Formula 1: Against The Odds

Match Bets in March

with 2 comments

SportingBet have some interesting season-long match bets based on teams, teammates and mythical driver match-ups. Most of their prices seem pretty fair (save the massive over-round), but there are a few that I am struggling to explain.

The first is this constructor match bet:

8/13 Toyota vs. Honda 6/5

Basically you are betting which team will score the most points in the 2008 season. I can’t for the life of me see why Honda are the odds-against outsiders. If you look at SportingBet’s own outright Constructors’ World Championship market then both teams are available to back at 150/1. This would suggest that they have an equal chance of scoring the necessary points to win the championship. And whilst at 150/1 that is clearly unlikely, it is surely equally unlikely.

Moving away from SportingBet and looking at the wider CWC market – six of the firms listed at Oddschecker make Honda a shorter price than Toyota, three have them equally priced and three make Toyota favourites. If we were to draw a crude consensus from this, then it would appear that the expectation is for Honda to outperform Toyota. Are they value at 6/5?

Next is this driver match bet:

2/5 Raikkonen vs. Hamilton 17/10

Now let me start by saying that if you put a gun to my head then I would back Raikkonen. However without impending death it is safe to say that there is no value in that bet. SportingBet’s own outright Drivers’ World Championship market (where incidentally they are top-priced about both drivers) pitches the two drivers at:

6/4 Kimi Raikkonen
3/1 Lewis Hamilton

The remainder are 4/1 Bar. If this was a two horse race then we could calculate from those prices that the Finn has roughly a 62% chance of victory and the Brit a 38% chance. The true odds therefore would be:

5/8 Raikkonen vs. Hamilton 8/5

Unfortunately this is little more than a paper exercise that proves that Raikkonen is poor value at 2/5 and SportingBet’s over-round means that the edge gained in backing Hamilton is small (about 6%). It is also worth considering the high likelihood of one of these two winning the title anyway – and thus it is probably best just to back your fancy outright.

Finally a teammate match bet:

2/5 Fisichella vs. Sutil 17/10

Similar maths to the two examples above applies, in that most firms have the two equally priced or Fisi only a very slight favourite. However more interesting is the fact that Giancarlo hasn’t beaten a teammate since 2004. In two of those seasons the now 35 year-old has taken a pasting from Fernando Alonso and of course last year he was beaten by his rookie teammate Kovalainen.

Is Sutil the man to continue the trend? There were times last season when he was talked about in glowing terms and Vijay Mallya seems keen to hold on to him at Force India. I am not sure. Sutil hasn’t shone in winter testing and there is always the risk that the team doesn’t score enough points for this bet to be meaningful. 2/5 about Fisichella is no price though.


2 Responses

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  1. What do you think about the Head-to-Head between Massa and Alonso? In my opinion, 1.57 for Massa is a gift. I do not like too much the brazilinan but Ferrari has a better pace than Renault (maybe 0.5-1 second). It is difficult to imagine Alonso in the podium at least in the first part of the season so his possibilities to fight the chanmpionship are very reduced.


    March 4, 2008 at 7:46 am

  2. Hi Moonsorrow,

    I think that he is rightly favourite, but there are a couple of things that put me off from having a bet:

    I have slight suspicion that Renault are sandbagging, perhaps not massively, but I expect them to be closer than most are giving them credit for. In pre-season testing in 2006 they were often behind the Honda and Ferraris in tests but showed up and won the first three races. Plus whatever you think of Alonso, he his a driver who can wring the most from a car.

    Equally Felipe Massa is not a driver that has a particularly spectacular record at Melbourne. Now I don’t know whether these markets will be available “in-running” throughout the season, but if they are and Fernando can grab a podium in the first race and Massa finishes down the field then you will be able to get much better odds than 1.57.

    It is all about opinions though!


    March 4, 2008 at 6:40 pm

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