Austrian Grand Prix Betting Picks: A Two-Horse Race

Jim Sannes
Jim Sannes@JimSannes
Austrian Grand Prix Betting Picks: A Two-Horse Race

After the Spanish Grand Prix, it's very clear the narrative has shifted in Formula 1.

It's no longer Max Verstappen versus the field. It's a two-horse race between him and Lando Norris.

Those two have swept the top two spots in five of the past six races, with the lone exception being a hyper-unique Monaco Grand Prix. So, instead of having to ask, "Can this person beat Verstappen?" when betting outrights, we now have to ask, "Can they beat both Verstappen and Norris?"

Answering that is difficult, in large part due to sample sizes.

We've got just two races since Mercedes got their upgraded front wing. And for Ferrari, the upgrades they rolled out for Barcelona didn't work, leading to an underwhelming weekend. Thus, it's tough to tell whether those teams can push Verstappen and Norris with such little data.

That's why Verstappen is -175 in FanDuel Sportsbook's F1 betting odds while Norris is +240. Their combined implied odds are 93.0%, which makes sense.

I just think it's a smidge too high. Here's how my sims have things playing out prior to practice on Friday.

Top 6
Max Verstappen58.9%85.0%85.8%85.8%
Lando Norris18.2%77.2%86.3%86.3%
Charles Leclerc7.2%46.6%84.6%86.9%
Oscar Piastri4.4%26.9%77.5%87.1%
George Russell3.7%20.1%70.7%86.0%
Lewis Hamilton3.1%17.9%68.5%86.2%
Carlos Sainz3.1%18.6%68.3%86.5%
View Full Table

I've got Verstappen or Norris winning 77.2% of the time. It's possible that's too low, but with the volatility around Mercedes and Ferrari (or potentially Norris' teammate), I tend to side with the model.

Specifically, it's showing value on Charles Leclerc (+2100) and the aforementioned other McLaren driver, Oscar Piastri (+3000), to win.

As discussed for Leclerc, the Ferrari upgrades didn't work in Barcelona, leading to Leclerc starting fifth and finishing there. That ain't great.

But Leclerc's race pace was really strong. He had caught George Russell by the end of the race and was within five seconds of Lewis Hamilton. We don't know how hard Hamilton was pushing at the end, but Leclerc's speed was impressive.

The downside with Leclerc is that this is a sprint weekend. That means Leclerc will have just one practice to fine-tune last week's upgrades and get them where he wants them to be. He will have the sprint race, though, and teams can now adjust more after the sprint than they could before, so this isn't as big of an issue as it was previously.

The model has Leclerc at 7.2% to win, up from 4.5% implied. I am intrigued by that -- but I don't think it's the best market for Leclerc exposure.

Instead, that lies in FanDuel Sportsbook's Motorsports Specials: +1100 to +3200 tab. There, we can bundle Leclerc to win with Piastri to win at +1300, and that one pops.

The reason to lump in Piastri is that -- as mentioned above -- he's also a value for me. Piastri is another guy whose race pace went overlooked in Barcelona because he started ninth. But Piastri showed his upside in Miami, Imola, and Monaco, indicating he's got a shot to get his first win at some point this year. If McLaren truly does have the fastest car, Piastri benefits, too.

The implied odds at +1300 are 7.1%. I've got them at 11.7%, giving us more than four percentage points of cushion. That 7.1% implied is also lower than the sum of the implied outright odds for Leclerc alone at +2100 (4.5%) and Piastri at +3000 (3.2%), pushing me to bundle rather than pick.

The lone points-scoring market where I see value (other than Piastri at -600) is on Nico Hulkenberg (+195). Hulkenberg is coming off yet another 11th-place finish (his fifth in 10 races), meaning he has consistently been right on the doorstep of points. He has scored points in 3 of 10 races -- 30.0% -- which isn't that far off his 33.9% implied odds. The model has Hulkenberg at 37.3% to finish top 10, making it the second-best value for me behind the Leclerc plus Piastri market.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.