IndyCar Odds, Picks & Predictions for Portland: My (Second) Favorite IndyCar Bet of the Year
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – JULY 30: Alex Palou, driver of the #10 American Legion Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, drives during the NTT IndyCar Series Gallagher Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 30, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
The IndyCar Series is at Portland International Raceway for the penultimate round of the 2022 season (Sunday at 3:00 p.m. ET, NBC/Peacock).
At the top of the standings, Will Power heads a contingent of seven drivers eligible to win the title.
Only 58 points separate Power from Pato O'Ward, who sits in seventh place. With a maximum of 54 possible points per race, even O'Ward has a realistic shot of claiming the title with two dominant performances.
One of these seven championship contenders is my pick for my (second) favorite bet of the 2022 season.
IndyCar Pick for Portland
*Odds as of Thursday afternoon
Defending champion Alex Palou is fifth in the standings, just 43 points out of first place. Despite having four drivers ahead of him, he's still a threat to win the title.
That's because the final two races of the year are right in his wheelhouse. Palou has been utterly dominant on the natural terrain road courses in his two seasons with Chip Ganassi Racing.
At these tracks, Palou has only one finish outside of the top three. That result came when he crashed while battling for third at Road America.
In the other races, Palou has finishes of 1st, 1st, 3rd, 1st, 2nd, 2nd and 2nd.
And that's among all cars.
If we look only at Hondas, it gets even better.
Palou has been the top Honda at six of eight of those natural terrain road course races. If we convert that 75% top Honda rate to betting odds, that's -300!
Obviously past performance doesn't perfectly predict future results and savvy IndyCar fans may point out that Palou is on shaky ground with Ganassi after a legal dispute erupted around his contract.
They may also point out that his results have dipped since the dispute came to light on July 12th and that's true. Palou has no top-five finishes in the six races since.
However, three of those races were at short, flat ovals, which are arguably his weakest track type. The other three were two street courses and the Indianapolis road course, an oval/flat road course hybrid.
Despite the frosty relationship between driver and team, they still have a shot to defend their title. That's all the more likely because they head to two tracks where Palou excels.
I'll gladly take this generous line from Caesars Sportsbook.
The Bet: Palou top Honda +500