Charles Leclerc, Ferrari (Practice Session 1, 2022 Miami Grand Prix)

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Sunday will be the first time a Formula 1 race takes place in Miami. The last time an F1 race was held in the Sunshine State was in 1959 for the U.S. Grand Prix hosted in Sebring, FL. The winner of that race was a 22-year old Bruce McLaren. Tomorrow will be the first F1 race in Florida in more than 60 years. Before getting into any picks and predictions for Sunday's race, let’s take a quick look at what has happened so far in this 2022 Formula 1 season. After that, we'll peak at Saturday's qualifying results and the intricacies of the new Miami circuit before diving into the best bets ahead of tomorrow's huge race.

2022 Formula 1 Championship: Everything to Know Before Sunday

So far in 2022, Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari are competing closely for first place. Ferrari’s golden boy Charles Leclerc leads the drivers' championship with 86 of his team’s 124 points. This puts Ferrari at the top of the 2022 Constructors' Standings, only 11 points ahead of Red Bull Racing’s 113. This year, Ferrari is giving Christian Horner and Max Verstappen a run for their money. The biggest disappointment and surprise this season has come from the Mercedes camp. They've won the last eight constructors’ championships (2014-2021). No team in any professional sports league has won eight consecutive titles besides Toto Wolff’s crew. At the moment, they stand in third with only 77 points produced by Lewis Hamilton and George Russel this year. There's still seven other teams competing, so let's evaluate the performance of all 10 F1 teams this season from first to last place in the constructors' standings.

*Note: An F1 Team’s points consists of the sum of points scored by both drivers throughout the Drivers’ Championship. For example: Charles Leclerc has accumulated 86 points, while Carlos Sainz has accumulated 38 points in 2022. Therefore, Ferrari leads the 2022 Constructors series with 124 points (Leclerc’s 86 points + Carlos Sainz’ 38 Points)*

Top 5 F1 Teams in 2022

1. Ferrari (124 Points): Charles Leclerc & Carlos Sainz

So far this season, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has dominated the 2022 Drivers’ Championship and leads the pack with 86 points, with his teammate Carlos Sainz fifth in the standings with 38 points. Part of the reason Sainz has dropped down to fifth place are multiple DNFs (Did Not Finish) he’s had over the first four races of the season. Even more concerning has been the frequency of crashes he’s had in 2022 (in practice, qualifying, and races). These issues continued after Sainz signed a two-year extension with Ferrari in mid-April. Sainz has only had two top-five finishes and is yet to finish on the podium in 2022. Whether it is bad luck or careless driving, Sainz has underperformed so far this season and will need to stay on the race track moving forward to help Ferrari secure the 2022 championship. In contrast, his teammate is off to unbelievable start this year.

2. Red Bull Racing RBPT (113 Points): Max Verstappen & Sergio "Checo" Perez

In second and third are Red Bull Racing’s duo of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. Verstappen’s 59 points places him second in the drivers’ standings. Only five points behind him is his teammate Sergio Perez. Both of Red Bull's drivers are producing enough points to keep their team neck and neck with Ferrari in a close battle for first place in the 2022 Constructor standings. Between Red Bull and Ferrari, it is too early to say who has the better car and engine. However, these two teams without a question have the best F1 cars in 2022.

3. Mercedes (77 Points): Lewis Hamilton & George Russell

Mercedes has won the last eight constructors’ championships, largely because of Lewis Hamilton's heroics. He's won seven consecutive drivers’ championships between 2014 and 2020. Verstappen won the Drivers’ Championship for Red Bull last year while Hamilton finishing second only eight points behind champion Max Verstappen. Nonetheless, Mercedes was still able to narrowly secure the constructors' championship in 2021 because of the points Valtteri Bottas racked up in the many races in which he finished second to Hamilton. This season, the Mercedes engine has disappointed for the first time in nearly a decade. As a result, their disappointing 2022 car has limited George Russell's and Hamilton’s ability to accumulate enough points to compete with Ferrari and Red Bull. At the moment, Mercedes stands third in the standings with 77 points. Although it is still early, it looks like they have no chance to come finish first or second. This means that for the first time in eight years, there will be a new F1 team that wins the 2022 Constructors' Championship.

4. McLaren Mercedes (46 Points): Lando Norris & Daniel Ricciardo

Lando Norris has stepped up as McLaren’s best driver, outracing teammate Daniel Ricciardo across the board. Up until now, Norris stands in sixth among all drivers with 35 points (only three points shy of Carlos Sainz for fifth). Danny Ric hasn’t been able to get things going yet in 2022. He currently ranks 11th in the drivers’ standings, even falling behind Haas’ Kevin Magnussen. While Lando continues to produce for McLaren, eyebrows are increasingly being raised regarding Ricciardo’s lack of points in 2022. As a result, McLaren is competing to keep the fourth spot in the Constructors'. To celebrate the first Miami GP, Lando Norris has opted to wear a basketball helmet to show support the Heat who are doing very well in the NBA playoffs (Which personally I love).

5. Alfa Romeo Ferrari (25 Points): Valtteri Bottas & Zhou Guanyu

Alfa Romeo is doing better this season after completely transforming their team. Ahead of 2022, a decision was made to move away from youngster Antonio Giovinazzi who simply hadn't performed well enough in his tenure with the team. In addition, 45-year old veteran Kimi Raikkonen (won the 2007 Drivers' Championship for Renault) raced for Alfa Romeo from 2019 to 2021 but announced his retirement from Formula 1 at the end of the season. The team had to get two new drivers. Rookie driver Zhou has only earned one point after finishing 10th in the Bahrain GP. Valtteri Bottas is the team’s only real option of generating enough points to finish in the top-five in the Constructors' by the end of the season. Bottas was Hamilton’s teammate for five consecutive years between 2017 and 2021. This season, Russel replaced him at Mercedes which forced Bottas to take a seat as a driver for another team. Alfa Romeo welcomed him with open arms. Its very ironic that he stands in eighth place in the drivers’ standings, only four points behind his former teammate Lewis Hamilton. Bottas is driving with a chip on his shoulder this season, wanting to show Toto Wolff the mistake he made in letting him go. At the moment, Bottas has 24 points which is impressive as Alfa Romeo’s F1 car is completely different from the Mercedes engine which he grew very comfortable with over his last five years as a formula one driver.

Bottom 5 F1 Teams 2022

6. Alpine (22 Points): Esteban Ocon & Fernando Alonso

The young Frenchman and Spanish legend both returned to Alpine Renault for 2022. Of the four races so far this season, Alonso has had two DNFs (Saudi Arabia & Emilia Romagna) and one 17th place finish in the Australian GP. He only scored two points by finishing in ninth place in Bahrain. His young teammate Esteban Ocon has truly grown as a racer over the last few seasons. He currently has 20 points and is ranked ninth in the Drivers’ championship. Ocon, and not Alonso, is the featured driver for Alpine this season.

7. AlphaTauri RBPT (16 Points): Pierre Gasly & Yuki Tsunoda

Pierre Gasly is off to a slow start this season. He’s only generated six points through the first four races and is currently 13th in the Drivers’ Championship. Yuki Tsunoda, who is now in his sophomore F1 season, has 10 points and is one spot ahead of Gasly in the standings. While Tsunoda is showing signs of continued growth and maturity in his second year, the beginning of Gasly’s 2022 campaign has been difficult. However, Gasly finished seventh in qualifying and is in a good position to finish in the top-10 on Sunday.

8. Haas Ferrari (15 Points): Mick Schumacher & Kevin Magnussen:

Haas is trending up this season, after finishing dead last in the 2021 Constructors Championship. This year, Kevin Magnussen returned to Haas to replace Nikita Mazepin. Haas terminated Nikita Mazepin as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in March. Mazepin’s father is a rich and powerful Russian oligarch who used his wealth to help his son obtain a seat at Haas in 2021. As the only American team in the paddock, Haas made the only possible choice and terminated Mazepin within days of Russia’s first strikes on Ukraine.

Magnussen is a veteran who competed for Haas in the past and been a strong driver. Though he is driving in one of the least powerful cars this season, he’s been able to able to score a respectable amount of points in his return to F1 in 2022. His teammate Mick Schumacher is still developing but is also improving as a racer. All-in-all, there are encouraging signs coming out of the Haas camp in 2022, though they will definitely not finish in the top-five.

9. Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes (5 Points): Sebastian Vettel & Lance Stroll

Aston Martin is struggling this season. Vettel missed the first few races after testing positive for COVID-19. Though Vettel only competed in the last two races, he finished eighth at Emilia Romagna earning his team four points. In comparison, his teammate Lance Stroll finished in the bottom-10 for the first three races of the season and earned one point at Emilia Romagna finishing in 10th place. While they are in the middle of the pack, both drivers are consistently falling short of scoring points for their team.

10. Williams Mercedes (1 Point): Nicholas Latifi & Alex Albon

Williams certainly has the worst car in F1. Over the last few years, their vehicle has failed its drivers. George Russel left Williams at the end of 2021 to join Mercedes. He cried the first time he finished in the top-10 last season because of how terrible their car is. He was replaced by former Red Bull racer Alex Albon. Meanwhile Nicholas Latifi remains at Williams in 2022. Williams’ car seems to have the most problems such lock-ups and control issues. Their car also certainly has one of the least powerful engines in F1. Finally, Williams is going through an ownership change after being run by the Williams family since the team was created. For this reason, Albon and Latifi aren’t to blame for Williams’ 2022 season which already ended before it began. The team has countless issues to resolve both in terms of management and with the engineers responsible for building their 2022 car (and the cars before that).

Miami GP Circuit Explained

Miami’s inaugural GP brings an innovative street-racing circuit that loops around the Hard Rock Stadium. This track has many sharp turns that open into a number of long straights. Notably, the straights drivers will enter every time they go through turns 3, 8, 10, and especially 16 offer ample space for them to rev their engines, open up their DRS', and overtake drivers in front of them. The cars with the fastest engines are somewhat at an advantage as a result. They will be able to generate speeds of up to 210 MPH in the straight that emerges out of turn 16. This new track stands out because of its sharp turns and very extended straights (again, out of turn 16) which will allow for above average speeds to be reached by some of the drivers.

In addition, the very sharp turns 1, 11, 14, 16, and 17 will likely bring forth a few collisions for Sunday's race. The three practice sessions and even Saturday's qualifying had numerous drivers struggling to maintain control through some of these turns. Finally, the heat and Sun shining down on the Miami tack is making it particularly hot. This will make tire changes and decisions to pit more difficult on Sunday than in other races this year. Together, these elements make the track for Miami’s inaugural GP one of the most interesting and uniquely designed of tracks of 2022.

2022 Miami GP Qualifying Results & Sunday’s Starting Grid

Top 15 Qualifying Results & Starting Gridformula1.com

* Note: Starting Grid and Qualifying Results are identical. For example: Charles Leclerc will start in first place for Ferrari, Lando Norris will start in eighth place, and Sebastian Vettel will start in 13th place. The positioning in the starting grid is a direct reflection of the fastest laps achieved during Qualifying*

2022 Miami Grand Prix: Best Bets for Sunday's Big Race

The main thing to remember for Sunday’s big race is that it will be the first time any of the 20 F1 Drivers race on this circuit. During Friday’s practice, many drivers experienced difficulties through certain turns of the new circuit.

Since this is a brand new track, it’s fair to assume a few surprises might happen. Let’s take a look at the best F1 bets and racer props going into Sunday’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix. Now that Qualifying is over and the starting grid for tomorrow's race is set, let's take a look at some of the best bets to make ahead of the inaugural Miami Grand Prix.

First Place Finish Bet

It was only Charles' last lap of Q3 that he was able to overtake Verstappen who will start in third place on Sunday. Red Bull’s best driver will start behind both Ferraris in Miami, but he will have ample opportunities to overtake his adversaries by activating his DRS coming out of turns 9, 16 and 19, which lead to long straights. Here is where Verstappen will attack. While Leclerc is certainly the favorite to win tomorrow’s race, he is -150 to finish as the outright winner tomorrow. Verstappen's odds are more interesting. At the moment, Max is +195 to win the race. He looked great in qualifying falling less than 0.3 seconds behind Leclerc for the fastest lap. Expect a true dogfight between Red Bull and Ferrari’s best drivers in Miami. While it made sense to take Leclerc to win qualifiers (which he did), it’s much more interesting and lucrative (if he wins) to take the +195 ML for Verstappen to win the first ever Miami Grand Prix.

The Pick: Max Verstappen to win Miami GP +195

Team of Winning Driver Bet

Since we are going with Max Verstappen to with tomorrow’s race, you might as well also lock in Red Bull Racing to be the team for whom the winning driver competes. While Charles Leclerc is -150 to win tomorrow’s race, Ferrari is -230 to have tomorrow’s winning driver. Think of this prop as a mix and match with the Verstappen ML pick.

The Pick: Red Bull Racing +160

Top-6 Finish Bet

George Russell struggled in qualifying Saturday. Ultimately, he will be starting 13th on the grid. Though his starting position is very disadvantageous, this is the perfect circuit for him to work his way through the pack in front of him. The Miami GP has so at least three straights where most drivers will be able to use DRS. Notably, the straight out of turn 16 is very long, and could be a perfect opportunity for Russell to work his way up the board. While starting in thirteenth position stinks, Russell has a great chance to pass those ahead of him to finish in the top six positions by the end of the race.

The Pick: George Russell +120

Kansas Jayhawks

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It’s been a crazy tournament full of wild upsets and thrilling finishes.

Despite the early-round upsets highlighted by the No. 15 seeded St. Peter’s Peacocks reaching the Elite Eight, we now have four blueblood teams that many expected to reach the Final Four (outside of the No. 8 seed UNC). Fans and sports bettors will be treated to two awesome games as the Duke Blue Devils will face the University of Carolina Tarheels and the Kansas Jayhawks will face the Villanova Wildcats. After an incredibly unpredictable first four rounds of action, Kansas is the only No. 1 seed remaining. However, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, Duke is the slight favorite to win it all at +150 with Kansas slightly trailing at +185. Meanwhile, Villanova is listed at +450 and North Carolina is the biggest longshot at +500.

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Now let’s dive into each game and find the best bets for these two matchups.

No. 2 Villanova Wildcats vs. No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks (-4.5)

Villanova has thrived over the last decade. They have one of the best programs in the country and are led by arguably the best coach in all of college basketball once Mike Krzyzewski retires after this season. Although Jay Wright has led the team to a nine-game winning streak and a second-place finish in the Big East, it feels like the Wildcats are not getting the respect they deserve, despite being a No. 2 seed in the tournament.

Villanova is just two wins away from its third NCAA Tournament since 2016. This program has evolved into one of the best programs in all of college basketball. That said, they did have one of the easier paths to the Final Four. Nova crushed Deleware in the first round by 20 points before cruising past Ohio State (71-61) for a trip to the Sweet Sixteen. Fortunately for the Wildcats, the No. 3 Tennessee Volunteers fell flat on their faces against the No. 11 Michigan Wolverines. Michigan played a good game but Nova advanced to the Elite Eight after a hard-fought eight-point victory. Yet again, the Wildcats lucked out as the top seed in the region, Arizona, were upset by the No. 5 Houston Cougars. While Houston is a decent team, they are nowhere nearly as talented as Arizona. Nova played one of their worst games of the tournament against Houston, converting a dismal 28.8% of their field-goal attempts. They also lost their second-leading scorer, Justin Moore, after he suffered a torn Achilles tendon. Despite all of that, Houston couldn’t take advantage of their opportunity and Villanova’s 15-of-15 from the charity stripe sealed the deal and clinched a spot in the Final Four.

Nova ranks in the top 10 in offensive efficiency, the top 20 in defensive efficiency, and are ninth in overall efficiency. However, they have yet to be truly tested by an elite team. That will change on Saturday when they face the Kansas Jayhawks. And without Justin Moore, Jermaine Samuels is going to have to play the game of his life. Samuels has scored in double figures and has converted at least 55% of his shots in all four games to this point in the tournament. The Senior forward is coming off a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double against Houston.

Kansas was the only No. 1 seed to reach the Final Four but they actually had an even easier path than Villanova. The Jayhawks have yet to face a team ranked in KenPom’s Top 25. The Jayhawks trounced Texas Southern by 27 points before meeting a decent Creighton team in the second round. Despite not being in the starting lineup, Remy Martin willed Kansas to victory with a team-high 20 points, seven rebounds, and four assists in 29 minutes off the bench. Martin only averaged 8.6 points per game in the regular season so his performance was critical as Kansas edged Creighton in the second round by seven points.

Next up in the Sweet Sixteen, the Jayhawks were challenged by the Providence Friars, the No. 4 seed in the Region. Providence led with under six minutes remaining before Kansas turned on the jets. Once again, Martin was extremely clutch off the bench with a game-high and season-high 23 points in 27 minutes. Jalen Wilson was just as pivotal in the Jayhawks’ five-point victory, as he tallied 16 points and 10 rebounds. Fortunately for Kansas, both Auburn and Wisconsin (the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in the Midwest Region) were upset in the second round. Therefore, the Jayhawks only had to beat the No. 10 Miami Hurricanes to advance to the Final Four. Kansas trailed by six at halftime before producing perhaps their best half of basketball all season. They quickly erased the deficit and won by a whopping 26 points. After sixth man Remy Martin led the team in scoring in the first three games of the tournament, Naismith Player of the Year Finalist Ochai Agbaji finally produced a solid stat line with a game-high 18 points while converting 75% of his field goals.

So now, two of the top coaches in college basketball – Jay Wright and Bill Self – will face off for a chance at the title. Both coaches have tons of experience and both teams have a boatload of talent. That said, Kansas is the clear favorite. This will be the second game of the tournament that Villanova will enter as the underdog (they were three-point dogs against Houston).

Losing Justin Moore could be the reason that Nova’s championship aspirations get cut short this weekend. Not only did they lose their second-best scorer but the Wildcats are not a team known for their depth. Caleb Daniels has been an excellent sixth-man but he will likely enter the starting lineup and nobody else on the bench has averaged more than 10 minutes per game. That could be a huge problem for Nova.

Meanwhile, Kansas is one of the deepest teams in the country. Kansas has gotten this far despite mediocre performances from Big 12 Player of the Year Ochai Agbaji and big man David McCormack. Both finally performed well in the Elite Eight but the fact that Kansas was able to get that far despite their top players underperforming is a testament to their depth.

Considering the fact that Kansas has huge momentum after overcoming a deficit at the half in the Elite Eight and their much deeper bench, I expect the Jayhawks to win this game by a decent margin. Now with Agbaji and McCormack having broken through the glass, the Jayhawks should cover the spread against the undermanned Villanova Wildcats.

The Pick: Kansas -4.5

University of North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Duke Blue Devils (-4)

Will this be Coach K’s last game? North Carolina would love to disrupt a storybook ending for the greatest college basketball coach in the history of the game. Despite Coach K’s age, his team is a group of youthful energetic kids, but we have witnessed these young men mature on their way to the Final Four. The Blue Devils have had to face some very tough opponents yet they have survived unscathed. Duke lucked out in avoiding a matchup with Gonzaga but they still had to beat Arkansas (who defeated Gonzaga) in the Elite Eight, a ferocious Texas Tech squad in the Sweet Sixteen, and a solid Michigan State team in the second round of the tournament.

Duke has been incredibly clutch and their ability to get buckets in crunch time has been instrumental in their success. The Blue Devils have a ton of offensive firepower but the Tar Heels might be the only team that can match Duke’s high-powered offense.

North Carolina erupted for 95 points and a 32-point margin of victory over Marquette in the first round of the tournament. Then, they shocked the world by defeating Baylor, the No. 1 seed in the East in a thrilling overtime game. But the fun didn’t end there. These Tar Heels like being the underdog and in the Sweet Sixteen, they upset the No. 4 UCLA Bruins. Ironically, their easiest game was in the Elite Eight when they dispatched the Cinderella team of the tournament – St. Peters – by a whopping 20 points.

North Carolina and Duke have been ACC rivals for as long as anyone can remember and this year, they play very similar styles. Interestingly enough, neither of these teams won the ACC Tournament this year. Virginia Tech defeated Duke in the championship game back on March 12. That’s the last time Duke lost. UNC hasn’t suffered a defeat since also losing to Virginia Tech in the semi-finals of the ACC Tournament. North Carolina lost by 13 points and Duke lost by 15 points. Don’t forget that North Carolina (despite being an 11-point underdog) defeated Duke in early March. The seeding in this matchup is irrelevant. The Tar Heels are playing like a top-10 team in the nation right now.

Both of these programs can do a little bit of everything. Both teams are great in transition and can get up and down the court in an instant, yet they each also are some of the best halfcourt teams in all of college basketball. Duke has the coaching edge (Krzyzewski over Hubert Davis) and Duke has the more talented lineup with immense upside. When all of Duke’s offensive weapons are on point, they are nearly unstoppable, evidenced by their second-half performance in the Sweet Sixteen against Texas Tech when they converted 70.8% of their field goals. Duke's Paolo Banchero may be a top-five pick in this year’s NBA Draft. He will be the best player on the court during this matchup. Duke ranks as the most efficient offense in the country according to KenPom. There is no way to truly stop the Blue Devils. But North Carolina might be able to outscore them. Duke is also the worst defensive team of the teams still alive. We have seen UNC pull off plenty of upsets and we have already seen them defeat Duke earlier this month.

All that said, I believe that the Blue Devils have matured immensely throughout this tournament and while I’m iffy about the spread, I’m confident that they will defeat the Tar Heels and advance to the championship game.

The Pick: Duke ML (-196)
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New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo, approved legislation allowing for legal online sports gambling starting in 2022 for New York residents

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It was announced this week that Governor Andrew Cuomo approved legislation that will allow for online sports betting in the State of New York — starting just in time for the Super Bowl in 2022.

Cuomo signed the bill as part of the 2022 New York State fiscal plan, and New York State Senator Joseph Abbaddo Jr. believes that the first online bets to be placed will be on February 13, 2022, which is the same day as the Super Bowl. New York will become the fifteenth state to allow for some form of online gambling to take place.

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