Josef Newgarden favored by PointsBet at Laguna Seca, Colton Herta ranked fourth

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Josef Newgarden is the PointsBet Sportsbook favorite to win the season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey (3 p.m. ET on NBC). For more details on how to watch, click here.

If Newgarden can cover the +375 odds and win, it will be his first top-five on the track. In two previous starts at Laguna Seca, he finished eighth in 2019 and seventh in 2021. A race was not run on this track in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Newgarden has won three of the last 10 IndyCar races and finished in the top five on two other occasions.

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 Newgarden is $3.75, down slightly from last week’s +380. For bettors more comfortable with fractional odds, a bet of +300 is the same as 3/1.

Ranked second is Scott McLaughlin, winner of last week’s race in Portland. McLaughlin opened this week with odds of +420 on the strength of five consecutive top-fives. He finished 12th in last year’s edition of this race.

In third is Will Power with a line of +460. Power has only one win this season, which came on the temporary course at Belle Isle, but he has stayed in the points’ chase all season with 11 top-fives in 16 races. He was second to McLaughlin last week in Portland and also in his inaugural attempt at Laguna Seca in 2019.

The winner of both previous Laguna Seca IndyCar races, Colton Herta is ranked only fourth with a line of +600. Herta has lost some of his early season momentum and earned just one top-five in his last six attempts. That came on the Streets of Nashville as recently as three weeks ago, however, and he nearly scored another at Portland by finishing sixth.

Rounding out the top five this week is Patricio O’Ward with a line of +750. He enters the weekend with back-to-back top-fives at Gateway and Portland. Last year, he was fifth in the Laguna Seca race.

Another driver to watch this week is last year’s second-place finisher at Laguna Seca. Alex Palou is the only other driver under 10/1 this week with a line of +850.

Last year’s third-place finisher in this race, Romain Grosjean is listed at +2500.

Previous Betting Lines

St Petersburg: Colton Herta tops the list
Texas: Scott Dixon favored
Long Beach: Herta favored for second street race
Barber: Herta still favored, but line gets longer
Indy GMR Grand Prix: Herta continue to be road racing favorite
Indy 500: Dixon favored; Jimmie Johnson solid dark horse
Road America: Alex Palou is slightly favored
Mid-Ohio: Josef Newgarden tops the list
Toronto: Newgarden narrowly favored in tight field
Iowa: Newgarden still favored as he stretches betting line lead
Indy Gallagher Grand Prix: Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist lead tight field
Streets of Nashville: Newgarden narrowly edges Palou
Gateway: Newgarden remains the favored son
Portland: Newgarden holds slim margin over O’Ward

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner, and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.

Max Verstappen could clinch second F1 title with victory in Singapore Grand Prix

Max Verstappen F1 Singapore
LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images)
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While last year’s intense Formula One title battle went to the wire and captivated the world of sport, this year’s F1 championship long has seemed a procession for Max Verstappen that could end Sunday in the Singapore Grand Prix.

If the Red Bull driver wins, and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc crumbles, Verstappen will claim his second consecutive series title.

Verstappen leads Leclerc by 116 points with six races remaining in the 2022 season and will clinch the title if he scores 22 points more than Leclerc, his most realistic head-to-head challenger.

Verstappen, who turned 25 on Friday, must win to clinch a second world title, along with two other scenarios involving Leclerc. If Verstappen wins, Leclerc can finish no higher than ninth; if Verstappen wins and earns a bonus point for fastest lap, Leclerc can finish no higher than eighth.

“It’s quite a long shot,” Verstappen said. “I need a lot of luck for it to happen here, so I don’t really count on it.”

It is more realistic that Verstappen secures the title Oct. 9 at the Japanese GP.

“I think Suzuka will be my first proper opportunity to win the title,” the Dutchman said. “So I’m looking forward to Singapore right now, but I’m also very excited for next week.”

Still, there’ll be no tension in the air Sunday night at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, as in Abu Dhabi last year when Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton lost the title on the last lap to Verstappen. Hamilton missed out on a record eighth F1 title in a controversial finish following a chaotic late restart.

That fans won’t get to see any such drama this season is much to Hamilton’s regret.

“I feel for the fans . . . Last year, going right down to the wire, that was intense for everybody and so it’s never great when the season finishes early,” Hamilton said. “For you, as the one individual (winner) it’s great, but for the actual sport, (it) is not spectacular. Let’s hope for the future that it’s a bit better.”

Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez (125 points back), Mercedes driver George Russell (132 behind) and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. (152) are mathematical title challengers only.

Red Bull is unlikely to allow Perez an opportunity to beat Verstappen, though, and would deploy him to defend its star driver. Verstappen has won 11 of 16 races, including the past five, taking his career tally to 31.

“It’s been a really special season, and I’m enjoying it a lot,” he said. “But I (will) probably enjoy it more after the season, looking back at it.”

He’s also won from seven different grid positions – a single-season F1 record – including starting from 14th at the Belgian GP last month.

“It’s even good to watch when you’re in the car,” McLaren driver Lando Norris said. “Especially when he starts (far back) and still wins quite easily.”

Hamilton hasn’t been close enough to challenge Verstappen this year after so long in the spotlight.

Two of Hamilton’s came on the last day: in 2008 with an overtake on the last corner of the final race, and in 2014 when he beat then-Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in Abu Dhabi. Two years later, he lost the title in the last race to Rosberg.

Hamilton won the championship with three races left in 2015, and he won the 2020 title at the Turkish GP in a shortened season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With seven titles, that put him even with fellow great Michael Schumacher, who won the 2002 championship with six races remaining. An outstanding campaign saw Schumacher place first or second in 16 of 17 races and third in Malaysia – a race won by his younger brother, Ralf.

Hamilton has a record 103 victories but none this season.

Mercedes has struggled with ground effects, where the floor generates aerodynamic grip – an issue known as porpoising or bouncing – that has been particularly difficult on street circuits like Monaco or Azerbaijan.

Singapore’s tight and sinewy 3.1-mile street course again could be challenging.

“We hope that the car works better here,” Hamilton said. “It really depends how bumpy it is, and the bumps often set the car off. Maybe the car will be fine. Maybe it won’t.”

He does think Mercedes has figured out how to maximize opportunities when they do come.

“We know where those limitations are; we just have to try and work around them,” he said. “I think we were very fortunate, we’re in a much better place I think. So I hope that we’re not far away (from a victory).”

Russell seems to have coped better, however, and leads sixth-place Hamilton by 35 points in the standings. He has seven podium finishes compared to six for Hamilton, who was fifth in the second practice after leading the opening session. The Ferraris of Sainz and Leclerc topped the second practice.

Williams driver Alex Albon returns to racing just three weeks after being hospitalized with appendicitis and then suffering subsequent respiratory failure.

Albon jumped back into the Williams FW44 for the first practice session on Friday in hot and humid evening conditions.

“It’s definitely audacious to come back for the toughest race of the season having only just recovered,” Russell said. “But it just goes to show the sort of grit and determination he has.”

Drivers lose around 5 kilos (11 pounds) in weight through dehydration during Sunday’s race.