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Best IndyCar Bets for the 2023 GMR Grand Prix of Indianapolis

The IndyCar Series is back for the GMR Grand Prix of Indianapolis this weekend. As the Greatest Spectacle in Racing approaches, the festivities at Indianapolis Motor Speedway are well underway. Will Power stands out as a sharp IndyCar bet for the GMR Grand Prix of Indianapolis, and he factors heavily into my predictions for this race.

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IndyCar Predictions for the GMR Grand Prix of Indianapolis: Race Preview

What Can We Expect on the Indy Road Course?

The IndyCar series has held a May event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course each year since 2014 as a precursor to the Indy 500. Only four drivers have ever won the event: Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Rinus VeeKay and Colton Herta. Two other drivers, Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi, have won at the circuit in the summer event held each year since 2020.

The IndyCar Series runs on three types of tracks: street circuits, road courses and ovals. We’re four races into this year’s schedule, and we’ve seen events at all three types of venues. Scott McLaughlin won the only event held at a traditional road course, Barber Motorsports Park. Romain Grosjean led the most laps. Street circuits also compare favorably to road courses, and Marcus Ericcson and Kyle Kirkwood won at St. Petersburg and Long Beach, respectively.

With the exception of the COVID-affected 2020 season and Pagenaud’s dominant 2016 campaign, an as-of-yet-winless driver has won each GMR Grand Prix of Indianapolis every season. Caesars Sportsbook expects that trend to hold this weekend, as Pato O’Ward (6-1) and Romain Grosjean (6-1) are listed as the favorites.

Team Penske drivers have won four of the last eight traditional road course events. McLaughlin alone has won three of the last five: Alabama two weeks ago, Portland last September and Mid-Ohio last July. Josef Newgarden took the checkered flag at Road America last summer as well. However, Andretti Autosport drivers swept at this track last year — Herta won in May before Rossi won in July.

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IndyCar Predictions for the GMR Grand Prix of Indianapolis: Best Bets

Why On Earth is Will Power So Affordable?

It’s not every day that you can get the winningest driver at a venue at 12-1 odds, but that’s exactly what Caesars is offering up. It’s not like the 42-year-old Power has fallen off — he just won last year’s championship after winning once and securing nine podium finishes in 17 starts. Sure, he has just one podium to his name this year, but the same was true when he entered this race last year, and that didn’t keep him off the podium.

In addition to his IndyCar-leading five wins at this track, Power has notched a podium finish in seven of his 13 starts here, including four of his last five attempts. He owns an average result of 6.3 and an average starting position of 3.8. Team Penske has looked fast this season and already owns two wins, one of which came at the lone road-course event of the young season.

Power, usually a highly aggressive driver, adopted a more conservative mindset for the 2022 campaign after finishing the 2021 season ninth in points — his worst result as a full-time driver. The move led to a championship and podiums galore. With Power down in seventh place in the standings through four events, let’s back him for a good showing in Indianapolis.

Best IndyCar Bet: Will Power Podium 3-1 for 0.5 Unit at Caesars

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Can Simon Pagenaud Turn Back the Clock — Again?

The only driver to rival Will Power at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course is Simon Pagenaud. Pagenaud owns three wins, five podiums and six top-5 in 13 starts here. Although he left Team Penske for the less-well-funded Meyer Shank Racing before the 2022 season, he still scored a podium in his first start for his new team here with a runner-up finish.

The 38-year-old Pagenaud left Team Penske after consecutive down seasons, but he isn’t quite washed. He recorded one podium (here) and seven top-10s with Meyer Shank last year in 17 starts. Considering Helio Castroneves and Jack Harvey combined for only one podium and eight top-10s across 23 combined starts for the team in the year preceding his arrival, it’s clear that Pagenaud still has something left in the tank.

Although Pagenaud’s No. 60 Honda likely won’t have race-winning speed, his impressive resume at this circuit makes him an appealing option on the top-5 market at odds of only +850 (9.5%) at Caesars. There’s a chance that his run here last season was a flash in the pan, but Meyer Shank is no stranger to the front here — the team has two podiums and five top-10s in 11 events here. The odds are friendly enough to warrant a modest longshot wager.

Best IndyCar Bet: Simon Pagenaud Top-5 17-2 for 0.2 Unit at Caesars

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