2018 French Open Betting Preview: Men's and Women's Expert Predictions
According to the odds-and perhaps even according to common sense-they are all playing for second place on the men's side at Roland Garros. Rafael Nadal, who is bidding for an 11th French Open title, has once again been the best player on clay this season. Playing for second is often what transpires on the WTA Tour, but Serena Williams is understandably not in peak form these days. Serena's vulnerability could blow the door wide open for a whole host of contenders.
Odds provided by Bovada Sportsbook .
Men's Favorite: Rafael Nadal (-250)
Nadal is a laughable 79-2 lifetime at Roland Garros with 10 titles. Even though the 31-year-old Spaniard may not be in his absolute prime in the presumably latter stages of his career, and despite losing one match on clay earlier this spring (to Dominic Thiem in the Madrid quarterfinals), there is no reason to think his Paris domination is at an end. Nadal is 19-1 on the red stuff in 2018 with titles in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, and Rome. As for the world No. 1's Madrid setback, conditions are not as favorable for him in high altitude, and it is much, much tougher to beat him in a best-of-five situation than in best-of-three.
Men's Underdog to watch: Novak Djokovic (+1100)
This is not the same Djokovic that won all 12 of his Grand Slam titles between 2008 and 2016. The 31-year-old Serb was plagued by injury throughout the second half of 2017, and he has plunged to 22nd in the rankings. That left him at the mercy of the French Open draw as the No. 20 seed, but he escaped disaster when Thursday's ceremony was conducted. Most importantly, Djokovic is on the opposite side from Nadal. He also cannot run into either Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Kei Nishikori, or Stan Wawrinka until the semifinals. The 2016 Roland Garros winner has defeated Nadal 26 times (26-25 in their careers) and would have more belief in a final against the top seed than more inexperienced contenders like Thiem and Zverev.
Men's Live Long Shot: David Goffin (+2500)
The best bets for underdogs (in other words: "players not named Nadal") will all come in the bottom half of the draw. Their only real hope is for Nadal to somehow lose prior to the final, or-however unlikely-at least get worn down following a couple of five-setters. Based on the simplicity of Nadal's draw, he simply is not going to get bounced prior to the semis barring some kind of unmitigated disaster. But before the final? Maybe. Goffin is in a friendly section of the bracket along with Djokovic (they could go head-to-head in the quarterfinals). The Belgian has once again excelled on clay with quarterfinal performances in Monte-Carlo and Rome plus a semifinal showing in Barcelona.
Winner: Nadal (-250)
Best Value: Nadal (-250)
Women's Favorite: Simona Halep (+500)
A Grand Slam title for Halep is long overdue. She has been No. 1 in the world-a distinction at which she currently resides-off and on for 30 weeks over the past few years. The Romanian has played in three major finals, including two at the French. She lost to Maria Sharapova in 2014 and led underdog Jelena Ostapenko by a set and 3-0 in the second last spring before collapsing. Halep knocked on the door again earlier this year at the Australian Open, only to lose another three-set thriller at the hands of Caroline Wozniacki. A recent runner-up finish in Rome is further indication that this could finally be the 26-year-old's time.
Women's Underdog to Watch: Petra Kvitova (+1200)
In 2017, Roland Garros was the scene of Kvitova's comeback after making an unexpectedly quick recovery in the wake of a December 2016 home invasion in which her left hand got seriously damaged during a knife attack. Fast forward one year and the Czech is back up to No. 8 in the world. Her resurgence includes hard-court titles in St. Petersburg and Doha to go along with consecutive clay-court triumphs in Prague and Madrid. Although Kvitova is at her best on grass (two-time Wimbledon champion), she is clearly a prototypical all-court player. She also has a great draw in Paris, on the opposite side from former French Open champions Halep, Serena, and Garbine Muguruza.
Women's Live Long Shot: Angelique Kerber (+2200)
The French Open is by far Kerber's worst for the four slams. She has reached the final of the other three majors and has won both the Australian Open and U.S. Open. At the French? Nothing more than a quarterfinal run in 2012. The German is once again struggling on the slow stuff, with a 4-4 record after going after going 21-5 on hard courts. But here is the good news: Kerber made the quarters in Rome, beat the No. 42 player in the world (Maria Sakkari) 6-1, 6-1, and lost only to eventual champion Elina Svitolina. She is also a big-stage player, having reached at least the semifinals at four of the last nine slams.
Winner: Svitolina (+600)
Best Value: Kvitova (+1200)
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