F1 Odds, Picks & Predictions: 3 Early Bets for Las Vegas Grand Prix (Sunday, November 19)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images. PIctured: F1 driver Alexander Albon of Thailand
This week we head to a brand new circuit in the streets of Sin City, so let's take a look at the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix odds and pre-qualifying bets for the race early on Sunday morning (1 a.m. ET, ESPN).
With a new track, it remains to be seen exactly how the racing will be. However, based on the track layout and the forecast, it seems like we already have a good idea of how this may go.
The organizers of this race – which starts on Saturday night at 10 p.m. local time – apparently did not realize how cold Las Vegas gets at night, so this is tracking to be the coldest race of the entire season.
In fact, there is potential for this to be the coldest race in Formula 1 history – with temperatures in the 50s. There is also a slight chance for rain, which may impact Saturday morning's qualifying session (3 a.m. ET).
As you can see by looking at the map of the circuit, there are a lot of long straights on this track. This will mean that the teams that exhibit strong top speeds will fare much better than cars that have more drag on the straightaways.
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 16, 2023
I would expect teams to set up their car similar to what you would see at a track such as Baku.
Between the cool weather and lack of turns on the track, it will be a struggle to get heat into the tires. This means that teams who take longer for their tires to fire off will not be as strong in the short run or in qualifying.
This overall lack of grip may also either cause more caution driving or potentially more accidents.
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F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix Odds and Picks
Expect Ferrari To Fire Off With Pace
What has been a weakness at some tracks may prove to be an advantage for Ferrari here.
The Ferrari vehicle this year has had issues with tires wearing too quickly, but in a race with these cooler temperatures, they will be able to get their tires ready quicker than most.
In addition to the tire advantage Ferrari may have, they have also been one of the best teams this season on straightaways. Ferrari has a low drag car and is well suited for the streets of Las Vegas.
This leads me to believe that while Max Verstappen will likely win the race, Ferrari will be able to take the fight to Red Bull in qualifying.
While I view Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. as having similar chances of qualifying in the top spot on the grid, the books do not appear to value them similarly.
I don’t mind taking Leclerc to grab the pole position at +430, but I much prefer Sainz at +750 to be the fastest qualifier.
The Pick: Carlos Sainz Fastest Qualifier (+700 at bet365)
Haas Fastest Qualifier in the Bottom of the Pack
Similarly to Ferrari, this Haas vehicle both gets their tires to temperature quickly and is one of the fastest in a straight line.
However, Haas typically does not have much race pace and fades as the event goes on.
For that reason, I think we see Haas provide a strong showing for qualifying, but I wouldn’t love taking their numbers in the grand prix quite as much for most bets.
Williams (who we will talk about soon) will be Haas’ main competitor in the mid-pack this weekend in terms of straightaway speed. I think that Haas’ tire advantage will give them the better qualifying performance, however.
The Pick: Haas Fastest Qualifying Team Without Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren, and Aston Martin (+400 at DraftKings)
Alex Albon Top 10 Finish
As mentioned above, I love Williams and specifically Alex Albon to have a strong showing this weekend.
They have shined on tracks like this in 2023, putting their straight-line aerodynamics advantage on display.
Albon finished seventh in Monza, competing with many of the top teams on another track that should be similar to Vegas. As you can see in the below chart from @FDataAnalysis on Twitter, Williams, along with Ferrari and Alfa Romeo, were three of the top-speed cars on the long straights at the Italian Grand Prix.
📊Top Speeds – Quali
Ferrari and Alfa reached 350km/h😳
Under DRS, their wing was non-existent! Still, they managed to keep balance. Just 4km/h off the 'dragster' SF90
RB and Haas simply cut the DRS plane to save budget➡️Inefficient
— Formula Data Analysis (@FDataAnalysis) September 2, 2023
Albon has scored a top-10 finish in six of the last 13 races, including the last two races in a row before his crash at Interlagos.
I believe that the Williams driver will be able to carry his speed over to Las Vegas and land in the points once again.