French Open Odds, Picks: Best Bets For McDonald vs Korda, Cazaux vs Moutet

French Open Odds, Picks: Best Bets For McDonald vs Korda, Cazaux vs Moutet article feature image

Alex Pantling/Getty. Pictured: Sebastian Korda.

The French Open starts up on Sunday morning, and I'm already sick and tired of the public narrative. With many fading two out-of-form short favorites, I'm going to go contrarian and back a pair of very talented clay-courters to secure opening-round victories in Paris.

Let's get into how to bet Mackenzie McDonald vs Sebastian Korda and Arthur Cazaux vs Corentin Moutet.

Match times are subject to change. Read here for advice on viewing French Open matches.

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French Open Odds & Picks

Sebastian Korda (-200) vs Mackenzie McDonald (+165)

7 a.m. ET

A tried-and-true strategy in betting on tennis is to target players who haven't played much on clay, because it's a very difficult surface to adjust to. That's why many are flocking to McDonald as an underdog against fellow American Korda.

The issue here is that McDonald is no good on clay. His excellent defending simply doesn't play up on a surface this slow, and his flat groundstrokes which can skid through the back of the court hang up for opponents to crush. He's become an excellent under-the-radar player at Grand Slams with years of hard work, but this is simply not one where he can be expected to play well.

McDonald has now lost six straight matches heading into Paris, and five of them came on clay. It's not even as if they've been tricky contests, either – the American has lost to the likes of Taro Daniel and Ivan Gakhov.

With that, I see tremendous value in backing Korda here as a short favorite. He reached the fourth round in his debut here three years ago and has generally been a strong player on clay with his excellent touch and the variety of his game.

He's not a heavy favorite here due to the fact that he's only played two matches on the dirt following a months-long injury layoff, but I did think in his most recent loss to Roman Safiullin there were signs that he was returning to form. Korda struggled to return the big serve of the Russian but did well to manage things on his own serve and was just a few inches away from clinching the second set and putting himself in position to win.

I expect Korda to play his way into form here at the French Open and don't think he could have drawn an easier opponent in round 1. He may start slow, but I expect a dominant close to this match.

Pick: Korda -3.5 games (-120 via DraftKings)

Arthur Cazaux (-110) vs Corentin Moutet (-110)

8:30 a.m. ET

Another player who is out of form heading into Paris is fan favorite Moutet. Like Korda, the eccentric Frenchman was on the shelf for a few months with an injury and returned for clay season, only to go 2-4.

The losses were tough ones. Moutet played an in-form Gregoire Barrere, one of the hottest clay-courters in the world in Jan-Lennard Struff and then also fell to Fabian Marozsan and Yosuke Watanuke. All four of these players have had excellent clay seasons, so I take Moutet's 2-4 record on clay this year with a grain of salt.

Moutet has been to the third round here before and will be playing in his sixth French Open. He's still just 24 and possesses an excellent skillset for the surface, using his wide imagination to win points after grinding through long rallies. His opponent simply isn't on the same level.

Arthur Cazaux has gone just 11-8 on the dirt this year, and he's really only faced two players who are on the same plane as Moutet. On top of that, the 20-year old has played just one best-of-five match which came here a couple of years back, losing in four sets to Kamil Majchrzak.

The great thing about betting on best-of-five tennis is that the more deserving player will normally find a way to win, and fluke results don't happen as much. Moutet is a much better player than Cazaux and possesses more experience. His form also isn't nearly as bad as his record would indicate, and the fact that he's played five tour-level players in his last six matches should set him up for success here against a young, inexperienced player.

Give me Moutet here, and give me some alternative spreads as well. I think he wins inside of five sets.

Pick: Moutet ML (-110 via DraftKings)

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