The new F1 season continues this weekend in Jeddah with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Defending F1 Drivers' Champion Max Verstappen opened as the odds-on favorite, at -200, but the weekend saw an unexpected wrinkle as Verstappen was forced to end qualifying early.
Below are the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix odds and race favorites, and make sure to also check out our Saudi Arabian Grand Prix picks ahead of Sunday's race.
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix odds
|Driver||Odds to win Saudi Arabian GP|
|Nyck de Vries||+200,000|
Odds courtesy of bet365 as of March 18, 2023.
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Saudi Arabian Grand Prix favorites
Sergio Perez (+105)
Max Verstappen's early exit from qualifying opened up the door for Sergio Perez to take his second pole in as many races in Jeddah, and he did just that. The second pole of Perez's career has put him in an excellent position to win on Sunday.
Max Verstappen (+137)
A drive shaft issue halted Verstappen's Q2, after a blistering Q1, and has left him to start 15th on Sunday. As his place on the odds board would suggest, however, he's hardly out of the fight.
Fernando Alonso (+500)
Though Fernando Alonso couldn't capitalize on Verstappen's problem and take pole, he will start on the front row after qualifying third, with Charles Leclerc taking a 10-place penalty.
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix opening odds reaction
Max Verstappen - Fastest qualifier/race win (+162)
I was absolutely stunned and delighted Max Verstappen's qualifying/race double was available at such good odds. I was ready to gratefully hit it as low as -120 but after opening at +175, it has already begun to shorten — and in all likelihood will continue to do so after Friday's practices.
I've written extensively about the landscape of F1 right now but to reiterate, Red Bull is so far ahead of the competition. It was throughout 2022 and then it was again in Bahrain. There won't be a quick fix for the teams chasing and certainly not in Jeddah.
As a -200 race favorite, we're getting such good value in backing Verstappen to take pole as well. With Ferrari putting a greater emphasis on long runs this season, it's reasonable to expect it to be less of a threat to Red Bull on Saturdays.
Ultimately, it's Verstappen's teammate, Sergio Perez, not the Ferraris who could throw a wrench in this play. We can get a little insurance at decent value, however, with Red Bull to set the fastest qualifying time at -138.
Lean: Bet now before Friday's practices (Best odds: +162 at bet365)
Alpine - Both cars points finish (+200)
This same bet, at +250, could not have gone worse in Bahrain. Pierre Gasly had his final qualifying lap deleted and started 20th as a result. Esteban Ocon went full Heatles and was penalized not once, not twice, but three times over the course of the race to sink his Sunday.
And yet, here I am, just as optimistic about Alpine's outlook this weekend as I was ahead of Bahrain.
Penalties aside, it's a driver duo we can trust to maximize the car's performance. Gasly made up an excellent 11 places in the first race to finish ninth and take points in his first race for Alpine. Ocon, before penalties ruined his race, qualified ninth to position himself for a points finish on Sunday.
Equally pertinent for a team bet is the team itself. Though Alpine took just two points from Bahrain, it was, on average, the fifth-quickest team. With Aston Martin's competitive leap legit, that's likely to be where Alpine shakes out most weekends.
That'll position it to take double points more often than not — as it did last year — and we'll see this market settle around -120 most weekends.
Lean: Bet now before Friday's practices (Best odds: +200 at bet365)
Charles Leclerc - Podium finish (+162)
Don't be roped in by Charles Leclerc's seemingly good chances to finish on the podium on Sunday, sitting with the fourth-shortest odds to do so. After a repeated power issue in Bahrain, Leclerc will take a 10-place grid penalty ahead of Sunday's race in Jeddah.
A starting position likely between 13 and 15 will hardly preclude Leclerc from making up positions to bring home good points for Ferrari. That is likely but finishing on the podium is not, and not even as likely as his teammate Carlos Sainz Jr., who is priced at +200.
Assuming both Red Bulls make it through the race with issues, that is two of the podium places taken up. Then there's Sainz and Fernando Alonso, either of whom could easily finish on the podium on merit. Even Lance Stroll, George Russell, and Lewis Hamilton, while maybe not as likely to finish on the podium as Leclerc, will in all likelihood be starting ahead of him and have similar race pace.
When we know ahead of the weekend a grid penalty is coming, it's easy and really just logical to stay away from that driver entirely. That's what I am going to do with Leclerc and instead look at Sainz's podium finish (+200 at bet365).
Lean: Stay away entirely
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix starting grid
|Starting Position||Driver (Team)|
|1.||Sergio Perez (Red Bull)|
|2.||Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)|
|3.||George Russell (Mercedes)|
|4.||Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)|
|5.||Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)|
|6.||Esteban Ocon (Alpine)|
|7.||Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)|
|8.||Oscar Piastri (McLaren)|
|9.||Pierre Gasly (Alpine)|
|10.||Nico Hulkenberg (Haas)|
|11.||Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo)|
|12.||Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)|
|13.||Kevin Magnussen (Haas)|
|14.||Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)|
|15.||Max Verstappen (Red Bull)|
|16.||Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)|
|17.||Alex Albon (Williams)|
|18.||Nyck de Vries (AlphaTauri)|
|19.||Lando Norris (McLaren)|
|20.||Logan Sargeant (Williams)|
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.