Nadal Odds-On in French Open Betting

Rafael Nadal is an odds-on favorite to win a record equaling sixth French Open men's singles title but the tennis betting is wide open on the women's side where Carolina Wozniacki is listed as the tepid 4/1 choice to capture her first-ever Major. The French Open, the second of tennis' Grand Slam events, begins serve on the red clay courts at Roland Garros, May 17.

Nadal, who had his string of four straight French Open singles titles (2005-08) broken in 2009 when he was injured, rebounded with a fifth victory last year and is a 1/2 favorite to join Bjorn Borg as a six-pack champion. Nadal, who is ranked No. 1 in the world, last year became the first man ever to win all three Masters 1000 tournaments on clay.

In fact, Nadal is such an overwhelming favorite to succeed that sportsbooks are offering a bet on whether the Spaniard can cruise through the tournament without dropping a single set. The odds of that happening are -300 (bet $300 to win $100). Doubters take back +225 (bet $100 to win $225) that at least one Nadal foe wins a set.

Some sportsbooks also are offering a proposition where you can take Nadal versus the entire men's field. In this one, Nadal still is 1/2 (-200) to take it all while anyone else winning is 3/2 (+150).

Seemingly, world No. 2 Novak Djokovic has the best chance of taking down Nadal. Djokovic is quoted at odds of 7/2 in futures, not bad for a player who captured the year's first Major, the Australian Open, as well as the Dubai, Indian Wells and Sony Ericsson Opens and is a perfect 27-0 in 2011. The Serb passed Roger Federer for the No. 2 ranking in March but beating Nadal on clay, which Djokovic never has done, will be no easy task.

Tennis betting fans who believe Nadal and Djokovic will meet in the French Open Men's Singles Championship final, June 5, can bet on that likelihood. You lay -450 that Nadal and Djokovic face off for the title or take +275 that they do not meet in the finale.

Former No. 1 Roger Federer is the 10/1 third choice in futures. A winner of a record 16 Major events, including the 2009 French Open, Federer has been largely overlooked since having his streak of 23 consecutive Major semi-final appearances snapped by Robin Soderling in the quarterfinals of last year's French Open championship.

Juan Martin Del Potro, 12/1; Andy Murray, 20/1; David Ferrer, 20/1; and Soderling, 33/1, will find some support among longshot players.

With Justine Henin having returned to retirement, Serena Williams out with an injury and Kim Clijsters nursing a sore ankle injured while dancing (yes, dancing), Wozniacki has inherited the role of ladies favorite. The dashing Dane, who took over the world's No. 1 ranking from Serena Williams in October of 2010, has yet to win a Major and was bounced out of the French Open in the quarterfinals last year.

Clijsters, the 7/1 second choice, was a finalist at the French Open in 2001 and 2003 and has won four Major titles, including this year's Australian Open. She damaged her ankle while dancing at her cousin's wedding or she would be a solid favorite for this event. That said, tennis betting fans who risk their money on Clijsters will do so with more trepidation than usual.

Victoria Azarenka, who has climbed to No. 5 in the world rankings, is the 8/1 co-third choice in women's singles futures. Known for her on-court grunts, the Belarusian has wins in the 2011 Sony Ericsson and Andalucia Tennis Experience but has never advanced past the quarterfinals in any Major.

Vera Zvonareva, a finalist at both Wimbledon and the US Open, also is offered at 8/1.

Other women who could threaten in the side-open field include Svetlana Kuznetsova, Samantha Stosur and Francesca Schiavone. Kuznetsova, 10/1, is a two-time Major champion, including a victory in the 2009 French Open.

Stosur and Schiavone, each 12/1, met in last year's French Open final with Schiavone prevailing in straight sets.

Longshot players may find some value in Andrea Petkovic at odds of 25/1. The German reached the quarterfinals in Australia and has risen from to No. 15 in the world rankings.

So, while there may be little betting intrigue on the men's side where Nadal is expected to dominate, tennis gamblers should have plenty of French Open betting options with the women.