2012 French Open Odds: Rafael Nadal, Tomas Berdych Tipped

Shane LambertAnalyst IIApril 22, 2012

Rafael Nadal
Rafael NadalClive Brunskill/Getty Images

The final result is in from the Monte Carlo Masters, where Rafael Nadal swept aside world No.1 Novak Djokovic in the championship match, 6-3, 6-1.

Despite the win, Nadal moves no closer to the top-ranking on tour since the Spaniard won the Monte Carlo Masters last season. With the victory this season, he does not turn a net gain in terms of ranking points as he only replaces what he was essentially losing.

In fact with Djokovic making the final, Nadal actually loses ground on the world No. 1 as the Serb gains 600 points in the rankings, having not played in Monte Carlo at all last season.

However, although Djokovic is the top ranked player in the ATP rankings, Nadal is the betting favorite to win the 2012 French Open. Here's a look at the odds for each of the Top 8 players to win the title at Roland Garros later this spring:

  1. Rafael Nadal - even odds (+100), Paddy Power, implies a 50-percent chance of victory
  2. Novak Djokovic - 17/10 (+170), Bwin, implies a 37-percent chance of victory
  3. Roger Federer - 14/1 (+1400), BetVictor, implies a 6.67-percent chance of victory
  4. Andy Murray, 18/1 (+1800), BetVictor, implies a 5.26-percent chance of victory
  5. Juan Martin Del Potro, 22/1 (+2200), Bwin, implies a 4.35-percent chance of victory
  6. David Ferrer, 33/1 (+3300), Blue Square, implies a 2.94-percent chance of victory
  7. John Isner, 66/1 (+6600), bet365, implies a 1.49-percent chance of victory
  8. Tomas Berdych, 80/1 (+8000), Bodog, implies a 1.23-percent chance of victory

In contrast, here is my take on what the Top 8 betting favorites should be along with my true odds for each player:

  1. Rafael Nadal (68-percent chance of winning: implies odds of 8/17 or -212)
  2. Novak Djokovic (13-percent chance of winning: implies odds of about 67/10 or about +669)
  3. Roger Federer (6-percent chance of winning: implies odds of 16/1 or +1567)
  4. Andy Murray (4-percent chance of winning: implies odds of 24/1 or +2400)
  5. Tomas Berdych (3.23-percent chance of winning: implies odds of 30/1 or +3000)
  6. Nicolas Almagro (1.75-percent chance of winning: implies odds of about 56/1 or about +5600)
  7. Juan Martin Del Potro (1.64-percent chance of winning: implies odds of 60/1 or +6000)
  8. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (0.5-percent chance of winning: implies odds of 200/1 or +20000)
  9. Remaining field combined: about 1-2-percent chance of winning with Gael Monfils, David Ferrer and Robin Soderling accounting for the huge majority of that balance.

The best value picks are Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych, as those are the two players whose betting odds are clearly longer than their actual potential. 

In regard to Nadal, it is very difficult to see how anyone can think he has only a 50-percent chance of winning the Roland Garros title in 2012. He's a player who has never lost a match at the French Open with the exception of one small blip against the third-best French Open player of the last five years (Soderling). At the time of that loss in 2009, Nadal was struggling with an injury that prevented him from playing his best, but there's no hint of injury right now.

Berdych at 80-to-1 with Bodog is a steal as the Czech player is much more dangerous than what those odds suggest. He beat Murray at Monte Carlo and Berdych, when playing his best, is a threat to knock out the best talent in majors. He's been to the semifinals at Roland Garros before and I think his status as fifth favorite, as opposed to eighth, is definitely warranted.

Djokovic is well over-rated at +170 with Bwin. His play at this time is much worse in my opinion than it was last year, and keep in mind that he failed to win the French in 2011. To me, his worse form now strongly implies a disappointing result at Roland Garros 2012 and the French Open is his worst Slam historically. Odds of +800 would be nice for the Serbinator but if you take him at +170 then I'll say this: you're better off playing video lottery or roulette. 

John Isner is another player who is terribly over-rated. His serve makes him a factor and dangerous against anyone, but by the time the late rounds come around at Roland Garros, he won't have the energy to run around against the likes of Nadal, Federer, Murray, or Djokovic. Even players like Tsonga, Almagro, and Ferrer should have a lot more in the tank should Isner face any of them in the fourth round. 

Speaking of Ferrer, he didn't have much at Monte Carlo as he suffered an early-round loss to Thomaz Bellucci. Ferrer should fair better at the upcoming events but, despite a very good clay court resume, the Spaniard has never been much of a factor at Roland Garros. Now that he's thirty, he should be even less of a factor and a middle-round loss in Paris (round of 32, fourth round, or quarters) should be expected.