Alex Palou is PointsBet favorite for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course


With two NTT IndyCar Series road course wins to his credit in 2021, Alex Palou is the early PointsBet Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix favorite at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. The race will be run on Saturday, August 14 (12:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) as part of a triple-header weekend at IMS along with the NASCAR Xfinity and Cup races.

Palou opened on Friday with odds of +500. In addition to his pair of wins, at Barber Motorsports Park and Road America, Palou has three third-place finishes, giving him five podiums in eight road races. Last week he was seventh on the challenging Streets of Nashville.

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 this week for Palou is $5.00. For bettors more comfortable with fractional odds, a bet of +300 is the same as 3/1.

Josef Newgarden is ranked second with odds of +650. Fresh off his Mid-Ohio win, Newgarden was the favorite on his hometown track in Tennessee with a +380. That race proved to be a disruptor as several drivers with low odds finished mid-pack. Newgarden  was just inside the top 10 in that race. He hopes to rebound on a track where he won once in three 2020 starts.

Two drivers are ranked third with a line of +700.

Pato O’Ward is one of the third-ranked drivers despite the fact that he has not finished better than eighth in his last three starts on road and street circuits. He swept the top five at Belle Isle, however, and secured the win in the second race of that double header.

Rinus VeeKay is the other driver listed at 7/1. He is coming off a 24th-place finish in Nashville and has not cracked the top 15 in his last three road course starts.

Scott Dixon rounds out the top five this week with odds of +750. While he has not yet visited Victory Lane on a road course in 2021, Dixon has been perfect in regard to top-10s. Five of his efforts on this track type ended in top-five finishes, including last week’s second-place effort at Nashville. Dixon won the first of three races held on the Indy road course last year after starting seventh.

No other driver has better than 10/1 odds.

Marcus Ericsson won last week’s Nashville race in dramatic fashion after his car launched into the air in an early incident. He finished second at Mid-Ohio and won at Belle Isle. Despite those strong runs, he is listed this week with +2000 odds and should be considered one of the top dark horse contenders.

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For more betting coverage, check out NBC Sports Edge.

Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan after controversial block pass at Detroit


Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.

Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.

On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.

One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.

After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.

The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.

“It was good racing; it was fun,” Deegan said at about the 27-minute mark in the video above. “I just had some fun doing it.”

Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.

Lawrence defends Deegan
Jordon Smith failed to make the Detroit Supercross Main and fell to sixth in the points. – Feld Motor Sports

“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.

“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”

As Deegan and Smith battled, Jeremy Martin took the lead. Deegan finished second in the heat and backed up his performance with a solid third-place showing in the main, which was his second podium finish in a short six-race career. Deegan’s first podium was earned at Daytona, just two rounds ago.

But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.

Lawrence defends Deegan
A block pass by Haiden Deegan led to a series of events that eventually led to Jordon Smith failing to make the Main. – Feld Motor Sports

“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.

“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”

Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.

“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.

“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”

The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.