Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Spanish GP Betting Preview - After the watershed

The Spanish Grand Prix this weekend is a watershed - from a betting point of view at least. After three rounds in which he looked the fastest all else being equal the bookies have twigged and Sebastian Vettel is now favourite for pole and win, ending a lengthy run of Lewis Hamilton having the shortest odds.

For the first time in a long time Sebastian Vettel
has the shortest odds to prevail
Photo: Octane Photography
They bookies might be counter-cyclical though, as Spain could be a good place for Mercedes to bounce back. The long turns and harder tyre compounds than usual should suit Mercedes and go some way to solve its rubber warm-up problems of the last three rounds.

Still Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel have this year been near-perennials at the front on Saturday and Sunday and are not to be written off readily. The odds reflect the close call, Vettel is 17/11 to get the pole and 13/8 to win; Lewis Hamilton's respective odds are 2/1 and 7/4.

Something the bookies haven't quite twigged on though is the form of their respective team-mates Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen - form that is not reflected in their points totals. Both have tempting long odds to win or to get on the podium this weekend. Bottas can be backed at 9/1 to win and 6/5 to finish in the top three, while the respective odds for Raikkonen are 12/1 and 7/5.

There are pretty long-looking odds also for Raikkonen to get pole, at 11/2. He's looked set for that starting slot in each of the last three rounds only to be denied at the last. The law of averages suggests he'll get it at some point.

The Barcelona track should suit the Red Bull and Daniel Ricciardo can be backed to finish on the podium at 13/8, while if you fancy Max Verstappen to end his haphazard run then he can be backed at 17/10 to do the same.

The bookies appear to have decided that McLaren and particularly Fernando Alonso will be best of the rest outside of the 'big three' teams this weekend. That may be slightly fanciful and it'll rely on McLaren's technical upgrade being conspicuously better than those of the teams around it (something recent history doesn't back up).

Will Force India lead the midfield?
Photo: Octane Photography
There may be better value with Alonso's countryman Carlos Sainz. He looked in improved form last time out in Baku following a tricky season start, and has a good record at this track - he qualified fifth in 2015, finished sixth in 2016 and seventh last year. You can get 6/1 on him to finish in the top six this time.

The odds for either Force India driver to finish in the top 10 look very long, particularly considering the team looked back to its habitual form in Baku and Sergio Perez finished on the podium there. Both Checo and his team-mate Esteban Ocon can be backed at 11/8 to score. If you prefer more of a punt either can be backed at 7/1 to finish in the top six.

There also are odds available on who tops the opening practice session on Friday. Mercedes has topped three of the four first practice sessions so far this season (and it got a 2-3 in the one it didn't top) - you can back Hamilton at 2/1 and Bottas at a whole 11/2 to top first practice. Curiously the odds available on Mercedes to top first practice are less tempting, at 10/11.

While again if we want to learn from the four rounds so far in 2018 the fastest laps have been split two apiece between Bottas and Ricciardo, Bottas is at 7/2 and Ricciardo a whole 6/1 to get fastest lap in this one.

All odds quoted in this article were accurate on the Oddschecker website at 1815 BST on Wednesday 9 May 2018.

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