IndyCar Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions for Nashville: 2 Bets for Big Machine Music City Grand Prix (Sunday, August 6)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images. Pictured: NTT IndyCar Series driver Colton Herta
On Sunday the NTT IndyCar Series takes to the streets of Nashville for the final street course race of the year.
The bumpy nature of driving through city streets means teams need to have the right damper package to help the cars maintain grip through the corners for Sunday's Big Machine Music City Grand Prix (noon ET, NBC and Peacock).
That has been a strong point of Andretti Autosport for years, and it seems the team has taken it a notch further this year.
Romain Grosjean lost out on a win at St. Petersburg when he and Scott McLaughlin got into a tangle for the lead after the last pit cycle.
Kyle Kirkwood then grabbed a win on the streets of Long Beach.
Kirkwood again proved his magic by rebounding from a Lap 1 incident in which he got hit from behind to drive through the field from dead last to sixth place, with a legitimate shot at the podium on a late restart.
At Toronto, the Andretti cars of Kirkwood and Herta were very strong. They moved through the field after bad luck with rain in qualifying to put themselves in position for a potential 1-2 finish until Kirkwood was penalized for hitting the rear of Helio Castroneves on a late restart. Herta still grabbed a podium finish after qualifying 14th.
That leads me to this weekend at Nashville. I'm quite high on the Andretti cars, and there are two bets at current prices that I really like. Let's take a look.
IndyCar Odds, Picks for Nashville
A Bet to Win to Music City Grand Prix
Colton Herta has arguably had the best car at Nashville for each of the last two years.
In the inaugural Music City Grand Prix in 2021, Herta dominated the practice sessions, won the pole, and led 39 laps until he crashed out on Lap 74 of 80 while catching Marcus Ericsson for the lead.
Last year, Herta started 23rd thanks to a wet qualifying session in which he was unable to get a lap in. Early on, Herta was involved in an incident while trying to pass Dalton Kellett. That set Herta a lap down.
— INDYCAR on NBC (@IndyCaronNBC) August 3, 2023
However, with a strong car, the second-generation driver benefitted from a timely caution to get back on the lead lap. From there, he piloted his car through the field en route to a fifth-place finish.
Herta has had immense speed at the four street courses this year, but he has had to overcome various combinations of poor starting positions, poor strategy and incidents.
The Pick: Colton Herta to win (+850 at Caesars)
A Team Bet to Win Music City Grand Prix
I'm also on board with backing Andretti Autosport as a whole.
In addition to Herta, Kyle Kirkwood is in line for a monster weekend. The Long Beach winner has arguably been the fastest driver across the four street circuits this year, despite not having the best results to show for it.
At St. Pete, Kirkwood qualified in the fast six, but poor strategy set him back midpack. A crash in front of him left him with nowhere to go and ended his day.
Kirkwood rebounded with a perfect weekend at Long Beach, winning as a 20-1 underdog after scoring pole and leading the most laps to secure his maiden victory in IndyCar.
As mentioned above, his Detroit race was not incident free. Had qualifying and the lap one incidents not occurred, it's possible we'd be talking about back-to-back street course wins for the second-year driver.
Kirkwood also lost out in qualifying at Toronto thanks to the rain. However, he powered his way up from eighth to fourth place when a caution came out with 40 laps to go. The team decided to pit both Kirkwood and Herta, hoping to stretch both to the end on fuel. They were 1-2 on their strategy before it unraveled for Kirkwood as mentioned above.
Then there's Romain Grosjean. It's been a tale of two seasons for the former F1 driver. In addition to nearly winning at St. Petersburg, Grosjean was runner-up to Kirkwood at Long Beach. From there, he wrecked out at both Detroit and Toronto in addition to dealing with incidents at multiple other races.
Grosjean's future with Andretti Autosport is still up in the air. A victory, or at least a strong finish, would go a long way to securing his future with the team.
Andretti has three drivers capable of pulling off a win. It seems, outside of Long Beach, nearly everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for them. But when things go right, they are capable of a 1-2-4 finish as they showed at Long Beach.
Andretti Autosport is +350 at Caesars Sportsbook. I'd gladly back them at that price.