How To Bet On The French Open

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Betting on the French Open increases in popularity each year, giving tennis bettors the opportunity to bet on tennis at its highest level. If you're serious about making money betting on the French Open, our detailed French Open betting guide will show you how to increase your chances making a profit betting on French Open tennis.

The French Open is one of the four Grand Slam events in the sport of tennis. It is the second slam on the calendar; the Australian Open, which is played in late January is the first, and the French Open, often referred to as Roland Garros – the name of the 20-court tennis complex in Paris where the event is played – takes place during the last week in May and the first week in June, although the exact French Open dates will differ slightly year upon year.

The elite level of professional tennis is comprised of two tours, the men’s ATP tour and the women’s WTA tour. Both tours have their own schedule of tournaments, but there are several occasions where both tours merge, and this is the case at all four Grand Slams, where fans get to see the very best players from both the men’s and women’s games on the same stage.

The French Open is the only slam played on clay, and for players who specialize on this surface, victory at Roland Garros is the pinnacle of their career. Clay is the slowest surface in tennis, and powerful shots are not as effective as they would be on a faster surface like cement, carpet or grass. As a result, players need to work harder to win points (for a perfect example check out the incredible 40-shot rally in the opening game of the 2015 French Open final between Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic), games, sets and matches. The best clay-court players possess a combination of supreme fitness and outstanding technique allied to a strong sense of tennis strategy and tactics. Like that other iconic Gaelic test of endurance, the Tour de France, the French Open, is considered the toughest tournament in tennis to win.

French Open 2019 Dates

The 2019 French Open will be played at Roland Garros from May to June.

Contents

  1. French Open Tournament And Seeding
  2. French Open Betting Explained
  3. French Open Betting Strategies
  4. French Open Bookmakers
  5. French Open Free Bets
  6. French Open Live Streaming Options
  7. French Open Betting Tips
  8. History Of The French Open

1. French Open Tournament Format And Seeding

Like all of the Grand Slams, the French Open features a 128-player main draw in both the men’s and women’s singles events. The top 32 players are seeded in accordance with the rankings provided by the ATP for the men’s draw and the WTA for the women’s. Like any sporting event that uses a seeding system, the object is to keep the highest ranked players in the tournament for as long as possible, with the ideal scenario being that the world’s top-eight players reach the quarterfinals, the top four reach the semis, and the world’s top-two players contest the final, although in reality this rarely is the case.

Like any sport, tennis is full of surprises, and there have been numerous upsets at Roland Garros over the years. At the 1990 French Open for example, the top two seeds Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg were eliminated on the opening day, the only time in Grand Slam history that has happened. Part of the fun of betting on tennis is anticipating such upsets via a combination of sound research and the help of bettingexpert’s army of tennis tipsters, then placing a bet at the best possible odds and cashing in.

Because the French Open adheres to the WTA and ATP rankings, many players who have a high seeding have attained that status from success on hard courts, and are not as nearly comfortable on a clay court. Back in the 70s and 80s, there was a marked divide between the success of male players from the US and those of Europe on clay, and many Americans would either skip the French Open altogether or exit in the opening week. Multi-slam winning legends like Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras all failed to lift the trophy in Paris, and the only male American winners of the French Open in the open era are Michael Chang , Jim Courier and Andre Agassi.

In recent years that divide has lessened, and today most top pros can play as well on clay as on hard courts, although there will always be players like those of Spain and Latin America who were raised on the red stuff and have a natural feel for it that cannot be replicated with technique and training. It’s no great surprise that since the 1960s more Spaniards (seven) have won more French Opens (nineteen) than any other nationality.

Recent French Open Winners

YearMen's WinnerWomen's Winner
1997 Gustavo Kuerten Iva Majoli
1998 Carlos Moya Arantxa Sanchez Vicario
1999 Andre Agassi Steffi Graf
2000 Gustavo Kuerten Mary Pierce
2001 Gustavo Kuerten Jennifer Capriati
2002 Albert Costa Serena Williams
2003 Juan Carlos Ferrero Justine Henin
2004 Gaston Gaudio Anastasia Myskina
2005 Rafael Nadal Justine Henin
2006 Rafael Nadal Justine Henin
2007 Rafael Nadal Justine Henin
2008 Rafael Nadal Ana Ivanovic
2009 Roger Federer Svetlana Kuznetsova
2010 Rafael Nadal Francesca Schiavone
2011 Rafael Nadal Li Na
2012 Rafael Nadal Maria Sharapova
2013 Rafael Nadal Serena Williams
2014 Rafael Nadal Maria Sharapova
2015 Stan Wawrinka Serena Williams
2016 Novak Djokovic Garbine Muguruza
2017 Rafael Nadal Jelena Ostapenko
2018 Rafael Nadal Simona Halep

2. French Open Betting Explained

Regular fans of tennis betting will be aware that there are few sports that offer more betting markets than tennis. Tennis also lends itself extremely well to live-betting, which combined with live streaming means sports bettors can enjoy watching and betting on the French Open while on the road. Below is a selection of some of the most popular betting markets that will feature during the French Open.

French Open Outright Bets

An “outright” bet is when one wagers on the overall winner of an event. There are multiple outrights to be had at the French Open, including the Men’s and Women’s Singles, the Men’s and Women’s Doubles, the Mixed Doubles, plus various Junior and Masters tournaments, which some bookmakers will cover in more depth than others.

Just because a player is seeded no.1 doesn’t necessarily mean they will win in Paris. In past years US hardcourt specialists like Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras and Andy Roddick were top-seeds at Roland Garros, but had little chance of being successful. They were also no doubt French Open odds on to be winners, according to the bookmakers at the time, proving that bookies don’t always get things right.

With any outright bet placed before the tournament begins, one must take into account recent clay-court form at Masters Series tournaments like Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome. It is normally the player who shines at these events who goes on to win at Roland Garros. There are exceptions of course – Novak Djokovic was the form player going into the 2015 French Open, only to lose to Stan Wawrinka in the final, a player who found his form during the tournament.

French Open Match Betting

The most tried and tested form of tennis betting is wagering on the outcome of an individual match, i.e., Player A to beat Player B, or Doubles Team A to defeat Doubles Team B. Whether you are betting on the bookmakers favorite or the underdog, always look for A) a reason why you are choosing that individual or team and B) value in the bet.

French Open Handicap Betting

In the early rounds at the French Open there will be plenty of one-sided matchups where the more experienced clay-court specialists hand out severe beatings to those of less skilled on the surface. At their peaks, the scorelines delivered in the early rounds at Roland Garros by the likes of Bjorn Borg, Chris Evert, Steffi Graf and in recent years Justine Henin and Rafael Nadal contained more bagels than a Jewish bakery (a bagel is a tennis term for a 6-0 set.)

However, there is a great way that you can still have great value on a bet even if you back the favorites in these early rounds; handicap betting. Handicap betting is simply choosing if you think a player – in this case the favorite - will lose no more than 5 games in a match (-5.5 handicap) or if a player – in this case the underdog - will win more than five games in a match (+5.5 handicap.) You can also use this system for betting on the number of sets you think the match will last.

French Open Set Betting

This is another way of backing the favorites in the early rounds and still getting good value on your bets. Set betting is where you predict how a player will win a match in terms of sets won and lost. In the women’s draw at the French Open the matches are the usual best-of-three-set format, but the men’s matches are played over a best of five sets, meaning they must win a minimum of three sets for the victory, and leaving more scope for set betting.

For example, if clay-court maestro David Ferrer is playing 6’11” service-machine Ivo Karlovic in the second round at Roland Garros, it might be safe to say that Ferrer will win in straight sets, and the odds would give good value to bet on this outcome.

Your bet would be based upon the facts that Ferrer is supremely mobile and a great baseline player with a game tailor-made for clay, while Big Ivo’s game is based on his ability to hold serve. While admittedly Karlovic possesses a helluva serve, it will lose about 20-30% of its potency on clay, making it easier for Ferrer to return, and once a rally begins, there is likely to be only one winner.

Remember, always base a bet on a theory, and if you are not 100% sure, check out the tennis tipsters at bettingexpert to see what they think.

French Open Correct Score

Choosing the correct score of a set leaves no margin for error whatsoever, and is therefore a high-risk, high-reward form of betting. Even if you are extremely knowledgeable about the sport of tennis – clay court tennis in particular - it is as tough to forecast the exact score of a set as it is to pick the exact number of shots in a round of golf or the round in which a boxing match will end – in other words, it’s a bit of a lottery.

3. French Open Betting Strategies

When betting on any sport, it always makes sense to have a betting strategy in place which is specific to that sport. Tennis is no different, and when it comes to betting on slams – and on clay – there are different factors that must be taken into consideration.

How Has A Player Performed In The Slams?

Literally thousands of tennis players have graced the ATP and WTA rankings over the years, but only a few dozen of those have gone on to contest finals of Grand Slam events, let alone win them. Tennis is littered with excellent players who never shined in the slams. Britain’s Tim Henman reached a world ranking of no.4, yet never played a slam final, although he reached the semis six times. Before becoming Stan Wawrinka’s coach, Magnus Norman got as high as world no.2 without winning a slam.

Chile’s mercurial Marcelo Rios is the only male player to reach world no.1 that never won a slam, while in the women’s game, both Dinara Safina and Caroline Wozniacki topped the WTA rankings without a slam to their names.

It takes a certain kind of animal to win a major, to have the fitness, motivation, talent and team around them needed to played potentially seven five-set matches in less than two weeks under the intense scrutiny of the world’s sporting media. Does your pick have what it takes? Have they done it before? If they have, do they have it in them to do it again? Ask yourself these questions before making your bet.

How Does A Player Perform On Clay?

If we look at the players who have won the men’s singles title this millennium – Gustavo Kuerten, Albert Costa, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Gaston Gaudio, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka - we see that they all have the same things in common. They are all excellent clay-court players, they all have outstanding defensive/retrieving skills, and they all have stamina and fitness to burn.

Tall, big-serving, serve volley types rarely do well at Roland Garros, although there has been a few exceptions. In 1979 Paraguay’s 6’5” Victor Pecci ousted Guillermo Vilas and Jimmy Connors before losing in the final to Bjorn Borg. 6’4” French super-athlete Yannick Noah volleyed his way to the title in 1983. In 2003 burly Dutchman Martin Verkerk – also 6’5” - played sensationally well, defeating favorite Guillermo Coria in the semis before losing the final to Juan Carlos Ferrero.

Of the current crop, the big-serving giants that are athletic enough to do some damage at Roland Garros are players like Milos Raonic, Marin Cilic and Nick Kyrgios while rising prospects Alexander Zverev and Taylor Fritz have the combination of size plus talent to spring an upset or two.

Check Head-to-Head Matchups

One of the basic rules of tennis betting is to always check the previous head-to-head of the players in a match. To do this you simply log onto the ATP or WTA website, enter the name of one of the players, and when their profile page appears, look for the head-to-head option, then add the second player’s name. If they have played each other before, you will see how many times, the results and scorelines of their matches, when they took place and crucially, what surface they were played on.

Player A may have a winning record against Player B, but close scrutiny of their head-to-head might reveal that Player A’s wins have come on hard courts, while Player B has always had the better of their clay-court encounters, meaning if they were to meet at the French Open, Player B would be the better pick to win.

Who Are The Vulnerable Seeds?

An experience tennis bettor will be able to scan through the seeding of both the men’s and women’s draws before the start of the French Open and pick out which players will be lucky to survive the opening week. Some players are clearly more suited to playing on hardcourts, and despite a lofty seeding, will struggle to adapt to clay. Players from Spain, Italy, Argentina and Brazil are raised on clay and therefore feel at home on it, while players from the US, Australia and the UK are taught to play on hardcourts or even grass, and therefore less comfortable on clay.

Some players have the skills to succeed on clay, but don’t realize it. Britain’s Andy Murray is a prime example of a player who believed clay was his worst surface, even though with his natural tendency toward defense and his strong baseline game he always had the tools to be successful on the red dirt, something which he in fact has become in recent seasons.

Best Tennis Stats Sites

If you're looking for tennis stats to help your French Open betting analysis, here's our top five sites for tennis betting stats:

  • ATP Stats Centre
  • WTA Stats Centre
  • Tennis.com Stats
  • Tennis Abstract
  • Tennis X Stats

4. French Open Bookmakers

When choosing a bookmaker for the French Open, certain factors must be taken into consideration to ensure that you are in a position to maximize the potential revenue available from wagering during Roland Garros fortnight.

Reputability

It cannot be stressed enough how important the reputability of an online bookmaker is. Always use one of the major European based bookmakers (William Hill, Paddy Power, LeoVegas etc.) who are legally licensed in their own countries. Don’t use one of the many US bookmakers floating around the web, because no matter how pretty their website might look, online gambling in the US is illegal, and so are they!

Quality of Odds

Few things are as important in sports betting as the odds in a bet. In this case, the French Open odds you choose will ultimately determine how much money you win from a wager. If you were to win a bet and then discover the odds were better at another bookies, you’d be a little disappointed, but if that consistently happens, you will be down significantly financially. Do due-diligence on your French Open betting odds, and don’t keep making the same mistake again and again. To quote George W Bush “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice… can't get fooled again!”

Tennis Betting Markets

For tennis betting - and Grand Slam betting in particular - be sure to choose a bookmaker that knows its tennis, and has a deep selection of tennis betting markets, including games and sets handicapping, set winners, winning margin and more specific tennis wagers like “not to win a set” and “will there be a 6-0 set?”.

In-Play Betting

No sport lends itself to in-play betting quite like tennis. Unlike soccer for example, where a bettor could wait the entire match for that “second goal”, in tennis a game lasts a matter of minutes, so betting on the winner of the “next game” or the set can be a lot of fun, not to mention highly profitable.

To learn more visit our detailed Bookmaker Reviews page, everything you need to know across dozens of the industry's biggest bookmakers.

5. French Open Free Bets

Tennis is a massive sports betting market, and whenever a slam rolls around, a whole range of special offers and free bets will suddenly appear, geared to spiking the sports bettor’s interest and stimulating the tennis betting market even further.

Even if you are already affiliated with an online bookmaker, don’t be scared to take advantage of these offers and bets, as they don’t come around often and must be capitalized on. Typical free bet offers include “sign up for £10 and get a £30 free French Open bet!” or “Sign up to our mobile app today and get a £50 free French Open bet!“

On the eve of a big match or prior to a final, special offers will appear where one can suddenly get enhanced odds on the favorite to win. If this bet is with a reputable bookmaker, and you believe the favorite will win based on your own research plus the help of betting experts tipsters, it’s a no-brainer – make the bet!

To receive every French Open free bet and promotional offer, visit our Bookmaker Free Bets listing.

6. French Open Live Streaming Options

The French Open is traditionally covered on satellite TV by Eurosport, who do a solid job, but unlike Sky Sports who have the capacity to cover multiple matches at the same time, Eurosport only show one match per channel, and no more than two at any time.

Bookmakers like Paddy Power have been providing French Open live-streaming free online for several years, and the quality is now of the HD standard and features expert commentary on the major matches. Also, these sites will provide live-streaming for a multitude of matches from both the men’s and women’s French Open draws, from the first round onward.

The real beauty of live streaming of course is the “on-the-go” factor. As long as you have a Wi-Fi connection or a 3G or 4G signal, you can keep up with all of the action from Roland Garros via a live-stream on your device no matter where you might be – waiting for a bus, on a train, at the office or shopping with your partner!

7. French Open Betting Tips

If you are a long-time tennis fan and an experienced tennis bettor, you probably pride yourself on your knowledge of the game, and believe that you can pick the winner of an event or a match or judge a tennis handicap as well as anyone, and you could be right.

However, for those who aren’t quite as confident in their ability to pick a winner regardless of their knowledge of the sport, there are tennis betting tips and in particular French Open tips to be had from a variety of sources, some more reputable than others.

At bettingexpert.com we pride ourselves on the best team of tennis tipsters to be found anywhere online. All French Open betting predictions and Roland Garros betting picks provided by the expert tennis tipsters affiliated with bettingexpert are guaranteed to be the result of tireless research, not to mention years of tennis betting experience.

Our tennis tipsters won’t just provide you with winning picks throughout the French Open schedule, they will also search for the very best men’s and women’s French Open odds, ensuring you get the most “bang for your buck.”

How can we prove the quality of our tipsters? By giving them their very own league, and ranking them on consistency and profitability. Some tipsters have provided more picks than others, while others might have provided less tips but have nevertheless achieved a higher success rate. If stats is your thing, you can delve deeper into the mechanics of our top tipsters league on our Tipster Statistics page.

We at bettingexpert encourage all sports bettors to learn at least the basics about the sport they are wagering on. Knowledge is power, and the more you know about a sport like tennis, its key protagonists like Murray, Nadal and Djokovic, Williams, Azarenka and Sharapova, and how they perform on a particular surface like clay, and how they react to being on a massive stage like the Phillipe Chatrier court at Roland Garros, the more successful you will be in your French Open betting.

That said, you might not have time to do the research required to bet successfully consistently, or you may not know a lot about tennis, but would like to bet on the French Open anyway. That’s where bettingexpert’s tennis tipsters really come into their own.

In a nutshell, they’ve done all the leg-work, so you don’t have to!

Check the exact French Open tournament dates on the ATP website when you are ready to begin betting on French Open tennis. Monitor French Open results and study the French Open draw daily for new bets. Stay up to speed with the very best Roland Garros betting picks, tips and predictions with bettingexpert throughout Roland Garros.

Visit our French Open Betting Tips page to see every current French Open tip posted by our community of tennis tipsters.

8. History Of The French Open

The French Championships as it was originally called first saw the light of day in 1891, and for its first 34 years was only open to French nationals. The event became open to foreigners in 1925, and since 1928 its home has been the Stade Roland Garros (named in honor of the French aviator and WW1 flying ace) in Paris. Its two largest gallery courts are the 15,000 capacity Court Philippe Chatrier (who was a major figure in French tennis and former head of the International Tennis Federation), and the 10,000-seater Court Suzanne Lenglen (named after France’s most famous female player).

It was Lenglen, who won the women’s singles title six times, and France’s legendary “Four Musketeers” of Jean Borotra, Jaques Brugnon, Henri Cochet and Rene Lacoste who put the French Open on the map in the mid-1920s with their flamboyant skills and charismatic personalities. Between them they dominated the game for almost a decade and won 19 slams including 10 French Championships as well as six Davis Cups for France. The Men’s Singles winner’s trophy is named La Coupe de Mousquetaires in honor of them.

After the success of the Four Musketeers, there were less and less French-born Roland Garros winners, and since the second world war there have been only two home grown male champions, Marcel Bernard in 1946, and Yannick Noah in 1982. The last French woman to lift the trophy was Mary Pierce in 2000.

In the 1950s and early 60s many of the game’s greats were victorious in Paris including Ken Rosewall, Lew Hoad, Nicola Pietrangeli, Manuel Santana and Rod Laver, while in the women’s game Maureen Connelly, Althea Gibson and Margaret Court were victorious at Roland Garros.

In 1968 tennis went open, meaning events like the Grand Slams were now open to professionals, changing the sport forever. Previously players who wanted to earn a living from tennis like Rosewall, Hoad and Laver had been forced to turn their backs on the slams in order to join the earliest versions of the US professional tour, but now they were free to once again contest the majors – this time for prize money - and indeed it was Laver and Rosewall who met in the 1968 and 1969 French Open finals.

The first true greats of the modern clay court era emerged in the 1970s. Argentina’s Guillermo Vilas won a record 50 clay court titles including the French Open in 1977. Vilas would surely have won more times in Paris were it not for his friend and nemesis, Bjorn Borg of Sweden. Borg, one of the greatest players to ever grace the game, established himself as a master of two surfaces, clay and grass. Borg set open-era records for his victories at Roland Garros (six) and at Wimbledon (five), records that would only be broken by Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

In the 1980s a new-breed of clay-court player emerged, as super-fit iron men like Mats Wilander and Ivan Lendl made their mark and were both multiple French Open winners, and in the 1990s Jim Courier, Sergi Bruguera, Thomas Muster and Gustavo Kuerten raised the bar even further as they took turns dominating on the red-dirt.

The French Open has had its share of exceptional female winners since the open era began. American Chris Evert’s steady-as-a-rock baseline game was perfectly suited for clay, and she emerged victorious a record seven times in the 70s and 80s, getting the better of arch-rival Martina Navratilova on two occasions. Evert was succeeded by Steffi Graf, who won six French Opens between 1987 and 1999, but had to contend with Monica Selles and Arantcha Sanchez-Vicario, who also won three titles each in what was a Golden Era for women’s clay-court tennis.

While no female player has since dominated in Paris like Evert and Graf, several have come close. Justine Henein won four French Opens in the early noughties, and in recent years the mighty Serena Williams has claimed three.

In the men’s game it was a different story, with Rafael Nadal winning an astonishing eleven French Open titles between 2005 and 2018, confirming his position as the greatest clay-court player in history. During the Nadal era, only Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka have won at Roland Garros. It remains to be seen who will emerge as the next great champions in the men’s and women’s fields, and it will certainly be a lot of fun watching.  


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