While F1 betting is offered at most major sports betting sites, some focus more on European sports than others. Those that do tend to offer a larger volume and variety of F1 racing betting options. The difference really comes down to F1 racing betting sites that only offer outright race winners, and those who offer some more interesting bets.
With a wide range of focus that each betting site puts into Formula One, it’s not hard to find a variety of odds. It’s the difference in interest from the betting sites themselves that creates the varied betting lines, not the field of drivers. This is very different from NASCAR for example, where the varied lines are a result of the fact that so many drivers can win on a given day.
Regardless of the reason, any sport where such a wide variety of odds can be found means that handicappers should have funded accounts at as many online betting sites as possible. This allows you to compare odds and get the best price available.
How To Bet On F1 Auto Racing
Picking outright race winners is easier in F1 than some other series’ of auto racing, because there’s usually only five or six guys who win each season. This is good for those rely on keeping a healthy bankroll. However, for those who get really into their betting, some other bets can be just as fun.
Top 3 bets are easier to win, and still offer good odds. The same can be said for Speed Row bets, where 5 drivers are pitted against each other.
The Drivers Championship and Constructor Championship are popular futures bets as well, and they’re offered at most betting sites.
Betting On Outright F1 Race Winners
In Outright Winner bets, your job is to pick the winner of an individual race. Odds typically range from 2.5/1 to 7/1 for favorites, and go up to 60/1 for underdogs.
Since such a small number of drivers win each year, these are easier bets in F1 than they are in NASCAR or Indy. In most seasons, only 4-6 drivers will win races. The keys to winning these bets are figuring out which cars are dialed in, and which ones are suited for each track. Some cars are better for tight, twisty turns, while others have the top speed which helps them in long straight-aways.
Don’t bet on drivers who haven’t won recently, and don’t bet on new cars. Drivers, cars, and teams need to prove they can win in Formula One before they’re worth betting on.
Top 3 Finishers
Top 3 finisher bets are just as they sound. Pick a driver you think will finish on the podium. If you’re right, you win. If not, you lose.
For top 3 finishers I prefer to eliminate one driver, the one I think will win the race. That’s usually the favorite, or a close second favorite. The problem with picking the favorite is the weak odds you’ll get in Top 3 bets. Since he’s expected to win, the odds for him to finish in the top 3 generally aren’t giving me much value. I prefer to find a guy who is +350 to +600 who is good on this type of track, with proven ability to win. I want to pick a guy who has a shot to win the race, but gives me better odds than the race favorite.
Speed Row Bets
At most online betting sites, Speed Row bets consist of 5 drivers that the site is pitting against each other. Your job is to decide which of these 5 drivers will have the highest finish. Most betting sites will put drivers that are competitive with each other into their Speed Row bets, keeping the odds fairly close. The problem with these bets is that the odds are generally 3/1 – 4/1 for most drivers. Since you’re deciding between 5 competitive drivers, Speed Row bets don’t offer much value.
Drivers Championship Futures Bets
The driver who accumulates the most points during the course of a season wins the Drivers Championship. Most sports betting sites offer these futures bets before each season begins, and adjusts the odds as the season goes on. Of course, as certain drivers move up in points, their odds go down, offering less value. While better value can be found before the racing season begins, more risk is taken as well.
Once the teams get beyond their major, off-season testing periods, more is known about them. Punters can go on faith that a team will be ready to race for the championship, or wait until more information has been gathered. We recommend waiting. Although the odds may not be as attractive, it’s better to know that your team has a realistic shot before committing your wager.
If a team or constructor can’t get their car dialed in on time, this can be close to a predetermined death sentence for their drivers. We’d rather get slightly leaner odds and know we have a good shot at it than enter the season with our money already lost.
If you’re new to following F1, it’s important to know that in most seasons, only 4-6 drivers win races. This means you should only be considering drivers who’ve already proven they can win. If you’re picking someone who’s never won an F1 race, you’re bet will almost certainly lose. Of course new drivers rise from time to time, but it usually takes years.
Between 2007 and 2010, only 10 different drivers have won an F1 Grand Prix race. Here they are:
- Lewis Hamilton – 14 wins (4 in 2007, 5 in 2008, 2 in 2009, 3 in 2010)
- Fernando Alonso – 11 wins (4 in 2007, 2 in 2008, 5 in 2010)
- Sebastian Vettel – 10 wins (1 in 2008, 4 in 2009, 5 in 2010)
- Kimi Räikkönen – 9 wins (6 in 2007, 2 in 2008, 1 in 2009)
- Felipe Massa – 9 wins (3 in 2007, 6 in 2008)
- Jenson Button – 8 wins (6 in 2009, 2 in 2010)
- Mark Webber – 6 wins (2 in 2009, 4 in 2010)
- Rubens Barrichello – 2 wins (both in 2008)
- Heikki Kovalainen – 1 win (2008)
- Robert Kubica – 1 win (2008)
The list above includes all of the F1 winners from 2007 – 2010. As you can see, most winning drivers have won multiple races, with just two, 1-time winners, and one 2-time winner. The other seven drivers won all of the remaining 67 races.
Heading into a season, there are generally one or two drivers in the +200 to +300 range, then two or three other drivers in the +500 to +1500 range. Drivers in the +500 to +1500 range are typically guys who’ve won lots of races in the past, and have a legitimate shot at winning.
When betting on futures, +250 is not attractive, so we suggest looking for someone else who also has a realistic shot at winning, who’s also getting better odds.
Constructors Championship Futures Bets
Constructors are combinations of car makes and the engines they use. Some of these combinations are the same, two examples being Ferrari and Renault. In most years, the Constructors Champion also produces the Drivers Champion. So, if you’re picking a certain driver for the Drivers Championship, you can go for the combo by picking his car as well.
However, there are situations where you might want to bet on a different driver and car. For example, if you’re picking a driver who is +900, but also like a car at +350, you’ll win if either of these bets are winners.
$100 bet on a +900 driver = $900 profit if he wins, minus $100 lost on the Constructors Championship bet, for a total profit of $800.
$100 bet on a +350 car = $350 profit if it wins, minus $100 lost on the Drivers Championship, for a total profit of $250.
With a smaller number of constructors versus drivers, it’s easier to pick the Constructors Champion. Some handicappers like to use this as a safety net for picking a driver who they can get better odds on.
F1 Prop Betting
To keep handicappers interested, sports betting sites offer F1 prop bets. Prop bets are wagers that don’t fit into any of the other betting categories listed above, and they can be a lot of fun. Some betting sites ask for too much vig on prop bets, so always shop for the best prices before placing your bets. If the vig is too high, skip the bet.
Some typical F1 prop bets include:
- Which driver will lead the most laps?
- Who will win the pole position?
- What engine will win?
- Over/under on number of caution flags.
F1 Online Betting Tips
The first thing to know before betting on F1 is that only a small number of drivers win each year. Most seasons, only 4-6 drivers will win races. If you pick someone outside of this group, you will almost certainly lose. Choose drivers that are hot right now, because it means their cars are running good and the driver is on top of his game. This is a streaky sport, where drivers often win back to back races, and multiple races per year. As mentioned above, do not bet on drivers who haven’t won recently.
If you’re picking a Constructors Championship team that has 2 drivers with legitimate chances of winning the Drivers Championship, bet on the driver with longer odds. By doing this, you’re giving yourself a chance at the bigger win on the driver, and a very good chance at winning the Constructors Championship bet as well. If you lose the Drivers Championship bet but win the Constructors Championship bet, you’ll still be a winner overall.
A great example of this is the 2011 Red Bull Racing-Renault team of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. Before the 2011 season starts, you can get 2.25/1 on Vettel, and 9/1 on Webber. Vettel finished 2nd in the 2009 Drivers Championship, and 1st in 2010. Webber won 6 races in 2009-2010 himself, and has been knocking on the door of the Drivers Championship. At 9/1 on Webber, you could take home a huge payday if he wins, and cover yourself by taking Red Bull Racing for the Constructors Championship. Of course, there’s no guarantee that Red Bull Racing will win the Constructors Championship, but you have two solid horses on your side.
Hamilton/Button, and the McLaren-Mercedes team is another good choice for this type of bet. Before the 2011 F1 season, Lewis Hamilton is listed at 5/1, and Jenson Button is listed at 12/1. With this combo, you get the 2008 and 2009 Drivers Champions to go after the Constructors Championship. In this case, I would take Button at 12/1, knowing that if he doesn’t win, Hamilton could help me win the Constructors Championship. The bigger question is, can McLaren-Mercedes put together their first Constructors Championship since 1998?
Always compare odds at several sports betting sites. If you’re just checking the odds at one site and placing bets, you’re costing yourself easy money. Instead, register and fund accounts at several reputable betting sites so you’re prepared to bet wherever the best odds are.
Stay away from the first few races. Most professional handicappers won’t bet until they know who’s running good and who isn’t. Don’t listen to off-season rhetoric, wait for actual results.