F1: betting round-up – who do the bookies think will win?

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarWednesday, May 28th, 2008

 
 

We thought we’d take a look at the markets in this year’s drivers’ and constructors’ championships to see who the punters are backing to become F1′s next big winners.

This is always an amusing exercise and one we got interested in after seeing what a reliable guide the markets can be to political form – that and predicting the winners of reality TV shows.

It worked like a charm last year when we used the same line of enquiry to try to predict Alonso’s replacement at McLaren. The answer we got was a unanimous vote for the Spaniard and a little-known junior Renault driver called Heikki Kovalainen to swap places.

A prediction that proved to be absolutely spot-on – so let’s have another go.

Six races into the season. Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton have won two races apiece. Robert Kubica has yet to score his maiden win but says he’s fighting for the title.

** PLEASE NOTE: everything from this point on is the personal and only moderately well-informed speculation of the author and is not intended as a reliable or authoritative guide on where to place bets. And odds are correct at time of publication only.

If you fancy a flutter yourself, you’ll need to get up to date information and odds. Or, if you’ve got a different view of what these figures may actually mean, please leave a comment and let’s start a discussion!

  • At Coral Kimi Raikkonen is just edging it on evens, Monaco notwithstanding. Hamilton’s currently on odds of 6/4 (the least attractive for punters that our straw poll threw up) while Felipe Massa’s a little behind him on 4/1. Gosh, that’s got to be worth risking a quid or two, hasn’t it? Kubica’s bringing up the rear on 16/1, which can only attract sentimental money, while Heidfeld and Kovalainen himself are both on a whopping 100/1. British bookies usually offer people wearing rose-coloured specs the chance to throw away their cash on Button or Coulthard, but no sign of either this year.
  • In the constructors’ this bookmaker will currently give you 1/5 on Ferrari (meaning you’ll make a pound on every fiver you risk, not a good deal), 7/2 on McLaren and 16/1 on BMW. A very firm vote for Ferrari.
  • At 888.com Raikkonen and Ferrari are firm favourites again. The Flying Finn’s on a devilish tight 10/11 (odds on, but as close to evens as spitting) while young Hamilton will net you an only slightly more attractive 7/4. Once again Massa’s on 4/1, and once again we rather fancy that. Over here you can get 20/1 on Kubica, 100/1 on Kovalainen, 150/1 on Heidfeld or (this is getting silly now) a magnificent 250/1 on Fernando Alonso.
  • In the constructors’ this bookmaker will do you near-identical odds of 1/5 on Ferrari, 7/2 on McLaren and then (a bit more of a hike this time) 20/1 on BMW.
  • Guess what Ladbrokes thinks will happen? It’s another vote for Raikkonen with odds of 10/11 available on him, and Hamilton once again on 7/4. Massa’s tightened up very slightly over here to 7/2 while Kubica recedes to 25/1 and Kovalainen’s once again on 100/1. Heidfeld is a most unattractive prospect at 125/1.
  • In the constructors’ this bookmaker is offering exactly the same – 1/5 on Ferrari, 7/2 on McLaren and 16/1 on BMW. Do you think a pattern is emerging?
  • Victor Chandler is valuing the drivers championship thus: Kimi Raikkonen 10/11; Lewis Hamilton 6/4; Felipe Massa 9/2 (the equivalent of four and a half to one, so even tastier than the odds above); Robert Kubica 16/1; Nick Heidfeld 100/1; Heikki Kovalainen 100/1; Fernando Alonso (showing a bit more respect than 888.com) 100/1.
  • In the constructors’ Ferrari are on slightly shorter odds and McLaren on slightly longer – 1/6 and 4/1 respectively (again, we feel this McLaren price might be well worth a punt). BMW’s on shorter odds here too, at 14/1.
  • It’s all eerily familiar over at William Hill where Raikkonen is on 11/10; Hamilton is on 6/4; Massa is on 7/2; and Kubica is on a generous 25/1 – if you really like risky long shots.
  • In the constructors’ this bookmaker is offering Ferrari at fractionally longer odds of 1/4 (but, let’s be frank, still not very long), McLaren at 11/4 and BMW at 16/1.
  • Eurobet is one of those which pictures the race as that little bit less clear-cut. True, Raikkonen is on evens and Hamilton is on 3/2 so there’s still an outright favourite. But that’s less of a margin than we’ve been seeing elsewhere. Massa’s back on 4/1, Kubica once again on 16/1, Kovalainen on 100/1 and Heidfeld on 100/1.
  • In the constructors’ it’s pricing Ferrari at 167/1000 (1/5 would work out at 200/1000 if written out like this so these are slightly shorter odds), McLaren at 7/2 and BMW at (wait for it) 16/1.
  • Just before we finish, let’s take a look at Betfair. This is particularly interesting because there’s no bookmaker involved – this site allows you to back or lay a bet, that is bet for or against something happening, pitting your money directly against other punters. It is therefore arguably more flexible, more predictive and more sensitive to changes than other markets. If Hamilton was experiencing a revival anywhere, you’d hope to see it here. And indeed, while the market does still favour Raikkonen and Ferrari, there is a noticeable narrowing of the gap between the two drivers and their respective teams. Could this be the start of something?

Well, there you have it. Even after Hamilton’s spectacular comeback in Monaco and his expected success in Canada in two weeks’ time, the markets are squarely behind Raikkonen for the drivers’ championship and Ferrari for the constructors’.

That’s our peek into the future. But, hang on, where are the best opportunities to win cash? It’s plain that you won’t raise a sou betting on Raikkonen or Ferrari, and Hamilton’s not that much better a prospect.

If we were going to venture our own personal pocket money, we have to say that we would be very inclined to take Victor Chandler‘s considerate 4/1 on McLaren and their equally generous 9/2 on Massa.

But your experience may differ, and we really wouldn’t advise taking too much notice of us (see our astounding fantasy league successes, ibid). We’ll return to this fascinating subject after a few races to see if anything has changed.

3 responses to “F1: betting round-up – who do the bookies think will win?”:

  1. Nik Says:

    May 28th, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    There is more interesting betting out there, esp. betting on driver positions, the midfield etc.

    Before the season started, I placed $100 on Webber finishing first of the non-Ferrari,McLaren and BWM drivers. The odds at the time were 40-1. The odds on Red Bull finishing 4th in the constructors were 25-1 at the time, they have shortened a bit now

    There are plenty of good deals out there when you look beyond who will win the championships

  2. Andy Says:

    May 28th, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    Who was that with? 40-1 sounds pretty generous when you consider it was really a bet about who’d finish ahead between him and Fernando Alonso…

  3. ljh Says:

    May 29th, 2008 at 8:57 am

    Thanks for your comment Nik – it certainly adds constructive information to the post, and how often can you say that?

    I will just say, though, that the primary purpose of this post was to try to use the markets as a predictor for who will win.

    The secondary purpose was to sniff out good bets, which is why we didn’t really venture much beyond the front runners.

 
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