Formula 1 betting is about matching up the right drivers & cars, at the right tracks, on the right days. Making consistent wins takes a lot more research than most punters realize, and those who fail to put in the work generally lose in the long run. There are different betting strategies for pre-qualifying, post-qualifying, and live betting that punters need to be familiar with. In this article we’re going to give you some tips to help you become a winning F1 punter.
Comparing Formula 1 Betting Odds
For serious punters this should go without saying. For those that are new to betting, the most important tip we can give you is to compare odds. Why take 7/2 on a driver if you can get 4/1 somewhere else? Why pay 15% vig on a prop bet if you can pay 10% somewhere else? Over time, small advantages on every bet can be the difference of being a winning or losing punter.
If you plan on making a lot of Formula 1 bets, sign up at several of the best sports betting sites. Then, compare the odds at every site before placing your bets.
F1 Pre-Qualifying Betting Tips
The benefit of placing your bets before qualifying is the potential to lock in greater odds. The risk is that you don’t know how your driver will qualify. For example, if there are three or four drivers who are favoured over your driver, and your driver qualifies in P1 or P2, his odds will become much shorter after qualifying – but you’re locked in at greater odds. If your driver qualifies in the position he was expected to, your odds will usually stay about the same. However, if he starts in a lower position, his odds will become greater, but you’ve locked in with shorter odds.
I rarely bet on the favourite before qualifying because if he doesn’t qualify in P1, his odds will usually become greater after qualifying. There is more to lose than to gain. One of my favourite times to bet before qualifying is on drivers I expect more out of than the public does. In this case, I’m looking for a driver in the range of 5/1 – 8/1 who I think has a shot at P1 or P2. If I’m right, his odds will get much shorter and I’m in great shape. If he qualifies in P3 – P5, his odds won’t change too much from where I got locked in at. So, I’m getting about equal or better value on my driver if he starts in any of the top 5 positions. This is much better than needing my driver to finish on the pole.
My absolute favourite time to do this is on tight tracks where it’s difficult to pass. On some of the tighter tracks, polesitters have such a huge advantage to win the race that betting before qualifying is essentially betting on the qualifying itself. In this situation, I’ll usually try to bet on the 3rd or 4th favoured driver in a race – if I think he has a legitimate shot at the pole. I’m going to try to get my bets in about a week before the race begins, which is well before there is any significant change in the odds. This is a risk, but a risk that can pay off very well when I’m right. A driver like this will often give me 4.00 – 7.00 odds before qualifying, but go down to a range of 1/2 – 5/3 if he gets the pole. In this case, I’m locked in for fantastic odds on the heavy favourite to win. If he finishes in P2 or P3, I still have about equal or better odds, and still have a chance at the win.
Formula 1 Post-Qualifying Betting Tips
When we’re betting after qualifying is over, it’s all about value. Whether we’re betting on the outright winner, a matchup bet, a podium finisher – it’s all the same. There are races where betting on the outright winner just doesn’t make sense value-wise, and we have to refrain ourselves from betting in this situation. For example, if the race is being held a track that heavily favors P1, but you have to take 1/3 odds to get him, where is the value in that? There are a lot of other drivers in the race, and unpredictable things that can happen. If I can’t find value in any of the other drivers, I’ll either sit out that race, or look at some other types of bets.
Value is about the chances a driver will produce a winning bet, versus the odds you’re getting on him. For example, if you decide a driver will win this race, from this starting position, in these weather conditions, against this competition 1 out of 4 times, you have to be getting 3/1 or better odds on him. If you think he’ll win one out of four times, but are only getting 5/2 on him, this driver is not giving us enough value to bet on him.
Research the Formula One Racing Circuits
Knowing the type of circuit a race is being held on can be a critical part of choosing the right drivers to bet on. On wide-open circuits where there are a lot of opportunities for overtaking, this is less important than it is on tighter circuits where it’s difficult to pass. For example, the Circuit de Monaco is generally considered the most difficult track for passing. If your driver is starting in P1, he has a much better chance of winning the race than he would starting in P1 at most other circuits. This track is so tight, and overtaking is so difficult, that from 2004 through 2011 the only time P1 didn’t win was in 2008. If you’re going to pick a driver who isn’t starting in P1, it’s critical that you select a driver who is known for being ultra-aggressive – someone willing to take a risk. There are other circuits similar to this one, and punters need to be aware of them before they pick their winning drivers.
It’s also important for punters to match up circuits to drivers racing styles, and to their cars. For example, Jenson Button has a smooth driving style that helps his tyres last longer. On some tracks, tyre wear isn’t much of an issue. On other tracks, it can cause slower speeds and/or drivers to pit more often. So, a driver like Button has a distinct advantage on these types of circuits. On a circuit with fewer turns and high speed straights, cars with the most top-end speed should have better results than those who are slower. On tight circuits, top-speed might not matter much, giving an advantage to cars with better turning ability and grip.
Understanding F1 Team Strategies
Something that can be extremely frustrating to punters is when team strategies cause them to lose a bet. Team strategies usually don’t cause as many problems early in a season as they do later, once the points race becomes competitive. For example, when one driver on a team is in the hunt for the World Drivers Championship, his teammate might be told to back off. This happened again in the 2011 season when Sebastian Vettel was leading a race, but teammate Mark Webber was in second and picking up ground on Vettel. It appeared that Webber could’ve easily passed Vettel and gone on for the win, but was told by his team manager to back off and not pass Vettel. The discussion between Webber and his team manager was played on international television, and anyone who bet on Webber to win ended up a frustrated loser. Experienced F1 punters didn’t bet on Webber to begin with, knowing a situation like this could potentially happen. So, it’s important to pay attention to points races in the middle and later parts of a season, keeping in mind that the lead driver on a team is usually going to benefit from team strategies.
Rule Changes & Racing Trends
Something that is very important, but rarely discussed amongst punters are the trends that happen in F1. It’s very common to see a particular driver or constructor win for a certain amount of time, then suddenly drop off the top. This is usually due to rule changes made by FIA in order to keep Formula 1 competitive. It isn’t good for Formula 1 when one driver dominates, so they make changes to the rules to help other teams become competitive. This might sound unfair, but it usually isn’t. When a team dominates, it’s usually because they’re using some sort of technology the other teams can’t compete with. With such a wide variety of technology that teams are allowed to employ, it can be difficult for other teams to compete without making major (expensive) changes to their cars. So, FIA might limit the way teams use their technology until the racing becomes competitive again.
Rule changes like these are sometimes made during a season, but more often they’re made during the off-season. Smart punters will pay attention to off-season rule changes and see how that’s translating during testing. If you know a team is testing well, this gives you more information on how to bet in the early part of the upcoming F1 season.