Emilia Romagna F1 Grand Prix betting preview: Who can stop Verstappen?

Max Verstappen drives for Red Bull Racing
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Matt Selz


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NASCAR handicapper for Pickswise, looking to give you winners throughout the season! For Matt Selz media enquiries, please email contact@pickswise.com.

Round four of the F1 season is looming in the Italian countryside at Imola and the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Imola is a historic F1 track and one that harkens back to yesteryear with a tight racing surface and 19 tricky corners that make passing a challenge. What does that mean for betting this weekend? Well let’s dive into a bit of strategy for the race at Imola.

F1 Betting Strategy

The first thing we have to talk about is the track and what exactly that means for betting. It’s a tight track with elevation changes and only on DRS zone. Passing will be a challenge. In terms of layout and speed, the teams that have been better at handling the porpoising issue and getting grip in the corners, will be the teams that are most successful on Sunday. One last thing to throw out there: the weather is a bit unpredictable here. Most forecasts believe it will be mostly sunny and dry for the race ,but there’s still a lingering chance of rain. If rain comes, the teams that did better in FP1 and qualifying will have the advantage. If it stays dry, FP2 and the Sprint race will hold more weight.

Imola Grand Prix odds

Favorite – Max Verstappen -165

Verstappen is on the pole, at a track it’s hard to pass at, and he smoked Charles Leclerc in the Sprint race. That’s three check marks in his favor. Even if he gets beat on the start by Leclerc, like in the Sprint race, he’s got the pace this weekend to overcome that. Also on his side? Leclerc has yet to win a race in which he has not started on the pole in his career.

Sergio Perez +1200

We’re betting the pair of Red Bulls this weekend. They’ve both been fast in either the wet or the dry between Friday and Saturday. Perez is starting behind Verstappen, but he has been more skilled at moving through the field this weekend and actually outpaced Verstappen in FP2. If, over the long race runs, Perez’s pace is better, he could secure the second win of the year for Red Bull and pay a nice return, as well.

Imola Grand Prix Prop Bets

Carlos Sainz Podium Finish +110

Sainz had the fastest car much of the weekend before inexplicably wrecking out in qualifying. He then moved up several spots in the Sprint race in the dry conditions. That indicates he’s got a fast car in the wet and dry conditions — exactly what we want. Ferrari has been outwitting Red Bull with pit strategy this year, too, which should help him beat at least one of the Red Bulls to the line.

Favorite Prop – Sergio Perez Fastest Lap +425

Perez was blazing fast at FP2 and had the fastest lap in the Sprint race as he moved up four spots in the grid. Red Bulls seem much improved this week and in the dry conditions, Perez had more pace than his teammate Verstappen, as well. It’s a bit longer odds than normal for this prop, but Checo certainly has the pace to do it.

Nicholas Latifi First To Retire +750

Come on…this is just getting to be habit at this point. He wrecked out at the Saudi Arabian GP and had issues at practice in Australia. Teammate Alexander Albon had issues this week as well indicating the reliability questions remain with Williams. Back in the pack and fighting for spots doesn’t bode well for Latifi and as a hedge, Williams is +500 for 1st Team Retirement if we think Albon has issues instead.

Double Top-6 Finish McLaren +175

McLaren is having a resurgence that started in Australia two weeks ago. Now they’re both starting top-six in the grid at a track it’s tough to pass on. If the McLarens can hold their spots and invoke smart pit strategy, we shouldn’t have a hard time hitting this bet. Oh and one more thing, if it does start to rain during the race, both Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo excel in wet conditions.

Double Top-10 Finish AlphaTauri +750

This is perhaps the riskiest prop I’m liking this week, but there’s juice that’s worth the squeeze. The AlphaTauri duo put up top-10 lap times in FP2 — when the track was dry — and before they had issues in the Sprint race. If Pierre Gasly can move up through the field, both he and Yuki Tsunoda should have the speed to finish in the points on Sunday.

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