2012 French Open Odds: Rafael Nadal Reigns Supreme

Shane Lambert@uncoolnegatedAnalyst IIApril 30, 2012

There's a whole lot more of this coming.
There's a whole lot more of this coming.David Ramos/Getty Images

ATP Barcelona 2012 is over as Rafael Nadal took down another title at the 500 series event, winning the final against David Ferrer in straight sets. The World No. 2 hardly faced any pressure at all throughout the whole event as he did not drop a set all week, with Ferrer his only opponent to ever hold set point opportunities.

The results of the Barca event have not changed the complexion of the betting market for the 2012 French Open that much. Here are the updated odds for the Top 8 favorites to win the men's singles title at the clay court Slam outright:

  1. Rafael Nadal (EVEN odds with Bodog: implies a 50% chance of winning)
  2. Novak Djokovic (9/5, +180 with Boylesports: implies a 35% chance of winning)
  3. Roger Federer (14/1, +1400 with Boylesports: implies a 6.67% chance of winning)
  4. Juan Martin Del Potro (22/1, +2200 with Bwin: implies a 4.35% chance of winning)
  5. Andy Murray (25/1, +2500 with Boylesports: implies a 3.85% chance of winning)
  6. David Ferrer (33/1, +3300 with bet365: implies a 2.94% chance of winning)
  7. John Isner (66/1, +6600 with bet365: implies a 1.49% chance of winning)
  8. Tomas Berdych (80/1, +8000 with Bodog: implies a 1.23% chance of winning)

In contrast, here are my true odds for each player to win the 2012 French Open men's singles title:

  1. Rafael Nadal (73% chance of winning: implies odds of about -270 or 27/73)
  2. Novak Djokovic (11%: implies odds of about +809 or 89/11)
  3. Roger Federer (5%: implies odds of +1900 or 19/1)
  4. Tomas Berdych (3%: implies odds of about +3233 or 97/3)
  5. David Ferrer (2%: implies odds of +4900 or 49/1)
  6. Andy Murray (2%: implies odds of +4900 or 49/1)
  7. Juan Martin Del Potro (1.5%: implies odds of about +6567 or 197/3)
  8. Milos Raonic (1%: implies odds of +9900 or 99/1)
  9. The Field: 1.5% chance combined with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils, Nicolas Almagro, and Robin Soderling accounting for a huge portion of that.

Raonic is the only player that makes the Top 8 for my true odds that does not make the Top 8 for betting odds. His prices are currently all over the board as Boylesports have him at +4000 (40/1) while Bodog have him priced to be picked at +15000 (150/1).

Nadal and Berdych are the only other players worth taking besides Raonic. The Spaniard is playing his best or at least near his best tennis right now, and barring an injury, the World No. 2 practically looks upset-proof through the first four rounds of the 2012 French Open.

Berdych does not look upset-proof, however he's priced at +8000 (80/1) and he appears to be a bigger threat than that following his run at Monte Carlo.

Djokovic is well overrated at +180 as the Serb has not lived up to this ranking in recent Roland Garros campaigns. Last year he failed to make the final, in 2010 he fell in the quarters, and in 2009 he suffered a third round loss. He's not as sharp now as he was at this time last season and the recent loss to Nadal at the Monte Carlo Masters should be considered insightful.

Murray hasn't looked that good in recent weeks, with clay court losses to both Berdych and Raonic. The Scot may be hard-pressed to make the Roland Garros semifinals as he did last year, and surely back-to-back wins late in the tournament against Nadal and Djokovic could prove to be too large a mouthful of clay court dirt for the World No. 4 to swallow. 

Del Potro is dangerous but he needs a higher ranking before he can be taken seriously as a Grand Slam contender. As it stands now, the 2009 US Open champion is ranked 12th in the world. While that ranking does not reflect his talent, it does reflect what his seeding should look like when the Roland Garros seedings are final and Delpo might have to face a Top 4 player as early as the fourth round.

Del Potro can win a match against the likes of Djokovic, Murray or Federer, but to win the whole tournament he would likely have to beat three or four of my Top 5 players and his odds just don't justify that risk.

By now, fans of David Ferrer should know what to expect of the 30-year old Spaniard. Yes, he's an excellent clay courter and yes, he's playing well at the events leading into the French Open. However, we've seen Ferrer looking dangerous on clay before and we've still only seen two French Open quarterfinal appearances out of him, and the last one was four years ago.

Keep in mind that Gael Monfils and Jurgen Melzer were each good enough to take the Spaniard out in the last two seasons—facts that make Ferrer a very risky bet.

When you look at Raonic's game you would not give him much credit to win a clay court Slam. His huge serve implies more success on the hard court and grass court surfaces. However, Raonic has a high IQ and that's important for tennis, where in-match coaching is illegal and you have to rely on your own resources.

I have faith in the Canadian's serve even on clay as he aced Ferrer and Murray a combined 29 times. But I also have a lot of faith in his mental abilities and think he can make it to the fourth round or the quarterfinals at Roland Garros with the right draw.

If there is a total shocker at the French Open, it would likely be Robin Soderling. The Swede is the only player who has beaten Nadal at Roland Garros and Soderling is the only player besides Nadal to have beaten Federer at Roland Garros since Guga did it in 2004.

However, with the 2012 French Open less than a month away, Soderling would have to go from the sidelines to tip-top shape pretty quickly and perhaps he's over-rated even as just an "honourable mention."

I don't have much to say about Federer right now mainly because he's yet to open his clay court season.

The men's championship at Roland Garros is scheduled for June 10th.


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