F1 Odds, Picks & Predictions: 2 Bets for Season Finale at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Sunday, November 19)

F1 Odds, Picks & Predictions: 2 Bets for Season Finale at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Sunday, November 19) article feature image

Dan Istitene/ Getty Images. Pictured: F1 driver Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren

The final race on the F1 calendar is finally upon us, and this is my look at the F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix odds, prediction and best bets for Sunday.

It's been a mere 265 days since Round 01 in Bahrain to kick off the season. Since then, Max Verstappen has won 18 of 21 races and has secured enough points to win the Constructors' Championship by himself for Red Bull Racing.

The F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix today (8 a.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN+) takes place on Yas Island in the UAE at Yas Marina Circuit. There have been 14 races at this circuit since opening in 2009 and will be on the calendar through at least 2030. Mercedes and Red Bull have both won six times apiece in Abu Dhabi.

To follow up the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix halfway around the world, this GP will also be a night race under the lights around the marina. Qualifying took place on Saturday night local time with Max Verstappen securing pole position for the 12th time this season.

There was simply no stopping @Max33Verstappen in qualifying 🥇

See how the Dutchman mastered the twists and turns of the Yas Marina Circuit đź’Ş#AbuDhabiGP@pirellisportpic.twitter.com/QDmo4GXVUf

— Formula 1 (@F1) November 25, 2023

Verstappen is now -650 to win the F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, followed by Lando Norris (+800), Chares Leclerc (+1400), George Russell (+2000) and Oscar Piastri (+2000).

The two big-name disappointments during qualifying were Carlos Sainz Jr. and five-time Abu Dhabi Grand Prix champion Lewis Hamilton. Sainz failed to get out of Q1 and will start in P16 on Sunday. Hamilton made it out of Q1 but was not in the top 10 for lap times in Q2. Hamilton will start back in P11 for the race.

Putting in a great final lap in Q3, Leclerc will start on the front row next to Verstappen.

Piastri outqualified his teammate and will start on the second row in P3. Russell will also be on the second row in P4.

Will history repeat itself on Sunday? So far, all 14 race winners at the F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix have come from the top four on the grid.

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F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Odds and Prediction 

Lando Norris Head-to-Head

If you have followed along at all this season, tailing Lando Norris has been very profitable since McLaren brought their upgrade package to Silverstone back in July.

For good reason, the sportsbooks have caught on and have made Norris the second most difficult driver (based on odds) to bet during the back half of the season.

For example, even though Norris qualified down in P5, the books have him slotted in as the second-best odds to win the entire race. Despite this, I still wanted to find a way to bet Norris at the final F1 race of the season.

We're going to take Norris head-to-head against Charles Leclerc in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Looking at the qualifying times, Norris was ahead of Leclerc in both Q1 and Q2 before making a mistake in Q3 that cost him a shot at pole or the front row. The Ferrari has proven to be a better qualifying car on Saturday than race car on Sunday this season.

Norris was second fastest in Q2 behind Verstappen with a lap time of 1:23.920. Norris has seven more championship points than Leclerc the season, and he has seven podiums in the previous 12 as compared Leclerc, who has only three.

One last thought is that Leclerc’s race isn’t with McLaren and Norris; it’ll be with Mercedes and George Russell. Currently, Mercedes is ahead of Ferrari by four points in the World Constructors' Championship standings for second place.

Should both McLarens get off to a great start, Leclerc will be less concerned with keeping pace with Verstappen and more concerned with holding off Russell the entire race. This leaves Norris to hunt down Verstappen and try to be more aggressive than the Ferrari.

The Pick: Lando Norris over Charles Leclerc (1.75 units, -175 at BetMGM)

Number of Race Leaders Bet

While the entire grid used the soft compound tires throughout qualifying to set the order of the grid, there is very little chance that they will see the light of day during the race on Sunday.

The soft compound tires degrade far too quickly at Yas Marina Circuit for it to be an effective race-day tire.

Looking at last year's race, eight drivers used a one-stop strategy while the remaining 12 employed a two-stop race strategy. The optimal one-stop strategy sees the drivers on the medium compounds start the race (17 of 20 did so in 2022) and go as far as possible before needing to put on the hard compound tires to see out the race.

Last year, race winner Verstappen did just that, and he made it 20 laps into the race on the mediums and the final 38 laps on the hard compound tires. The only time he relinquished the lead of the race was on lap 21 after coming in to the pits during his only stop.

I foresee the 2023 version of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix going much the same for Verstappen and Red Bull.

I anticipate Verstappen getting off to a great start from pole position, holding the lead through the first stint of the race, coming into the pits after his opponents behind him, losing the lead for one or two laps after the pit stop, and retaking the lead to see out yet another victory for his record-breaking year.

Should this play out, there is a plus money bet on exactly two race leaders the entire race that I will be taking, and you should too.

The Pick: Number of Race Leaders – 2 (1 unit, +175 at bet365)

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