Predicting the winner of the Indy 500 based on the odds is as tricky as ever in 2020, when the Greatest Spectacle in Racing is running in August for the first time in its 104-year history. The 2.5-mile oval track will be hot and slick, and wind will be unpredictable.
On top of that, recent Indy 500 history is not necessarily helpful. The last nine Indy 500s have produced nine different winners. This is the result of the endless variables that determine who will get to drink the milk in victory lane.
This year's Indy 500 is running a few months behind schedule because the COVID-19 pandemic made a traditional May race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway impossible. The 2020 IndyCar schedule didn't start until early June with a race at Texas, and the Indy 500 is the seventh race on that schedule.
Below are the complete Vegas odds to win the Indy 500 in 2020, plus our top three picks of drivers who could end up taking the checkered flag.
Indy 500 odds to win 2020 race
Scott Dixon is the favorite to win the 2020 Indy 500 in part because he showed so much speed in last weekend's qualifying sessions. He qualified second behind pole-sitter Marco Andretti, but only after Andretti edged him by .017 mph, the third-closest margin in the history of Indianapolis qualifying.
Below are the complete odds to win the Indy 500 in 2020, courtesy of Sports Insider.
3. Graham Rahal
|Driver||Odds to win Indy 500|
Of the top five drivers on the Indy 500 odds board, only Josef Newgarden will start the race outside the top 10. Newgarden will start 13th after failing to advance to the Fast Nine Shootout.
Alexander Rossi will start the Indy 500 ninth, and Ryan Hunter-Reay will start fifth.
Simon Pagenaud, the winner of last year's Indy 500 who ranks sixth on the odds board for this year's race, will start way back in 25th.
Indy 500 expert picks
1. Scott Dixon
Dixon is the IndyCar Series points leader in 2020 with three wins in six races. He also is due for an Indy 500 victory after last winning the series' biggest race back in 2008.
The speed in Dixon's car was made evident by his qualifying sessions, as he nearly edged Andretti for the Indy 500 pole. It was evident in the season-opener at Texas Motor Speedway, too, which is the only somewhat comparable track on which the series has raced this season. Dixon led 157 of the 200 laps on his way to a win that night.
2. Josef Newgarden
We have to pick at least one Team Penske driver to win Sunday's Indy 500, as the Penske stable has produced the last two Indy 500 winners — Pagenaud last year and Will Power in 2018.
Newgarden has never won an Indy 500, but he is third in the IndyCar points standings and has a series-high three poles this season. His team has the speed required to win the Indy 500, something that was made clear when he led 214 of 250 laps at Iowa Speedway in the series' latest race.
Santino Ferrucci +4000
3. Graham Rahal
This is our upset pick. Rahal has never won an Indy 500 in 12 starts, and his best finish is third. He is sixth in IndyCar Series points, and his eighth-place starting position suggests he has good speed. It's his best starting position for an Indy 500 since he started seventh and finished 12th in 2010.
A Rahal finishing first in an Indy 500 that started with an Andretti in first would be fitting.