By: Joe Branch
August 6, 2021
The inaugural Big Machine Music City Grand Prix! It’s been a while since we have had a brand new track to handicap. This Sunday’s race will see the NTT Indycar Series go to the streets of Nashville for the first time ever. The track will consist of two very long straight aways over a bridge and a body of water! From there drivers will navigate through downtown Nashville in one of the tightest street circuits we’ve seen.
The first practice session is at 4:10 EST on Friday. All season long, apps such as Draft Kings and a few other sites that I’ve monitored, take the odds down once practice starts and reset them with a few changes based off of that practice.
Although we do not have previous races to analyze, we do have three temporary street circuit races this season that we can use to find some good value this weekend.
Josef Newgarden is the favorite coming into the weekend at +300 (3 to 1). Newgarden has a lot of momentum as he comes off of a win at Mid Ohio. The Nashville native was also in a position to win in the prior two weekends, leading all but 3 laps in Detroit, and then leading at Road America before a mechanical issue sent him to the back of the queue on the final lap.
This could very well be a weekend that the hometown hero dominates, that being said, 3 to 1 is about the lowest odds you’ll see going into a weekend. If you want to bet Newgarden, you may want to wait until after qualifying and you may see better odds. If Josef wins the pole, it will probably go to 2 to 1.
Series veteran Scott Dixon is next on the favorites list at +500 (5 to 1). This is purely based on reputation. The Ice Man’s best finish on a street circuit this year is 5th at St. Pete.
Two other favorites that show a little value are drivers that have both won on street circuits in 2021. The Saint Petersburg winner Colton Herta is +700 (7 to 1) and Detroit winner Pato O’Ward is +800 (8 to 1).
Based on previous trends this season, Herta will likely qualify well and his odds will probably go down throughout the weekend. O’Ward tends to not qualify as well but race extremely well, so there could be a chance of gaining even more value on the McLaren driver later in the weekend.
Marcus Ericsson stands out here at +1600 (16 to 1). He won the first race at Detroit and Ganassi Racing just seems to be firing on all cylinders this season.
There is also some good value that can be found in Will Power. He is +1000 (10 to 1) this weekend and it just feels like he is due to completely dominate a weekend at some point.
Long shots are always the most fun to bet, that being said I can’t find any that I really love in this week’s lineup. Let’s have some fun anyway!
Romain Grosjean has been fighting his way towards the sharp end of the lineup all season. Now we are going to a track where he’s not at a tracktime disadvantage, so maybe this +2500 (25 to 1) is worth taking a flyer on.
Ryan Hunter-Reay is +5000 (50 to 1), he has several street circuit wins over his career and is definitely going to be driving with a chip on his shoulder as it appears that he is on the outside looking in for 2022 with Andretti Autosport.
Lastly, we’ve all been waiting for Jack Harvey to get his first win. He hasn’t been stellar on street courses though but he is +7000 (70 to 1) for Sunday.
Colton Herta: 7 to 1 to win
Will Power: 10 to 1 to win
Marcus Ericsson: 16 to 1 to win
Romain Grosjean: 25 to 1 to win
Ryan Hunter-Reay 50 to 1 to win
Odds from Draft Kings as of 8/5 Header Image By Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR