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Las Vegas Grand Prix odds tighten; $100K bet placed

Updated November 18, 2023 - 6:52 pm

The Las Vegas Grand Prix is shaping up as a two-man race after Charles Leclerc’s odds were slashed when the Ferrari driver won the pole position for Saturday’s 10 p.m. Formula One race on the Strip.

Leclerc, a Monegasque driver, saw his odds to win the race plummet from 12-1 to the 2-1 second choice at Caesars Sportsbook behind Max Verstappen, who dipped to a -182 favorite.

“Qualifying is very important in F1, even more so on a street course,” Caesars assistant director of trading Adam Pullen said. “You’re going to have a drastic odds shift. As we stand now, it looks like a two-horse race. But anything can happen.”

Four of Leclerc’s five career wins have been from the pole position. But Verstappen, who will start second, has won 10 times when Leclerc starts the race in the lead.

George Russell, who will start third in his Mercedes, is the 20-1 third choice to win the race, followed by Carlos Sainz at 33-1, Sergio Perez at 50-1 and Lewis Hamilton at 66-1.

As of late Saturday afternoon, the biggest bets at BetMGM and Caesars were on Verstappen to win for the 18th time in 21 races this season. BetMGM took a $100,000 wager to win $50,000 on Verstappen at -200, while Caesars took a $22,500 bet to win $10,000 on Verstappen at -225.

Despite the big bets on Verstappen, a Dutch driver who already has clinched his third consecutive F1 title, books would prefer that he prevails as the prohibitive favorite, rather than have a long shot win.

“There’s obviously a ton of wagers with way higher payouts,” The Mirage sportsbook manager Scott Shelton said in a direct message on X. “We probably lose seven figures to half the field.”

Pullen said bettors also are backing some long shots at Caesars.

“Verstappen, of the likely winners, is the best case,” he said. “In the end, we do well on Leclerc as well. We need one of those two.”

Pullen said the race winner market will make up a little less than half of the total handle, or amount of money wagered, on the race.

“That’s a testament on how many different markets we have,” he said. “There’s a lot of bets on podium finish, which is the top three. It’s like a show bet in horse racing. It’s a very popular market.”

Verstappen is the -800 favorite for a podium finish, and Leclerc is -300. Russell is -120, followed by Perez at +180, Sainz at +200 and Hamilton at +350.

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

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