US Grand Prix Betting: Rosberg's Title Chances Are Better Than They Look

It is increasingly a surprise that Lewis Hamilton's growing domination of the 2014 Formula One season is not being reflected in the championship points standings. Hamilton may be leading, but his 17-point margin over team mate Nico Rosberg is a poor reflection of the fact that of the 16 races so far, Hamilton has won nine to Rosberg's four.

It is partly a credit to Rosberg's tenacity: When Hamilton has won, he has usually been able to limit the damage by coming in second. And when Hamilton has suffered some kind of misfortune, Rosberg has more often than not inflicted maximum damage.

Championships have been won this way in the past. Nelson Piquet's 1987 title triumph was a classic 'tortoise and hare' scenario as he won just three races to team mate Nigel Mansell's six, but Piquet's seven second-place finishes meant he kept piling up the points.

The controversial change to the points system increases Rosberg's chance of doing the same. With double points on offer for the final race of the season - a new gimmick which has universally appalled fans - Rosberg's odds of 4.0 on winning the title are far more appealing than they seem at first glance. For example, he could only take one second place from the next two races, and he could still win the title with a double points victory in Abu Dhabi if Hamilton is sidelined with a mechanical fault.


Check the podium odds for Austin

Heading into this weekend's race at the Circuit of the Americas the Mercedes drivers are favourites as usual. Rosberg (on 2.85 to win) desperately needs to hit back against Hamilton (on 1.55), who has won the last four races in a row. Rosberg's desperate attempt to wrest the lead from his team mate at the start of the last race showed how urgent his pursuit of victories has become as the championship enters its final weeks.

As usual there are more attractive odds to be found by looking at the betting on which of their rivals will join them on the podium. The fleet and fuel-efficient Williams pair have had six top-three finishes between them this year, all bar one of which have been scored by Valtteri Bottas, which explains why Felipe Massa is better value on 3.25.

It would be wise to steer clear of Sebastian Vettel on 3.50, however, as he's widely expected to have to use his sixth different power unit of the year this weekend. This will require him to start from the pit lane, which will surely wreck his chances of a third consecutive podium finish in America.

Don't discount the McLaren pair, who are very well-priced at 11.00 (Jenson Button) and 15.00 (Kevin Magnussen) given their recent form. The MP4-29s have been more competitive recently, taking two fifths and a fourth in the last two races.

More odds for 2015 revealed

At the beginning of the season few would have thought four-times champion Vettel would be shown the way by his new team mate Daniel Ricciardo. Next year Vettel's place at Red Bull will be taken by Red Bull's latest young hotshot, Russian driver Daniil Kvyat. Will he do to Ricciardo what Ricciardo did to Vettel? You can get odds of 5.00 on Kvyat ending the season ahead of his new team mate in the drivers' championship.

The same betting can be found on the Williams drivers, but on the strength of this season backing Massa to beat the ever-improving Bottas would not be a smart move. 

Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic.