Clay court season has arrived, which probably means tennis betting fans will be all-in with Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard is favored to win his 12th Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters event overall and fourth straight.
Rafael Nadal a Favorite on Clay
It’s no surprise to see Nadal’s name on top of the favorite list.
It is a bit surprising to see Nadal only favored at –125, a bit low for someone who has won this event three times in a row along with 11 of the last 14.
There are some factors to consider when betting on Nadal, such as his health.
Nadal withdrew from his hardcourt match against Roger Federer and hasn’t played a match since early-March.
Despite the absence of play, Nadal is hard to bet against on a clay court surface.
He won 26 of 27 total clay court matches in 2018, which included a French Open title.
It is worth noting that Nadal could withdraw from this tournament if he feels the need to preserve his body for the upcoming Roland Garros tournament.
Backing Novak Djokovic
‘Joker’ has the second-best odds to win the event, coming in at +300.
Novak has won the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters a total of two times, with his last coming in 2015. He also defeated Nadal in 2013.
Dojokovic hasn’t seen positive results as of lately though, as he is somewhat limping into France.
Novak is 2-2 in his last four matches, one of those losses coming to Philipp Kohlschreiber.
The two will play in Round 2 after Kohlschreiber defeated Taro Daniel.
The Rest of the Field
Dominic Thiem enters with odds at +600 to win, which is a solid value bet to consider.
Thiem handed Nadal his only loss on a clay court surface in 2018 but is 2-2 on clay this season with two straight losses.
Alexander Zverev has odds at +1600, reaching last year’s semifinals. Zverev, though, has lost four of his last six matches but he did go 21-4 on a clay court surface in 2018.
Kei Nishikori at +3300 seems like a solid long shot bet considering he reached the championship last year before losing to Nadal.
Nishikori has lost two straight matches including four of his last six, however.
Long Shots to Win
There are three long shots to consider winning this event outside of the top favorites listed above.
Roberto Bautista-Agut (+6600) has been a buzzsaw this season, going 14-5 since the new year started including two wins over Djokovic.
Bautista–Agut reached the round of 16 last year before losing to David Goffin.
Karen Khachanov (+4000) enters this year’s Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in a favorable section.
His only real threat in his section of the bracket is Thiem, as Khachanov reached last year’s round of 16 before hitting Nadal.
Perhaps the biggest long shot with the best chance to go far is Felix Auger-Aliassime (+8000).
Auger-Aliassime has won 25 of his last 35 matches, including a 7-4 record on clay court matches this season.
Recent wins for the young Canadian include Basilashivili, Coric, Fognini and Tsitsipas.