French Open Men’s Betting Picks and Tournament Preview (2021)

May 28, 2021 - 1:04 PM

After being pushed back one week, the second tennis major of the year is set to commence this weekend. The French Open will begin on Sunday in Paris. It remains unique from the other three Grand Slam tournaments in that it is played on a clay surface. One man has proven to be the ace of the clay throughout his career, and it’s no surprise that he is the pre-tournament betting favorite to win. 

The following article serves as a comprehensive betting preview for the 2021 French Open. Read on for a look at the betting odds to win, previous winners, key details regarding the playing surface, and betting picks to consider ahead of the men’s tournament.

Refer to the table below, which contains the betting odds to win the French Open across three major U.S. Sportsbooks. The top 12 players in terms of odds are included. 

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Recent French Open Men’s Winners 

  • 2020: Rafael Nadal
  • 2019: Rafael Nadal
  • 2018: Rafael Nadal
  • 2017: Rafael Nadal
  • 2016: Novak Djokovic

Clay Court Surface Handicapping Notes

Clay court surfaces slow the ball down on volleys when compared to their hard and grass court counterparts. As such, big servers are prone to losing some of their advantage on a clay surface. The big hitters might not be able to dominate points or even entire matches like they could on other surfaces.

When handicapping the French Open, consider players whose games are better suited to playing on a slower clay surface. The direct opposite surface of clay in terms of speed is grass. In a rather incredible tennis statistic, only seven men’s players have managed to win both the French Open on clay and the Wimbledon Grand Slam, played on the fast grass. 

French Open Men’s Outright Picks

Rafael Nadal (-115 at FanDuel Sportsbook)

The fact that any player is an odds-on favorite to win a tennis Grand Slam is remarkable in its own right. Considering the success Rafael Nadal has had at Roland Garros, it’s hard to argue against the pricing. The Spaniard won the French Open last year for a record 13th time. He has absolutely owned the second major of the year since 2005, winning the championship in all but three years since. At 34 years of age, he is still the dominant men’s player on the clay court surface, and it’s not even close. -115 odds may seem ludicrous as a futures wager, but there are far worse things you could put that money on than Nadal winning a fifth straight French Open.

Novak Djokovic (+410 at FanDuel Sportsbook)

If there’s one man who has the best shot at unseating Nadal, it’s Novak Djokovic. That being said, the disparity between the two in terms of clay-court ability was reflected in last year’s French Open final. Nadal was never seriously threatened en route to a straight-sets win. Djokovic is the most recent player not named Nadal to win at Roland Garros, capturing the title back in 2016. Odds just north of 4-1 on the Serbian is a solid line. In fact, betting both Nadal and Djokovic outright before the tournament could set up as a solid hedge play if chalk holds throughout the draw.

Longshot Betting Pick

Pablo Carreno Busta (+20000 at BetMGM)

Although he is very much in the shadow of countryman Nadal in terms of clay-court ability, Pablo Carreno Busta has enough skill in the tank to take a shot at 200-1 odds. He captured a clay-court title already this season, winning the Andalucia Open in Spain last month. He also advanced all the way to the semifinals of the Barcelona Open before losing to none other than Nadal. At Roland Garros last year, Carreno Busta made it to the semifinals, where he was ultimately upended by Djokovic in four sets. The 29-year-old has a knack for playing his best tennis at the Grand Slams, especially the French Open. Keep him on your radar if looking to bet a longshot.

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Henry John is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Henry, check out his archive and follow him @HankTimeSports.

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