French Open

French Open 2023 Tips: How to strike gold betting on Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic at the French Open at Roland Garros
Djokovic is second in the French Open betting behind Alcaraz

The French Open starts on Monday so Bet Angel's Peter Webb shares his top tips for trading on Roland Garros matches on the Betfair Exchange...

  • Study the player stats before the French Open

  • Alcaraz v Djokovic is generational battle

  • Young Spaniard has the edge but only just

We are all set for an intriguing, generational battle at French Open. With Carlos Alcaraz the current favourite, Djokovic relegated to second favourite and Rafael Nadal out of the competition, could this be a changing of the guard?

Let's understand what the market tells us and what that could mean for the top two seeds.

Gold mine for traders

Tennis markets are rich in data and statistics, making them prime for detailed analysis. This wealth of readily available data is a gold mine for betting and trading if used correctly.

Both the WTA and ATP Tour websites have a mass of data relating to how a player has performed in each match. The headline statistics on these sites rank each player by the ability to serve, return and how they perform under pressure.

Djokovic v Alcaraz in the men's singles

Djokovic is currently the third best server on the ATP Tour, according to these stats. He wins 78.6% of points on the first serve and 57.2% on the second serve. On average, he will win a point 71.4% of the time he serves in any Tennis match.

Alcaraz is far from the top of the list in terms of serving but is the 2nd ranked for return of serve. He wins 35.4% of returning points on the first serve.

If we filter Djokovic's statistics to focus on just clay courts, his chance of winning a point drops to just over 66%.

It's easy to see that the clay of Roland Garros blunts serving ability. But it also favours returners.

So this is why you see Alacaraz as the favourite in this tournament. Djokovic's serve is less effective, and Alacarez is a good returner, making them significantly closer matched than if they were playing on a hard court.

Spaniard is worthy favourite but only just

Throw in an age gap of 16 years, and you have to give a slight edge to Alcaraz in terms of ability but not experience.

It's a common theme for younger players to come out on the court with guns blazing and for the more experienced players to try to weather the storm and wear down their opponents.


In conclusion, the odds for the tournament look about right. But pay close attention to how each player progresses through the early rounds. Djokovic could well do without any lengthy matches, and if he encounters some, expect his price to drift.

Age is one thing a player can not defeat, no matter how experienced.

Let Tennis Trader do the maths

Statistics are essential because you can use them to predict things. For example, we can calculate that, on average, Djokovic winning a game to love is around 20% at the French Open.

If you are not statistically minded, all these numbers can be complex to interpret. However, you don't need to worry as we have done much of your hard work.

Bet Angel includes a neat tool called 'Tennis Trader'. It allows you to plug these statistics into a predictive model, which will pump out all the critical information you need, including the odds of winning a game, set or match.

Tennis trader - Set matrix.png

If you want to look at what the market is predicting, you can point Tennis Trader at a match, which will do all the calculations for you.

A game of small margins

One of the critical things about Tennis is how little edges and advantages play out throughout a match and tournament. Last year the average number of points per match in the men's tournament was 222.

Football matches have a small number of goals on average. So even if one side is much more skilful than the other, luck can play a big hand in how an individual match will play out.

With so many points played in a Tennis match, skill and not luck tends to be the big determinate in a match.

I ran some data on previous French Open tournaments and distilled each game down to some numbers.

It makes logical sense that if two players are equally matched, their odds would be 2.01/1.

But the surprising thing is how a slight change in this ability can influence the odds. A 1% improvement in the ability to win that service point will shorten the odds to 1.76, and a 5% improvement would pull the odds to just 1.25.

Look out for details that give players edge

So the key to any betting or trading is spotting those subtle key differences between players: current form, injuries, surface preferences, physical ability and state and, of course, confidence.

A slight variation in these factors can lead to a large re-rating in a player, whether for the tournament's odds or what you see during a match.

But both present opportunities whether you are betting or trading.


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Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.