Scott Dixon opens as early Indy 500 PointsBet favorite

PointsBet Indy 500
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Scott Dixon, one of four winners in the first four NTT IndyCar races this year, is the early line favorite at PointsBet Sportsbook to win the Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 30, 2021 (11 a.m. ET, NBC).

With more than two weeks before the 105th running of the Indy 500, Dixon is listed at +600.

Dixon was also the favorite for both Texas Motor Speedway events. He was listed at +400 for the first race and after winning it, his odds were lowered to +210 for the second half of the doubleheader. Dixon finished fourth in that event to sweep the top five on oval tracks this year.

One way to view American Odds is to move the decimal point two positions to the left. That will let a bettor know what they will make on a $1 bet, so the return on investment for Dixon this week is $6.00. For bettors more comfortable with fractional odds, a bet of +300 is the same as 3/1.

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden is the next favorite with odds of +700. Newgarden finished fifth in last year’s Indy 500. In the two oval races run so far in 2021, he finished sixth in Texas 1 and was runner-up to winner Pato O’Ward in the second race.

With his Texas victory, O’Ward secures the third-ranked position in opening odds for the Indy 500. He was +900 for both Texas races. O’Ward is listed at +750 for the 500.

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Alexander Rossi is ranked fourth with +800 odds.  Rossi led 17 laps of this race last year before retiring with crash damage on Lap 143.

Will Power and Simon Pagenaud round out the top five in early odds for the Indy 500 at +1000. Both drivers finished outside the top 10 in last year’s edition of this race with Power 14th and Pagenaud two laps off the pace in 22nd.

Last year, Takuma Sato outdueled Dixon for his second Indy 500 win. If he can repeat in 2021, that will be worth +1800 to bettors.

Another dark horse with potential this week is Santino Ferrucci at +6000. He is not racing fulltime in IndyCar this season, but last year he landed in fourth for this race.

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For more betting coverage, check out NBC Sports Edge.

Kyle Busch interests McLaren for Indy 500, but team is leaning toward experience

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With Arrow McLaren SP heavily weighing a fourth car for the Indy 500 next year, Kyle Busch is a candidate but not at the top of the IndyCar team’s list.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown addressed the possibility Wednesday morning during a video news conference with Gavin Ward, the team’s newly named racing director.

“I have not personally spoken with Kyle Busch, but you can read into that that someone else in our organization has,” Brown said. “We want to make sure if we run a fourth car, we’re in the mindset that we want someone that is experienced around the 500. It’s such an important race, and from a going for the championship point of view, we’ve got three drivers that we want to have finish as strong as possible, so if we ran a fourth car, we’d want to be additive, not only for the fourth car itself, but to the three cars and so bringing in someone who’s not done it before potentially doesn’t add that value from an experience point of view.”

Busch will race the No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing next season in NASCAR under a new deal that will allow the two-time Cup Series champion to make his Indy 500 debut. Busch, who had a previous deal to run the Indy 500 nixed by Joe Gibbs Racing, openly courted Chevy IndyCar teams to contact him during his introductory news conference with RCR last month.

After Team Penske (which has given no indications of a fourth car at Indy alongside champion Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin), McLaren is the second-best Chevy organization, and it’s fielded an extra Indy 500 car the past two years for Juan Pablo Montoya. The Associated Press reported last month that McLaren was in “serious conversation” about running Busch at Indy with Menards sponsorship.

But with its restructured management, the team is in the midst of significant expansion for 2023. AMSP is adding a third full-time car for 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi to team with Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, and a massive new shop also is being built in the Indianapolis area.

“(It’s) not because of him but purely because of experience,” Brown said of Busch. “He’s an awesome talent and would be huge, huge news for the speedway. But yeah, I think everyone is under consideration if we decide to do it, but experience is right at the top of the list as far as what’s going to be the most important to us.”

And it seems likely there will be a veteran joining Rossi, O’Ward and Rosenqvist at the Brickyard.

“A fourth car at the 500 is very much under consideration,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t even want to get ahead of ourselves, but we wouldn’t be ruling out a fourth car in the future on a full-time basis. That definitely wouldn’t be for ’23. But as we expand the team and get into larger facilities and things of that nature, it’s something that Gavin and I have spoken about.

“I think we would be in a position to run a fourth car at the 500 this upcoming year. If we do decide to do that, we’ll make that decision soon for maximum preparation, and I would say we’re open minded to a fourth car in ’24 and beyond and probably will make that decision middle of next year in time to be prepared if we did decide to do that.”

Brown also addressed the future of Alex Palou, who will be racing for Chip Ganassi Racing next season after also signing a deal with McLaren. Though Brown declined to get into specifics about whether Palou had signed a new deal, he confirmed Palou will continue to test “our Formula One car from time to time.

“Everyone has reached an amicable solution,” Brown said. “We’ve now had Alex in our Formula One car as we have Pato. That will continue in the future, which we’re quite excited about. At this point we’re laser-focused on 2023 and glad to have the noise behind us and now just want to put our head down and get on with the job with the three drivers we have.”