Pick Formula One Winners

The one topic everyone wants to be an expert at: how to pick formula one winners! I will share with you how you do it in this article, but I can promise you that it is not done the way you may think. Read on to get educated!

It is all about the Odds

When you are looking at the lineup for a grand prix and see the different odds offered on each driver, what pops into your mind? Do you pay attention to the odds at all? Well, you definitely should. This odds determines how much you will get in return for when the driver you bet on actually do wins, and that is of high priority.

Let me share a simple example with you guys: we all know that (as of 2013) that Sebastian Vettel is quite dominant in the racing scene, and will always be looked upon as the favorite to win each Grand Prix. One would thus think that betting on him blindly would yield a handsome return. However, he does not always win, so there will be a cut off for where it will be a profitable bet and a losing one.

How to determine if a bet is profitable

To do this, you just need to do some simple math. Let us say that we are looking to bet on Sebastian Vettel winning the next Grand Prix race. We belive he is a 35% likely to do so, and we are given odds of 2.75 at Bet365 sportsbook.

Expected Value:
EV = (p * b) + ((1-p) * (-1)) = (0.35 * 1.75) + ((1-0.35) * (-1)) = 0.6125 – 0.6500
EV = -0.0375

where p = win probability and b = decimal odds – 1

We find that we have a negative expected value on this bet. That means that everytime we make this bet, we stand to lose 0.0375 times our bet. So if we bet $500, we are expected to lose $18.75 ($500 * -0.0375). So we should not be making this bet. If the odds were higher, we could make the bet and stand to make money, but for now, we will pass.

Let us look at another example, from the same race where Jenson Button, although an outsider, is competing for the winning spot on the podium as well. You think it is merely a 2.5% chance of him besting all the other drivers, so by no means does he have all that big of a chance to win. But when you are given the high odds of 41, there might be some value in the bet:

Expected Value:
EV = (p * b) + ((1-p) * (-1)) = (0.025 * 41.0) + ((1-0.025) * (-1)) = 1.025 – 0.975
EV = 0.050

where p = win probability and b = decimal odds – 1

This time we find a positive value, and a bet of $500 would expect us to yield $25 ($500 * 0.050) over time. A bet that should be made, but remember to size your bet accordingly to your bankroll. Check out our article on bankroll management for that.

Although the calculations are simple, it is hard to come up with correct numbers for the win probabilities. Even a slight miss on the win percentages, and you are making a bet that you shouldnt be or passing on a decent wager. That is where your analytical skills comes into play!

Line Shopping is 90% of the work

Even though you can be the best statistical person in the world and create the best model for coming up with these win probabilites, you still need to the odds that can justify the chances each racer has. Since most of the sites do a good job of creating lines that are close to the true lines AND they have the added benefit of adding a margin of safety in the juice they add, most of the time, the odds you are looking at will be set correctly. Thus what you need to work on is scouring the bookmakers trying to find the highest odds that are available at the moment.

Not only do you need this to even find a profitable bet, but even if the odds that are widely available are profitable, you still will prefer to bet it even higher odds. So make it a habit trying to find the best odds out there.

Where Do We Line Shop?

In a perfect world, you would have money deposited at every sportsbook online. However, that is not possible for us normal bettors, unless you are called Billy Walters. You thus need to settle for a couple of decent ones. A good start would be to check our list of F1 betting sites that we have reviewed and to find the ones we recommend to those that cannot muster the money for more than a few to start out.