French Open Men’s Betting Preview: Nadal Huge Favourite for 11th Roland Garros Crown

Rafael Nadal is an overwhelming favourite to win the 2018 French Open for what would be an amazing 11th time in his record-breaking career.

Nadal has long been virtually untouchable on clay, especially at Roland Garros, and his position well clear at the top of the betting odds reflects this.

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Friday’s draw gave Nadal a further boost due to the fact that a lot of the other players considered to be potential winners of the tournament are in the other side of the draw.

Nadal is in the top half, while the likes of Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Kei Nishikori and Grigor Dimitrov are all packed together in the bottom section.

What that means is Nadal appears to have a relatively clear path all the way through to the final, as he cannot even face a dangerous threat like either Juan Martin del Potro or Marin Cilic until the semi-final in Paris.

Although Zverev is the second seed – Roger Federer is skipping the clay-court season again – the young German does not have a lot of history in major tournaments to call upon.

Everything points to Nadal extending his French Open dominance, but is there value to be found elsewhere in the betting odds for the second Grand Slam of the year? Let’s take a look. Also note, we have a complete separate women’s preview over here for a look at the French Open ladies.

2018 French Open Odds (Men)

The following tables compare the outright betting odds across the best tennis bookmakers. This is what each betting site is offering for each of the 20 best players. Below, we’ll continue with our preview to discuss some of the top players and this year’s best French Open picks.

Outright Betting Odds

ComeOn William Hill 888Sport
Rafael Nadal 5/14 4/11 2/5
Alexander Zverev 15/2 7/1 8/1
Novak Djokovic 10/1 10/1 13/1
Dominic Thiem 12/1 10/1 14/1
Fernando Verdasco 16/1 150/1 500/1
Juan Martin Del Potro 40/1 40/1 60/1
David Goffin 40/1 40/1 50/1
Marin Cilic 40/1 40/1 50/1
Kei Nishikori 50/1 40/1 50/1
Grigor Dimitrov 50/1 50/1 66/1
Lucas Pouille 80/1 66/1 100/1
Kyle Edmund 80/1 66/1 100/1
Pablo Carreno-Busta 80/1 80/1 70/1
Denis Shapovalov 80/1 80/1 100/1
Stefanos Tsitsipas 80/1 66/1 150/1
Borna Coric 100/1 100/1 66/1
Gael Monfils 100/1 80/1 120/1
Roberto Baustista-Agut 100/1 125/1 150/1
Diego Schwartzman 100/1 100/1 100/1
Tomas Berdych 125/1 100/1 100/1

Nadal Deserves Short-Priced Favourite Status

Odds of 2/5 on another Nadal success at Roland Garros is fair as the Spaniard is without a doubt the greatest player on clay that the world of tennis has ever seen.

Alexandr Dolgopolov was first up for Nadal and, ordinarily, this would be a tricky opening encounter, but the Ukrainian pulled out through injury, giving lucky loser Simone Boselli a chance to impress, although he is unlikely to cause Rafa a lot of problems.

Nadal looks likely to face Guido Pella in the second round, while home hope Richard Gasquet is expected to await in the third round.

Gasquet performed reasonably well in Monte Carlo but realistically does not have the game required to beat Nadal in his favoured major. Jack Sock or Denis Shapovalov could be up next in the fourth round, with the seeding suggesting he plays Kevin Anderson in the last eight.

It is difficult to foresee how any of those players can stop Nadal on clay, assuming the Spaniard plays to anything like his best. A place in the final looks assured for Nadal, which is why even at 2/5 lots of people will find reasons to back him to win at Roland Garros yet again.

Top Clashes Lined Up In Bottom Half

Dominic Thiem would have been on the shortlist for a lot of tennis fans placing bets on the French Open, but the Austrian could hardly have been given a tougher test. He opens up against a qualifier but Stefanos Tsitsipas is a very dangerous opponent in the second round.

Kei Nishikori awaits Thiem in the fourth round, if the seventh seed can get past Gilles Muller or Matteo Berrettini in the third. Thiem’s chances of making his 14/1 odds look short appear slim, especially as he is in the same quarter of the draw as Zverev.

The German is still yet to get through to even the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam event, but has been handed a draw that gives him a great chance of enjoying a solid run in Paris this week.

Zverev’s path to the fourth round offers few hurdles and, although he is set to meet Stanislas Wawrinka at that point, the Swiss is out of form after returning to the tour following injury. Zverev would be a heavy favourite against Wawrinka, with Nishikori appearing to be the most likely opponent the world number three faces in the quarter-finals.

Although his lack of Grand Slam pedigree counts against him, Zverev at 8/1 is a big enough price to tempt a lot of fans and major success is surely on the cards for the youngster soon.

Djokovic Return to Step Up a Gear?

Many are tipping the great Novak Djokovic to be a serious contender for French Open glory this year, with the former world number one looking to be back to close to his best.

The Serbian star is in the third quarter and looks well placed to go deep, having reached the semis in Rome but found Nadal to be too strong. Djokovic is only seeded 21 in the draw, but he could have been given a much harder run at Roland Garros.

Djokovic won here in 2016 and shouldn’t find likely second-round opponent David Ferrer too strenuous, with Roberto Bautista-Agut potentially following. In the fourth round, Djokovic is expected to face his first serious test, with Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov likely to be next.

Dimitrov v Djokovic would be a blockbuster clash, but the world number five is not in good form and may be beaten before that stage. Early exits in Madrid and Rome are not the foundations needed for a Grand Slam challenge and Djokovic would be expected to beat Dimitrov.

David Goffin and Pablo Carreno Busta look the likeliest quarter-final opponents for Djokovic but if he has built up some momentum the Serbian should come through that match as well.

As such, the 13/1 that is up for grabs on Djokovic winning the French Open for the second time in three years looks solid value, although Nadal would be expected to best him in the final.

Each-Way Possibilities Litter the Bottom Half

Although Djokovic or Zverev against Nadal appears to be the likeliest final, there are a few players who have a chance to make their each-way odds look very good value indeed.

One of those is Marin Cilic, who can be backed at as big as 50/1 with some bookmakers. The major caveat with this option, of course, is that he is in Nadal’s half of the draw.

But Cilic has been playing well on clay this season and is one of the few players in the draw who has a strong history of performing at Grand Slam tournaments.

Cilic has the knowhow required to navigate through the opening rounds of the draw and, while he is scheduled to meet Juan Martin del Potro (60/1) in the quarter-finals, that is a match he could win. That would set up a semi-final against Nadal, but there is always a chance the Spaniard suffers an injury or is knocked out surprisingly early.

In either of those eventualities, both Del Potro and Cilic would soon come down in price.

French Open Men’s Best Bets

Nadal is the man to beat here and even at odds as short as 2/5, it is hard to argue with that price. He has won the French Open 10 times and looks well placed to make it 11 this year.

From the bottom half of the draw, Zverev may be the second seed but his record at Grand Slam events is not good. While that will change one day, Djokovic at a similar price of 13/1 makes a bit more sense, with the Serbian looking to be getting back towards his best tennis.

Options on an each-way basis are not plentiful but a couple of players from Nadal’s half of the draw stand out as possibilities. Del Potro and Cilic are scheduled to meet in the quarter-finals and both men can be backed at 50/1 or higher. With one of them likely to reach the semis, that price looks like it could be the best each-way option for this year’s tournament.

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