Kiwi Dixon Heads Indy 500 Betting

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Marco Andretti starts on pole for Sunday's Indianapolis 500, the blue riband race of the Indycar season.

Marco Andretti in qualifying for the Indianapolis 500

The 2020 Indianapolis 500, the highlight of the IndyCar season, takes place on Sunday with a typically open-looking betting market and a famous family name on pole position.

This year’s race will be unlike any other running of the iconic American motor racing event. The 104th running will be the first time the Indy500 has not been held in May and it will also be taking place without any spectators in the vast grandstands.

Andretti on Pole

Qualifying for the event has followed the familiar multi-stage format, with a series of practice days followed by Saturday’s time trials which set the field for all but the first nine places on the grid.

Marco Andretti, grandson of F1 world champion Marco and son of F1 racer Michael, dominated qualifying weekend, topping the timesheets on Friday and Saturday, before claiming pole with a lap averaging 231.068mph in the Fast Nine shootout.

He is the 11/1 seventh favourite to win though, having never won in his 14 previous attempts in the race. Andretti has made the podium four times but never bettered the runner-up spot he secured on his debut in 2006 – he was passed for the lead on the last lap as a 19-year-old.

Andretti will be desperate to win to end talk of the Andretti curse, which has dogged the efforts of the family’s drivers to win the Indy 500 since Mario’s sole victory in 1969.

Market Favourites and 2020 Oval-Circuit Form

The market is currently headed by 9/2 favourite Scott Dixon and it’s no surprise to see bookmakers wary of the New Zealander.

Dixon was well to the fore throughout the preliminary sessions, topping the times in the second practice, and he should have high hopes of a second success in the race from second on the grid, after his 2008 victory.

The unusual season schedule means there is not much form from other tracks to go on. Only six IndyCar events have been held this season, and three of those were on road courses, which are not particularly useful for predicting the outcome at a banked circuit such as the Brickyard.

The three oval-course events held in 2020 were at Texas, won by Dixon, and the two races at Iowa, which went to the two Team Penske Chevrolets of Simon Pagenaud – last season’s Indy500 winner – and reigning IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden.

Frenchman Pagenaud is a 9/1 shot, despite a disappointing qualifying session that left him back on the ninth row of the grid. Newgarden is 8/1 and will start 13th.

Two other prominent drivers in the winner’s market are Ryan Hunter-Reay – 8/1, fifth on the grid – and Alexander Rossi, who can also be backed at 8/1 and will start in ninth spot.

Dixon looks a solid bet for the race win, with Hunter-Reay and veteran Japanese driver Takuma Sato, who starts third, looking decent options for each-way backers.

Familiar Names in the Field

British driver Max Chilton, Sweden’s Marcus Ericsson and Sato will be familiar to F1 fans, but the most famous face in the field to a global audience is two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, who will start 26th on his third attempt at the race. The Spaniard was 24th after qualifying fifth in 2017 and failed to qualify on his second attempt for McLaren last year.

Alonso is a 50/1 shot to complete the famed motor racing triple crown of winning the Monaco Grand Prix, 24 Hours of Le Mans and Indy500 in his career this year. Graham Hill is the only driver to have won all three events to date.

*All odds correct at time of writing

Adam Scriven is an occasional contributor to the MansionBet Blog. He holds a keen interest in many sports, with motorsports taking the first position.
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