The Indy Car Racing League is at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 Sunday with the green flag at 12:45 p.m. ET. Below we analyze the 2021 Indianapolis 500 odds and lines, with picks and predictions based on the odds from BetMGM Sportsbook.
2021 Indianapolis 500: What you need to know
It’s Memorial Day weekend, and it’s time for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500.
- Japan’s Takuma Sato won last season’s race at the Brickyard in front of zero fans due to COVID-19 restrictions. In fact, the race was run in August and not its usual Memorial Day slot. This season the fans are back with an expected capacity of 135,000.
- Sunday’s weather forecast calls for cool conditions by late May standards with temperatures barely above 70. The precipitation chances are less than 10 percent, and there will be a slight 9-12 mph breeze out of the northeast.
- Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon sits atop the IndyCar Series standings with 176 points, including a win, four top-5 finishes, and five top-10 results in five starts this season. The win came in the first Grand Prix of Texas race on May 1, leading 206 laps.
- Dixon posted a speed of 228.323 mph in practice Friday, helping Ganassi Racing top the charts in the final three Indy 500 practice sessions.
- Alex Palou picked up a victory in the Grand Prix of Alabama to start the season, and he has finished seventh or higher in four of his five starts, including a third-place showing in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis last time out on May 15. Palou will start sixth.
Who is going to win the 2021 Indianapolis 500?
SCOTT DIXON (+350) is the chalk, and he sits atop the NTT IndyCar Series standings. He has the early season win, and he has finished fifth or better in four of his five starts. There’s not much to dislike about the 40-year-old, who goes off from the pole on Sunday.
The defending champ TAKUMA SATO (+1800) has rather long odds, and that’s likely because he sits 12th in the overall standings with just two top-10 showings to date. While he has won two of the last four Indianapolis 500 races, he has struggled this season and is only worth a small-unit play. Plus, we haven’t had a repeat winner in the 500 since Helio Castroneves turned the trick in 2001 and 2002 for Team Penske. Sato begins from the 15th position.
Speaking of Team Penske, JOSEF NEWGARDEN (+1200) sits third in the standings with 148 points, and he has registered three top-5 finishes and four top-10 runs in his five starts this season. After a disastrous run at Alabama, he has recovered nicely, including runner-up finishes in St. Petersburg and the second race in the Grand Prix of Texas on May 2. Newgarden will have his work cut out, as he starts 21st.
PATO O’WARD (+850) has been running hot this season, ranking fourth in the standings. He tumbled to a 15th-place finish in the GP of Indy on May 15 but has finished fourth or higher in three runs, including checkers in the second Texas race on May 2. O’Ward goes off 12th on Sunday.
2021 Indianapolis 500 long-shot bets
As far as long-shot bets are concerned, take a look at RINUS VEEKAY (+1400), who starts from the third position in Sunday’s race. He picked up a win at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and comes in with a boatload of confidence.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (+2000) is a former Indy 500 champ (2014) with some rather long odds. However, he starts from the seventh spot, and his experience makes him worth a look.
SIMON PAGENAUD (+2000) is in the same boat, as a former Indy 500 champ (2019) with longer odds. He starts from a less advantageous 26th position but is still worth a small-unit play.
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