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Which Drivers are on Hot Seat for Indy 500?

Buckle up. It’s the opening week of practice for the Indianapolis 500 so for these next two weeks, casuals and bandwagoners will care about IndyCar. And now’s the time to do it as this year has the most stakes you could have, as far as IndyCar betting’s front-runners. From Josef Newgarden to Kyle Larson, these IndyCar stars have a lot to prove and more to lose in the Indy 500 on May 26.


Which Drivers are on Hot Seat for Indy 500?
Formula Indy car - Vannesa Carvalho / Brazil Photo Press via AFP

Which Drivers Have Most Pressure to Win Indy 500?

Every driver wants to win the Indy 500. You’re automatically “GOATed” if you do. Just ask Takuma Sato, who did nothing remarkable outside of winning the 2017 Indianapolis 500. If you’re looking for a long shot to bet online, Sato is at 25/1 to do it again. A lot of others are worth betting on. And the winner could come from these drivers in the spotlight:


Josef Newgarden (+800) Bidding to Repeat

Newgarden can turn around his disastrous season with another win in Indianapolis. Just when things were going right, he had his win in St. Petersburg overruled due to some technicalities. Now, he’s down to 17th in the driver standings and he has just one top-five finish in five races.

A win in the Indy 500 will propel him into the top 10 and put him right back in the race. It also puts him in rarefied air. He’ll be the first Indy 500 champion to repeat in over 22 years and just the fifth to pull it off. Never mind winning the season or even finishing in the top three. Pulling this off will give Newgarden eternal bragging rights.


Alex Palou (+600): Favorite Eyes Breakthrough at Brickyard

Alex Palou is the best driver and is on pace to win his third title in four seasons. But he has yet to do one thing: win the Indy 500. He came close to winning in 2021, finishing second, and in 2023 when he came in fourth. The Spaniard is thus the IndyCar odds-on favorite to win this year’s race (tied with Pato O’Ward).

But it’s not just about the prestige. Palou can distance himself from Will Power, who remains the most consistent driver on the grid. Power trails Palou at 12 points and won the Indy 500 back in 2018. Scott Dixon is another former winner that is behind Palou in the standings. With these greats right behind him, Palou needs to win.



Pato O’Ward (+600): Is This Finally the Year?

The eye test proves that Pato O’Ward is one of the best drivers right now. And yet the Mexican has to win a title or the Indy 500. He’s consistently near the top of the online betting odds as far as race winners. He won the first race this season thanks to some DQs in St. Petersburg.

“I mean, a win’s a win, right?” O’Ward said. “We’ll take it, but I’ve said it multiple times, times prior to getting here, I’d love to give the team a proper celebration not for St. Pete, but for a future race coming up.”

O’Ward is seventh in the standings. Other than that “win,” he has yet to do anything significant. Like Newgarden, he needs this victory to get back in the season. He finished second in the Indy 500 in 2022 and fourth in 2021. His hordes of fans hope this is finally the year.


Kyle Larson (+800): NASCAR Champ Tests IndyCar Skills

Yes, that Kyle Larson will try his hand at winning in IndyCar. His skills in NASCAR could translate well in this oval circuit. He is the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Champion among his other many achievements. The 31-year-old is a proven winner, which is why he has short odds to win the Indy 500 despite being a “rookie.”

But this is all or nothing for Larson. If he wins, he’ll further elevate his rising profile as an American racer. But if he finishes far behind, it will be a big blow to his ego and put a bit of a stain on NASCAR. So the stakes could not be any higher for this folk hero as are his sports betting odds.



Questions of the Day

Who is the favorite to win the 2024 IndyCar Series Championship?

Alex Palou of Chip Ganassi Racing is favored to win the series title at +160.

Will a rookie win the Indy 500?

A rookie, like Kyle Larson, is at +800 on the sportsbook to win the Indy 500.

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