Rafael Nadal vs. Jordan Thompson French Open Odds, Picks, Predictions (May 23)

Rafael Nadal vs. Jordan Thompson French Open Odds, Picks, Predictions (May 23) article feature image

Andy Cheung/Getty. Pictured: Rafael Nadal practices at Roland Garros ahead of the 2022 French Open.

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Rafael Nadal vs. Jordan Thompson Odds

Nadal Odds-8000
Thompson Odds+2200
Time8:30 am ET
Odds via FanDuel. For tips on watching tennis matches, click here.

Rafael Nadal starts his quest for a record extending 22nd Grand Slam and 14th Roland Garros title. Nadal owns a 1-0 head-to-head record against Jordan Thompson — a 6-1, 7-6 victory at the Paris Masters (conditions that Nadal does not enjoy). As expected, Nadal enters the match as a favorite not worth betting on the moneyline, but I will dive into a few ways to find value in this match.

Rafael Nadal

The extent of history on Nadal at this tournament is unending, but there are a few points that bring extra importance to this match.

Let's begin with his record in his first match of clay-court tournaments. Nadal is an incomprehensible 108-1 with his last loss coming in 2008 to Ferrero in Rome. Of those victories, he is a perfect 17-0 at the French while winning 15 of those in straight sets. Saying he is dominant would not be doing him justice.

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Now despite his remarkable record this year at 23-3, he is only 3-3 in his past six matches. In addition to his pre-existing chronic foot injury, Nadal dealt with a stress fracture in his ribs, which ultimately led to his first loss of 2022 at the hands of Taylor Fritz in the Indian Wells Finals. That was followed by a difficult win against David Goffin in a third-set tiebreaker in Madrid where he saved four match points before bowing out to Carlos Alcaraz in the subsequent round. In Nadal's most recent match, while in a battle against Denis Shapovalov at 2-2 in the third set, he re-aggravated his foot injury which led to his downfall and an ultimate 2-6 defeat.

With his injury issues and a possible lack of fitness from reduced training and match play, it has become evident that Nadal appears to have some drop off throughout matches, often in the second set after a merciless first. Looking at some of his most recent results, Nadal dominated Shapovalov 6-1 in the first then lost the second 5-7. He beat Goffin 6-3 then lost 5-7 and beat Miomir Kecmanovic 6-1 before squeaking out the second 7-6 and the list goes on.

There is lots of ambiguity surrounding Nadal's form, health and fitness. Many would believe his form is well below his previous Roland Garros triumphs (given his lowest French Open future odds in years at +400), but things get interesting when we dig into some comments made by players at the tournament.

"I just watched Rafa practice and it's funny because all of sudden his forehand is just 20 miles an hour faster," Alexander Zverev said in an interview. "He moves lighter on his feet. … There is something about this court that makes him play 30% better, just being on this court."
According to a top five player in the world, it's safe to assume Nadal is ready to go.

Jordan Thompson

Thompson is a subpar clay court player and has amassed just a 4-11 record on the surface since 2021 and a disappointing 3-7 record at Roland Garros this year. Currently residing at world #82, he is well off his peak form as he was once #43.

With just an 8-12 record on the year and his last loss coming to the world #225 on clay after falling to the world #858 in the prior tournament, it would appear Thompson is in no form to compete with the legendary Nadal.

Betting Value

Thompson will come into the match with nothing to lose. He will be able to play freely, expecting it to be another short-lived experience at the French.

Nadal will be playing with everything to prove — his form, health and fitness — while looking to pick up momentum as he faces a potentially brutal draw with Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals and Alcaraz in the semis.

To make an impact against Nadal — especially on clay — one has to have the ability to make something happen and induce some fire power. This is a quality Thompson simply does not possess.

I expect Nadal to start quick and, even with a potential slow-down in the following sets, to swiftly brush off the competition with ease.

Pick:  First set under 8.5 games (-130) | Nadal -10.5 games (-110 via Fanduel)

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