The inaugural Miami Grand Prix is upon us.
The first of two Formula 1 races in the United States this year is Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC) as the series visits the parking lot around Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Yeah, the route is no Monaco, but Miami Grand Prix officials and F1 have seemingly wasted no space at the track site to make it look as Miami as possible. There’s even a fake marina located near the track.
Since the track is new, we’re not sure what to expect for the weekend’s race. The circuit contains three significant stretches where drivers are flat out and also a couple of heavy braking zones. You can take a look at what the track looks like from a driver's perspective here.
Points leader Charles Leclerc is the favorite to win the first practice at +150 but isn’t the favorite to get the pole or win the race. That status goes to Max Verstappen at +100 each for the pole and the race win. Verstappen and Red Bull have been faster in a straight line than Ferrari so far this season and we’re guessing Verstappen is getting love from oddsmakers because of all of the expected throttle time at the Miami track.
Leclerc is right behind Verstappen for both the race and the pole. Leclerc is +140 to win the pole and +150 to win the race. No one else is close to them either. Leclerc’s Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz is the No. 3 favorite for the pole at +700 while Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez is the No. 3 favorite for the win at +800.
Both of Mercedes’ drivers are again facing long odds to either win the pole or the race. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said the team has found “several directions” to go to fix its early-season issues. But Mercedes’ improvement is likely to be in smaller steps and not in a big leap taken at Miami. Oddsmakers at BetMGM realize that. Lewis Hamilton is +3300 to win the race while his teammate George Russell is at +4000. Hamilton is a staggering +5000 to win the pole while Russell is at +6600.
Here are a few of our best bets before what’s certain to be the biggest weekend in American motorsports this spring. You can see the entire list of bets available at BetMGM here.
Pole winning margin smaller than 0.250 seconds (-350)
Yes, these odds are extremely short, but they’re worth taking on a bet that feels almost certain to cash. It would be a stunner if the pole margin was greater than a quarter of a second.
Charles Leclerc to finish in the top three (-225)
Leclerc threw away a top-three finish at Imola when he spun while chasing down Sergio Perez. We don’t think he’ll make a similar mistake on Sunday.
Lewis Hamilton to finish in the top six (-155)
There’s some risk here given Hamilton’s qualifying performances at Saudi Arabia and Imola setting him back during the race. But we’re confident that Mercedes will have a better setup in Miami than it did at either of those two tracks.
A Red Bull car to win the pole (-135)
With Verstappen at +100, we might as well take the slightly shorter odds and bundle Sergio Perez in the bet. We’re wary of discounting Ferrari’s qualifying pace but Red Bull should have just enough to win the pole with either of its drivers.
Both Verstappen and Leclerc to finish top three (-110)
Since we’re going with Leclerc in the top three we’re going to bundle it with Verstappen also pulling it off and take these near-even odds. It’ll be a surprise if both drivers aren’t in the top three.