Hope springs eternal in the world of sports, but the hope for 2021 is that we get to see uninterrupted seasons across the board. This coming weekend, IndyCar will start their season with the first race of the year. The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will serve as the first race of the season and hopefully the first of what will be a complete schedule. It is always tough to try and pick out a winner in the first race of the season, as it’s impossible to know how drivers are going to come out of the gate. Will it be the usual names who dominate at the top, or will we see someone new break through? Let’s take a look at some potential favorites for Sunday based on how the final standings looked last season. With that in mind, let’s jump right into action so you can bet against their IndyCar odds.
2021 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama | IndyCar Betting Analysis
In terms of current drivers coming into the season, there are few, if any, who can match what Dixon has delivered over his career. Going back to 2003, Dixon has won the championship 6 times, including winning it all in a disrupted season in 2020. He has now won the championship in 2 of the last 3 seasons and needs to be considered among the favorites to win it again. Due to the cancellation of races last year, Alabama was not part of the schedule, but Dixon has performed well at that track, landing on the podium in 3 of his last 5 runs. He does not have a win in Alabama, which is something to consider.
If I were forced into making a pick for the first race of the season, my money would likely be on Josef Newgarden. Like Dixon, he has been one of the most consistent drivers over the past few seasons, winning it twice in the last 4 years and running second overall in 2020. While that is certainly a big enough selling point, you also need to look at what Newgarden has delivered in recent years when racing in Alabama. Since 2015, he has won there 3 times, with the last win coming in 2018. I expect him to be up near the leaders throughout this race.
Some people adapted better to the strange events of last year than others, with Colton Herta among the group that made the best of a bad scene. Herta took a massive leap forward, finishing 3rd overall in the driver standings in just his second full year with IndyCar. He has 3 wins under his belt at this level, and while none of those wins came in Alabama, he did have a win there during his time with Indy Light. It’ll be interesting to see if he can build on what was a strong season in 2020.
O’Ward is another driver who made the most of a weird season in 2020, finishing 4th overall in the driver standings in his first full year. Again, it’s tough to know if this is something that will carry over into the new season. It is worth noting that he has yet to pick up a win in 22 races in IndyCar, so it would certainly be a surprise if he won in Alabama this weekend.