F1Motorsports

Japan Grand Prix Betting Picks and Predictions

The Suzuka Circuit is one of F1 driver’s favorite courses because of its demanding corners that are fairly balanced between right and left turns. That makes the return of the Japanese Grand Prix extra special considering it has been canceled since the 2019 season due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Valtteri Bottas is the defending champion in Japanese Grand Prix picks, but a lot has happened in the three years since his victory, including a worldwide pandemic. 

Max Verstappen Week? 

All eyes are going to be on Max Verstappen this week for some good reasons and some not-so-good. First, the positive, as Verstappen has another chance to claim his second F1 title even with a couple of races in hand still in 2022. 

Verstappen has to finish ahead of Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez this weekend, but there are still 112 points to be claimed after the Japanese Grand Prix. If Verstappen gets the win and the fastest lap point, he’ll clinch his second title. 

The other reason people are watching Verstappen in this week’s F1 odds is that he’s been in the news quite a bit this week, with news that Red Bull went heavily over their budget cap last year in Verstappen’s title run. There are some who want to see second-place finisher Lewis Hamilton instated as the champion instead of Verstappen if it’s found out that his team broke the rules. 

Even if Verstappen gets the win at the Japanese Grand Prix picks, he may have to wait weeks or even months to find out if he is a true back-to-back winner. 

Any Other Challengers? 

It’s been Verstappen’s year yet again, no doubt. He’s got 11 wins on the season and 13 podiums so claiming the Driver’s Championship is a matter of when not if. That being said, Verstappen is no sure thing for this weekend’s F1 betting picks. Verstappen had a chance to clinch in Singapore, but uncharacteristic errors in qualifying and the race led to a seventh place finish and some questions as to whether the controversy surrounding last year’s championship is getting to the team. 

Perez and Leclerc finished 1-2 in Singapore and are the only two drivers left that can dethrone Verstappen. Even if Verstappen wins, as long as Leclerc finishes second, he’s still not mathematically eliminated from the Driver’s Championship. Perez, on the other hand, can only give up five points before his title chances are dashed. 

Leclerc can also finish as low as third if Verstappen wins the event but doesn’t secure the fastest lap point. Leclerc finished sixth at the Japanese Grand Prix when it was last held in 2019.  

Japanese Grand Prix Odds 

Verstappen is the obvious lofty favorite in Japanese Grand Prix picks with a price of -180. He’s been the most dominant driver on the F1 circuit all season and probably deserves to wrap up a win and the title this weekend. 

Leclerc has some value at +380 because he’s got nothing to lose, racing to avoid elimination from the Driver’s Championship run. Leclerc showed his form by finishing second in the Singapore race and has had some moderate success at the Suzuka Circuit in the past. 

Perez is +1100 on the Motorsport odds this week, which isn’t bad value coming off the win in Singapore. He cannot afford to give up more than five points to Verstappen this week so it’s an all-or-nothing race for Perez. 

Others with value here include Lewis Hamilton at +1300 as he finished third here in 2019 and could be retroactively crowned the 2021 champion if Verstappen and Red Bull’s win is nullified. Hamilton has had a down year going winless. 

Conclusion

Nobody would fault you for going with Verstappen this week, and his price tag isn’t that bad at -180 for somebody who has been nearly an automatic podium candidate each week. Verstappen’s struggles in Singapore may be a sign of a mental block, though, with all the controversy surrounding last year’s championship. 

The play with the better ROI is Leclerc, racing to keep a long shot Driver’s Championship win alive. He was solid in Singapore and has experience at Suzuka. 

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