The Indianapolis 500 is the biggest day on the calendar for many Hoosiers.
It’s a spectacle unlike any other – one that, for a single day, puts Indiana on the world stage.
Packed in are crowds of more than a quarter-million; the famous oval has even hosted 350,000 in a single day.
But this year will be different. No Hoosiers will be in the stands. No coolers full of cold, cheap beer lugged into the infield.
But the race will still run, and with it comes a bevy of betting opportunities.
Indy 500 odds show Dixon as a heavy favorite in lead-up to race
His position atop the favorites list is unsurprising considering his blistering start to the 2020 NTT Indy Car Series, including three straight wins.
He has finished in the top five in five out of six races.
Here are the top favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook:
- Scott Dixon (+400)
- Alexander Rossi (+750)
- Marco Andretti (+850)
- Ryan Hunter-Reay (+900)
- Simon Pagenaud (+900)
Andretti, as the pole sitter, is likely to be another top pick by bettors.
That also stands true for 2019’s Indianapolis 500 winner, Pagenaud.
But it is Dixon who has become the pre-race darling. That’s reflected in his odds to finish in the top three, at +125.
In 2020, a hated blackout is lifted
For just the third time in its history, Indianapolis residents will be able to watch the race on TV.
A near-annual blackout typically keeps fans throughout Indiana unable to tune in to the spectacle.
But with fans unable to attend due to COVID-19, and therefore no tickets to sell, the blackout has been lifted.
That decision, a godsend for many Hoosiers, is likely to also be a lucky break for sportsbooks.
The more people preparing to watch the race, the more pre-race bets. The more viewers energized at the race’s midpoint, the more in-race bets.
Don’t expect the lack of fans to keep viewership and engagement down. Grills will be fired, and bets will be placed.
It’s a Hoosier tradition, and even 2020 can’t change that.
Fans should keep a lookout for what will almost certainly be some Indiana-specific promos coming your way in the lead-up to the Indy 500.
A fan favorite, Carb Day to be about the racing
Carb Day is officially the final practice each year before the Indianapolis 500.
For everyone except the racers and their teams, however, Carb Day is something different: an enormous party.
Full of binge drinking and jean shorts, the event typically features tens of thousands of revelers enjoying concerts and other entertainment.
This year, however, Carb Day is, believe it or not, actually about the racing.
Like the race, no fans will be in attendance. Race weekend concerts have been canceled, along with the popular Indy Lights Freedom 100 race.
Fans have even been held out of first-week practices and qualification days.
Instead, die-hard fans interested in watching practices have been tasked with obtaining an NBC Sports Gold subscription or watching on NBC Sports Network. Carb Day is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday.
But it is no less important than usual for the racers.
Carb Day is meant to give drivers a final chance to prepare their cars for the nuances of the Indy track.
It is their last look at the oval roughly 48 hours before the biggest race of many careers.
Expect Carb Day’s preparations to be “full of excitement as drivers will run in heavy traffic with lots of drafting and passing to best simulate race conditions for Sunday,” noted the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.