Indy 500 Predictions 2024: Race Preview, Start Time, Winner Picks & Expert Best Bets: Scott McLaughlin the man to beat

Team Penske driver Scott McLaughlin (3) reacts after winning the pole position Sunday, May 19, 2024, during Fast 6 qualifying for the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
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Matt Selz


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The 108th running of the Indy 500 is on Sunday, May 26, right in between the F1 Monaco Grand Prix and the Coke 600 in NASCAR. There’s been more talk about this year’s race because of one driver in particular, Kyle Larson, but will he be a factor in the results? We’ll have to see how the 500 miles of racing around the famed 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway plays out. What are the betting strategies for the Indy 500? What is the weather forecast for the 2024 Indy 500? Our motorsports expert has all that covered, plus winner predictions and prop bets for the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday!

Indy 500 Weather Forecast

Like with most weather forecasts, it depends on where we get the forecast from. Chances of rain range from 35% to 90% on Sunday with some severe storms possible. If it is a wash out on Sunday, we could see the Indy 500 moved to Monday instead, though it should be said that weather has only postponed the race 3 times since 1915, with the last one in 2007. If the race does start on time we could see it shortened to make it official; only 101 laps need to be run for that to happen.

Indy 500 Betting Strategies

The Indy 500 is thought of as a grueling race for drivers, cars, and teams alike. And while that’s true, it’s also got a knack for being a wild race as well. That goes for the actual racing as well as the bets that hit. For example, in the last 10 Indy 500s, the winner has started P11 or worse 4 times and P8 or worse 5 times, while the front-row starters have only won once (the pole sitter in 2019). That pole winner was the first since 2009. So while top-8 starters have won 6 of the last 10 races here, it’s not like they’ve been the favorites in terms of odds.

Since 2016, 3 of the winners have been 33-1 or longer odds when the green flag dropped. The field is seemingly more wide open this year than in previous years as well, which could mean a longshot hits again, and let’s not forget the pesky weather and the race strategies that it brings into play. If the weather rolls in in the second half of the race, expect teams to try hail mary pit and fuel strategies to get the win and thus leading to a longshot winner.

The other things to keep in mind with this race is to treat Indy as a special race in research. The IndyCar schedule is split between oval and road/street races but the Indy 500 is typically the first oval of the year. That means that not much of anything that’s happened this year matters for the speed at Indy since it’s entirely different racing. There’s also the fact that none of the other oval races are on tracks this large. That makes Indy a unique venue to study for trends and results.

2024 Indianapolis 500 winner predictions

All odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing

Scott McLaughlin (+400)

McLaughlin is on the pole for the Indy 500. Clearly that has some risk as mentioned above but the car has been fast in all practice sessions leading up to qualifying. While he’s not had the best runs in the past — 3 races and no top-10s — this is the fastest car he’s had for Indy. Prior to qualifying, McLaughlin was at 12-1 which indicates faith in his ability to run well here. Let’s also not forget that he drives for Team Penske and that has tended to be an advantage at Indy, but there is still risk with the pole sitter.

Josef Newgarden (+550)

Newgarden is showing up to Indy on a mission to prove he didn’t need the scandal to win. The Push-to-Pass scandal from St. Petersburg is still putting the former Indy 500 winner at a disadvantage with no race engineer nor strategist. However, the Indy vet knows what he needs to win here, having done so just last year. Newgarden was also fast through practices, including setting the fastest lap a couple of times. That being said though, he’ll need history on his side to win in 2024 as there hasn’t been a back-to-back winner of the Indy 500 since Helio Castroneves in 2001-2002.`

Alexander Rossi (+1000)

Rossi finally won his Indy 500 in 2016 where he started P11. That win in 2016 made him the last winner to win from outside the top 10 until Newgarden’s win last year. However, he won’t have to do that again this time around as he’s starting P4, which as trends have shown, should give him a very good chance of being in it till the end. Five of the last seven Indy 500s have seen the winner come from inside the top-8 starting spots. So we couple his practice speeds, his oval successes, his Indy success and a good starting spot, and we get a favorable shot to win.

Pato O’Ward (+1100)

While Pato has yet to win an Indy 500, he’s come tantalizingly close with 3 top-six finishes and then wrecking out last year after leading 39 laps. He has speed again this year, as we’d expect given his consistently good runs, and O’Ward is starting P8. A lot of the talk this week has been about Kyle Larson, O’Ward’s teammate in the race, and it should show you how fast the McLarens are if Larson and O’Ward consistently hit the top of the speed charts in practices. If O’Ward can avoid the same mistake of last year, he should have the best chance of winning of anyone starting in the top-10.

Colton Herta (+1500)

Herta hasn’t won an oval race yet. Heck, only 3 of his 27 career top-fives are at ovals. That being said though, he’s shown up with speed this week and the Indy 500 is known for producing first-time winners in the sport. The line for Herta to win has been moving up all week going from 20-1 to now 15-1 thanks to his solid qualifying run and practice speeds. He’ll need luck to break his woes on ovals but what better time to do that than on the biggest stage of all?

Takuma Sato (+3000)

Sato is a multi-time Indy 500 winner with the most recent win coming in the 2020 running. What did that one have in common with this race? Sato was around the same odds to win that Indy 500 as this one. The other thing that’s similar is the speed in Sato’s car. He was consistently in the top seven across the practice sessions before qualifying P10. He is a driver who knows how to work his way through the grueling race and have his car the best at the end. Expect to see that again on Sunday in Indy with Sato having a shot in the closing laps.

Christian Rasmussen (+6000)

Perhaps the driver seeing the biggest line movement from opening to post-qualifying is Rasmussen. He was going off the board at 200-1 before moving to 60-1. Why is he moving? Firstly, he’s been speedy in practice, flashing top-10 speed at times. Secondly, the team he drives for are masters of the Indy 500 with numerous top-10 finishes, including last year. Thirdly, his record on oval in the lower divisions has been hard to miss with 2 seconds and 2 wins in 5 races. In the 5th race he was running P3 before having an issue. He is an Indy 500 rookie and starting P24, however if Rasmussen can keep it clean, log laps and learn, the equipment should be good enough for him to be a threat in the closing laps.

Marcus Erickson (+7000)

The main thing we’re looking at here is value. What do I mean by that? Prior to qualifying, Erickson was +1500 to win, having won 2 years ago, but then he had major issues in qualifying and will start near the tail end of the field. Since 1996, the furthest back in the field an eventual winner has started is P19, so that doesn’t bode well for him. But, Erickson is a former winner and had far better speed at practice than the qualifying effort showed. If he can catch some breaks and use pit strategy and cautions to his advantage, there could yet be value here.

Best Indy 500 Prop Bets

Pato O’Ward Top 5 Finish (+120)

O’Ward is quick again, shocker. And his history here is hard to beat at these odds. What is his history? In the four Indy 500s he’s posted three P6 or better finishes and started P5 last year before crashing out in P24. Getting plus odds here is great even after he qualified P8.

Colton Herta Top 5 Finish (+160)

While Herta hasn’t finished P5 or better yet, he does have a few top-10s at Indy and has led laps previously. He has shown top-five speed this week at practices and has nabbed top-fives on ovals before. If the speed from practice carries to the race and he keeps it clean, we’re looking at a nice return here.

Christian Rasmussen Top 5 Finish (+700)

He was a long-shot winner so why not roll with a long-shot top-five too huh? Rasmussen, as stated above has a good history on ovals with this team. That that we’re rolling with for this. Sure, the starting spot isn’t what we’d like to see, but moving up is possible at Indy and if the rain comes into play we could be looking at pit strategy making the difference. We’re not betting a lot on this prop but if it hits based on his stellar oval track history, it’s hard to dislike a 7-1 return.

Indy 500 Start Time and TV Schedule

The Indy 500 is scheduled to start at 12:45 pm ET on Sunday, May 26. The race will air on NBC and Peacock, and Jordin Sparks is scheduled to sing the national anthem at 12:24 pm ET.

Indy 500 Pole Sitter

Scott McLaughlin will start in pole position in the Indy 500, having earned that position through qualifying. He has participated in the Indy 500 three times but is yet to place inside the top 10.

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