Indy 500 Gets the Green Flag Sunday, But With Little Betting Traffic Outside Indiana

Posted on: August 23, 2020, 07:06h. 

Last updated on: August 24, 2020, 12:59h.

Gentlemen will start their engines Sunday afternoon for the running of the 104th Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Indy 500 betting
Josef Newgarden leads the pack during Friday’s Carb Day, the final practice session for Sunday’s Indy 500. (Image: Karl Zemlin/Indianapolis Motor Speedway)

COVID-19 forced organizers to reschedule the Memorial Day staple event to this weekend. The largest sporting venue in the world, with permanent seating for 235,000 and a capacity to hold about 400,000, entertained plans to hold the race with a smaller crowd.

However, an increase in coronavirus cases forced the IMS to put a halt to those plans, meaning that, like most other US sports, the Indy 500 will go on without spectators this year.

While the race is still a big event for auto racing and the Indianapolis community, the race has lost some of its luster over the years. Aside from the 500, open-wheel racing no longer is a major player on the US sports scene, and the sport really hasn’t had a star attraction since Danica Patrick.

NBC will broadcast this year’s race. Pre-event coverage starts at 1 p.m. ET, with the green flag expected to drop at 2:30 p.m.

Little Traffic Outside of Indiana

There’s little betting interest in the race outside of Indiana, where sportsbooks first opened nearly a year ago.

The Indy 500 is dominating at BetRivers Indiana,” Rush Street Interactive COO Mattias Stetz told on Friday. “Over 60 percent of our current handle for events on Sunday has been placed on the race. In our other markets aggregated, we see that the Indy 500 is receiving substantially less % of handle. The Champions League final has dominated other markets instead.”

Over at DraftKings, Indiana’s top sportsbook by handle, the disparity is even greater. Through Friday, 82 percent of the bets it took on the race were placed in Indiana, the sportsbook told

At the Caesars Entertainment-owned Indiana Grand Racing and Casino in Shelbyville, the closest casino to Indianapolis, sportsbook manager Austin Herdina said he’s been surprised by the traffic it has generated this weekend. “Small bet amounts, but many bets,” he said via Twitter.

Dixon Favored by Sportsbooks and Bettors

Over at DraftKings, Scott Dixon has commanded the most action for Sunday’s race. The 2008 winner has support from 13 percent of DraftKings’ bettors, and he’s generated nearly a quarter of the handle, according to the sportsbook.

Dixon, who will start from the middle of the front row, is the DraftKings favorite at +400. BetRivers, like DraftKings a Kambi-powered sportsbook, offers the same odds.

Pole-sitter Marco Andretti, who will start to the inside of Dixon, is the next most popular choice at DraftKings, with 13 percent of the handle and 11 percent of the bets. The Andretti family remains one of the top names in open wheel racing. However, the family has just one Indy 500 win (Mario, Marco’s grandfather, in 1969). His odds have dropped from +800 Friday to +700 Sunday morning.

Those are also the odds on 2016 winner Alexander Rossi, who commands 10 percent of the handle and 8 percent of the tickets. Rossi will start in the third row.

At FanDuel, Dixon is also the favorite at +470 and commands the highest handle. Rossi is the second choice at +750. Andretti, who has more tickets than any other driver at FanDuel, is third at +850.