2023 Indianapolis Indy 500 race predictions, odds, picks and best bets: Pato O'Ward reaps the rewards

Pato O'Ward pilots the Arrow McLaren SP Chevy
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Matt Selz


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NASCAR handicapper for Pickswise, looking to give you winners throughout the season! For Matt Selz media enquiries, please email contact@pickswise.com.
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The 2023 Indy 500 is here!

One of the most prestigious races in the world, 500 miles around the famed Brickyard in Indianapolis is quite the test of drivers. We all know the sites of the Pagoda and the yard of bricks at the start-finish line and the throngs of 250,000 fans of race day. It’s a glorious site in the middle of the greatest day of racing between the F1 Monaco Grand Prix and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600.

Now that Indy 500 practice and qualifying and Carb Day results have all been set, it’s time to take a look at some of our favorite bets for the 2023 Indianapolis 500.

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway layout and trends

The rectangular oval of Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a one of a kind track from its shape, to its distance, to its strip of original bricks. The 2.5-mile layout is made of 2 longer straights, 2 “short chutes” and 4 slightly unsymmetrical corners. It’s also known as one of the fastest tracks in the world, especially heading into Turn 1. Indy is also a wide track, though, so we can expect plenty of 3-wide passes and crossover attempts.

Over the last 11 Indy 500s, a different car number has won each race and the pole-sitter has won just once in the last 13 500s and twice in the last 21. It’s not looking great for repeat winners. On top of that, this race has produced a lot of one-off winners of late with the last 7 champs not having won a season title in their careers. While the Indy 500 is the biggest race of the year in terms of prestige and points, it hasn’t ultimately determined the season champion in a while.

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Winner predictions for the 2023 Indianapolis 500

All odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing

Pato O’Ward (+650)

Every year he has run the Indy 500, O’Ward has delivered a better finish than the year prior. The only way to keep that streak going is to win in 2023, having finished P2 last year. It also doesn’t hurt that last year’s winner, Marcus Ericsson, started in the same spot that O’Ward will roll off from: P5. His record on ovals is impressive and the car has looked fast much of Indy 500 practice and qualifying, as well.

Rinus VeeKay (+1200)

It was a valiant effort last year in his 500 run, but Veekay faded as the race went on. He has enjoyed good success in previous trips to Indy with his first career top 5, first podium and win — granted on the road course. Could he now be able to tame the oval? VeeKay will be starting P2 on Sunday and fits in with the trends listed above, as well. Starting on the front row, so long as it’s not P1, has given past drivers a solid chance to kiss the bricks.

Takuma Sato (+1200)

Since we’re talking about trends in this piece, let’s go over some for Sato. The number is 3 that’s the trend. He has won the Indy 500 with 2 different teams and now has a good shot with a third. He quickest in the 3 early practices in 2022 and did the same again this year. Sato’s previous 2 wins came in 2017 and 2020; boom, another 3 in terms of years apart. Is the third time the charm for Sato, who could get another win three years after the last?

Will Power (+1600)

As the race has drawn nearer, Power has found more speed in each practice session. He has topped the charts a couple of times at practice so far and is starting inside the top 12, which has generally proved beneficial for eventual Indy 500 winners. While his run at the only other oval race this year so far wasn’t great, Indy is it’s own beast and he has been in contention before — so we know the moment isn’t too big for him.

Kyle Kirkwood (+2500)

Kirkwood nabbed his first win earlier this year and seems to be in a fast car again this week. While he is starting P15 which is a tad further back than I would like to see, he has been top 8 in practice speeds a few different times gearing up for the 500. He did have issues at Texas earlier in the season but again, this is a different track and I’ll take the speed he’s showing this week. One last thing: Kirkwood is in the car piloted by Alexander Rossi previously and that car last year started P20 and finished P5, which should give us hope that Kirkwood can move up similarly through the field.

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