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Scott Dixon’s most favored status calls into question the confidence of oddsmakers for the remaining 32 drivers in the Indy 500 field.
With a Youth Movement fully engaged and several strong foreign drivers taking a shot at the American Classic, this can be a tricky race to handicap. This is especially true because IndyCar and NASCAR are both experiencing parity to a degree that has not been achieved in quite a few years.
Five IndyCar races have already been run and each of them has had different winners. Of them, Dixon is the only driver one would not characterize as part of the Youth Movement and his experience – as well as the fact that he won one of the two oval races, made him the favorite from the moment we started writing about this event.
The outright win is not the only bet, however.
It was mostly veterans at the top of the order on Carb Day – IndyCar’s final practice for the 500. And while that should factor into your decision, it is not the only thing to consider.
Alex Palou won on the road course of Barber Motorsports Park and is joined by Colton Herta (streets of St. Petersburg), Pato O’Ward (Texas 2), and Rinus VeeKay (Indy Road) as winners. Herta and VeeKay qualified on the front row and could easily challenge Dixon for speed. As the second-favored driver with odds of +850 for the outright win, Herta drags his top-three odds to an acceptable level of +190. VeeKay is even better at +450 for the top 10.
Ed Carpenter’s fourth-place qualification effort is interesting. He has a penchant for making fast four-lap averages. He won the pole for the 2018 Indy 500 and started second in 2017 and 2019. In each of those three races, he finished 11th or better. Two of those were top-10s including a runner-up finish in ’18 when he nearly upset Will Power.
Betting on an outright win is risky even with a good Return on Investment of +2000, but he can be wagered at +120 to score a top-10. In a field of 33, we’ll take that bet. In fact, if you have a couple of units left over, you should strongly consider his +650 odds for a top three.
The payout is low for Simon Pagenaud for a top-10, but if you want to hedge some of your outrights, he is listed with positive odds. Pagenaud can be acquired for +110 and after posting the second-fastest time on Carb Day, that seems reasonable.
If you are going to place the outright wager on Dixon, you should back it with a bet in one of Group Markets. PointsBet Sportsbook has odds listed for each nationality with New Zealand at +300. That effectively allows you to double your return. And, there is always an outside chance that fellow Kiwi Scott McLaughlin could pull out the upset.
As the 2008 Indy 500 winner, Dixon also fits into the Prop Bet of +110 for any former winner to take the checkers. And if you want a safer bet, Dixon is part of a four-driver Group at PointsBet. If he beats Herta, O’Ward and Alexander Rossi – no matter where he is running – that is worth +125.
In a Youth versus experience matchup, Palou (+240) and VeeKay (+270) matchup against Josef Newgarden (+250) and Tony Kanaan (+260). As the odds suggest, this is a toss-up, but Newgarden had the best final practice in this group and that is worth a unit.
In a head-to-head matchup, McLaughlin (+125) has been given positive odds against Takuma Sato (-170). NBC analyst Steve Letarte thinks you should lock in Sato for a top-10 because of his two wins in the last three 500s. McLaughlin’s odds and Penske power under the hood make us lean toward the other side of this bet.