Acura GP of Long Beach Odds: Who’s favored in Southern California?

IndyCar Heads to One of the Marquee Events This Weekend

The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach has long been one of IndyCar’s most prestigious events. Racing along the harbor at the Port of Long Beach has been a tradition for decades now. The grid returns to southern California this week for the second street race of the season.

The 11-turn, 1.968-mile course is a much different challenge than the previous race at Texas Motor Speedway. The 220-mph, high-banked oval gives way to the tight and twisting nature of Long Beach. This is a circuit where qualifying is more important than most: seven of the last 10 winners qualified in the top four.

Here’s a look at who could be strong challengers for victory on Sunday:

Reigning Winner Leads the Way

The 2023 IndyCar season has been a close one to start. Championship leader Pato O’Ward has a seven-point lead on Marcus Ericsson thanks to a pair of second-place finishes in St. Petersburg and Texas.

But neither may be the top pick for a win this week. Josef Newgarden is the reigning race winner and leads the Texas way at +500. He won the 2022 race after taking victory at Texas Motor Speedway. He’s halfway to repeating the same feat this season after winning last time out in Texas.

Last season he fell short of winning the title due to inconsistent finishes outside of his five wins. Newgarden is currently fourth in the championship and 16 points behind O’Ward. Banking more wins early on in the season could go a long way toward avoiding a repeat championship result.

Three drivers sit tied at +600: Newgarden’s Team Penske teammate Scott McLaughlin, Colton Herta, and O’Ward.

McLaughlin’s off to a mixed start in 2023. He led the most laps in the opener in St. Petersburg but managed 13th place after colliding with Romain Grosjean. In Texas, he finished sixth. That has him eighth in the championship and 34 points behind O’Ward. He’s finished 11th and 14th in his only IndyCar races at Long Beach. A win would be a slight surprise but not too shocking given his good pace in St. Petersburg.

Long Beach is the closest thing Herta has to a home race and he’s raced well there before. In his 2021 victory, he came from all the way back in 14th — the lowest starting spot for victory in Long Beach since Mike Conway’s win from 17th in 2014. Though he crashed out of last year’s race, he did start that event in pole position. His track record in Long Beach is one of the best in the field.

O’Ward’s consistency so far in 2023 has paid off with the current championship lead. But his best result in Long Beach is fifth last season. Three seasons into his career and he’s typically performed better on short tracks and speedways than street circuits like Long Beach. He has the championship momentum but a win would be a surprise.

Championship Contenders Close Behind

Continuing Our Acura GP of Long Beach Odds: Will Power sits behind that group at +700. The defending champion and third Team Penske driver sits 10th in the championship so far thanks to a seventh-place finish in St. Petersburg. He’s a consistent performer in Long Beach: 11 top-10 finishes in 14 races, including a pair of wins. He’s a safe bet to perform well among the top drivers.

Six-time champion Scott Dixon (+800) is the most accomplished driver on the grid, but that isn’t the case in Long Beach. Thirteen starts have yielded four podiums and he’s averaged an eighth-place finish.

Alexander Rossi (+900) is one of the most accomplished drivers at Long Beach in the current grid. His back-to-back wins in 2018 and 2019 were followed by sixth- and eighth-place finishes in 2021 and 2022, respectively. Arrow McLaren look to have stepped up their pace so far in 2023 and Rossi could reap the benefit of that this weekend.

Dixon’s teammate Alex Palou (+900) has been a solid performer in Long Beach with a pair of top-four finishes in his young IndyCar Series career. All four of his IndyCar victories have come at road courses but he’s raced better on average in street circuits. A podium in Texas has him fifth in the championship with some momentum heading in to Long Beach.

A Long Shot to Consider in Long Beach

Grosjean was hot behind Newgarden in Long Beach during last year’s race. He also nearly won the 2023 season opener in St. Petersburg if it wasn’t for late contact with McLaughlin. At +1200, he’s a long shot that could really pay off. He’s led laps in both of the first two races to start 2023. With his pace last year and at street courses in addition to great team success historically — Andretti Autosport has won three of the last four Long Beach events — and he will be a strong contender on Sunday.

Predictions for the Acura GP of Long Beach

Concluding our Acura GP of Long Beach Odds: Herta has the track record, team, and motivation to perform well this weekend. A win in Long Beach would go a long way in his chase for a first IndyCar title. Of the favorites, he’s the best bet.

If you’re looking for a bigger payout, Grosjean is your driver. He’s behind bigger names like Dixon, McLaughlin, and O’Ward but he’s shown much better pace at street courses including Long Beach. He just needs to avoid contact this weekend and he could capture his first IndyCar Series odds victory. Keep it right here for the most up to date Indycar betting Odds.

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