Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach: Betting Preview

By: Joe Branch
September 24, 2021

It’s been a fun season and as unpredictable as any in recent memory.  The NTT Indycar Series has had 9 different winners this season.  Alex Palou enters the finale at Long Beach with a 35 point lead for the championship over Pato O’ward.  

The weekend kicks off on Friday with the first practice at 6:00 PM ET.  This gives us plenty of time to get our pre weekend bets in.  Saturday will see a 2nd practice at 12:00 PM ET and then qualifications at 3:00 PM ET.  The most historic grand prix on the calendar will take place Sunday at 3:00 PM ET. 

The Favorites

Round 16 of the 2021 season and for the first time of the year, Colton Herta comes into the weekend as the odds on favorite at +400 (4 to 1). 

It makes sense that Colton is the favorite here as he is coming off of a win last weekend at Laguna, he won on the streets of St. Pete this season, and he was clearly the fastest car in the most recent street race at Nashville.  4 to 1 is decent value for someone who is very likely to qualify near the sharp end of the grid. 

Next on the list of favorites are the main championship contenders, Alex Palou and Pato O’ward enter the weekend at +450 (4.5 to 1).  I don’t see a lot of value in  either of these picks. The drivers will be forced to focus more on the championship scenario than actually winning the race.   Unless Pato qualifies on pole and runs away with it, both drivers will be playing the risk vs. reward pit strategy game and Palou will be focused on simply shadowing Pato for most of the afternoon.  

Dixon, the 2015 Long Beach winner, is the only driver in the Top Eight in points to have won or started on the pole

The last of the “favorites” include Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon at +800 (8 to 1).  This is good value for these two at a track that they have both had some success at. 


Alexander Rossi has won the last two races at Long Beach and has done so from the pole! Huge value can be found in his +900 (9 to 1) odds.  I expected him to be one of the favorites at around 5 to 1 this weekend.  That 9 to 1 price won’t last long.

Rossi (2018 and 2019 winner) will look to join Al Unser Jr. (1988-1991) and Sebastien Bourdais (2004-2006) as winneed of three consecutive races at Long Beach (Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

Marcus Ericsson comes into the weekend at +1800 (18 to 1).  Ericsson’s two wins this season have come on street courses, there’s no doubt that his confidence will be sky high for this one.

Long Shots

The long shot opening odds are showing some real value this week.  One that stands out the most is Ryan Hunter-Reay at +9000 (90 to 1).  This is RHR’s last race with Andretti Autosport.  He has always been fast at Long Beach so there’s no doubt the pace will be there.  How fitting would it be for Captain America to win his final race for the team, at the same place in which he won his first race for Andretti in 2010.

James Hinchcliffe is also believed to be in his last race with Andretti Autosport.  He is +13000 (130 to 1) this weekend.  It has been a season to forget for the Mayor but he is a former winner at this track and finished on the podium in the most recent street race at Nashville.  

A 2010 win at Long Beach with Andretti Autosport changed the career trajectory of Ryan Hunter-Reay. On Sunday, he will make his final start with the team (Richard Dowdy/INDYCAR)

Lastly, Oliver Askew is +10000 (100 to 1).  Askew is in his third consecutive race with RLL and was in the Firestone fast 6 last week.  He has had pace at every track and is looking to earn a seat for next season. 

My Picks

Favorite: Colton Herta 4 to 1 to win, 1.15 to 1 to podium

Value: Alexander Rossi 9 to 1 to win, 2.5 to 1 to podium and Marcus Ericsson 18 to 1 to win, 5 to 1 to podium

Long Shot: Ryan Hunter-Reay 90 to 1 to win, 25 to 1 to podium, Oliver Askew 100 to 1 to win, 28 to 1 to podium and James Hinchcliffe 130 to 1 to win, 35 to 1 to podium


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