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Rafael Nadal and Casper Ruud meet on Sunday morning at the men's French Open finals, and tennis expert Mike Spector weighs in with his best bet.
ANALYSIS

Men's French Open Finals Prediction: Will Rafael Nadal Win a Record 14th Title at Roland Garros?

On paper, the Men's French Open final between No. 5 seed Rafael Nadal and No. 8 seed Casper Ruud looks like a complete mismatch. Nadal is now 111-3 in his career at the French Open, and his three losses over 18 years at Roland Garros are fewer than Ruud's four losses at the French Open since 2018.

Nadal is appearing in his 14th French Open final and is a perfect 13-0 in his previous 13. His 13 French Open titles are the most of any player at a single Grand Slam, and he is facing a player who had never made it past the third round at Roland Garros before this year.

Will Nadal cruise to an easy victory, or is Ruud capable of a historic upset?

Here is our prediction, best play, and the odds for Sunday's Men's French Open final.

Men's French Open Finals Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: June 5, 2022

Time: 9:00 am ET

Where to Watch: NBC, Peacock TV

Click Here for Rafael Nadal vs Casper Ruud Odds

Rafael Nadal vs. Casper Ruud Prediction

We already know how much up against it Ruud is in this matchup, which is evident by Nadal's massive -575 moneyline odds to win outright. Thus, the more pertinent question is how competitive do we expect Ruud to be in the match?

One advantage Ruud has over Nadal leading up to the finals is that his draw was much easier to navigate. Nadal had to play a championship-level match in the quarterfinals against world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, which followed a grueling five-set victory over Felix Auger-Aliassime. Conversely, Ruud's last four victories over Sonego, Hurkacz, Rune, and Cilic are not the same murderer's row, and Ruud benefitted from upset losses by Stefanos Tsitsipas and Carlos Alcaraz. 

However, while Ruud dispatched Cilic in a relatively stress-free four sets in the semifinals, the 36-year-old Nadal got a much-needed break after an unfortunate injury to Alexander Zverev abruptly ended their semifinal match that was on its way to a tiebreak in the second set. Had Zverev not been injured, Nadal would have likely been on the court at least another two hours, but now comes in rested to this final.

Ruud has not yet seemed to feel the effects of having the weight of a country on his shoulders as he attempts to be the first Norwegian tennis player (man or woman) to win a Grand Slam. However, beating the best clay-court player ever to earn such an honor is a much different task. 

Another thing to consider is this is the first-ever meeting between Nadal and Ruud, which is a big deal considering Ruud is unfamiliar with Nadal's unorthodox antics. The Spaniard routinely takes all 30 seconds of the serve clock (and most times more than that), towels off between most points, pace the baseline after each changeover, etc.

Those kinds of things are not necessarily done to throw the opponent off, but it does take strong focus to block those things out and not have them bother you. With Ruud seeing Nadal on the other side of the net for the first time, we expect Nadal's quirky routines to frustrate Ruud and throw him off his game.

The humidity in France the last couple of days has affected the playing conditions, which typically means it plays slower and the ball spins less. Those things would seem to aid Ruud, but this match will feel like a homecourt advantage to Nadal, who often gets most of the French support. Ruud benefitted from a mind-boggling 56 unforced errors from Cilic in the last match, and Nadal will not be as giving here. We look for Nadal to win in straight sets and cover the -6.5 game spread.

Men's French Open Final Rafael Nadal vs. Casper Ruud Pick

Pick: Nadal -6.5 Games (-110) (Bet $110 to win $100)

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Article Author

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Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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