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Line Calls presented by FanDuel Sportsbook: Roland Garros futures
There's no shame in picking favorites when the price is right. Just ask Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka backers at this year's Australian Open.
Published Mar 09, 2021
There’s no shame in picking favorites when the price is right. Just ask Novak Djokovic or Naomi Osaka backers at the Australian Open. The Serb didn’t offer much value at +120 to win the tournament outright, but he came through in a big way to win his ninth title in Melbourne.
At +100—or even money to win his 14th French Open in 16 years—Rafael Nadal on the terre batue is the best bet in tennis history. Even money is more than a fair price for a player with a 100-2 career record at Roland Garros.
Last year was supposed to be the year he lost. The weather was cold and damp, and the heavier Wilson balls apparently didn’t suit his game. But none of that mattered, as he completely dismantled Djokovic in the final, 6-0, 6-2, 7-5. If Nadal wins his clay-court tune-up events in Rome and Madrid, there’s no way he will remain at +100 to win the title, so place your bets as soon as you can.
On the women’s side, the field is much more open than the men’s, but Iga Swiatek at 6.5 to 1 appears to be the best bet on the board. Tennis on a quick hard-court compared to slow red clay is almost a different sport, and players who grew up on the surface have a tremendous advantage over those who learned to play elsewhere. Not only is clay Swiatek’s preferred surface, she hardly ever loses on it.
According to the ITF website, in her entire professional career, the Pole is an astonishing 62-11 on clay. She cruised to the 2020 Roland Garros title without losing more than five games in any match, and appears to be the best clay-court player on the WTA. Defending a Grand Slam title is extremely difficult, but that might be only knock against her.
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