Until the Formula One season stops being a two-man race, oddsmakers aren’t going to open themselves to value wagering.
The inaugural Miami Grand Prix on Sunday is the fifth race of the season — following stops in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Italy.
Two men — Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen — combined to win each of the races and the odds for Sunday’s event reflect their dominance.
Defending F1 champion Verstappen is the -105 favorite, while Leclerc is the +140 second choice, according to Tipico Sportsbook.
“Max and Charles are heavily favored so far this season, as they have been in a league of their own,” Tipico Vice President Andre Zammit said. “Red Bull and Ferrari adapted better to the new rules brought in this year, which were plenty compared to the 2021 season, and this can be seen also from (the success) of their second drivers.”
Indeed. Red Bull’s Sergio “Checo” Perez is the third choice at +900 in Miami and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. is the +1200 fourth choice. Both driver has made two podium finishes already.
The great variable is the unknown of how the drivers will respond to the new track, which weaves around the Miami Dolphins’ Hard Rock Stadium.
The track is about 3.36 miles long, consisting of 19 turns and three straightaways. The estimated top speed is expected to near 199 miles per hour.
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“In general, this will be a very exciting race, due to this being the first time this race takes place,” Zammit said. “Therefore, no one has the advantage of previously racing here and (no one) knows the ins and outs of the best racing lines, the places to overtake, the ideal car set-up for straights and turns.
“It’s being built as a track with high speed and potential for passing in abundance, with the track surface tailored to make sure that Miami has enough grip from the get-go.”
F1 legend Lewis Hamilton struggled this season in his Mercedes and is seventh in the points standings with one podium finish.
Hamilton’s racing IQ and savvy is unquestioned, but his podium shortcomings have him slotted as a 30/1 underdog to win in Miami.
Mercedes’ George Russell and McLaren’s Lando Norris are both 40/1 picks.
“Hamilton, in my opinion, is the GOAT in F1, so despite the big struggles him and Mercedes have been having this season, he can never be counted out,” Zammit said. “Mercedes will bring some upgrades in Miami, with the aim to close the gap to the front two, but they will still lack in pace, so a podium for Lewis or Russell would be seen as a great result.”
Zammit, an F1 enthusiast, foresees Norris and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso (100/1) as the most appetizing longshots.
“Street circuits always bring more excitement, so an unexpected result is not far-fetched,” Zammit said. “My dark horses would be Alonso, due to his vast experience and exceptional driving skills, and Norris, with the McLaren showing improvements in the past two races. McLaren’s US CEO Zak Brown would be extremely happy with a second consecutive podium for Norris and it’s within his reach.”
Although, given the early results, no one would be surprised by more of the same dominance by Verstappen and Leclerc.
“How this event will play out … we’ll know better after turn one,” Zammit said.
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