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2021 French Open Betting Guide: What You Need to Know

The French Open is one of the highlights of the tennis season. It is the only Grand Slam tournament that takes place on clay and it attracts the biggest names in the sport. Of course, the tournament brings with it plenty of betting opportunities and we will teach you how to make the most of them in this guide.

French Open Betting Markets

Very broadly speaking, you can place two types of bet on the French Open, outrights and match bets. The outrights are bets that deal with the tournament as a whole while the match bets deal with the individual matches.

French Open Outright Betting Markets

French Open Winner Betting

The most basic of the outright markets is on the winner. You simply bet on which player you think will win the tournament. You can of course bet on the men’s tournament and the women’s tournament.

When looking at these markets you will often find some very attractive odds, particularly when you are not betting a favourite. However, while it is often the case that the earlier you place a bet the more generous the odds will be, this is not usually the case with the French Open. In fact, it is better to wait until the start of the tournament so that you know your preferred player is not injured and you will have more information about the players’ recent forms.

As mentioned, the French Open is the only Grand Slam to take place on clay, and it is vital that you keep this in mind. This means that players who perform better on clay will have an advantage. When researching the players, it is easy to find out how they have performed on the various different types of surfaces in the past.

The other thing to consider is the tournament format. Grand Slams are longer than other tournaments and the actual men’s matches are also longer as they play best of five sets. This means that to win, a player will need not only a great deal of stamina but also experience of how to pace themselves over the course of the tournament. As such, while there may be some very talented young players taking part, they may not have the type of experience required to win.

French Open Outright Prop Bets

There are other markets beyond the tournament winner. You can bet on specific players not to win the tournament, which brings an interesting twist to your strategy. You can bet on whether there will be a first time winner, and if you have done your research, you will have noticed that the men’s tournament tends to be won by experienced players while the women’s often produces a first time winner, which is something that you should certainly keep in mind.

There are also some more adventurous bets, such as on a player to win the tournament without dropping a set. You should take the time to look through all of the outright betting markets, as you never know what you may find.

French Open Match Betting Markets

There are many betting markets available on individual matches within the French Open and if you want a full explanation of them then you can refer to our Beginner’s Guide to Tennis Betting.

To recap briefly, you can of course bet on the winner of the match. You can place handicap bets on both games and sets. There are various over/under bets available, such as on the number of sets and games. You can attempt to bet on the exact score within individual sets and the match as a whole, and there are various match proposition bets available, such as Any Set to Finish to Nil. As always, it is important to take the time to look at all the different markets available and to make sure that you understand them all so that you can put together the best betting strategy.

When planning these bets, it is important that you know what research to do. You can start with the obvious, looking at the players’ forms, but there is actually far more to consider if you want to give yourself the best possible chance of winning.

Consider the Tournament Stage and Schedule

To begin with, you need to take into account what stage of the tournament you are betting on. In the early stages, particularly the first week, the stronger players will be looking to conserve their energy and finish matches as quickly as possible. Often, the favourites will be against weaker opponents, which means that they are prepared to take more risks and play more aggressively. As such, the matches tend to be quite short, and this is good to keep in mind if you are interested in handicap or spread betting.

However, this changes as the tournament progresses; betting on a first round match is not the same as betting on the quarterfinals. In the later stages of the French Open, the players tend to be more evenly matched, which makes the matches tougher and harder to predict. Furthermore, players will also begin to tire out, especially if they find themselves in the situation of having to play on consecutive days.

Therefore, when planning your bets, you should consider how much time the players have spent on the court and their schedule of play, as it will give you a sense of how much energy they may or may not have.

Interpreting Head-to-Head Records

If you are researching your bets then you will most likely look at the head-to-head record between the players you are betting on. However, it is not enough to glance over this to see which player has won more. There are a number of factors that you need to pay attention to.

To begin win, look at the surfaces that they were playing on. It can’t be stressed enough that not all players favour clay while others thrive on it, therefore, take note of any previous meetings they have had on clay. You should also look at the context of their previous matches; pay particular attention to those that were in major tournaments as they are more relevant. You should also not bother looking too far back in time; players develop and change and a meeting from five years ago will not give you as much information as a meeting from the previous season.

Another obvious factor that it is important to take note of is the format of the matches. As mentioned, the French Open and the other Grand Slams use a best of five format, rather than the best of three found in other tournaments. Therefore, you need to consider how much Grand Slam experience the players have and whether they are able to maintain a high level over the longer matches.

2021 French Open Betting Overview

Men’s French Open

At present, there is no one who has seriously challenged Rafael Nadal on clay. Since he first played in the French Open in 2005, he has only failed to win it three times, the last of which was almost five years ago when he was forced to withdraw from a third-round match due to injury.

However, there have been some fitness concerns surrounding Nadal in recent times and he came into this year’s clay court season having played just one event in 2021. He put in disappointing performances in Monte Carlo and Madrid, but he did win in Barcelona and he showed some of his best form to overcome Novak Djokovic in the Italian Open final in Rome.

Therefore, there are signs that Nadal is timing his return to form and will be at his best for the French Open.

However, there are other players to keep an eye on, such as German player Alexander Zverev. He came close to winning a Grand Slam when he lost in the final of last year’s US Open to Dominic Thiem. He performs consistently well on clay, even if it is not his best surface, and his win at the recent Madrid Open suggests that he could pose a threat at Roland Garros, especially considering that he overcame Nadal on the way to that success.

Women’s French Open

The defending champion Iga Swiatek is considered by many to be the dominant women’s player on clay at the moment. She defeated Sofia Kenin to win her first Grand Slam at Roland Carros last year and has had an excellent start to the clay season this year, particularly at the recent Italian Open when she dropped just one set on her way to winning the event.

Furthermore, her style of play is ideal for clay, with her heavy spin allowing her to harass opponents from the base line. However, she is a very young player (she turned 20 at the end of May), and there is a great deal of pressure on her. Furthermore, no woman has successfully defended the French Open title since Justine Henin-Hardenne in 2006.

Therefore, it may be worth keeping an eye on Naomi Osaka. While clay is not her favourite surface, she is a proven winner and looks determine to win the Grand Slam. Osaka has never made it past the third round in Paris, but she missed last year’s delayed tournament, so this will be her first appearance since 2019.

Since then, Osaka has won two Grand Slam titles, and her win in Australia at the start of this year took her total to four. Therefore, while she may not be a natural clay player, she is certainly a woman worth watching very closely.


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