WTA French Open Tennis Picks: Fading Top Betting Favorite, Serena Williams, In Search of Truly Attractive Odds

Nikki Adams

Friday, May 15, 2015 1:57 PM GMT

With less than a fortnight before the WTA Tour descends on Paris for the 2015 French Open, this sports handicapper looks at Serena Williams' betting odds trading in the market now.

A Quick look At Serena in 2015
Serena's start can be described in a word: brilliant. The season is but five months old and Serena boasts a 24-1 record on the season ahead of the BNL Internazionale d'Italia in Rome, which includes two important titles to her credit. She won the Australian Open earlier this year, which marked her 19th career Grand Slam and saw her surpass both Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert (18 Grand Slams each). She also won the Miami Open, but not before mending bridges at Indian Wells. She reached the semis in the Californian desert, but withdrew with an injury.

In her European clay-court preparation, Serena Williams met with some resistance for the first time this season when she lost to an inspired Petra Kvitova in the semi-finals 6-2, 6-3. The American was thoroughly outplayed, outhit, outmuscled; not to mention, out-served as well by the Czech, who went on to win the title in the final at the expense of a revived Svetlana Kuznetsova.

This week, the BNL Internazionale d'Italia is underway, but it's just been announced that Serena has withdrawn from the event, mere hours before her third round clash with Christina McHale. Is this a worrying sign for her fans, never mind her French Open odds?

Compare Tennis Betting Odds Trading for Grand Slam Events: French Open, US Open & More

From Charleston....
Serena Williams, typically, kicks off her European clay-court swing in Madrid and not without warming up in Charleston. At least, that's a practice she kept up since 2012 and that appears to have helped her to seven clay court titles, including her second career French Open in 2013.

Indeed, two years ago, she had her best clay-court turn out by sweeping all the events she entered: Charleston, Madrid and Rome before going on to win the coveted French Open crown.

 

From Madrid To Rome To Paris
This year, Serena Williams gave Charleston a skip. She didn't really have points to defend, on account of a loss to Jana Cepelova in her 2014 tournament opener so it didn't hurt her in the rankings. Then again, she's off to a stellar start on the season and she has a stranglehold on the No.1 ranking. So she really wasn't in any danger on that score. 

She began her clay-court bid in Madrid almost a fortnight ago, amidst high expectations. After all, she won the coveted Australian Open title this year and was riding an undefeated streak into the Spanish capital.  However, things went horribly wrong for the American in the semi-finals. A focused and composed Petra Kvitova dismissed Serena Williams in just a little over an hour. Which is no mean feat, make no mistake, even if Kvitova has the power-hitting game and the big serve to be able to take on the likes of Serena.

As word on Serena's withdrawal from Rome spreads, an elbow injury appears to be the cause. Word is, the injury isn't too serious.

The American doesn't want to take any chances all the while mindful of her French Open campaign. Last year, rising star Garbine Muguruza dismissed Serena in straight sets in the second round, but the American has suggested she was injured then, taking some of the shine off of Muguruza's scalp. Apparently, she didn't take enough precautions with her injury then, nor did she prepare well enough for her title defence campaign and, as a result, was vulnerable to the early exit. 

In withdrawing from Rome, the two-time defending champion Serena Williams effectively hands the keys to the Eternal city to a yet unnamed champion. Is she one of the listed top 15 faves for the French Open? (Chart 1).

 

The 2015 French Open Futures 
Earlier this year, we looked at the French Open offering on the sports betting floor. Specifically, we looked at the top fifteen players in the women's game odds makers identified as the favourites then to win the French Open. We revisit those tennis odds and chart them against the current landscape, just ten days before the French Open gets off the mark in order to determine how has the tennis betting outlook changed two months later, if at all.

 

Chart 1: The WTA 2015 French Open Futures Comparison
 

 

It's interesting to note that Serena Williams' French Open odds remain relatively unchanged, while the rest of the ladies have experienced movement on the tennis odds board.

Simona Halep has closed the gap between herself and Maria Sharapova on the tennis odds board while Garbine Muguruza's tennis odds have jumped up from +1600 to tie Petra Kvitova as the fifth overall favourite at +1400. Speaking of the Czech player, it's really strange that her French Open odds haven't been reduced since winning the Madrid Open. After all, she's a two-time Wimbledon champions with obvious major winning pedigree. She could be a value tennis pick in this mix.

Finally Eugenie Bouchard's odds have been increased from +800 to +1600, a swell that correlates to her abysmal output on the season since the Australian Open. A move that was long overdue.

Carla Suarez Navarro has shown a lot of upside this season, so it's not surprising that her tennis odds have been slashed from +4000 to +2500. On the flipside, Sloane Stephens and Andrea Petkovic have seen their odds also swell simply because of inconsistent form this season.

 

Tennis betting Verdict
As it is, the odds makers still favour Serena Williams to win the French Open. The tennis betting outlook is understandable. It's Serena. She's simply always the favourite in a tournament; that's the unspoken rule on the tennis betting floor. But we're not so sure she's the best tennis pick to win it all this year. Of course, she's a good tennis pick and should be a popular one in tennis betting circles. But we're of the mind to add a few outside tennis picks, namely... 

Tennis Picks: Petra Kvitova at +1250 at WagerWeb

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