Grand Prix of Portland: Betting Preview

By: Joe Branch
September 10, 2021

Three races remain in the 2021 championship and there are six drivers that have a shot at the Astor Cup. Indycar returned to Portland in 2018 for the first time in 11 years as ChampCar was last there in 2007. 

Race starts at Portland have proven to be wild.  The braking zone into turn one is very wide and inviting.  Championship contenders will likely be in survival mode on lap one while those desperate for a result could make things very interesting. 

This weekend is a two day show with the first practice at 12:00 PM ET on Saturday.  Qualifying will take place at 3:15 PM ET, which means there will be plenty of time for updated odds Saturday night or Sunday morning.  

The Favorites

Josef Newgarden has been the odds on favorite for the opening line for most of the season.  Portland is no exception as JNew comes in at +450 (4.5 to 1).  Newgarden definitely has some momentum going after winning two of the last four races. Newgarden is a threat to win at any track he shows up to. 

Newgarden and Dixon are the only drivers in the Top 5 to have run an IndyCar race at Portland (Stephen V. King/INDYCAR)

He has a 5th and 10th in the last two races at Portland.  4.5 to 1 is good value, Newgarden qualified 2nd in 2018, and if he qualifies in the top three on Saturday odds are likely to go to around 3 to 1. 

Scott Dixon and Colton Herta both come in at +600 (6 to 1).  Dixon has opened up as one of the top two favorites for all of 2021, this is not good value for him, he has struggled to qualify up front and will get way better odds after qualifying.  As for Herta, he qualified on the pole here in 2019 and is a threat for pole again this year.  6 to 1 is pretty good value here.

Two other favorites that are worth a look are Will Power at +700 (7 to 1) and Pato O’Ward at +750 (7.5 to 1).  Power won here in 2019 and started on the pole in 2018.  A flat natural terrain road course plays to all of Power’s strengths.  Pato comes into this race as the points leader.  He also led a ten car test at Portland back in July.


Rossi was the only driver to start and finish in the Top 10 in both the 2018 and 2019 Portland races (Joe SKibinski/INDYCAR)

Alexander Rossi shows good value at +1400 (14 to 1).  Rossi has found some speed in the last month and always seems to finish the season strong, he finished on the podium here in 2019 and his worst qualifying position is 8th.  

I also see solid value in Romain Grosjean at +1600 (16 to 1).  The Frenchman has been knocking on the door of his first win and Portland also seems to match his skill set well although it will be his first time at this particular track. 

Long Shots

Arrow McLaren SP driver Felix Rosenqvist could be a pleasant surprise this weekend. He tested with the team in the July test and finished 2nd here in 2019 after starting from the 5th position. Rosenqvist is +3000 (30 to 1) for this weekend and +700 (7 to 1 ) to finish on the podium.

Jack Harvey….. man he has been the long shot bet of the season.  We need it to pay off eventually.  Harvey tested here as well, he qualified 4th in 2019 before being collateral damage of a Andretti Autosport on track dispute.  This could be his last chance of getting a win for MSR before departing at the end of the season.  Jack is currently +5000 (50 to 1).

Rosenqvist led three laps during his Portland debut in 2019 (Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

My Picks

Favorite: Pato O’Ward (+7.5 to 1 to win and +1.75 to 1 to podium)

Value: Alexander Rossi (14 to 1 to win and 3.5 to 1 to podium), Romain Grosjean 16 to 1 to win and 3.5 to 1 to podium

Long Shot: Felix Rosenqvist (30 to 1 to win and 7 to 1 to podium), Jack Harvey (50 to 1 to win and 12 to 1 to podium)

Odds from DraftKings (9/8) Header Image By Chris Jones/INDYCAR


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