Scott Dixon Bookies Favorite to Claim Indianapolis 500 Glory

"Scott Dixon" by Michael Conroy/AP is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Excitement builds ahead of the 2021 renewal of the Indianapolis 500 race, scheduled to take place this weekend. The 105th running of the world-famous 500 miles race will be broadcast live on television to a global audience made up of avid followers of the IndyCar Series as well as interested spectators eager to find out what all the fuss is about.

Japan’s Takuma Sato won last year’s event in the colours of Rehal Letterman Lanigan Racing, and he’s back to defend his crown. Will he achieve back-to-back victories? Traders at major betting firms make it unlikely, offering big odds on the 44-year-old from Tokyo in their Indianapolis 500 betting. That’s sure to catch the eye of value hunters and supporters of the 2020 winner.

A competitive race is expected with several drivers having claims on the prize, but who will finish on the top step? It’s anyone’s guess at this stage, and the event continues to split the opinions of race face, former drivers and pundits. We can take our clues from the current betting; however, checking on how the major betting apps see this going.

Dixon desperate to make up for last year

The most popular online sportsbooks have made their call on the driver they expect to win this weekend’s Indianapolis 500, with each sticking close to Scott Dixon. The talented IndyRacing pilot was the standout of the qualifying and entered the race proper with confidence on his side. He was the fastest qualifier and notched up a pole speed of over 231 MPH. Dixon has laid down a marker for the weekend and is now the man to beat.

If Dixon were to live up to bookies’ expectations, it would make up for his near-miss last year when beaten in Indianapolis 500 2020 despite leading for much of the contest. The stats from last year’s race show Scott led the race for more than 110 laps before coming up short at the business end of the battle.

The one concern for bettors preparing to follow the bookies’ favourite and back Dixon is he was also the shortest price last year before the opening lap and for much of the in-play betting. After 200 laps, Dixon finished in second place behind Sato with his Honda engine narrowly behind the star from Tokyo. The difference between the first and second that day was 0.057. It was a tough one to take for supporters of Dixon, but it was difficult to grudge the winners his moment in the sun after starting from third in the grid.

Dixon starts from the front of the grid, but the fact Sato is way down the pecking order in 30th explains why most bettors are dead against him holding onto his title. It’s not impossible for the defending champion to do it again, of course, but having to pass most of his rivals to do it makes it extremely unlikely.

Herta the main danger

The betting may be strong on Dixon to win the 2021 Indianapolis 500, but the traders aren’t always correct. Especially in IndyRacing, when followers are treated to more than their fair share of drama and shock results. If the odds-makers are off the mark, then who will win this weekend’s battle at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

The second favourite following qualifying is Colton Herta, who starts from the middle of the front row. The American was another who caught the eye earlier this week, posting the second-fastest practise lap of 232.784 behind Scott Dixon’s 233.302. Herta arrived in Indianapolis with a confident team behind him following a recent win in St Petersburg.

“Colton Herta” by Matt Fraver is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Others worth a mention

Others worth mentioning in the pre-race betting include Pato OWard, who is the third favourite despite starting from the fourth row. He’s just ahead of Alexander Rossi in the betting, with American also coming from row four. That’s further back than he had planned but, when the race gets going, he will be able to pass most of those ahead.

There are many ways to bet on the race at the top sports gambling apps, and some markets don’t require you to predict the race winner. As well as pre-race and in-play betting, there’s also Group A winner, Group C winner and Group E winner. Traders will keep most markets live throughout the race with the odds updated to reflect the positions.