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IndyCar Odds, Picks & Preview: 4 Best Bets for Sunday’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach

IndyCar Odds, Picks & Preview: 4 Best Bets for Sunday’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach article feature image
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Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images. Pictured: IndyCar Series drivers Josef Newgarden, Colton Herta and Scott Dixon.

  • With the weekend's NASCAR and F1 races already in the books, IndyCar takes center stage for Sunday's Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
  • Andretti Autosport has dominated the weekend thus far, so how should bettors approach today's race in Long Beach?
  • Nick Giffen breaks it all down with his four best IndyCar bets, including one favorite, two longer shots and one head-to-head driver matchup.

The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (3 p.m. ET, NBC) is arguably IndyCar’s second-most prestigious race after the famed Indianapolis 500.

The race on the streets of downtown Long Beach, Calif. has taken place every year since 1975, with the exception of 2020 when the event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, from 1976 to 1983 Long Beach played host to Formula One. Since then, America’s top open wheel series has raced at the track on an annual basis.

Last year’s winner, Colton Herta, starts on the pole after setting a new track record.

Andretti Autosport has won each of the last three races at the track. Herta’s teammate Alexander Rossi claimed back-to-back wins in 2018 and 2019.

In total, there are six former winners in today’s race.

Practice and qualifying produced many incidents. A sealer on certain parts of the track has drivers unsure of how much speed they can carry into corners, which has helped level the playing field.

If the trend of incidents continues, that could shake up the field as various strategies come into play.

That behooves us to take a couple of shots at drivers with longer odds. But I also can’t pass up on a favorite facing an incredibly favorable situation either.

In addition, there is a juicy matchup between two drivers who qualified in the Firestone Fast Six.

Let’s dive into my betting card for today’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

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IndyCar Picks for Long Beach

*Odds as of Sunday morning

Colton Herta +270 to Win (2 units)

I don’t love eating the chalk, especially in an IndyCar race where there could be plenty of incidents. However, this weekend sets up exceptionally well for Herta.

Consider that the winner at Long Beach has started on the first two rows in:

  • five of the last six races
  • 10 of the 13 races since the Champ Car/IRL merger
  • 30 of the 37 races as America’s top open wheel racing series

This year, the top four starters are Herta, Josef Newgarden, Alex Palou and Felix Rosenqvist.

Rosenqvist struggled in both practice sessions and put an extra lap on his tires at the end of qualifying, while Herta made one fewer lap than everyone else.

Newgarden seemed to perform better in the hotter first practice and warmer qualifying session, but struggled more when it was cooler for second practice. Unfortunately for Newgarden, the race comes on the coldest day of the weekend in Long Beach.

Palou is probably the biggest threat with his incredible consistency, but I’d expect these two to be on the same strategy all race. Palou simply doesn’t touch Herta’s raw speed.

Add in that Herta hasn’t lost a race in his home state since 2019 and the home favorite should take his second consecutive Long Beach win barring any funny business.

The Bet: Herta to win (+270 at PointsBet)

Simon Pagenaud +1800 to Win (0.3 units)

Should funny business occur, I do like two longer shot bets.

First up is Simon Pagenaud.

Pagenaud is a former Long Beach winner with Team Penske. After seven years with the team, the former Indy 500 winner and series champion has moved on to Meyer Shank Racing (MSR).

MSR shares a technical alliance with Andretti Autosport, the winner of the last three Grands Prix of Long Beach. The Andretti and Andretti-aligned cars have been fastest all weekend.

In first practice Pagenaud was quickest in all three sectors, and quickest by nearly one-halfsecond over a full lap.

In second practice Andretti and MSR cars took four of the top five spots, including Pagenaud in fifth.

He didn’t have a great second qualifying session, which relegated him to a 10th-place starting position. However, he’s been very happy with his car all weekend.

Look for him to make a few moves and if strategy and cautions fall just right, he could find himself near the front with a fast car.

The Bet: Pagenaud to win (+1800 at DraftKings)

Marcus Ericsson +2500 to Win (0.2 units)

Ericsson is a two-time IndyCar winner, with both wins coming at street circuits.

In seven career starts at street circuits with Chip Ganassi Racing Ericsson has only one DNF, which did come last year at Long Beach. However, his other six starts have resulted in finishes of ninth or better, including the two aforementioned victories.

In those six races, he has a 5.7 average finish.

Ericsson’s eighth-place starting position doesn’t bother me either. His two wins have come from the 15th and 18th starting spots.

Ericsson was fifth-fastest in opening practice and probably would have been even higher up the board, but never got a clean lap on his second stint when everyone was going faster thanks to some untimely red flags.

That consistency continued through second practice where Ericsson was second-fastest among all cars not affiliated with Andretti Autosport.

The Bet: Ericsson to win (+2500 at DraftKings)

Romain Grosjean (-135) over Felix Rosenqvist (1.35 units)

Grosjean holds a seven-to-four lead over Rosenqvist at road and street courses in the IndyCar Series. That 63.6% win rate is more than enough to beat the 57.4% implied odds on Grosjean.

But there’s more.

Of those races, all but one came when Grosjean was driving for the inferior Dale Coyne Racing.

Now Grosjean has upgraded to a top-tier ride at Andretti Autosport. As mentioned above, Andretti has been the fastest team all weekend, while Rosenqvist struggled outside of qualifying.

In fact, Grosjean was on pace to start ahead of Rosenqvist and near the front until he put his car into the tire barrier on his hot lap in the Firestone Fast Six.

Even with that wreck, Grosjean starts directly behind Rosenqvist on the outside of the third row.

The Bet: Grosjean over Rosenqvist (-135 at Caesars)

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