2022 French Open Odds, Preview, Analysis: Look to Bottom Half for Value in Paris
Tim Clayton/Getty. Pictured: Stefanos Tsitsipas hits a practice serve at the French Open.
The second major tournament of the 2022 season is upon us, as the clay court season wraps up with the French Open.
This year’s draw turned many heads, with defending champion Novak Djokovic and the greatest clay-court player of all time, Rafael Nadal, being placed in the same quarter of the draw.
To make matters worse for the legendary veterans, the heir apparent to their thrones, Carlos Alcaraz, has also been placed in the same half of the draw.
With these three being the clear-cut favorites, and possessing the shortest odds on the board, it stands to reason that the vast majority of the value in the outright markets is to be found in the bottom half of the draw.
Let’s take a look at some of the best bets on the board for men’s futures!
Stefanos Tsitsipas to win Quarter 3 (-110)
To start things off, let’s take a look at the man who was arguably the biggest beneficiary of the draw.
With his three main foes all in the other half of the draw, Stefanos Tsitsipas has an incredible chance to return to the final in Paris, where he lost in heartbreaking fashion a year ago against Djokovic.
Furthermore, Tsitsipas has an excellent draw, with the first test likely to come in the quarterfinal – the final match needed to settle and cash this bet.
Lorenzo Musetti isn’t the easiest first opponent, but he isn’t close to the Greek’s level just yet and after that, things open up.
Lucas Pouille or a qualifier pose almost no threat in the second round, nor do Dan Evans, an out-of-form Francisco Cerundolo, Mikael Ymer or James Duckworth in the third.
Ultimately, the sternest test he’ll face is likely to come from Casper Ruud. The Norwegian has finally found some form, having made the semifinals in Rome and playing the full week in Geneva.
Whether that serves as an advantage, or could weaken him with all that tennis heading into a best-of-five set format remains to be seen.
His record against the top-10 in his career on clay, however, isn’t anything to write home about. Ruud has accumulated titles on clay to be sure, but against elite competition, the breakthroughs have been tougher to come by.
It’s worth noting he did edge out Tsitsipas in Madrid in 2021. That was played in altitude, however, and the conditions don’t translate at Roland Garros.
Between his past success at the French, his dominance on clay for a few years, the draw playing out well and conditions that suit his less-than-stellar return game, getting Tsitsipas to win his quarter at -110 is a great price.
Jannik Sinner Outright (+3800)
Sticking with the theme of targeting players in the bottom half of the draw, having a small play on Jannik Sinner at over +3500 is a bet well worth making.
Having been a known commodity for a few years now despite being just 20 years old, the tennis world has been waiting on the Grand Slam breakthrough from the Italian.
This clay season has been a mixed bag for Sinner, playing just the three Masters 1000 events before the French Open.
In the two that replicate the conditions of Roland Garros, he reached the quarterfinals, losing only to Tsitsipas and Alex Zverev (in a third-set tiebreak, no less).
With Zverev in the murderers’ row in the top half of the draw, and Tsitsipas not posing a threat until the semifinals, this is the ideal spot for Sinner to have that breakout grand slam campaign.
His well-rounded game and comfort on the red dirt have vaulted him to the top-15 in the world. Similarly to the aforementioned Tsitsipas, the slower conditions also mask his mediocre movement and give him more time to set up his shots.
Statistically, he holds the sixth best clay court Elo Rating on the ATP Tour and has a hold + break percentage nearing 110. Whether it be statistically, stylistically or how the draw panned out, Sinner shouldn’t be as long as 38/1.
Considering he’s only lost to Nadal here in the past, all indications are that Sinner’s outright is worth a sprinkle at this price.
Miomir Kecmanovic Outright (+10000)
Sticking in the fourth quarter, the long shot outright to take a look at is Miomir Kecmanovic.
Much like the Sinner handicap, he’s in the most favorable quarter of the draw. When considering longshots like this, it’s certainly advantageous to give yourself some hope of making it as far as the quarters or semis.
A former junior No. 1, it took Kecmanovic a while to find his stride at tour level.
The 2022 season, however, has seen the Serbian add a whole new level to his game. He’s vastly improved his serve, rally tolerance and point construction.
An aggressive player with no gameplan who was error prone in the past, Kecmanovic is finally starting to realize his potential.
Such is exemplified in his career-high numbers set in first serves landed, second serve points won, hold rate and break rate on clay.
The latter two aren’t small improvements either. His hold percentage on the red dirt is 5.4% better than his previous high and his break rate is 5.7% better.
Kecmanovic has also shown the ability to compete with the best in the sport this season. He took a set from Djokovic in Belgrade, only lost in a third set tiebreak to Diego Schwartzman in Rome and managed to take Nadal to a second set tiebreak after a rough first set in Madrid.
With both the improvements and ability on the court to push the best in the world on display, we may not see Kecmanovic at over 80/1 in outright markets much longer.
It’s also important to stress that you should always be price shopping at the books you have available to you. Kecmanovic is the player that provides the best example of why.
Some books have him as low as +3500 to win it all, while you can get him at +10000 at PointsBet.
Stay Away From: Alexander Zverev
The biggest name yet to be addressed in this article has to be the big German, Zverev.
At over +2000, some may be tempted to back him to take the Roland Garros title.
However, it goes without saying that him being in the top half means you should probably be looking for well over +3000 to back him, despite him being a top-three player in the rankings.
Needing to get to the quarters and then potentially beat Alcaraz, Nadal or Djokovic and Tsitsipas consecutively in a best-of-five match is a tall task for even Zverev.
Considering his form this clay season and poor record against those four players in clay tournaments (1-3), now isn’t the time to get tempted into betting Zverev to win the French Open.