Max Verstappen favored in PointsBet odds for 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

PointsBet 2022 Azerbaijan odds
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With four wins in the first seven races in the Formula 1 season, Max Verstappen is this week’s PointsBet Sportsbook odds favorite to win the 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix by 65 points over Charles Leclerc. Verstappen’s is listed at +120, down from his opening line of +140.

Last week was the first time in 2022 Verstappen was running at the end of a race and did not win it after starting fourth on the tight Monaco Grand Prix circuit and finishing third. He finished one position ahead of Leclerc and extended his Driver’s Points lead to nine as the two finished within one position of one another in Monte Carlo.

For all his success elsewhere, Azerbaijan has not been kind to Verstappen with no podiums and just one top-five to his credit. Three of his other four results were outside the top 15.

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 $1.20 for the race. For bettors more comfortable with fractional odds, a bet of +300 is the same as 3/1.

Azerbaijan has been slightly better for Leclerc. While he also does not have a podium finish on that circuit, his worst result was sixth in his first attempt in 2018. Last year he earned his second consecutive pole on the heels of Monte Carlo and finished fourth in the race. This week Leclerc is listed a +185 for the outright win.

Ranked third is last week’s Monaco GP winner, Sergio Perez at +625. In addition to last week’s victory, Perez is the defending winner of the 2021 Azerbaijan GP after starting the race sixth. In five starts on this track, Perez has three podium finishes.

Leclerc’s Ferrari teammate, Carlos Sainz Jr. is ranked fourth with a line of +850. Sainz was the runner-up last week and he pressed Perez hard in the closing laps before crossing under the checkers 1.15 seconds back. Sainz enters this race with a four-race, top-10 streak in Azerbaijan. His best finish of fifth came in 2018.

With a line of +2500, George Russell rounds out the top five this week, landing him ahead of his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton. Russell was fifth last week in Monaco, but a gearbox issue kept him from finishing the 2021 race in Baku. In his only other start on this track, he finished two laps off the pace in 15th.

Hamilton sits just outside the top five with a line of +3000. So far in 2022, Hamilton has scored only one podium finish, which came in the season opener in Bahrain. Hamilton is the 2018 winner of this race and he finished second the following season. In 2021, he was 15th – the first time in five races that he failed to crack the top five.

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Kyle Busch interests McLaren for Indy 500, but team is leaning toward experience

McLaren Indy Kyle Busch
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With Arrow McLaren SP heavily weighing a fourth car for the Indy 500 next year, Kyle Busch is a candidate but not at the top of the IndyCar team’s list.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown addressed the possibility Wednesday morning during a video news conference with Gavin Ward, the team’s newly named racing director.

“I have not personally spoken with Kyle Busch, but you can read into that that someone else in our organization has,” Brown said. “We want to make sure if we run a fourth car, we’re in the mindset that we want someone that is experienced around the 500. It’s such an important race, and from a going for the championship point of view, we’ve got three drivers that we want to have finish as strong as possible, so if we ran a fourth car, we’d want to be additive, not only for the fourth car itself, but to the three cars and so bringing in someone who’s not done it before potentially doesn’t add that value from an experience point of view.”

Busch will race the No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing next season in NASCAR under a new deal that will allow the two-time Cup Series champion to make his Indy 500 debut. Busch, who had a previous deal to run the Indy 500 nixed by Joe Gibbs Racing, openly courted Chevy IndyCar teams to contact him during his introductory news conference with RCR last month.

After Team Penske (which has given no indications of a fourth car at Indy alongside champion Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin), McLaren is the second-best Chevy organization, and it’s fielded an extra Indy 500 car the past two years for Juan Pablo Montoya. The Associated Press reported last month that McLaren was in “serious conversation” about running Busch at Indy with Menards sponsorship.

But with its restructured management, the team is in the midst of significant expansion for 2023. AMSP is adding a third full-time car for 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi to team with Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, and a massive new shop also is being built in the Indianapolis area.

“(It’s) not because of him but purely because of experience,” Brown said of Busch. “He’s an awesome talent and would be huge, huge news for the speedway. But yeah, I think everyone is under consideration if we decide to do it, but experience is right at the top of the list as far as what’s going to be the most important to us.”

And it seems likely there will be a veteran joining Rossi, O’Ward and Rosenqvist at the Brickyard.

“A fourth car at the 500 is very much under consideration,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t even want to get ahead of ourselves, but we wouldn’t be ruling out a fourth car in the future on a full-time basis. That definitely wouldn’t be for ’23. But as we expand the team and get into larger facilities and things of that nature, it’s something that Gavin and I have spoken about.

“I think we would be in a position to run a fourth car at the 500 this upcoming year. If we do decide to do that, we’ll make that decision soon for maximum preparation, and I would say we’re open minded to a fourth car in ’24 and beyond and probably will make that decision middle of next year in time to be prepared if we did decide to do that.”

Brown also addressed the future of Alex Palou, who will be racing for Chip Ganassi Racing next season after also signing a deal with McLaren. Though Brown declined to get into specifics about whether Palou had signed a new deal, he confirmed Palou will continue to test “our Formula One car from time to time.

“Everyone has reached an amicable solution,” Brown said. “We’ve now had Alex in our Formula One car as we have Pato. That will continue in the future, which we’re quite excited about. At this point we’re laser-focused on 2023 and glad to have the noise behind us and now just want to put our head down and get on with the job with the three drivers we have.”