Max Verstappen put his foot down during Saturday's qualifying round, taking pole position ahead of Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix after an unimpressive weekend last week when he took 11th in qualifying and finished fifth on Sunday.
Can Verstappen reestablish his dominance in Japan or will the rest of the grid step up on Sunday? Our Formula 1 odds suggest he'll be hard to beat two weeks in a row, now a commanding favorite after taking the pole.
Japanese Grand Prix 2023 odds
|Max Verstappen||Red Bull||-600||-600||-700|
|Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+1,500||<+1,300\>||+1,200|
|Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin||+20,000||+14,000||+15,000|
Odds as of September 23, 2023.
Japanese Grand Prix 2023 post-qualifying picks
Race prediction: Max Verstappen to win (-600 at DraftKings)
This prediction should come as no surprise, even despite Verstappen's rather unimpressive showing at the Singapore Grand Prix last weekend. We noted that Verstappen's opening odds of -300 were a shining opportunity to back the dominant driver before they inevitably got shorter after qualifying, and there was good reason for that.
Last year, he secured victory at the Japan Grand Prix and dominated the qualifying round, clinching pole position. Charles LeClerc was the only driver who came close to challenging his supremacy during that session. Mad Max has also had exceptional success this season as he has prevailed in 12 out of the 15 races and set a new Formula One record for the longest consecutive race win streak.
After likely taking his figurative foot off of the pedal last weekend after rewriting Formula One history, his qualification showing demonstrates that he is primed to return to his winning ways.
Best bet: Charles Leclerc to record a podium finish (+333 at Caesars)
We highlighted a Top-6 finish prop for Leclerc in the opening odds reaction, and we're all in on it following Saturday's qualifying. Leclerc has quietly put together a string of solid performances after a shaky start to the 2023 season, having finished fourth or better in the last three races that he has completed.
Leclerc was also the runner-up in last year's qualifying round of the Japanese Grand Prix, and he converted that to a podium finish on race day.
Granted, Leclerc only finished fourth in Saturday's qualifying round, but if anything, that just provides an ample value opportunity given that both Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris will start ahead of him. These are two drivers that Leclerc has repeatedly outperformed over the course of this season.
Leclerc also boasts both the technical skill and driving pedigree that warrants backing for Sunday's race.
Japanese Grand Prix 2023 starting grid
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Japanese Grand Prix 2023 pre-qualifying favorites
Max Verstappen (-350)
Verstappen's F1 record of 10 straight victories came to an end in Singapore. He struggled in qualifying (P11) and finished fifth in the tough overtaking conditions of the street circuit despite getting as high as second.
However, that doesn't change much in terms of his odds here in Japan. He's in the -350 range as he looks to defend his title from a season ago.
Sergio Perez (+1,100)
Sergio Perez has been a mainstay in the No. 2 spot as he drives alongside Verstappen in the second Red Bull, however, his results have been up and down for much of the season.
Like his teammate, Perez struggled in Singapore. He finished P13 in qualifying and was only able to get up to eighth on Sunday.
Lando Norris (+1,200)
McLaren's Lando Norris has made the most of the second half of the season and continues to knock on the door of his first F1 victory.
He's recorded three second-place finishes in his last six races, including last week in Singapore where he held off the two Mercedes down the stretch.
Japanese Grand Prix opening odds reaction
Max Verstappen to win (-300 at Caesars)
The runaway 2023 Drivers Champion leader by 151 points has not opened this short to win a race in five races. After struggling in last week's qualifying round (11th) and after only being able to climb to fifth and finishing +21.441s behind Sainz, Verstappen has shown some vulnerability.
Perhaps this weekend he can get things back on course, given that he won the last Japanese Grand Prix and had done so by a whopping +27.066s. This grand prix had eluded Verstappen in his career (something that doesn't happen often for Max), having never won it before last year despite five previous appearances.
Verstappen retired in the Japanese GP before that in 2019 (this grand prix did not run in 2020 nor 2021 due to COVID) but had finished third, second, and second in the three prior grand prixs.
Despite last weekend's results, it almost feels entirely necessary to snag Verstappen at these odds given that we have not seen him this long in so many races.
Lean: Bet before free practice and qualifying.
Carlos Sainz to win (+2000 at PointsBet)
Last week's winner may feel tempting to back given his win-win result in Singapore and his seemingly disrespectful odds with respect to that, but he should be someone you stay away from entirely.
The Japanese Grand Prix has long been a troublesome course for Sainz, featuring a retirement in 2022 and 2017, and then a fifth (2019), tenth (2018), 17th (2016), and tenth (2015) place finish in the races he did complete.
And it hasn't been just some unlucky stretch of Sundays for him as his qualifying results demonstrate his struggles even further, having taken third, seventh, 13th, 15th, 14th, and 12th during that time.
Lean: Stay away entirely.
Charles LeClerc top six finish -155
Despite the focus as of late having been split between Verstappen's pursuit and the making of history and now Sainz's upset win last week, LeClerc has quietly been putting together a string of quality racing.
LeClerc started the season with just two top-six finishes and one podium finish across his first seven races, a far cry from his 2022 season in which he had two first-place and two second-place finishes across his first five races.
Outside a hiccup during the Dutch Grand Prix three races ago, he has now finished third, fourth, and fourth in the last three races he has completed. He also has a decent track record in Japan as of late, taking the podium in last year's race and sixth in 2019.
But he has been even better in the qualifying rounds, having taken runner-up in both instances. If he can replicate that success on Saturday, then he should be in a great position to convert that to a top-six finish on Sunday.
Lean: Bet prior to qualifying.
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Previous Japanese Grand Prix winners
|2022||Max Verstappen||Red Bull|
|2021||No event: COVID-19 related.||N/A|
|2020||No event: COVID-19 related.||N/A|
|2013||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull|
Understanding F1 betting odds
The most popular way to bet on Formula 1 odds is by simply picking the winner of a particular race. Other popular F1 betting options include which car/constructor will win and whether or not a particular race car driver will end up on the podium with a Top-3 finish.
F1 race odds usually look like this:
- Sergio Perez +1,400
This means that on a $100 bet, you'll stand to profit $1,400 if Perez wins that particular race. If one driver is especially dominant, you might see a minus sign (-) ahead of that driver's odds like this:
- Max Verstappen -120
This means that you would need to bet $120 to win $100 on Verstappen winning the race.