Indy 500 Betting Guide & 2021 Odds

It’s the greatest spectacle in racing to many and one of the biggest sporting events in Indiana—and not by a mile, but by 500. The Indy 500 brings even more excitement to the state now that you can bet on it at Indiana sportsbooks, both live and online.

Auto racing betting options are aplenty in Indiana and expand even further when it comes to America’s greatest motor race. Read on for a complete look at all your Indy 500 betting options, including 2021 race details, where to bet, Indy 500 odds this year, and exactly how you can bet by app or via online sportsbooks in Indiana right now.

Best Indy 500 betting sites in Indiana

Rank
Sportsbook
Bonus
Features
Play
1
UP TO $1,050 FREE
New User Bonus. T&Cs Apply.
Baseball Special Bet $1, Win $100 (PA Excluded)
Up to $50 Matched Free Bet on Deposit
Up to $1,000 Deposit Bonus
To Claim: Click Play Now
2
$2,021 
Risk FRee Bet
On Deposit
Up To $2,021 Risk Free Bet On First Deposit
This Offer Valid in VA, MI, CO, TN and IN Only
Weekly Betting Promos
Use Promo Code: LEGALRF
4
$500 
Risk Free Bet
+$40 Free On Sign Up
$40 Free On Sign Up
$500 Risk Free Bet
To Claim: Click Play Now
5
$1,000
Risk Free Bet
Up to $1,000 refund if you lose your first bet
Available on Desktop, Android & iOS
To Claim: Click Play Now
6
$2,000
In Free Bets On Deposit
Get 2 Risk-Free Bets Up to $2,000
Use Promo Code: BETBONUS

When is the 2021 Indianapolis 500?

  • Race: 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge
  • Track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS)
  • Location: 4790 West 16th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46222
  • Capacity: 257,325 (highest-capacity sports venue in the world)
  • Race Day: Sunday, May 30, 2021
  • Miles: 500
  • Laps: 200
  • Drivers: 33
  • Purse: $15 million (Winner gets at least $2 million)
  • Practice: May 18-21 and 24, 2021
  • Pole Qualifying: Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying May 22 and 23, 2021
  • Miller Lite Carb Day: May 28, 2021
  • Legends presented by Firestone: May 29, 2021
  • Defending Champ: Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing)

For the first time in 74 years, the Indy 500 wasn’t held over Memorial Day Weekend in 2020.

The global COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to move the race to Aug. 23, 2020, and the more than 250,000 seats at Indianapolis Motor Speedway were left empty.

Takuma Sato won the race, having previously won the 2017 Indy. It was also the second Indy 500 win for car owners Bobby Rahal and David Letterman.

Organizers are now hopeful things can get back to normal for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 in 2021.

The 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge is scheduled for Sunday, May 30, 2021, over Memorial Day Weekend at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Before the 2020 Indy 500, track owner Roger Penske said that the fan experience will always be his top priority and he looked forward to welcoming fans back to IMS next May. To that end, tickets are on sale through the IndianapolisMotorSpeedway.com website, with many of the “Race Day Reserved Seats” already sold out.

2021 Indy 500 field and favorites

The 2021 Indy 500 is a part of the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season. That means the following teams and drivers are expected to compete:

  • Team: J. Foyt Enterprises (Chevrolet)
  • Driver: Sébastien Bourdais (France)

 

  • Team: Andretti Autosport (Honda)
  • Driver: Colton Herta (United States)
  • Driver: Alexander Rossi (United States)
  • Driver: Ryan Hunter-Reay (United States)

 

  • Team: Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport (Honda)
  • Driver: To Be Announced

 

  • Team: Arrow McLaren (Chevrolet)
  • Driver: Patricio O’Ward (Mexico)
  • Driver: Felix Rosenqvist (Sweden)

 

  • Team: Chip Ganassi Racing (Honda)
  • Driver: Marcus Ericsson (Sweden)
  • Driver: Scott Dixon (New Zealand)
  • Driver: Álex Palou (Spain)
  • Driver: Jimmie Johnson (United States)
  • Driver: Tony Kanaan (Brazil)

 

  • Team: Ed Carpenter Racing (Chevrolet)
  • Driver: Rinus VeeKay (Netherlands)

 

  • Team: Meyer Shank Racing (Honda)
  • Driver: Hélio Castroneves (Brazil)
  • Driver: Jack Harvey (United Kingdom)

 

  • Team: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (Honda)
  • Driver: Graham Rahal (United States)
  • Driver: Takuma Sato (Japan)

 

  • Team: Team Penske (Chevrolet)
  • Driver: Josef Newgarden (United States)
  • Driver: Will Power (Australia)
  • Driver: Simon Pagenaud (France)
  • Driver: Scott McLaughlin (New Zealand)

The 2021 Indy 500 will include a traditional 33-car starting field. That means there will be at least a dozen Indy-only entries in the race. Indy-only entries may include:

  • An extra car and driver added to an existing team
  • A part-time team put together only for the Indy or select races
  • Experienced Indy car drivers or drivers from other race series
  • Former Indy car drivers only competing part-time
  • Former Indy 500 winners no longer driving full-time

The favorites to win the 2021 Indy 500 would have to be reigning IndyCar Series Drivers’ Champion Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) and reigning Indy 500 champion Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing).

That said, Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport), Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske), and Will Power (Team Penske) are all previous Indy 500 winners and in the mix for this year’s race.

Top Indy 500 odds boosts and promos for 2021

Expect the top Indiana online sportsbooks to offer various odds boosts, bonuses and promos surrounding the 2021 Indy 500. Here’s a look at what three Indiana online sportsbooks did for the Indy 500 in 2020:

PointsBet Indiana

1. PointsBet Sportsbook – Bet $20, win $100 if your driver completes one lap

The reason this promo sounds like free money is because it practically was. All you had to do was deposit a minimum of $20 and bet a minimum of $20 on any driver to win.

Then, as long as the driver completed a single lap, PointsBet would award you a $100 bonus. Of course, you also got paid at the posted Indy 500 betting odds if the driver went on to win the race. Takuma Sato bettors truly enjoyed this one with Sato going off at around +1600 ahead of the race.

2. Unibet – $25 Money-back guarantee

If you bet on any driver to win the race at Unibet Sportsbook last year, you got up to $25 in site credit back if they failed to get there, but still managed to finish in the top five.

3. DraftKings Sportsbook – Odds boost

DraftKings Sportsbook went the traditional odds boost route in 2020, boosting the odds on polesitter Marco Andretti up to +875.

How to bet on the Indy 500

Betting on the Indy 500 just might be the easiest thing you ever do. However, you can also get as advanced as you like with a good number of Indy 500 props and live betting options. The following basic race bets are available for the Indy 500 at online and mobile sportsbooks in Indiana:

  • Outrights: Just pick your favorite driver to win and lock in your bet at the currently posted odds.
  • Matchups: Pick one driver from a group of two or more. Bets on the best finisher in the group get paid.
  • Podium (Top 3): Pick a driver to finish in the top three at reduced odds compared to outrights.
  • Props: Bet on other facets of the race outside of the outcome. Available props might include:
    • Fastest lap time
    • Winning vehicle manufacturer
    • Number of cautions or laps under caution
    • Number of cars finishing
    • Driver leading the most laps
    • Number of laps led by the winner
    • Number of lead changes
    • Winner’s nationality
  • Futures: Outrights weeks or months in advance of the race.
  • Live betting: Basic race betting after the start at odds that change with the action on the track. Indy 500 live betting may also include new bet types and advanced betting opportunities including lap-by-lap wagering.

Indy 500 betting tips for beginners

There’s no secret to successful betting on the Indy 500. Just do a little research into the race, teams, and drivers in the field. You’ll go from guessing to making informed and educated Indy 500 picks in no time.

indy500 oddsThese three basic Indy 500 betting tips should also help:

  • Spread your wealth: None of the 33 drivers in the Indy 500 will ever be considered an odds on favorite to win the race. That means the odds on most driver outrights and futures are almost always big, allowing you to bet on multiple drivers in these markets and still come out ahead if one wins.
  • Go small or go home: The props and live betting markets for the Indy 500 bring a huge number of betting opportunities to the race. That means it’s easy to get caught up betting too big and spreading your bankroll too thin across these markets. Experienced gamblers will tell you, that’s a fast way to go broke. Instead, try dabbling in these markets with small bets that won’t break the bank.
  • Do your homework: The Indy 500 is such a huge race that sportswriters and broadcasters will cover every angle on it. That means it’s easy to find out all kinds of information about this year’s race, and you’ve got no excuse if you don’t. As we said above, even just a little research can turn your guesses into educated and informed picks. Do your homework and reap the benefits.

Greatest Indy 500 moments and drivers of all time

Ahead of the 100th Indianapolis 500 in 2016, the Associated Press surveyed the 27 living race winners at the time about the most memorable moments and drivers in the history of the race. Here’s what they discovered:

  • His peers consider four-time Indy 500 winner A. J. Foyt the greatest driver in Indy 500 history. However, fellow four-time Indy 500 winners Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears are close.
  • The Indy 500 champs figure Al Unser Jr. winning over Scott Goodyear in the closest finish ever back in 1992 was the greatest race in Indy 500 history. Little Al beating Emerson Fittipaldi in 1989, and Sam Hornish Jr. passing Michael Andretti just ahead of the checkered flag in 2006, are also considered contenders.
  • A slight majority of past winners said their first Indy 500 experience was a more memorable moment than their first win. Even if that meant their first viewing experience, rather than the first racing experience. The rest said the win will always be their most memorable Indy 500 moment.
  • Close to half of the former winners said advanced safety measures represent the greatest innovations at the Indy 500. The Indy 500 was the first race to use rear-view mirrors and started using seat belts in 1922. The SAFER barriers are also an Indy advancement former winners point to.
  • The greatest tradition at the Indy 500? The winner guzzling a bottle of milk, of course. Past winners pointed to the unique nature of this tradition as to why it’s the greatest. But there were a few that said the singing of “Back Home Again in Indiana” is the greatest tradition, and still others that said the Borg-Warner Trophy or the three-wide starting grid is it.
  • According to the former champs, the best driver never to have won the Indy 500 is Michael Andretti. Andretti got 17 of 27 votes while Lloyd Ruby claimed runner-up in the runner-up race with four. Andretti called it an unfortunate honor.
  • The greatest Indy 500 rivalry of all time? A.J. Foyt – Mario Andretti, according to the past winners, most of whom also mentioned Foyt versus just about anybody as he was the man to beat throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
  • Most drivers called Tony Hulman the most important non-driver in the race’s 100-year history. Hulman brought the race and the trackback to life after both were left for dead during World War II. Roger Penske was a close second. Penske’s teams have won 18 times and he’s the track owner now.

List of Indy 500 winners

Here’s a look at the past ten Indy 500 winners and the pre-race odds on these drivers to win:

YearDriversOdds
2020Takuma Sato +1600
2019 Simon Pagenaud +800
2018 Will Power +1000
2017 Takuma Sato +1500
2016 Alexander Rossi +2000
2015 Juan Pablo Montoya +550
2014 Ryan Hunter-Reay+1200
2013 Tony Kanaan +1500
2012 Dario Franchitti +900
2011 Dan Wheldon+1000
2010 Dario Franchitti +450

Brief history of the Indianapolis 500

The first Indianapolis 500 was held in 1911. Ray Harroun won.

The Indy 500 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where it is held have been auto racing’s most famous race and venue ever since.

The race is often referred to as the greatest spectacle in racing. A lot of the reason why is the fact the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, nicknamed The Brickyard, normally attracts a quarter-million spectators on race day.

The 500-mile race includes 200 laps around the 2.5-mile oval track. The Indy cars are of the open-wheel and open-cockpit variety, putting the drivers at great risk. The Indy Car Racing format is named for the prestigious race.

The track is referred to as The Brickyard because of its partial brick surfacing. Its 250,000-plus seats make it the highest-capacity sports venue in the world.

There are several traditions associated with the Indy 500. including the singing of “Back Home Again in Indiana,” before the race, the winner drinking a celebratory bottle of milk, and the race starting with 33 drivers on a three-wide ten-row grid.

Indy 500 Traditions & Trivia

Why does the Indy 500 winner drink milk?

The Indianapolis 500 winner drinking milk in Victory Lane is a tradition that’s been around since 1936 when it was the drink of choice for Indy 500 champion Louis Meyer. His mother said it would be the most refreshing on a hot day.

Why do they sing "Back Home Again in Indiana" at the Indy 500?

The singing of “Back Home Again in Indiana,” right before the race starts is a tradition dating back to 1946. It may not be Indiana’s state song, but it’s as Indiana as a song gets.

Late actor, singer, and comedian Jim Nabors and the Purdue Marching Band led the crowd in singing the song most years from 1972 to 2014. Chicago Blackhawks anthem singer Jim Cornelison has done it since 2017.

Who are the most successful drivers in Indy 500 history?

J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr., and Rick Mears have all won four Indy 500 races.

Seven drivers have won three times, but only one of those drivers is still active: Brazil’s Hélio Castroneves (Meyer Shank Racing).

2020 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) has two wins, as do nine other inactive drivers.

Which team owner is the most successful in Indy 500 history?

Roger Penske has 18 team wins at the Indy 500. His first was in 1972 and most recent in 2019. Penske now owns the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as well.

Does pole position matter?

The driver with the fastest lap time in qualifying starts in the best position on a unique three-wide ten-row grid at the Indy 500. Starting in the first row is an advantage.

Polesitters have won 21 Indy 500 races. Drivers in the 2nd position have 11 wins and those in the 3rd position in the grid have 12. That means close to half the Indy 500 races have been won by drivers from the first row.

Has a rookie ever won the Indy 500?

There have been ten rookie winners at the Indy 500. Most recently Colombia’s Juan Pablo Montoya won it as a rookie in 2000, Brazil’s Hélio Castroneves in 2001, and American Alexander Rossi in 2016.

Who holds the record for the fastest-ever Indy 500?

Brazilian Tony Kanaan (KV Racing Technology) posted the fastest Indy 500 time ever in 2013. He ran the 500 miles in 2:40:03.4181 with an average speed of 187.433 miles per hour.

What were the two most impactful crashes in Indy 500 history?

Al Unser Jr. and Emerson Fittipaldi were neck-and-neck battling for the lead on the 199th lap in 1989 when they touched wheels. Unser spun out and hit the outside wall as Fittipaldi cruised to victory.

In 1994, some five years later, Fittipaldi and Unser were teammates. Fittipaldi had the lead, Unser was second, and on lap 184 he tried to lap him. Unfortunately, Fittipaldi ran over the rumble strips on the inside and lost control crashing into the outside wall. This time, Unser cruised to victory.