Australian Grand Prix 2018: Odds and Betting Preview

For Formula One fans the long wait is nearly over and this weekend sees the start of the new season. The Australian Grand Prix is the traditional curtain raiser with the world’s best drivers fighting it out to secure early points and to put a marker down to the rest of the field.

It’s been another fascinating off-season with driver changes and new cars being introduced but has that had any effect on the betting or are the usual suspects lining up at the top of the market?

Pole Position

We’ll deal with the season-long markets as we move through this preview but in terms of the Australian Grand Prix, our defending champion heads the result betting by some margin. Lewis Hamilton claimed his fourth Drivers’ Championship while dominating the second half of the 2017 season and the Mercedes man is favourite at best odds of 11/10 with SkyBet and SportingBet to take the chequered flag in Melbourne on Sunday.

Sebastian Vettel ran Hamilton close for much of the campaign before fading in the final few races and the German is now available at 7/2 with William Hill and Unibet to claim the first Grand Prix of 2018. Vettel actually won here 12 months ago and went on to finish first in three of the first six races of 2017 so, a similarly fast start could make him the value option in Melbourne.

Behind the top two we have Max Verstappen at best odds of 6/1 with Bet365 and Black Type and then we come to Valtteri Bottas at a top price of 15/2 with Ladbrokes and Coral. Bottas was more successful last season with three GP wins to Verstappen’s two but the young Dutchman is seen as a future world champion and if he can curb an approach which is seen as reckless at times, he could well see more chequered flags this time around.

Falling Behind

Gaps start to open up in the betting for Australia and as we move beyond Bottas, the first name to appear is that of Daniel Ricciardo at a best of 8/1 with William Hill and Unibet. The Australian is perhaps closer to the top four because he’s on his home track and he did win a race in 2017, taking first place in Azerbaijan, but that 8/1 figure seems a little short.

Moving on, Fernando Alonso can be claimed at a top price of 80/1 with William Hill, Kimi Raikkonen is on offer at 33/1 with William Hill again and then we get to Stoffel Vandoorne at best odds of 200/1 with Bet365 and 10Bet.

At the start of a new F1 season, we may see some different drivers coming through but at the moment we’re not looking beyond the top four in terms of this year’s Australian Grand Prix winner.

Other Options

Lewis Hamilton

Away from the straight result betting, we have some busy side markets for the first Grand Prix of the 2018 season. Pole Position betting is available and this is where Hamilton moves to a best odds on price of 4/5 with Coral and Ladbrokes while Vettel is in second place at best odds of 4/1 with Winner Sports.

The 2017 campaign showed this to be quite a restricted market with pole position shared between just four drivers. Bottas at a best of 9/2 with SportingBet could be an option but this is one market where we agree with the bookmakers and we won’t be looking past Hamilton.

The fastest lap market is a little tighter although once again we have the same two drivers at the top. Hamilton is favourite at a top price of 28/17 with Sport Pesa with Vettel in second place at a best of 3/1 with SportingBet.

Season Long Bets

It’s worth just touching on the market for the Constructors’ Championship even though Mercedes’ dominance means that we don’t see too much in the way of value here. The favourites and current title holders are available for 2018 at best odds of 1/2 with Betway and Winner Sports and this could be the time to back them as a positive outcome for Mercedes drivers in Melbourne will mean that those odds will only go one way.

Behind the market leader, the bookmakers feel there is a possible challenge from just two teams. Red Bull are on offer at best odds of 62/17 with MarathonBet while Ferrari follow at 4/1 with Bet365 before we drift right out to 33/1 where we find McLaren listed at that figure by Betway.

The Drivers’ Championship could, in contrast, be more competitive but it starts with an obvious favourite in reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes pilot is available at best odds of 5/6 with Winner Sports while Vettel follows at 4/1 with Ladbrokes and Unibet. Verstappen is the closest man to these two at a top price of 8/1 with SportingBet while Bottas is next at 11/1 with Betway.

Daniel Ricciardo may be surprisingly close for many at best odds of 12/1 with Unibet and then we start to drift to Fernando Alonso at a top price of 25/1 with Bet365. Based on last year’s performances and car upgrades, we’re looking at Hamilton again but a slow start could see that odds on price shift slightly to Even Money or possibly higher.

Trends, Indicators and Verdict

Sebastian Vettel

Of the two main contenders in the field, Sebastian Vettel has a slight edge over Lewis Hamilton having won the event twice and the German got his 2017 F1 campaign off to the perfect start with victory here 12 months ago. Hamilton also has two wins in this race but they are more spread out, with a seven year gap between 2008 and 2015. In that sense you could say that the Englishman is a slower starter but for the first race of any new season, we won’t get any real indicators until the cars get out for the first round of qualifying.

If pushed to make a verdict now we would suggest that a safe bet could be to back Hamilton for the fastest lap which comes in at a reasonable 4/5 with Ladbrokes. The Mercedes driver took 11 poles last season and improvements in his car should see him add to that tally.

As for the ultimate winner, it’s a bit of a jump into the unknown but Vettel offers value and with recent success in Melbourne, we’re banking on him to come back strongly and make a fast start to 2018.

Best Bets for the Australian Grand Prix 2018:

  • Lewis Hamilton to Take Pole Position at 4/5 with Ladbrokes
  • Sebastian Vettel to win at 7/2 with William Hill
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