Mercedes Still Huge Favourites Despite Ferrari Win
After the first Grand Prix of the season in finished in Melbourne, you would have expected plenty of punters to double check the odds for Ferrari to grab their first Constructors' Championship in 10 years. The Ferrari drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, sandwiched Lewis Hamilton on the podium, finishing 1st and 3rd, with the Mercedes driver finishing in 2nd. Hamilton's team-mate Valterri Bottas was back in 8th position.
It left the Constructor's Standings like this:
Red Bull 20pts
You would expect, then, to see Ferrari's odds shorten a little for the Constructors' Championship as they hold an 18-point advantage over Mercedes after the first Grand Prix. However, the bookmakers did not agree and seem to have lengthened Ferrari's odds and shortened the odds for Mercedes. The Constructors' Championship odds (Betfair) are as follows:
So, what evidence have the bookmakers seen to warrant Mercedes at such short odds? Well, Hamilton dominated qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, started in pole and got off to a good start in Melbourne. His failure to win was arguably more a failure by the Mercedes backroom staff, with Vettel pitting when the virtual safety car came out and gaining an advantage over Hamilton. Put simply, Mercedes got their calculations wrong - something we have rarely seen in the last few seasons.
That's clearly the bookmakers' reasoning as we look ahead to the Bahrain Grand Prix (8th April). They believe that Mercedes will not make the same mistake twice. But have they erred somewhat? We have to remember that points are collected by two drivers, and young Bottas was way off the pace in 8th position. It is clear that Hamilton can hold off the challenge from Vettel and Raikkonen, but can he amass enough points to cover Bottas, who is arguably still finding his feet? That's partly the reason why punters should perhaps swerve putting their money on Mercedes at 2/7. Wouldn't Hamilton be a better bet at 1/2 to win the Drivers' Championship - bigger odds and arguably a better chance of winning. Incidentally, here are the other odds for the top drivers:
Indeed, if searching for value in your betting, Ferrariâ€™s odds look very tempting. Certainly, the 5/1 looks a better option than Red Bull, a team sitting on exactly half the points of Ferrari. Sure, Ferrari got a bit of luck with the timing of the safety car in Melbourne, but you make your own luck at the very top level of this sport. Punters who enjoy long shots might even like the look of McLaren, who are available at 250/1 with some other bookmakers. The improvement from last season was certainly evident in Melbourne. Follow the link to get the best free bets with no deposit required to cover yourself for a sensational punt like that.
In the end, it still looks like Mercedes should be the favourites for their fifth consecutive Constructors' Championship. One Grand Prix where a couple of errors were made should not change that. However, should they be so short in the odds? As the season goes on we will get a solid answer, but punters may be rewarded for going against them at this early stage.