By: Joe Branch
April 23, 2021
Last week at Barber, pure chaos ensued on the very first lap of the season. The odds-on favorite to win the race only made it 4 turns before losing control and taking out several competitors.
How will he rebound this weekend? Will we see a second surprise winner in as many races? The streets of St. Pete is typically wild and chaotic, and with the depth of this field, expect nothing less this weekend.
For the 2nd week in a row Josef Newgarden comes into the weekend as the odds on favorite to win, despite his incident on lap one of Barber. Newgarden and teammate Will Power are both listed as +450 (4.5 to 1).
Josef has won the last two races at St. Pete and will no doubt be a factor all weekend, however +450 is probably not the best value here. Similar to last week, I wouldn’t consider Newgarden to be the favorite for pole, so if he doesn’t get pole, his odds will improve before the race on Sunday. If he does put the Hitachi Chevy on pole, he is likely to go to 3 or 3.5 to 1.
On the contrary, Will Power shares the distinction of being the other odds on favorite of this weekend. If you plan on betting on Power, I would take him before qualifying. Power has qualified on pole the last two years and qualified 2nd in 2018.
Other favorites to consider include Alexander Rossi +850 (8.5 to 1) and Colton Herta at +1100 (11 to 1). Rossi has two top 5’s in the last three years and was leading last season before crashing out late in the race. His Andretti Autosport Teammate Colton Herta was also running 2nd during much of the 2020 race before locking up his brakes and giving up several positions.
There are a ton of drivers that you can select for value this week but I’m going to focus on two veterans. Sebastien Bourdais +2500 (25 to 1) and Ryan Hunter-Reay at +3300 (33 to 1). Bourdais has won this race twice from the qualifying positions of 14th and 21st proving anything can happen.
Last season he finished the year with Foyt Racing which allowed him to compete in St. Pete, he was one of the fastest cars on track but went off strategy to cover Marco Andretti, because they had to beat him for the last position in the Leader’s Circle Awards.
RHR is also good value at 33 to 1, he finished 5th last year after having an issue half way through the race. Andretti Autosport was dominant in all sessions up to the race last season, so there is a good chance that the driver of the #28 DHL car won’t have as good betting odds as the weekend progresses.
Sticking with a similar theme as above, Andretti Autosport shows a couple of long shots that have great value! James Hinchcliffe is currently +5000 (50 to 1), first of all this won’t last, Hinch is a former winner of this race with Andretti Autosport in 2013.
He qualified 4th last season and was running in the top 5 before spinning in bizarre fashion under yellow. This is one of his best tracks.
Lastly, Jack Harvey is +6600 (66 to 1). Jack qualified 5th last season, and has shown the pace at times so possibly sneak out a win for Meyer Shank Racing.
Alexander Rossi 8.5 to 1
Sebastien Bourdais 25 to 1
Ryan Hunter-Reay 33 to 1
James Hinchcliffe 50 to 1
Odds are from Draft Kings as of 4/22. Follow Joe on Twitter for in-race updates and more.
Header Image By Chris Owens/INDYCAR