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Defending champ favored as Formula 1 starts road to Las Vegas

The Daytona 500 is considered the Super Bowl of NASCAR, but there is more betting interest at local sportsbooks on the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Likewise, Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito expects the betting handle on the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix to dwarf the other 22 stops on the Formula One schedule, which starts Sunday in Bahrain.

“Having an international sporting event like Formula One on the Strip, it’s going to be a crazy environment,” he said. “I can only imagine what it will generate being here. It will be the highest-bet Formula One race on the circuit this year.”

Max Verstappen is the odds-on favorite to win his third straight F1 drivers’ championship this season. He’s -180 at Station Casinos, followed by Charles Leclerc at +350 and Lewis Hamilton at 4-1.

Hamilton is tied with Michael Schumacher for the record for most F1 world drivers’ titles with seven each. Hamilton had won four straight world championships and six of seven before Verstappen ended his reign in 2021.

Verstappen is the -130 favorite to win the Bahrain Grand Prix, followed by Leclerc at +250 and Hamilton, Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz Jr. at 8-1 each.

For the Las Vegas race, scheduled for 10 p.m. Nov. 17, Verstappen is a -140 favorite over Hamilton (3-1). George Russell is the 5-1 third pick, Leclerc is 6-1, Perez 12-1 and Sainz Jr. 20-1.

Red Bull is the -160 favorite to be the winning team of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, followed by Ferrari (+225) and Mercedes (+250).

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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