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2017 French Open – Men’s Singles Futures Odds and Preview

Seeded(112-4) @ Unseeded(4-112)

  • Where: Roland Garros Stadium. Paris, France
  • When: May 28, 2017 7:00 am EST
  • Moneyline: Nadal (-125), Djokovic (+300), Murray (+800), Thiem (+900), Wawrinka (+1000), Nishikori (+3300), Zverev (+3300), del Potro (+3300), Kyrgios (+4000)

The sports media suffers from a short memory and a gullible streak. Book-makers, on the other hand, are paid to ignore heated hype. But we’re all human beings, and sometimes (as followers of politics well know) the press can control a narrative to the point where news and conjecture sound too much alike.

That’s why the Golden State Warriors are a prohibitive favorite in basketball futures, despite the hard-to-predict outcome of a Cavaliers-Warriors collision in the 2017 NBA Finals.

And it could be why Rafael Nadal is installed as a (-125) favorite against the field at the 2017 French Open.

There is absolutely no doubt that Nadal is fantastic on clay. El Nino is unsurpassed in French Open singles titles (9). But a historic fifth in a row in 2014 marks his most recent to date. Novak Djokovic won in 2016 while Nadal struggled with health and form, and Stan Wawrinka took home the Coupe des Mousquetaires in 2015.

Maybe the eye-popping top ML on the futures board has something to do with Roger Federer. The 2017 Australian Open champion’s decision to withdraw could be making Nadal look more of a shoo-in – after all, Federer beat Nadal in the Aussie Open final and is proficient on clay, having won in Paris in 2009.

Nadal’s value verdict

Of greater interest than any “missing-rival effect” on the odds is the fact that Nadal lost in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open a few days ago. His opponent was Dominic Thiem, who won in straight sets to reach the semis of a tournament Djovovic just reached the final of. And yes, the surface was clay.

Sure, maybe it was just an off day for El Nino. But when a favorite is given minus futures-odds against the field in an individual sport full of worthy tournament entries, they ought to be winning even with their B-game. Did Nadal have a better than 50% chance to win the French Open in 2009? Yes, even though he lost. The dominance on clay was still apparent, just as fifth-place Tiger Woods was obviously the most skilled golfer playing in The Masters in 2000.

But three years removed from his last Roland Garros triumph, the Spaniard’s minus odds are of questionable betting value here.

The good news for Nadal? His 2017 has looked lights-out at times, and Federer can’t possibly beat him in Paris.

If not El Nino, what’s the weather?

Place a futures bet on Dominic Thiem to win the 2017 French Open men’s singles tournament at Bovada Sportsbook and score up to a $250 welcome bonus.

Novak Djokovic has been plagued in 2017. The Joker looked in top form in a win over Andy Murray to start the season, but that result turned out to be a symptom of Murray’s struggles. Djokovic was subsequently ousted from the Australian Open in just the second round (by world #117 Denis Istomin) and failed to piece his form back together until very recently. Nick Kyrgios ((+4000) odds for Roland Garros 2017) has beaten the agile Serbian twice this season, causing pundits to question Djokovic’s work ethic.

But book-makers have set extremely optimistic futures odds for the defending Roland Garros champion. Djokovic loudly welcoming Andre Agassi as a new coach over the weekend won’t slow the media circus down. Best to stay away from odds based on familiarity and newspaper predictions – a great many oilmen have lost their hides betting on the Texas Longhorns’ money line.

Dominic Thiem is the value futures play for the French Open. Now, understand this has little to do with Thiem beating Nadal in Rome. Thiem collapsed in fatigue and confusion against an inspired Djokovic in the semi-final, also a one-off result that means little to zilch. Rather, our pick is based on odds (+900) and talent – the 23 year-old Austrian has awed clay-court crowds for the past year. If Nadal slips, none are more likely to capitalize.

Pick-by-elimination works here too. Andy Murray is a mess, Kyrgios is mediocre on the red surface, Nadal and Djokovic are over-valued in Las Vegas…and Stan Wawrinka is 3-15 against the tournament favorite.

A “Thiem” for Roland Garros

Suppose a football club was considered the best wet-pitch side in the world, until somebody came along and started beating them on wet pitches. Would you take 10/1 odds on the newcomers to keep that going?

Rafael Nadal may win his 15th Grand Slam title in Paris. Djokovic could conceivably find manna with Agassi at his side. But the odds of either happening are being inflated with hot air. Duck under the smoke and capitalize with a futures wager on Dominic Thiem.

A handsome payoff could result, courtesy of the handsome young Austrian stalking the clay again.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.


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