While NASCAR may be the most popular form of motor racing in the United States, Formula 1 has a worldwide appeal that racing fans have cherished for years. With F1’s popularity steadily growing in America, sports bettors are looking for ways to get in on the action and wager on the next Grand Prix. We'll give you a few tips for the next race and help you better understand how to bet on Formula 1 with this guide!
How to bet on Formula 1: Reading Lines and Odds
Before diving into the specifics, F1 bettors need to understand the odds you'll be laying down money for. Because F1 categories don't resemble the typical moneyline, spread and totals options you'll see across most leagues, here's a refresher.
Outright Winner: Picking a Driver to Win the Grand Prix
This one is nice and simple -- in the same vein as picking an NFL team to win the game straight-up, choosing the outright winner for a grand prix is placing a bet on the 1st place finish. Outright odds might look like this:
|1st Place Finish Odds
There will usually be just one favorite to win the race in F1 -- in this case, due to his dominating performance over the last few years, Verstappen is our favorite. You'd need to wager $200 to earn $100 on his outright win; a fair price for an excellent driver. As we progress down the table, the odds will grow more and more between each contestant. This is because F1 is a fairly static sport when it comes to top-place finishers -- looking further down the table teases a high payout, but comes with added risk.
Podium Finish: Who Will Finish Top 3?
You can give yourself a bit of breathing room by wagering on podium finishes instead of an outright winner. If your selected driver places anywhere in the top three, you're a winner. Because of this, the odds for each driver will drop heavily -- drivers at the top of the table will be favored to wind up on the podium, but even underdogs can sneak in now and then. For instance, compare this with the odds above:
|Podium Finish Odds
In our first table, Sainz had 16:1 odds to win the race outright -- on a podium finish, he has 2:1 odds. This shows us that winning a race is much harder than placing anywhere in the top three, and the odds become tighter when the winning condition is more forgiving. Keep in mind that it doesn't matter where the driver finishes. Whether it's first or third, you'll get paid on a podium bet.
Points Finish: Choosing a Driver in the Top 10
We'll make this quick since it's very similar to podium betting. Betting on a points finish expands the criteria for a winning bet by an even greater margin than a podium placement -- if your driver finishes in the top 10, you're a winner. As you can imagine, the odds for drivers at the top of the table fall heavily. If Verstappen was already a -200 to win the race outright, then placing inside the top 10 is practically a guarantee, reflected accordingly by the odds.
F1 Qualifying: Betting on Pole Position
Qualifying races are held before each grand prix to determine where the drivers will be lined up to start the race. The best placement is at the front of the pack and closest to the inside, otherwise known as pole position. Qualifiers are a three-stage knockout -- depending on the number of cars, a group of the slowest drivers is eliminated in Q1, another group is eliminated in Q2 and 10 cars are left to race for pole position in Q3.
The odds for pole position is a great betting market to look at during Formula 1 qualifying. At this point, you would have had several chances to see a driver’s performance at the circuit during free practice and should have a pretty good idea of who could potentially win the race.
Prop Bets: A Grab-Bag of Options
Moving away from the importance of where drivers finish, F1 boasts a handful of prop bets for bettors who want to keep it light and wager on a few external factors. Offerings for prop bets will vary depending on the F1 sportsbook you're using, but a few examples of props include:
The list goes on -- fastest lap is a notable favorite for F1 bettors, as you don't have to be the #1 driver to record the quickest time of the day. Consider starting with props and a top-10 finish bet if this is your first race, they both make betting on F1 that much more approachable and your odds of winning will be slightly higher.
Live Betting: Wagering During the Grand Prix
Live betting is a feature that's offered by most major sportsbooks nowadays -- it allows you to wager anytime from the first lap to the final stretch. You'll be able to wager on most of the options listed above, although some props like the fastest lap may no longer be available.
The difference between live betting on F1 and some other sports is that you’re constantly reassessing your judgments during a race. Drivers need to make crucial pit stops during the race and there's always a chance your existing bet spins out early on. Monitoring these situations is vital if you're looking to put down a new bet halfway through the race.
Commentators are also very valuable when viewing Formula 1 races -- listening to these experts will help you monitor timings throughout the race. If you believe that a particular driver is pitting at the wrong time, this could be the deciding factor as to whether or not you bet on them. On the flip side, it could be the perfect time for you to back that driver’s rival in the race.
F1 Futures: The Long Game
Futures are any wager on the long-term outcome of a competition. For F1, that's usually betting on the F1 Championship or the Constructor's Championship. The F1 Championship has you select the overall points winner at the end of the season while betting on the Constructor's Championship is wagering on the make of the winning car (ex. RedBull).
Odds will be released before the start of the season and change with the outcome of every grand prix. If you're looking to wager on futures, the best odds are the ones you select early -- waiting for the results of the first few races isn't a bad idea, but it's important to remember that the favorite's odds will likely only go down as they rack up wins.
Formula 1 Betting Strategies and Tips
While a huge payout on the underdog may look tempting, they are usually a waste of time -- F1 is a sport in which the favorites almost always get the job done. In 2022, Max Verstappen surpassed the record for most Grand Prix victories in a season with a staggering 15 wins. With only 23 races in the season, that means Max was first for 65% of the entire competition. Following the trend yet?
Generally, there are only going to be about four to six cars and drivers that have a realistic chance of winning on any given race day. One way to find value is to avoid overvaluing the pole position. Earning the pole does give the driver in the lead a big advantage over the field as he can navigate the course without any cars ahead of him from the get-go. But despite this advantage, the driver with pole position only wins about 40 to 50 percent of the time. While this is significant, it isn’t necessarily worth paying huge chalk for.
Often there is more value to be found in betting on an excellent driver off of the pole at +300 or +800 instead of always betting on the huge favorite who starts with pole position.
How to Sign Up At a Sportsbook to Bet on Formula 1
With the basics down, you'll need somewhere to wager on F1 -- here's a quick guide on making a sportsbook account and some tips to get in the driver's seat.