2018 French Open Predictions
All French Open lines come courtesy of 5Dimes and are accurate as of Tuesday, May 22. Although these odds should remain mostly consistent in the lead-up to one of tennis’ hottest annual tournaments, make sure your double-checking the numbers before placing a wager. Sportsbooks will adjust to account for initial action, and they will most definitely rework the these winner take all lines as the matches unfold and the surviving field of candidates dwindles.
Best Options to Win
Rafael Nadal (-225)
Working on clay courts is Rafael Nadal’s specialty, so it’s no surprise he’s a heavy favorite in the men’s division. Not only is he the reigning champ, but he’s won three of the past six French Opens.
Only a handful of names are good enough to beat him in his wheelhouse—if that. And one of them won’t even be partaking in the tournament. Roger Federer has removed himself from all clay-court brackets for at least the rest of this year.
Does this mean Nadal will Waltz his way to a fourth French Open title? Possibly. He has a 79-2 record all-time at the French Open, according to CNN, and at 31, he’s shown no signs of slowing down when pitted against opponents on a clay court. Most recently, he handled business in the Italian Open, facing little to no resistance.
Pretty much every expert is picking him to win the whole shebang for a reason. If you’re looking for the most sensible bet, as opposed to the most lucrative, he’s by far and away your guy.
Novak Djokovic (+1400)
We’re not just big-name hunting here. Promise. In some ways, to be honest, we’re actually doing the opposite.
Novak Djokovic is one of the most recognizable names in this tournament, but he’s not the second favorite to win. That honor belongs to Dominic Thiem (+700). The 24-year-old Australian has racked up nine singles titles on the ATP tour and he’s clearly unafraid of going toe-to-toe with more established names than himself.
Factor in the loss Djokovic just suffered to Nadal in the semifinals of the Italian Open, and it would be fairly easy to write him off. Like Nadal, he’s 31. It could take some fresher blood like Thiem to dethrone the French Open’s champ.
Then again, removing Djokovic from your list of prospects would be premature. He continues to deploy one of the most powerful serves and terrifying forehands on the circuit. Clay courts aren’t his forte, per se; the extra sliding can make it a little difficult for him to runaround to his forehand. But Djokovic has imroved backhand stance and is more likely to hold serve for an entire match than anyone else. He’s the second-best option in a pool of very few.
Serena Williams (+1000)
Surprise, surprise. One of the most dominant athletes of all time, across any sport, is favored to win the tournament she’s already dominated three times for her career. (She’s 3-1 in singles Finals appearances during the French Open.
Some are a little more inclined to pick against Williams, as the odds will show here. Her ranking has fallen due to the time she talk off while giving birth to a baby, which in theory increases the difficulty level of the road she must take to victory.
But, like, come on. Williams remains in class all their own. Who cares if she’s unseeded as she returns from maternity leave?
Yes, it’s difficult recapture your form following child birth. Maria Sharapova said as much in defense of Williams. And sure, Serena is still working out the kinks. She’s only competed in two ATP tournaments this year, and she failed to win either one of them. She lost to sister Venus Williams in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open and couldn’t make it out of the first match at the Miami Open. Some real concerns exist here—especially after she withdrew from the Italian Open and Madrid Open because she wasn’t ready to lay on clay.
Still, if she’s not near the top of your ballot, you’re doing this wrong. She’s among the greatest tennis players of all time, and if she says she’s ready, she must be considered head and shoulders above the field on clay courts until she proves otherwise.
Elina Svitolina (+800)
Plenty of risk is baked into this pick. Elina Svitolina, still just 23, has yet to hit the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam Major. To bet on her reversing course now, when the French Open, it seems, includes a healthy Serena Williams verges on absolutely reckless.
But Svitolina is working off an extremely impressive performance during the Italian Open. She proved that her consistent play style is gradually extending itself into more pressure-filled, higher-profile situations.
Take the opponent she beat in the Finals. She took down Simona Halep (+550), who is the actually favorite to win the French Open, in straight sets (6-0, 6-4) on a clay court. Halep could always return the favor should they meet again, but Svitolina pusher style is like Kryptonite for her.
On the off chance doubters are correct that Williams needs more time to re-acclimate herself to the pace of play following maternity leave, this could be Svitolina’s year.
Men’s Dark Horse Candidate
David Goffin (+2200)
Don’t let David Goffin’s relatively light 5’11” frame fool you. This dude can play.
His record on clay courts alone this year is scary good. Goffin has lost to only one player ranked below him while competing on Euroclay surfaces and, by extension, has failed to make the quarterfinals in said tournaments just once.
Goffin can be exploited when he’s playing up by the net. Overall, though, he boasts a solid all-around game. And his endurance is second to none. Pushers will not outlast him during protracted volleys, and expert angle users will not wear him down by moving him back and forth across the court. He will cover any and all ground he needs to.
Unforced errors and injuries could end up being problem. And again: So could his play at the net; he can be overpowered due to his size. He’s so often giving up inches and major pounds. But with the way he himself works the entire court, he has upset potential written all over him. Even the most mega of megastars cannot stand fringe pushers who thrive on the length of point. Goffin will coax his opponents into making more unforced errors than him.
For that, coupled with a well-balanced bag of tricks that mixes accurate serving with semi-powerful forehands and precise backhands, we’re inclined to give him a fighting chance—one far more realistic than what his odds suggest.
Women’s Dark Horse Candidate
Caroline Wozniacki (+2000)
Oddsmakers aren’t showing Caroline Wozniacki a lot of love on the heels of her meltdown at the Italian Open. She fell to the unseeded Anett Kontaveit in the quarterfinals in straight sets. She was clearly angry at the end of said match, too; she failed to shake the umpire’s hand.
To be honest, Wozniacki’s last three losses are a little bit concerning. The average rank of the opponent she has fallen to, according to ESPN.com, is No. 56. That’s utterly terrible for someone who holds a No. 2 ranking in the world herself. It speaks to a certain level of implosion and mental defeat.
Nevertheless, with Elina Svitolina still trending on the younger, more inexperienced side, and with Serena Williams still working her way back to form, one of the more established dark horses has a real opportunity to sneak out of the French Open with a surprise championship. Maria Sharapova (+1600) is a solid pick here as well, but the longer odds draw us to Wozniacki, the more proven commodity and someone who is eager to gain her first-ever French open title.
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