By: Joe Branch
August 20, 2021
Saturday night oval racing! This Saturday will be the fourth and final oval race of the season at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois.
The Bommarito Auto Group returns with a single Saturday night race on NBCSN and is scheduled for an 8:40 EST green flag. The NTT Indycar Series ran two races at the egg-shaped oval in 2020 which were won by Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden.
This event will be a one day show for Indycar starting with the one and only practice at 1:15 EST on Saturday afternoon.
Qualifying then takes place at 5 PM EST. This leaves very little lead time for final odds to be posted before the start of the race.
Also something worth keeping an eye on, DraftKings has posted “Live” betting odds on Indycar for the last two races. In these instances you can often find some good value in watching how strategies might play out.
Championship contenders and fellow Chevy driver’s Jose Newgarden and Pato O’ward come in as the odds-on favorites to win this Saturday. They sit at +600 (6 to 1).
These are pretty good odds for favorites as the opening line is usually around 4 to 1, which speaks to the unpredictable nature of this season.
Newgarden has won at Gateway twice in the past and has never qualified lower than 6th. So these odds are unlikely to improve as we get through Saturday’s sessions.
O’Ward finished 2nd and 3rd in last year’s double header and the argument could be made that he and Arrow McLaren are even stronger this year. He will definitely be a factor on Saturday.
This is the first time this season that six time series champion Scott Dixon is not in the top two favorites by the oddsmakers. Though he is not far off as he comes into the weekend at +650 (6.5 to 1).
I have said in recent weeks that his odds have been too low based off of recent performance and there wasn’t a lot of value there, however this week, on the oval,
I believe 6.5 to 1 to be pretty good value for Dixon. Last season was his only win at Gateway, but he also has three other podium finishes in the last 5 years.
Marcus Ericsson shows some strong value this weekend coming in at +2000 (20 to 1). Ericsson has taken to the short ovals well in his career and has a ton of momentum in general right now.
He qualified 4th and finished 5th in the first race in 2020. He is currently 5th in points, which means he will qualify later in the queue this season, which is a definite advantage to those towards the bottom of the standings.
Great value can also be found in the 2019 winner Takuma Sato at +2500 (25 to 1).
Takuma finished 2nd to Dixon in the first race last season and started on the pole in race two before falling backward after missing the strategy and ultimately finishing 9th.
Two drivers come into the final oval of the season at +3000 (30 to 1), and they are both in their respective cars that they only run the oval races with.
Conor Daly will be with Carlin Racing again this weekend and Tony Kanaan will be driving the 48 car for Chip Ganassi Racing.
Both drivers have shown pace here in the past and at 30 to 1, they show some good value for both of these fan favorites.
Ed Carpenter is also worth a look at +3500 (35 to 1). Ed has struggled in these one off oval races in recent years and is definitely due for a result. He finished 2nd here in 2019.
Favorites: Scott Dixon (6.5 to 1 to win, 1.5 to 1 to podium)
Value: Marcus Ericsson 20 to 1 to win, 5 to 1 to podium and Takuma Sato (25 to 1 to win, 6.5 to 1 to podium)
Long Shots: Tony Kanaan 30 to 1 to win, 7.5 to 1 to podium and Conor Daly (30 to 1 to win, 7.5 to 1 to podium)
Odds from DraftKings (8/18) Header Image By Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR