Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix betting preview: Lewis Hamilton doesn't enter as the favorite

Nick Bromberg
·3 min read

The 2021 Formula 1 season is beginning without Lewis Hamilton as the favorite to win the first race of the season.

Hamilton is going for his eight F1 world championship in 2021 after winning the previous four titles. He’s the favorite once again to win the title. But after Mercedes wasn’t the fastest team in preseason testing in Bahrain earlier this month, Hamilton enters Sunday’s race as the No. 2 favorite.

The No. 1 favorite is Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen. He was consistently the quickest driver throughout testing and has odds to win the race at +150. Hamilton is at +170.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas is the third favorite at +500. Sergio Perez is fourth at +600. He partners Verstappen this year at Red Bull after his contract at Racing Point (now Aston Martin) wasn’t renewed.

After Perez, the odds get pretty long for everyone else in the field. Daniel Ricciardo is the fifth favorite in his first race for McLaren. But Ricciardo is at +2500. His teammate Lando Norris is at +3300.

Below are some of our favorite bets at BetMGM for Sunday’s race. There are a lot of fun bets to choose from for F1 and if you’re looking for some creative ways to wager this weekend you have a lot of F1 options.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain holding the helmet of former F1 legend Michael Schumacher, celebrates after winning the Eifel Formula One Grand Prix at the Nuerburgring racetrack in Nuerburg, Germany, as Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands, right who finished second applauds him at the podium, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. Hamilton with this win equals 91 wins in F1 races as Michael Schumacher. Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia finished third. (Ronald Wittek, Pool via AP)
Will Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen win on Sunday? (Ronald Wittek, Pool via AP)

Bahrain Grand Prix

11 a.m. ET (ESPN2)

Lewis Hamilton to finish in the top 3 (-300)

Hamilton hardly ever finishes outside the top three. Yeah, Mercedes struggled a bit in testing. But the team will be second-best at worst to Red Bull on Sunday and Hamilton is the defending champion of the Bahrain Grand Prix. He finished in the top three in 14 of 16 races in 2020 and has finished outside the top three just eight times in the past three seasons.

Esteban Ocon to finish in the top 10 (-115)

Ocon returns to Alpine F1 — formerly Renault — after he was 12th in the points standings in 2020. He finished ninth in this race in 2020 and should be in the back half of the top 10 again.

Esteban Ocon to beat Fernando Alonso (+140)

Alonso is making his F1 return after not racing in the series the last two seasons. It could take him a little bit to get up to speed. The odds are pretty favorable for Ocon here, so why not take a flier?

Both Alpine drivers to finish in the top 10 (+185)

Yes, this is an Alpine-heavy betting preview. Both Ocon and Alonso should be good enough to finish in the top 10 even if they finish ninth and 10th. We’re not sure Ferrari will have the speed right away to knock both Alpine drivers out of the top 10.

Either Red Bull or Mercedes to win the race (Each -105)

Bet your hunch on this one. Something crazy is going to have to happen for the race to not be won by a Mercedes or Red Bull driver. Since both teams have equal -105 odds, go with the team you think will get to victory lane.

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