A photo finish could be in the works for Formula One’s 62nd French Grand Prix.
Sportsbooks in Ontario have narrowly favoured Max Verstappen to win one of motor racing’s most prestigious events. But not by much. Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton don’t lag far behind the Dutchman in odds.
And with F1’s World Championship still up for grabs, Sunday’s race is lining up to be one of the most competitive of the season.
PlayCanada looks at what punters should keep an eye out for on the racetrack.
Ontario online sportsbooks: Verstappen slightly favoured over Leclerc
The French Grand Prix (FGP) is the 12th round of F1’s World Championship.
In total, there are 22 races in the competition. But the FGP is of particular significance to sports fans. For starters, the event is one of the oldest motor races in the world. It is also the first Grand Prix.
Sportsbooks have essentially boiled down the event to a two-person race this year: Verstappen (Team Red Bull) and Leclerc (Team Ferrari).
Here are their head-to-head odds at the major operators:
French Grand Prix - Winning Driver Odds
|Sportsbook||Verstappen (Team Red Bull)||Leclerc (Team Ferrari)|
|BetMGM Ontario||+120 / 2.20||+160 / 2.60|
|BetRivers Ontario||+125 / 2.25||+160 / 2.60|
|Bet365 Ontario||+110 / 2.10||+137 / 2.37|
|Caesars Ontario||+150 / 2.50||+170 / 2.70|
|DraftKings Ontario||+110 / 2.10||+170 / 2.70|
Despite down year, Lewis Hamilton still in contention
Punters less familiar with the sport may wonder where one of the game’s marquee names – Lewis Hamilton – fits into the mix.
The Brit is a seven-time F1 World Champion and among the greatest drivers ever. But 2022 has remained a struggle for the all-time great.
Hamilton has yet to win a race this season and sits #6 on the leaderboard heading into Sunday. Despite a down year, Hamilton remains in contention for the FGP with the third-best odds.
- BetMGM Ontario: +650 American, 7.50 European odds
- BetRivers Ontario: +900, 10.00
- Caesars Ontario: +600, 7.00
- Bet365 Ontario: +850, 9.50
- DraftKings Ontario: +650, 7.50
Interestingly, Sunday’s FGP will be Hamilton’s 300th start in F1. Only five other F1 drivers have ever achieved that milestone.
Is it possible the Team Mercedes member could rise to the occasion and have his first big breakthrough of the season? It’s something punters should seriously consider.
Canadians Lance Stroll, Nicholas Latifi roll into France
If gamblers feel risky, they could wager on a pair of Canadians.
Lance Stroll (Montreal, QC) and Nicholas Latifi (Montreal, QC) will represent Team Ashton Martin and Team Williams Mercedes, respectively.
But beware: neither are considered threats to finish on the podium. But, a top-10 finish is possible. Some sportsbooks do offer markets on such items, for instance, bet365.
Stroll has finished top-10 three times already this season, recording three points to date. Latifi has yet to pick up any points.
Fittingly, one of Stroll’s best moments came in mid-June at the Canadian Grand Prix. The Canadian rode to a 10th place finish in front of his hometown fans in Montreal, Que.
Basics of F1 betting: Drivers vs Constructor Championships
Whether wagering on Hamilton, Verstappen or Stroll, bettors must know the basics of F1 betting.
F1’s most popular wagers are typically futures. The primary race of interest is the Drivers Championship. But the Constructor Championship is also popular.
The Drivers Championship is awarded to the rider with the most points at the end of the World Championship run (22 races total).
Punters can also wager on individual races within the World Championship – such as the FGP. But betting on the Drivers Championship will typically yield a more predictable result.
Because the Championship consists of the entire season rather than individual events, fewer variables are in play. For instance, individual races can be more erratic, and many factors can go wrong at any moment.
Think car crashes, car malfunctions and pitstop errors etc.
Verstappen Drivers Championship odds
Unsurprisingly, Verstappen – the favourite to win the FGP – is leading the Drivers Championship:
- Verstappen – 208 points
- Leclerc – 170 points
- Sergio Perez – 151 points
- Carlos Sainz – 133 points
- George Russell – 128 points
Simply put, the Dutchman has been dominant this year.
He’s already won six races (55%). And with 11 more to go, sportsbooks are in agreement: the Drivers Championship is his to lose as the overwhelming favourite.
Verstappen’s odds at Ontario sportsbooks:
- BetMGM Ontario: 1.28 European odds, -357 American
- BetRivers Ontario: 1.29, -335
- Caesars Ontario: 1.28, -350
- Bet365 Ontario: 1.28, -350
- DraftKings Ontario: 1.25, -400
His closest competitor – Leclerc – is a distant second at 4.3 European odd, +330 American.
Red Bull leading Constructor Championship
F1’s other major futures bet is the Constructor Championship.
In professional motor racing, each driver will have a company – or team – backing them. F1 has 10 in total.
The Constructor Championship – referring to the company constructing the car — awards the team with the most collective points achieved by its drivers at the season’s end.
Traditionally, Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull dominate the contest. And this season is no different. Unsurprisingly, because Verstappen is the top driver, so is his team.
Red Bull has 359 points while Ferrari and Mercedes have 303 and 237, respectively. So, unless there is a remarkable turnaround heading into the season’s home stretch, Red Bull should win its fifth title.
Prop betting in at French Grand Prix available
Beyond the Drivers and Constructor Championship, punters could also have some fun with prop betting in F1.
Bet365, in particular, offers a robust market on the FGP.
A few examples:
- First driver to make a pit stop
- Fastest team to pit stop
- Winning nationality
- Virtual safety car period during race
- First driver to retire
But unless punters are very familiar with the sport, it’s probably best to focus on bigger picture items. Like much prop betting, success requires some level of intricate sports knowledge.
Nonetheless, it shows that F1 is capable of a fun wagering experience familiar to fans of major North American sports leagues.