The Indianapolis 500, held annually over Memorial Day Weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana, is one of the most popular and influential races in American motorsports betting.
This is the definitive Indy 500 betting guide. Here you will find tips, strategies, news, and all the information you need to wager on the season’s most important IndyCar event.
Indy 500 Betting Tips
The Indy 500 is unrivaled in terms of tradition, which is a major factor in its ability to attract 300,000 spectators — and it all began on a brick surface in the early 1900s, which is commemorated today in the “yard of bricks” that encompasses the start/finish line.
At the Indianapolis 500, one of the largest sports crowds in the United States is greeted with an abundance of spectacle. These are five things to consider when betting on the best event in U.S. open-wheel racing to help you cut through the noise.
Aware of the Favorites
And not just the names at the top of the odds list. In recent times, the Indianapolis 500 is a race dominated by three owners, and knowing their entries is crucial for laying action.
Roger Penske has won the race a record 17 times, including thrice in the previous four years, and his drivers are perennial challengers. Michael Andretti has never won the Indianapolis 500 as a driver, but six of his cars have done it. Chip Ganassi entrants have won twice from 2009-2019.
Ignore Everything Else
This season, specifically. The Indianapolis 500 is the first oval-course race of the IndyCar season, so there is no clear indicator of how drivers will fare throughout the month of May from earlier races. So much about the Indianapolis 500 is unique, and that includes the event itself.
Long, treacherous straights at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that test drivers’ nerves and horsepower levels are unprecedented. The course is swift, vicious, and punishing. If you wager on street layouts and road courses, you do it at your own risk.
Look out for Intrusions
As the crown jewel of motorsports, the Indy 500 frequently attracts prominent drivers from other racing disciplines who have aspired to compete in the race. NASCAR icons Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison, Kurt Busch, and Tony Stewart, as well as Formula 1 legends Graham Hill and Jim Clark, have all made the transition.
Often, they are elite drivers with well-funded campaigns that garner a great deal of media attention, so they are not participating to run in circles. In recent years, for instance, two-time F1 world champion Fernando Alonso (who competed in 2017 but did not qualify in 2019) and former NASCAR driver Danica Patrick have been in the field.
Observe Practice Time
It’s a lengthy month with a great deal of track time, and by the time the green flag drops, it’s very obvious who the favorites are.
Without a doubt, the circuit is difficult, and it tests driver and car setup equally. Engine failures — or worse — do occur, simply because of forces that are tough to grasp unless you’re sitting up close watching cars struggle to navigate this small 2.5-mile track.
There is no greater indicator of who the main contenders will be than practice performances.
Don’t Fall for Underdogs
The Indianapolis 500 is usually a top-heavy event, with three owners producing the majority of wins and a track capable of destroying inferior equipment.
Alexander Rossi and Takuma Sato may not have been household names when they won the races in 2016 and 2017, but they rode for an Andretti squad that frequently dominates the competition.
There may be some enticing choices down in long shot area, but past performance suggests they lack the resources to mount a meaningful assault.
Best Indy 500 Bets To Win | Exactly as it sounds, you are placing a wager on a single driver to win the race. Indy is somewhat clearer in this aspect than many American racing events, as the pool of competitors at the top is solid and it is difficult for outsiders to enter. Nevertheless, no guarantees exist. The majority of to-win wagers are in moneyline format, with a plus number (such as Scott Dixon +900) indicating how much a $100 wager would win.
Podium | Open-wheel racing likes its podiums, which is where the top three finishers stand at the ceremony following the event. The odds for betting on this top-three result would be less favorable than those for betting on the winner, but the bettor would have a greater probability of collecting.
Matchups | A wager between two drivers in which the winner or loser is determined solely by their performance against one another, regardless of the outcome of the race as a whole. One would be the favorite, while the other would be the underdog.
Futures | A wager placed in advance on the outcome of a race. In the weeks and months preceding up to the Indianapolis 500, little is known about the candidates beyond their personal history at Indy and their performance throughout the IndyCar season. Futures wagers can yield more favorable odds for a driver who is projected to emerge as the race’s favorite in May.
Props | Special wagers that can add a fun degree of diversity and potentially increase the odds of winning. Depending on the sportsbook, proposition wagers may include the top American finisher, whether past Indy 500 champion will have the best outcome, whether there will be a rain delay, or if the race would end under caution. Certain individual drivers, particularly prominent ones, may have their own suite of prop bets; therefore, it is prudent to shop around.
Indy 500 Customs and History
Louis Meyer was so parched after winning the 1936 Indianapolis 500 that he grabbed a bottle of buttermilk to satisfy his thirst in Victory Lane. One of the several traditions that accompany the Greatest Spectacle in Racing was initiated by a dairy entrepreneur.
There is an annual performance of “Back Home Again in Indiana” that can move many Hoosiers to tears. There are four quick, flat bends, two lengthy straights, and two challenging “short chutes” along the track’s 2.5-mile layout, which has remained unchanged since the facility’s opening in 1909.
The Borg-Warner Trophy, which was commissioned in 1935 by the same-named automaker and depicts the faces of the winning drivers, is one of a kind.
Chances of Recent Indy 500 Wins
Indy 500 Champion
Juan Pablo Montoya
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