Sunday, 10 February 2013

Formula 1 Betting Markets: Part 1 - Winning Driver

The 'Break Even' odds for each driver in the Winning Driver market

For a driver, the only statistic that matters is who finishes first, but from a betting perspective there are several markets to consider.

I noticed last season that bookies tend to rank drivers in a similar order for each betting market, despite the fact that certain drivers can be sporadically brilliant but accident prone (leading to generous prices in the Winning Driver and Podium markets), while other drivers can be consistently solid without ever grabbing the headlines (making them an attractive bet in the Top Six and Top Ten markets).  So the key of course to winning in some of the less popular betting markets is to spot a driver who achieves consistency rather than headline grabbing brilliance.

The other key to winning is to notice a trend or an improvement in form from a particular driver before the bookies do.  Felipe Massa was a perfect example of this, achieving only 2 top six finishes from the first 11 Grand Prix of the year, but then going on to finish in the top six at 7 of the last 9 Grand Prix of the season.  Yet when his late season improvement of form began to take place, it was quite a few races before the bookies cottoned on, and you could therefore find decent odds available on him in the Top Six market.

eSportsonline Outlet - Save 50% + on Most Items + Free Shipping - While Supplies Last!Anyway, as a matter of statistical curiosity I decided to analyse four of the main markets each Grand Prix weekend during 2012 to see which drivers performed best in each market, namely, Winning Driver, Podium Finish, Top Six Finish and Top Ten Finish.

First of all I’ll start with the most important market, and also presumably the most popular, i.e. Winning Driver.  As you can see, I’ve used the number of race wins to calculate the odds for the ‘break even point’ from a betting point of view.  By this I mean if you were to place a bet on a driver at every Grand Prix of the season, the odds at which the driver would have to be priced at every race to ensure you broke even over the course of the season.

Here are the results:

Driver Wins Break Even Odds
Sebastian Vettel 5 4.00
Lewis Hamilton 4 5.00
Jenson Button 3 6.67
Fernando Alonso 3 6.67
Mark Webber 2 10.00
Kimi Raikkonen 1 20.00
Nico Rosberg 1 20.00
Pastor Maldonado 1 20.00

Eight winning drivers from twenty Grand Prix is quite a decent spread of winners, and it illustrates the unpredictable season we’ve just witnessed which meant it was tricky at times to predict a winner.  On the other hand, this also presented the opportunity for a generous return if you were lucky/astute enough to predict Nico Rosberg’s and Pastor Maldonado’s victories in China and Spain respectively.

No driver was dominant this year though, with even world champion Sebastian Vettel only managing to win five races from a total of twenty Grand Prix.  And despite Fernando Alonso’s superb consistency throughout the season, Jenson Button actually won just as many races.  Given that Jenson was more often than not priced more generously than Fernando, he would therefore have been a better bet over the course of the season.

All in all the Winning Driver market was probably one of the hardest markets to make a profit from in 2012, and the best strategy was perhaps to stay away from the bookies favourites of Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso, (who were generally priced at less than their break even odds) and instead favour outside bets slightly over the absolute favourites.

Next week I’ll move onto the 'break even odds' for the podium market.

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