IndyCar Bets: Picks for the 106th Indianapolis 500

The greatest weekend of racing in the universe is upon us, and it’s all centered around the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. The Greatest NASCAR Bettor in the Universe (me) is back to give you the best IndyCar bets for the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Of course, I’m a NASCAR-first kind of guy. But the Indy 500 is no joke – I’ve been attending Indianapolis for over a decade. In my opinion, it trumps all motorsports events on Planet Earth.

Not only that: I think it trumps all sporting events on Planet Earth.

I know that’s eye-popping praise, but Indianapolis is my second home because of this event. I highly suggest going at some point in your life – don’t be surprised if you get hooked.

Don’t get me wrong here; I am extremely excited to be attending my first Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. I just cannot overstate the electricity, the nostalgia, and the pure glory that lingers around Indianapolis Motor Speedway during May. They call it the Greatest Spectacle in Racing for plenty of reasons.

So now let’s shift gears here: hopefully, we’ll be calling it the Greatest Spectacle in Betting by the end of the weekend. Don’t forget; we will have articles covering everything on the NASCAR betting universe as we approach a b-e-a-utiful triple-header weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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Let’s get right into it.

Best Bets for the 106th Indianapolis 500

Patricio O’Ward: +1200 to Win, +325 for a Top 3, +180 for a Top 5

The outright line is available via FanDuel Sportsbook, and the props are available via Barstool Sportsbook. I absolutely love Pato this weekend.

In four oval races in 2021, Pato finished in the Top 5 in each of them. He won at Texas last year and has finishes of 6th and 4th in his two Indy 500 starts. He was also very fast at Texas earlier this year but had a critical pit road penalty that slashed his chances at a strong finish.

There’s certainly an emphasis on the speed that Chip Ganassi Racing has shown with their entire 5-car fleet. But if there’s one guy who I think crashes that party on Sunday, it’s Pato. Arrow McLaren SP has the speed to contend, and Pato will lead the charge.

I think we’ll see Pato finish in the Top 5 and contend for the victory. He checks all the boxes to complete a strong month of May this weekend.

Alex Palou: +750 to Win, +215 for a Top 3, +125 for a Top 5

These lines replicate the first excerpt: The outright play is via FanDuel and the props are via Barstool.

Last year’s Indy 500 runner-up and IndyCar series champion is one of the favorites to drink the milk on Sunday. I mentioned Ganassi’s speed throughout the month of May – Alex Palou is my favorite play out of the fleet to win on Sunday.

This kid has been an absolute stud since he started driving for Ganassi in 2021. After turning some heads with Dale Coyne Racing in 2020, Palou left to drive for Chip and secured three wins and a title in his first season with the new team.

Since 2021, he’s accumulated four Top 10’s in five oval starts. One of which he succumbed the lead to Helio Castroneves in the final laps of the Indy 500 last year. I think that experience bodes tremendous value in a race that drivers very rarely win on their first couple of attempts.

In Palou’s first two attempts, he’s experienced the low of crashing and the low of finishing as the first loser. Since then, Palou bloomed into a championship talent, and he is poised to take the next major step of his young career.

Palou has a rocketship this weekend, and I expect him to lead laps and be there at the end.

Ed Carpenter: +2600 to Win, +550 for a Top 3, +325 for a Top 5

A recurring theme you’ve now noticed: FanDuel has the best outright odds, and Barstool has the best Top 3/Top 5 odds. Keep that in mind when placing bets for the weekend.

Ed Carpenter is an Indy phenom. The fandom that follows this man in Indy is something special. If he wins this race on Sunday, the town of Speedway, Indiana might burn to the ground.

Carpenter, 41, is actually in the best stretch of his career when it comes to results at Indy. He has three Top 6 finishes in his last four starts at Indy, including a P2 to Will Power back in 2018. Ed runs a part-time schedule as a full-time team owner. His primary focus as a driver is to prepare and show out in this race every year.

Ed has a very fast car this year and will start 4th in Sunday’s race. A strong starting spot historically bodes well for Carpenter: in six Indy 500 appearances where he qualified in the Top 5, he has five finishes of 11th or better, four Top 10 finishes, and three Top 6 finishes (two in the Top 5).

By the way, Carpenter is +100 on Barstool Sportsbook for a Top 10. I’d look into that as a worthy play as well.

I think they’re all gonna sleep on Indy Ed on Sunday – love Indy Ed as a longshot this weekend.

Will Power (-115) vs Jimmie Johnson

This line is courtesy of Barstool Sportsbook.

If you were able to grab JJ at astronomical odds to win before practice started, kudos to you. Jimmie has tremendous speed and is absolutely capable of producing a strong run on Sunday.

If I had to pick a driver based on speed, give me JJ. However, I’ve been watching this race too long – experience in these challenging racecars matters. Experience in this grueling race matters. Everybody is salivating over Jimmie, and rightfully so, but this is one of the toughest races on the planet. Jimmie has been on the edge of making a critical mistake more than once throughout practice and qualifying.

Ultimately, I think the inexperience will lead to a DNF. I’m certainly not wishing misfortune here, I just truly believe that his lack of experience behind the wheel of an open-wheel racecar will be troubling for his results on Sunday. Will Power is a former winner of this race and has the experience to make it to the end.

Seriously; I would take Jimmie as a long-shot right now if he was still available in the 50-1 range. He’s worth a shot to win, but nothing else. I’m gonna fade him in this matchup.

Simon Pagenaud (-115) vs Romain Grosjean

This line is courtesy of Barstool Sportsbook.

I’m sticking with the experience narrative once again. Grosjean has boasted speed in May, but likewise with Jimmie regarding his rookie status in the Indy 500, I think the lack thereof will be critical on Sunday.

I’m actually leaning towards saying I like this matchup better than the first one due to the fact that Grosjean not only is an Indy 500 rookie, but he also has extremely limited oval experience.

Pagenaud hasn’t shown incredible speed in May, but he drives for the team that is the defending winner of this race (Meyer Shank Racing) and is the teammate of defending winner Helio Castroneves. I think their cars will drive well on Sunday.

Did I mention that Simon has three finishes of 6th or better in his last four 500’s, or that he has two Top 3’s in that span? Or that he won the Indy 500 back in 2019?

Experience! Gimme Pagenaud.

Conor Daly (-115) vs Marco Andretti

Guess what; yep! You got it! This line is courtesy of Barstool Sportsbook.

Yes; Conor does have a mullet. And Marco is the only person I know that has me blocked on Twitter. I don’t know why. For these reasons alone, I would put my money on Conor.

But for what it’s worth, there’s more to this play. Conor drives full-time for Ed Carpenter Racing, and is another Indiana favorite. Marco retired from full-time competition in 2020 and only drives this race every year as a one-off deal with his dad, Michael Andretti, and the Andretti Autosport team.

Conor had a ridiculously fast car last year in this race but finished 13th after getting damage from a tire that came off of Graham Rahal’s car. He led 40 laps before the incident.

Marco has excellent results here before 2016, as he’s had fast cars and finished no better than 8th in his last six starts. Additionally, the Andretti machine experienced a major engine problem in qualifying last weekend.

I think ECR is trending in the right direction with Conor, while Andretti is trending in the wrong direction with Marco. Plus, Andretti is cursed here (look it up).

I’ll take Conor in this one.

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