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Champions of the Clay: French Open 2019 Betting Predictions
The red dirt of Roland Garros isn't for the faint of heart. Just ask some of the game's all-time greats — Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, or Venus Williams — who never even sniffed a French Open title. The snail-like pace of playing on clay court has stopped champions dead in their tracks at the tourney ever since 1908 when it was first inserted. 2019 marks the event's 123rd edition — and it hasn't got any easier, for players and bettors alike.
With that said, let's take a glance at the French Open betting odds. Here's who the sportsbooks are pegging as the gambling favorites:
- Rafael Nadal (+105)
- Novak Djokovic (+225)
- Dominic Thiem (+550)
And on the ladies' side:
- Simona Halep (+400)
- Kiki Bertens (+800)
- Serena Williams (+1200)
The French Open begins in Paris on May 26 and can be watched on NBC Sports. The tournament, the second Grand Slam of the calendar year, stretches a full two weeks before champions are crowned on June 9. Let's take a closer side at both sides and see which players deserve your betting dollar.
Nadal vs. The Field
It should come as no surprise that Nadal has the best French Open odds. He's rightfully nicknamed the "King of Clay" after winning the French Open a record 11 times. Nadal has won the tournament in consecutive years — this after separate Roland Garros title streaks of five and four in a row.
Although, Nadal hasn't been nearly as automatic on clay this season as in year's past. Up until this past weekend, Nadal had been bounced in three straight semifinals of clay-based tournaments. However, that may be forgiven after taking the Italian Open.
Not only did Nadal prevail at Rome, but he looked dominant in the final against long-time rival Djokovic. Nadal topped Djokovic in sets of 6-0, 4-6, and finally, 6-1. The opening set marked the first-time ever that Nadal defeated his archrival with a bagel — not conceding a single point — in 54 meetings and 142 sets against one another.
The outcome was a measure of revenge for Nadal. At the Australian Open earlier this year, Djokovic embarrassed him in the final with a straight-set victory. Until Sunday, Nadal hadn't beaten Djokovic head-to-head on a clay court since the 2014 French Open. All-time, Djokovic still leads the series every so slightly at 28-26.
There's really no one else worth considering for this bet other than Djokovic and Nadal, who rank one and two in the world, respectively. Both will be gunning for history in Paris. Nadal will look to extend his already-record French Open titles, whereas Djokovic, with a tournament win, will hold all four Grand Slams consecutively for the first time in his storied career.
Honestly, you should probably spread your money on both — they're that good. However, if you can only bet one, let it be the King of Clay himself. We're big believers in momentum and after a dominant performance at the Italian Open, Nadal is peaking.
These two will inevitably meet in the finale. If they do, history shows us Nadal will win. In 24 head-to-head meetings on clay court, Nadal is a whopping 17-7 against Djokovic. Add one more to the win column for Nadal.
Pick: Nadal (+120)
Free For All Among Women
Among the top Roland Garros odds women, Naomi Osaki is notably absent. This despite being the world's number-one ranked player and coming off an Australian Open title earlier this year. So what gives?
For one, there are serious doubts about whether she'll even be able to compete in Paris. After winning a pair of games at the Italian Open on Thursday, Osaka pulled out of last Friday's quarterfinals due to a thumb injury. She's now dropped out of two tournaments in the last three weeks due to injuries. If Osaka is somehow able to go, she'll enter as the one seed.
Osaka isn't the only front-runner licking her wounds. The G.O.A.T herself, Williams, also dropped out of the Italian Open before a showdown against sister, Venus. A knee injury did Williams in, who has now pulled out of three straight tourneys.
The injuries have muddled the French Open women's title picture. With the championship wide-open, who has the edge? For us, it's Bertens.
Over the past three seasons, the 27-year-old Bertens has more victories on clay courts than anyone else. Plus, she's rolling as of late. Bertens won the Madrid Open two weeks ago and played deep into this past weekend's Italian Open. Bertens was eliminated in the semi-finals after a near-three-hour slugfest with Johanna Konta.
Halep, the defending 2018 French Open winner, is certainly a tantalizing pick. However, she was defeated by Bertens in straight sets in the Madrid final then followed that with a stunning second-round defeat in Rome. Momentum just isn't on her side right now, hence why we're sticking with Bertens.
Pick: Bertens (+800)
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