2021 French Open preview, predictions, and best bets: Nadal to reign again

Rafael Nadal after winning the French Open
Photo of Ricky Dimon

Ricky Dimon

Tennis

Show Bio

Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

The 2021 French Open gets underway this weekend. Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer are all in the top half of the draw, which means at least one finalist won’t be a member of the Big 3. On the women’s side, another Grand Slam title appears to be completely up for grabs now that Serena Williams’ dominance has seemingly come to an end.

Let’s take a look at some of the best futures bets for the upcoming fortnight at Roland Garros.



Men’s champion pick: Rafael Nadal (-125)

Nadal or the field? That is basically the question with the 13-time French Open champion going off at -125 odds to win. Until Nadal loses again at Roland Garros, I’m simply not betting against him. Sure the Spaniard has not been at his dominant best this spring, but he has endured worse pre-French Open clay-court swings in the past and still ended up triumphing in Paris (and with ease). Taking him down in a best-of-five situation on his primary stomping grounds is just a whole different beast compared to beating him in places like Monte-Carlo or Madrid. The Rome title—including a final win over Djokovic—was just the confidence boost he needed before Paris.

Women’s champion pick: Aryna Sabalenka (+700)

What’s not to like about Sabalenka’s chances. She has been without question the best player on the WTA Tour dating back to last fall and her draw in Paris is a great one. The other three top eight seeds in the bottom half of the bracket are Naomi Osaka, Bianca Andreescu, and Serena. Osaka is at her worst—by far—on clay, Andreescu has been hurt (again), and Serena would have a much better shot at another slam at either Wimbledon or the U.S. Open. The door is open for Sabalenka, and it’s time for her to finally walk through it at the Grand Slam level.

Men’s value play: Alexander Zverev (+1100)

Zverev is where everyone wants to be—in the bottom half of the draw away from Djokovic and Nadal. The sixth-ranked German’s leadup to the French Open included a title in Madrid, so he is playing with plenty of confidence. Once hopeless at Grand Slams, Zverev has become a perennial contender in recent seasons and he reached the final of the 2020 U.S. Open (lost to Dominic Thiem in a five-set thriller).

Women’s value play: Serena Williams (+2500)

Nothing suggests that Serena is poised to equal Margaret Court’s all-time Grand Slam singles title record at 24—not at Roland Garros, at least. That being said, you have basically never been able to get the GOAT at +2500 in any slam and you might not be able to ever again. With no woman other than Sabalenka in dominant form these days, there is no one Serena can’t beat.

Serena Williams

Men’s longshot worth a look: Roberto Bautista Agut (+20000)

Bautista Agut has pretty much only lost to Andrey Rublev and Jannik Sinner this season. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration… But you get the point. Rublev and Sinner have been two of the best players on tour in 2021; it takes a heck of a lot to beat Bautista Agut right now. The Spaniard isn’t too far behind on the list of best players this season, and he has enjoyed a whole host of Grand Slam success in the past. In the favorable bottom half of the bracket, RBA could make a real run. I have Bautista Agut in the semifinals, at which point he would obviously come with a lot better than +20000 odds.

Women’s longshot worth a look: Elise Mertens (+4000)

Mertens is a two-time Grand Slam champion in doubles (with Sabalenka, it should be noted). Although success is not as extensive in singles, the Belgian did well to reach the 2018 Australian Open semifinals in addition to back-to-back quarterfinals at the U.S. Open in 2019 and 2020. She has reached at least the third round of the French Open in four consecutive appearances, so he is no slouch on clay. Mertens finds herself in a favorable eighth of the draw in which No. 4 seed Sofia Kenin is slumping.

Pickswise is the home of free tennis picks and predictions. Make sure to check out our daily tennis tips throughout the French Open.

Virginia Bonuses

See All
Unibet

$100

Get a $100 Risk-Free Bet!

Register for a new Unibet account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $100 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $100

New players only. Terms & conditions apply. 21+. VA only.

FanDuel Sportsbook

$1,000

Get a $1,000 No Sweat First Bet for Saints vs. Buccaneers

Sign up for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account and make your first deposit of $10+

Place your first bet up to $1,000!

Get refunded if you lose up to $1,000

Must be 21+. First online real money wager only. $10 first deposit required. Bonus issued as non-withdrawable free bets that expire 14 days after receipt. See full terms at fanduel.com/sportsbook.

BetRivers

$500

Get a $500 Risk-Free Bet

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code PICKSWISE

Make your first deposit & get up to $500 in free bets

To get $500 in free bets, wager $500

Must be 21+. Play in IA Only. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF

BetMGM

$200

Bet $10, Win $200 if Any NBA Team Hits a Three Pointer!

Sign up for a new betting account with BetMGM

Place a pre-game moneyline wager of at least $10 on a NBA game

Win $200 in free bets if any team hits a three pointer

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

DraftKings

$150

Bet $5 & Win $150 If Your First Moneyline Bet Wins!

Sign up for a new account with DraftKings Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Bet $5+ on the pre-game Moneyline in any sport

Win $200 if your team wins

Offer valid for new players only. Must be 21 years or older to play. Reward paid in site credit. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.

PointsBet

$800

Get 4x $200 In Free Bets for Saints vs. Buccaneers

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Bet up to $200 and If you lose, you get a refund

You will receive Free Bet(s) in the amount of the losing wager(s), up to $200 each for four days.

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Caesars Sportsbook

$1,250

Get a $1,250 risk-free bet for Saints vs. Buccaneers

Sign up for a new Caesars Sportsbook account

Place your first bet of $10 or more

If your first bet loses, you’ll receive a refund up to $1,250 from Caesars in free bets

21+. Terms and conditions apply.

BetMGM

$200

Bet $10, Get $200 if Any NHL Team Scores A Goal

Sign up for a new betting account with BetMGM

Place a pre-game moneyline wager of at least $10 on a NHL game

Win $200 in free bets if any teams scores a goal

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

BetMGM

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet for Saints vs. Buccaneers

Register for a new BetMGM & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

PointsBet

$500

Get 5x $100 in Free Bets

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Make a bet of up to $100 and receive a refund if you lose

Get this offer once a day for the first 5 days you sign up

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

DraftKings

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus when you bet on Saints vs. Buccaneers

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account & deposit

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

PointsBet

$2,000

Get $2,000 in Free Bets for Saints vs. Buccaneers

Register for a new PointsBet account & deposit

Receive a free bet refund up to $500 if your first fixed odds bet loses

& a free bet refund up to $1,500 if your first two PointsBetting Wager loses

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Monkey Knife Fight

$100

Claim Instant Deposit Match up to $100 + Free $5 game

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

TVG

$200

Get Your First Single-Horse Win Wager Back Up to $200 if you don't win

Register for a new TVG account and make a deposit

Place your first single horse win-type bet up to $200

If your horse doesn't win you'll get a refund up to $300

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

TwinSpires

$200

Get a $200 Sign-Up Bonus with Twinspires Racebook!

Open your TwinSpires.com account using offer code BET200

$200 bonus cash will be credited in increments of $100 for every $400 wagered

To earn the full $200 bonus players must wager $800 within 30 days

21+. Terms and conditions apply.

Underdog Fantasy

$100

First deposit is 100% matched up to $100 with Underdog Fantasy

Sign up for a new account with Underdog Fantasy

Make your first deposit

Every dollar (up to $100) will be matched! Deposit $25, get $50; deposit $100, get $200, etc

Must be 21+ to play. Terms & conditions apply