Formula 1 Odds, Picks & Predictions: 3 Best Bets for Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
Photo by ANP via Getty Images. Pictured: Sergio Perez (11) with the Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 Honda
What an opening race we had in Bahrain, made even better by a positive result in our column.
Ferrari finished 1-2 as Charles Leclerc notched a victory while Carlos Sainz finished second. The drama came in third place though after Sergio Perez spun out on the final lap of the race to give Lewis Hamilton a podium and, most crucially, turned a sure-fire loser into a winner.
That, along with our Leclerc podium bet, gave us a 2-1 result for the week as our Lando Norris top-six bet never stood a chance.
Now we turn our attention to Saudi Arabia for the second race of the calendar and another trio of best bets. Please note that odds are subject to change and are reflective as of the time of writing.
Speaking of Formula 1 odds, lets take a look at the latest odds for Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix from PointsBet.
Odds updated Sunday at 11:30 a.m. ET.
|Driver||Odds to Win|
|Carlos Sainz Jr.||+700|
F1 at Saudi Arabia Betting Picks
*Odds via BetMGM on Friday night
Max Verstappen Race Winner (+120 at BetMGM)
It was a disappointing start to Verstappen’s world championship defense at Bahrain after the Dutchman’s engine failed on the second-to-last lap, leading to a retirement and zero points.
But, I’m choosing to focus on the positives from that race and the early practice results in Saudi Arabia. Verstappen was virtually on-par with Leclerc in Bahrain and (very briefly) stole the lead from Ferrari’s top driver.
That close battle transitioned to the practice sessions in Saudi Arabia on Friday as Verstappen was only one-tenth of a second slower than Leclerc in each of the first two practice sessions.
Verstappen notched a P2 finish in each practice session and has good track history here. In last year’s inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Verstappen finished in P2, nearly six seconds clear of third position despite coming in 21 seconds behind victor Lewis Hamilton.
The last factor worth considering is Verstappen’s success last season on street circuits. Although there were only three such tracks on last year’s calendar, Verstappen posted a top-two finish in two, including a race victory at Monaco.
So long as you’re getting Verstappen at +105 or better, I think you’re getting some value on the Red Bull leader. To me, this race is a 50/50 proposition between Leclerc and Verstappen, so there’s a bit of an implied probability edge here.
Esteban Ocon Top-10 Finish (-130 at FanDuel)
Certainly not the sexiest bet in the various markets, but I think this price is an absolute steal.
Ocon posted a P4 finish at this race last year and, like Verstappen, has a good points record at the street circuits. At Monaco, the Alpine representative claimed a P9 finish while car troubles resigned him to a DNF in Baku, the third and final street circuit on last year’s calendar.
So far this season, Ocon has proven a spectacularly average driver. He’s certainly not going to contend for a podium, but posted a solid P7 finish in the opening race at Bahrain.
Further, his practice sessions in Saudi Arabia suggest Ocon is once again primed to be in the points. He finished P8 in both of the opening two practice sessions and ran closer to P6 than to the P11 in the second practice.
Moreover, Ocon’s riding a bit of a hot streak dating back to last season in terms of winning points.
In the Frenchman’s last seven races in which he was classified at the end, he’s been P10 or better in six of those races. All told last season, Ocon won points in nearly 65% of races, so there’s a slight implied probability edge here based on that trend.
With that in mind, expect a strong qualifying performance from Ocon and a points finish come Sunday.
Sergio Perez Podium Finish (+220 at BetMGM)
Save the boldest for last as they say, right?
It’s certainly a nerve-racking experience to step in front of Carlos Sainz this way, but I’ve been really impressed by Perez in the early portion of the season. While it’s certainly a small sample, he was on his way to a podium finish in Bahrain before his car failed him.
In fact, if you measure both Perez and Sainz’s fastest sections, the Red Bull driver was just slightly over two-tenths behind the Ferrari. Plus, as we saw in the first race, we know the Red Bull cars are significantly faster than the two Mercedes vehicles, which should give Perez a significant advantage over his competitors on a street circuit.
Plus, although Perez recorded a DNF in this race last year, he has good history at the other street circuits. He won in Azerbaijan and posted a P4 finish in Monaco. He also recorded a good second practice session Friday in Saudi Arabia, recording a P4 finish in that session, only 0.04 seconds behind Sainz in P3.
There’s also the fact that before ultimately crashing out in last year’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Perez qualified in P5.
Ultimately this is a price play for me as I think this number is far too inflated.
Given all the positives associated with Perez, I’d play this particular market down to +175.
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