that department. But if Serena plays anywhere near the level she played at today against Errani, think Sharapova will even get chance to put in some hard graft? Time even to figure out how to beat Serena? Hardly. It will be over before it gets going. If –and this is a BIG IF – she does somehow accomplish the unthinkable, it would be the biggest win of Sharapova’s career, one to rival her win over Serena at Wimbledon when she was but a 16-year-old lamb.
Tennis Free Picks: As nice a ring a Sharapova win has about it and as tempting as it is at +400, Serena to win at -600 and in straight sets at -188 is the smart play.