Check out our best picks for who will win the 2021 Indianapolis 500.
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Anyone who has watched motorsports racing in the past knows that it is one of the most difficult sports to predict. The field of competitors for every single race is fairly large, and the extended nature of each run opens the door upsets galore. Don't worry, though: We have taken this all into account when dropping our Indianapolis 500 latest picks and betting odds.
The trusty folks over at Bovada, BetOnline and BetNow have dropped some early Indy 500 betting lines. Please note they are accurate as of May 23, and we're including only the drivers laying +2500 odds or better at all three sportsbooks:
|Indy 500 Winner||Bovada||BetOnline||BetNow|
Check back here—or with one of these sportsbooks—to see when lines shift. Since racing fields are finalized only a few days in advance of the opening flag, you'll see movement and additions as the Indy 500 inches closer.
At the conclusion of our Indy 500 primer, we will have our official prediction. Before we get there, though, we're going to cover all the most notable talking points and questions that may impact your betting approach and the overall result.
Indianapolis 500 Betting Breakdown
- When: Sunday, May 30
- Time: Green flag at approximately 12:45 p.m. EST
- Where: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
- Length: 200 laps (500 miles)
Don't Place Too Much Stock in Historical Indy 500 Results
When betting on big-time events across any sport, there is usually an inclination to look at past results in the hopes of spotting a trend or identifying a clear favorite. While this may work at a fairly high clip for team sports, it holds limited value when looking at individual sports like golf, tennis and, yes, autoracing.
Look no further than the past Indy 500 results. The last 15 races have been won by 12 total drivers, with Takuma Soto (twice) and Dario Franchitti (three times) registering as the only drivers to rack up more than a single victory.
What's more, the winner of the Indy 500 has historically not been the one laying the best odds. That doesn't mean Scott Dixon, who won this race in 2008, is a waste of money at somewhere between +350 and +475. But it is something to keep in mind as you pore over your betting options.
Is Reigning Indy 500 Winner Takuma Sato Laying Good Value?
Despite everything we just said about the variance in Indy 500 winners, it is still useful to look at the previous victor when weighing your choices. In this case, that entails considering Takuma Soto.
Reigning champs tend to get favorable treatment by oddsmakers. That, in turn, caps their value. Investing in relatively small payouts on an extremely unlikely event—that event being a repeat—carries little appeal.
But Soto enters the 2021 Indy 500 flirting with exception status. Bovada slots him as a +2000, barely giving him top-10 odds. You can also try pouncing on 24-to-1 odds at BetOnline or a 22-to-1 payout at BetNow.
Make no mistake, a second consecutive pole position remains historically unlikely for the two-time Indy 500 winner. We haven't seen a repeat victory since Helio Castroneves accomplished the feat in 2001 and 2002. And prior to him, the last repeat winner was Al Unser in 1970 and 1971.
Still, at a minimum of +2000, Soto is worth considering. Aside from grabbing two overall Indy 500 victories, he has secured other favorable finishes at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. As of right now, he appears undervalued by oddsmakers—which amounts to good news for you.
Should You Consider Patricio O'Ward or Josef Newgarden?
Drivers laying top-five odds will always command a bunch of action from bettors. However, Patricio O'Ward (+1000) and Josef Newgarden (+1400) have achieved their status under unique circumstances.
Many thought O'Ward would make it through the Fast Nine Shootout ahead of the Indy 500 and bag himself a favorable starting position. He didn't. He will begin the Indy 500 from the 13th spot.
Newgard, meanwhile, is an even less favorable slot. His qualifying run was an unmitigated disaster. He will begin in the No. 21 spot out of a 33-car pool.
To O'Ward's credit, we have seen him finagle victories and near wins from worse starting positions. He has what appears to be a viable shot to win it all. His ability to navigate from the outside in on turns is almost unparalleled.
Newgarden doesn't inspire the same confidence. So if you're going to bet one of these top-five drivers, we endorse O'Ward over him.
Official Indy 500 Prediction
Get ready to follow us off the beaten path. Our pick to win the Indy 500 isn't one of the top-five drivers. He isn't even one of the top 10. In fact, he didn't even appear in our initial list of +2500 or better options.
It's Santino Ferrucci, who is currently listed as +6000 at Bovada.
Our logic is not off the rails. We promise. We just see incredible value here.
In two career runs at the Indy 500, Ferrucci has finished seventh in 2019 and then fourth in 2020. So while his 60-to-1 odds suggest he'd be coming out of nowhere, he's actually very much a part of the scene.
Combine his first two Indy 500 appearances with the speed at which Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing cars performed during qualifiers, and Ferrucci represents someone we believe to be a sleeping giant.
OSB Indy 500 Prediction: Santino Ferrucci (+6000)
Check out this list of the best online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all your motorsport betting: