Surprise Winner in the French Open is Good News for Bookies
While the identity of the men’s French Open winner offered little in the way of surprises, a first-time winner in the women’s competition was profitable for bookmakers. Draws in the Nations League also boosted revenues for operators.
Iga Swiatek Becomes First Polish Grand Slam Winner
Iga Swiatek is the bookmakers darling this week after the 19-year-old won the French Open, the lowest-ranked player ever to do so. A lowly 54th in the world, the Polish teenager beat the world number four seed Sofia Kenin 6-4 6-1. What made the achievement more spectacular is that Swiatek claimed the title without losing a single set in the tournament. She becomes the first player (male or female) from Poland to win a Grand Slam singles title, and at 19, she is the youngest player since Monica Seles lifted the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in 1992 to claim the French Open title.
Swiatek had already proved profitable for the bookmakers, in the 4th round she faced world number 2 Simona Halep who had been heavily backed by punters to add another French Open title to her collection, the Romanian won the tournament in 2018. However, the 2019 Wimbledon winner lasted just 68 minutes as she was dispatched 6-1, 6-2, losing for the first time in 17 games.
In the Men’s final the winner was no surprise as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic contested the title. The spread on the betting was fairly even, slightly favouring Djokovic, meaning bookies wouldn’t lose out whoever won. Djokovic is only one of two men ever to have beaten Nadal at Roland Garros. Still, It was, however, Rafael Nadal who came out on top—making surprisingly short work of overcoming the world number 1 player 6-0, 6-2, 7-5, to equal Roger Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slam singles titles. It was perhaps Nadal’s most memorable performance on the French clay, which in itself is quite a feat, as the Spaniard had already claimed the French Open 12 times previously.
Lack of Nations League Goals Delights Bookies
While we saw a festival of goals in last weekend’s Premier League games, the UEFA Nations League games were generally low scoring affairs, much to the delight of bookmakers. The over/under market spreads were generally for over, showing a profit for operators.
Many expected plenty of goals in the France and Portugal fixture, but this finished goalless. The Home Nations clash between Wales and Ireland also finished 0-0, a great result as both Wales and Ireland were heavily backed to win the match.
Ali Gill from the Kindred Group, which owns Unibet, said of the football results: “All told the Nations League went heavily in our favour, with all of the top five, and eight of the top 10 matches played, saw us in the black. The 0-0 draw between France and Portugal was the best result we saw, with another 0-0 draw between Bosnia and Netherlands only marginally behind.”
England games always attract a lot of bets and Sunday’s clash with Belgium, the number one team in FIFA’s world rankings was no exception. A 2-1 win for England, courtesy of a Marcus Rashford penalty and a deflected effort from Mason Mount proved profitable for most bookmakers as many had backed Belgium’s Romelu Lakuku to score at least a brace. The 27-year-old was playing on English soil for the first time since his departure from Manchester United. Although he did open the scoring with a penalty in the 16th minute, the former Everton striker was unable to add to his tally.
One bookmaker who didn’t fare so well with the England result was Betway who included the England v Belgium game on their boost feature. Lucky punters were able to see the odds offered on an England victory increased from 2/1 to 10/1. Betway’s Chad Yeomans said: “There wasn’t a great deal between England and Belgium in price before the game and punters were not too sure how it was going to go, but we had boosted England to win 2/1 to 10/1, which was obviously a good result for the Betway punters, who fancied Southgate’s men.”
Great White Shark’s Win Bites Into Bookmaker’s Profits
While the bookies may have enjoyed gains in the French Open and the Nations League clashes, it was punters who placed bets early on Great White Shark in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket that was celebrating. The Cesarewitch is always a popular betting heat, and on Monday you could get 12/1 for a Great White Shark win, and many did, forcing the price down to 9/2f before Saturday’s race.
Great White Shark finished 10th in the prestigious two-and-a-quarter-mile race last year but made no mistake this time out. Lost in the pack for much of the race, the mare mounted a challenge in the final quarter of a mile and galloped to victory, beating Summer Moon (16-1) by three lengths to give victory to trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Jason Watson.
Betfred’s Alan Firkins said of the day’s racing: “On Saturday at Newmarket, there were contrasting fortunes in the two main races of the day. The Darley Dewhurst went the way of 10/1 shot St Mark’s Basilica leaving us ahead, but in the Cesarewitch, Great White Shark’s late surge and ultimately easy win was the last thing we wanted to see as punters had a field day.”