IndyCar Odds, Pick, Prediction: 2 Early Bets to Make for 2023 IndyCar Season

IndyCar Odds, Pick, Prediction: 2 Early Bets to Make for 2023 IndyCar Season article feature image

Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: IndyCar driver Kyle Kirkwood

The 2023 NTT IndyCar Series is shaping up to be a fantastic year for the series. The 27 full-time entries mark the most since 2011, and the field should be as competitive as ever.

St. Petersburg returns as the traditional host of the season opener on March 5. The 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 takes place on its traditional Memorial Day Weekend spot on Sunday, May 28. The 2023 season concludes on Sept. 10 after the 17th race with the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Several books are already offering betting odds on the season championship, race win totals, and the Indy 500.

I've found two early bets I like, both on sophomore drivers. Let's dive in.

IndyCar Odds, Picks, Predictions

Kyle Kirkwood +8000 to Win the IndyCar Championship

If you've followed me for some time, you'll know Kyle Kirkwood is my favorite driver. However, to be a successful bettor, you need to remove your biases when placing bets. I've done just that with Kirkwood, so let's just focus on the numbers.

Kirkwood far outpaced his A.J. Foyt Enterprises teammates last year and showed impressive speed in a few races. Kirkwood legitimately had chances to finish in the top five, or even an outside shot at a win, at both Detroit and Nashville despite racing in the worst equipment on the grid.

Now he moves to Andretti Autosport, one of the top teams in the paddock. Andretti Autosport failed to place a driver inside the top eight of the final standings last year, but that was arguably due to some bad chemistry and bad luck more than a lack of speed.

Both Alexander Rossi and Colton Herta were regular threats to win for Andretti, and the two drivers have combined to finish in the top five of the IndyCar standings every year from 2018-2021. That includes a runner-up, two third-place finishes, and a fifth in the championship.

Kirkwood is no stranger to finishing atop the standings himself. In the Road to Indy, Kirkwood became the first driver to claim the championship at all three levels of the ladder up to the IndyCar Series.

His 2021 Indy Lights title was with Andretti Autosport, with whom he edged out David Malukas to the title. Those two were light years ahead of third place, Linus Lundqvist.

Kirkwood has immense upside. The key to success for him will be bringing the car home in one piece, as he did have seven DNFs in his rookie campaign. But I believe his rookie mistakes were more about pushing an inferior car to its absolute limits. Now he gets top-notch equipment and has as much upside as any driver in that paddock.

There's recent precedence for a second-year driver to win the title as well. Alex Palou had a 16th-place finish in the championship his rookie year with Dale Coyne Racing and turned that into a title the following year after signing with top-level Chip Ganassi Racing.

I took +7500 at Caesars during the holidays before PointsBet opened up their odds, where they have Kirkwood listed at 80-1 odds.

The Bet: Kyle Kirkwood +8000 to win the Championship | Bet to: +6600

David Malukas +7500 to Win the Indianapolis 500

Remember how I mentioned Kirkwood battled Malukas to the wire in the 2021 Indy Lights season? Well, I certainly didn't forget about him.

Malukas had an even more impressive rookie campaign than Kirkwood, largely thanks in part to having a faster car. But that doesn't mean it was easy for Malukas.

Dale Coyne Racing is a long-time mainstay in IndyCar, but the team has always been toward the back half of the speed charts. That makes what Malukas did in that car in 2022 so impressive.

Malukas made arguably the pass of the year to pull off a second-place finish at Gateway. He was also in the hunt for a top-five finish at Nashville when he and Kirkwood got together, sending both into the tire barriers.

Indianapolis is one of those tracks that's a bit of an equalizer. The draft helps all the cars stay lined up. If the driver and team get the car dialed in, it's very possible to move to the front.

Thankfully, Dale Coyne Racing has shown speed at the Indy 500 in years past. In fact, two-time Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato put his Dale Coyne entry inside the Fast 12 and ultimately wound up 10th in qualifying. Malukas missed the Fast 12 by one spot.

In 2020, Santino Ferrucci finished fourth in a DCR entry at Indy in just his second year, a year after finishing seventh as a rookie for Coyne.

Ed Jones did one better in 2017, piloting his DCR car to a third-place finish in his rookie year.

The late Justin Wilson in 2013 and Alex Lloyd in 2010 also secured top-five finishes at Indy for Coyne.

Three of Malukas' four best finishes in 2022 were on the ovals. I certainly wouldn't put it past the impressive young driver to make a run at the Indy 500 race win. He's incredibly talented. Add in a little bit of luck, and it's certainly possible to see an avenue to victory for Malukas.

Caesars is offering 75-1. I love that price.

The Bet: David Malukas +7500 to Win the Indianapolis 500 | Bet to: +6000

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