Formula 1 racing drivers walking side by side on the track at the Bahrain Grand Prix
The world’s greatest racing drivers kick off the F1 season at the Bahrain GP this weekend. (Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
BETTING & FANTASY

Inside F1 Betting: The 2022 Bahrain GP

Boardroom turns to FanDuel Sportsbook and racing betting expert Pearce Dietrich for a Formula 1 betting primer ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

The 2022 Formula 1 season gets underway this weekend in Bahrain, and there are arguably more people who will have an interest in this year’s running of the Bahrain Grand Prix than ever before. With sports betting becoming legal in an increasing number of states, there are folks lining up to get some skin in the game when it comes to the world’s most popular auto racing promotion.

“I would say we have a very healthy F1 business,” FanDuel spokesman Kevin Hennessy told Boardroom.

So, what about that business? Well the options, if you’d like to partake in betting on the race, are still emerging in the US at the current moment. There are markets for the first car to retire, the number of classified drivers, the fastest lap, the team of the winning driver, and more. The most popular market, however, is definitely on the outright winner. At the Bahrain GP, let’s check out the odds at FanDuel Sportsbook:

F1 betting odds to win the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix (via FanDuel Sportsbook as of March 19)

FanDuel reported Friday that 19% of the bets and 46% of the total handle on outright winner have come in on Verstappen. 14% of bets and 11% of the money is on Leclerc, and 16% of the handle has come in on Hamilton, even though he doesn’t account for 13% or more of the bets.

Kevin Magnussen is the book’s biggest liability at +18000, but if you talk to experts, they’d agree Verstappen should win. That’s what auto racing betting and DFS expert Pearce Dietrich thinks, anyway — and ahead of the season-opening race, I spoke to the DraftKings contributor and the man behind Race4thePrize about the business of F1 betting this week.

This interview has been edited lightly for clarity.

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KENNY DUCEY: Do you think betting can play a role in growing racing here in the United States?

PEARCE DIETRICH: I’m sure betting and Fantasy F1 will help, but auto sports will never grow in metropolitan regions. Although people on the coast spend most of their lives in their cars, they do not have a relationship with their automobile; they have a relationship with a work commute. Even if they do drive fast on the interstate, it’s fast straight line driving or weaving in and out. That’s not racing.

Pushing a car to the limit on the curve of a state route or county road — feeling the tires slip — is racing. That’s something that has died with urbanization. Racing will grow in most of the country, but never in the densely populated areas.

KD: Do you find more people gaming with F1, though?

PD: Betting and fantasy in general seem to be growing, but there could be an explosion this year. The hit Netflix reality show is going to provide traction. Also, with the end of COVID, there is pent-up demand for live F1 racing. These events are going to be major public spectacles that draw eyes to the sport.

America has two races this season, including a Miami street course race at the beginning of May. Then, at the end of May, the Monaco Grand Prix kicks off the biggest day of racing in the year — Monaco followed by the Indy 500, then the Coca-Cola 600 as the nightcap.

You get the feeling that this country and the world are ready to let their hair down and party. That sentiment also lends itself to casual betting. It’s not going to be the Kentucky Derby every weekend, but there are parallels.

When you look at the NBA and NFL, it almost seems that they reached their cap in terms of betting outside of betting expanding to news states, but with autosports, the surface hasn’t even been scratched. Whereas the other sports tend to target serious sports fans, the sportsbooks would be best suited following a Kentucky Derby casual horse betters model [for motorsports]. The emphasis should be on ease of action rather than rigorous algorithms and spreadsheets.

KD: Do you take out bets in the F1 betting Futures markets, or just stick to individual races? Which is the most popular way to bet on Formula 1 overall?

PD: The Futures market is worth attacking this season. New Formula 1 rules have been designed with the aim of even the playing field. We could see a lot of shake-up this season and long shots/underdogs break through.

Then again, Mercedes and Red Bull could easily just keep smashing their opponents like they have been doing.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (center) and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (right) are expected to battle it out once again for the Formula 1 world championship in 2022. (MAZEN MAHDI/AFP via Getty Images)

My hunch is that it’s definitely worth a shot. When it’s all said and done, Hamilton and Verstappen will likely control the sport again, but they won’t win every race. Win totals or a championship for Ferrari is worth examining. Betting a single win or multiple wins from a longshot is very live. Even the best drivers wreck, and if the field has been leveled, then these futures look really appealing.

KD: What types of things do you look for when handicapping a race and figuring out what the best plays are?

Track history and current form are always good indicators in auto sports, but context is important. The score sheet might say someone earned a podium, but what were the circumstances? Did the top drivers wreck out in that race? Did a competitor get penalized? Was the result due to speed or strategy, and has it been replicated?

Also, practice and qualifying times The different tires are key, too.

KD: Who is your pick to win the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix?

Max Verstappen should have won last season, but Mercedes outfoxed Red Bull on pit strategy. Even with the disadvantage, Verstappen overtook Hamilton late in the race, but he had to concede the spot because he went off the track. On the final day of Bahrain testing last Saturday, Verstappen was on the top of the timing chart.

Boardroom Betting Disclaimer

Boardroom does not predict the outcomes of Formula 1 races or seasons; the information in this column shall not be considered F1 betting advice. We provide the knowledge and tools a bettor needs to understand types of bets, odds, and facts in order to make wagers based on their own judgment.

The current odds listed within the guide are real-time and subjected to change via the sportsbook. Odds reflected in this piece may not be the final odds before fight night and can be verified by visiting FanDuel Sportsbook.

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