Lewis Hamilton favored in PointsBet odds for Saudi Arabian GP

PointsBet Odds Saudi Arabian
Lars Baron / Getty Images

After winning back-to-back in Brazil and Qatar, Lewis Hamilton has assumed the role of odds favorite at PointsBet Sportsbook to win the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Hamilton’s favored status is a reversal of the past three weeks when Max Verstappen was a heavy favorite for the Qatar Grand Prix, the Brazilian Grand Prix and the Mexican Grand Prix. With wins in the last two races, Hamilton has closed the gap to eight points with two races remaining. With momentum on his side, PointsBet has now made Hamilton the favorite to win the title and this weekend’s race.

Hamilton enters the race with minus odds in both categories. His line to win the Saudi Arabia GP was -200 on Wednesday with odds of winning the championship listed at -175. That means the only way to have a profitable bet is to get someone to take the opposite side.

Hamilton now has seven wins in 2021 to Verstappen’s nine, but to take the title, he may need to run the table and win the next two events because Verstappen has finished second or better in eight of the last nine races. The only time Verstappen failed to stand on the podium in that span of races was at Monza when he and Hamilton crashed as they battled for position adn failed to finish. Verstappen is listed with +260 odds to win the Saudi Arabian GP and +135 to win the championship.

One way to view American Odds is to move the decimal point two positions to the left. That will let a bettor know what they will make on a $1 bet, so the return on investment this week for Verstappen is $2.60 for the race and $1.35 for the championship. For bettors more comfortable with fractional odds, a bet of +300 is the same as 3/1.

No other driver is in contention to win the Driver’s Title.

It has been five races since a driver other than Hamilton or Verstappen won and the odds reflect as much. Valtteri Bottas took the checkers in the Turkish GP, where he faced odds of +1800. This week the traders at PointsBet are being a little more cautious and Bottas is listed at +1300. He has only one top-five finish in his last three starts, which was a third in Brazil. Prior to that, Bottas earned four top-fives and a sixth in five previous races.

Entering the weekend with a five-race top-five streak, Sergio Perez is listed at +2500. He finished third in three consecutive races from Turkey through Mexico and was fourth in his last two attempts.

There is a huge drop off to the fifth-ranked driver. Charles Leclerc is listed at +7000 for the outright win on benefit of six top-fives in his last eight starts. He was eighth in the most recent race at Qatar.

Fernando Alonso scored an emotional podium in Qatar when he crossed under the checkers third behind Hamilton and Verstappen. That had not appreciably helped his odds, however, and he is listed at +25000 for the outright win.

Esteban Ocon rounded out the top-five in the most recent GP. This week, he faces odds of +30000.

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For more betting coverage, check out NBC Sports Edge.

Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan after controversial block pass at Detroit


Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.

Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.

On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.

One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.

After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.

The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.

“It was good racing; it was fun,” Deegan said at about the 27-minute mark in the video above. “I just had some fun doing it.”

Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.

Lawrence defends Deegan
Jordon Smith failed to make the Detroit Supercross Main and fell to sixth in the points. – Feld Motor Sports

“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.

“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”

As Deegan and Smith battled, Jeremy Martin took the lead. Deegan finished second in the heat and backed up his performance with a solid third-place showing in the main, which was his second podium finish in a short six-race career. Deegan’s first podium was earned at Daytona, just two rounds ago.

But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.

Lawrence defends Deegan
A block pass by Haiden Deegan led to a series of events that eventually led to Jordon Smith failing to make the Main. – Feld Motor Sports

“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.

“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”

Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.

“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.

“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”

The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.