Betting on Formula 1 Matchups

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Matchup bets (also called match betting or speedrow bets) are wagers where a small group of drivers are put into a single betting pool, and the punters job is to select the driver who will have the highest finish. Most Formula 1 matchups consist of 2-6 drivers with similar expectations, keeping the bets competitive. Bookmakers who offer matchup bets generally offer five or ten different matchups per race, giving us more ways to bet on final race results.

As a true international sport with fans all over the world, F1 matchup bets can be found at most online Formula 1 betting websites. This gives punters the ability to look for the best matchups and get the best odds. Most online betting sites accept F1 matchup bets for as little as £1 – £2, and up to £500 or more. Many bookmakers also offer live matchup bets where punters can bet on drivers while the races are running. Of course as it gets deeper into a race, odds become shorter for top drivers, and greater for lower drivers.

Typical F1 Matchup Bet

A typical Formula 1 matchup bet with 5 drivers might look like this:

  • Nico Rosberg: 3/5 (1.60)
  • Michael Schumacher: 2/1 (3.00)
  • Adrian Sutil: 15/2 (8.50)
  • Paul di Resta: 14/1 (15.00)
  • Bruno Senna: 33/1 (34.00)

In the example above, Nico Rosberg is clearly the favourite, but his odds are very low. Before making this bet, I would take a close look at the circuit and see how likely it is that Michael Schumacher or other drivers could finish above him. If the circuit allows for a lot of passing and position changes, I would likely choose a driver other than Rosberg. It’s all about value.

Matchup bets (also called head-to-head bets) pitting just two drivers against each other are common as well. When you pick a driver, all he has to do is beat this one opponent. Since these drivers are generally considered to be very closely matched, odds usually aren’t any shorter than 1.40 for favourites, or greater than 2.75 for underdogs.

Formula One Matchup Betting Tips

Never bet on matchups that consist of the top drivers in a race. The reason is because only a small number of drivers win races each year, so the winner is almost certain to come from this group of drivers. In this type of matchup, the only drivers being eliminated from the bet are those who can’t win anyway (or are very unlikely to win). Since drivers are being removed from the wager, the odds for each driver in this matchup will be shorter than a regular wager on the outright winner.

If you find a matchup where you like the underdog, it’s usually better to place your bet before qualifying has begun. The reason is, if you’re right about that driver and he does well during qualifying, his odds will get much shorter.

If you’re betting after qualifying is done, always consider the type of circuit they’re racing on. For example, the Circuit de Monaco is extremely tight and difficult for passing. If your driver has three or four drivers starting in front of him on this circuit, it’s highly unlikely he’ll be able to pass all of them. When you’re choosing a driver lower on the starting grid than his opponents, make sure they’re racing on a circuit where it’s easy enough to pass. On tight circuits, it’s usually best to pick a driver in one of the top two starting positions within his group. The problem is, the driver with the top starting position will usually have very short odds. In this case, it’s often best to look at the next driver and see if he is offering better value.

In small groups of 5-6 drivers, little things can make the difference. If it’s going to rain during the race, is there a driver within a matchup group who is known for performing better in this type of weather than his opponents? Some drivers/cars are better on tight tracks with a lot of turns, while others are better on open circuits with long straights. How have the drivers within the matchup performed at this circuit in the past? Some circuits are known for eating tyres…do you know which drivers preserve their tyres bets? Jenson Button is a great example of this, as his smooth driving style gives him an advantage on circuits like these. Consider the little things.

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