Scott Dixon Favored In Saturday’s Detroit Grand Prix Opening Race

Written By Drew Ellis on June 11, 2021 - Last Updated on December 7, 2023
IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix June 2021

We are 24 hours away from the return of IndyCar Racing action at Belle Isle for the Detroit Grand Prix.

The first of two races that make up the Grand Prix will be held Saturday afternoon, and odds are now available for the opening race.

Here’s a closer look at those odds, and the storylines heading into the weekend.

Detroit Grand Prix Viewing Guide

After the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the 2020 Detroit Grand Prix, racing action will be back in Belle Isle on Saturday.

Just in case you need a refresher of all things the IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix, here’s the main info for this weekend’s racing.

  • What: 2021 Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix
  • When: June 12-13 (Saturday-Sunday)
  • Where: The Raceway on Belle Isle
  • Track Type: Road Course
  • Race Distance: 200 miles (90 laps), each day
  • Start Time: 2 p.m. ET Saturday, Noon ET Sunday
  • TV Broadcast: NBC
  • Radio Broadcast: SiriusXM, INDYCAR Radio
  • Online viewing:
  • Weather Forecast: Saturday — a 50% chance of afternoon thunderstorms, high 85; Sunday — party cloudy; high 83.

Scott Dixon favored by oddsmakers

Although qualifying for Saturday’s race doesn’t take place until Saturday morning, odds are already out for Saturday’s race.

Odds for Sunday’s race will likely be released Saturday night, following the completion of the first race.

Both BetRivers Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook see things the same when it comes to the top five5 favorites.

  • Scott Dixon: +450
  • Josef Newgarden: +500
  • Colton Herta: +900
  • Will Power: +900
  • Patricio O’Ward: +1000

Dixon competing for fourth Belle Isle victory

Dixon comes into the weekend second in the IndyCar points standings with 212. Alex Palou is in first place with 248.

Dixon picked up a victory in the Genesys 600 earlier this season, but he is coming off a 17th-place finish in the Indianapolis 500. An early issue with fuel kept Dixon out of the mix in the biggest race of the year.

Bouncing back from a bad finish has been Dixon’s recent specialty. Last time he placed 17th in the Indy 500, he came back with a win in one of the two Detroit Grand Prix races (2019).

No driver in this weekend’s field has the success that Dixon has at Belle Isle. He is a three-time winner on this track, collecting one victory in 2019, 2018 and 2012. Dixon also has seven other top five finishes at Detroit.

When it comes to success in Detroit, and experience in racing (he’s a six-time IndyCar series champ), Dixon certainly has both on his side.

Josef Newgarden needs a spark

The 2021 season hasn’t gotten off to a great start for Josef Newgarden.

The two-time series champion finds himself sixth in the latest IndyCar standings with just 184 points.

Newgarden has yet to claim a win while finishing second in two races, but he also has two finishes outside the top 10.

In 2019, Newgarden won the first of the two Detroit Grand Prix Duels, but this track hasn’t been one of his best. Out of 15 races in IndyCar, Newgarden has an average finish of 11.5 at Belle Isle.

Coming off a 12th-place finish in the Indy 500, Newgarden is desperate for a strong showing this weekend.

No love for points leader Alex Palou

The current IndyCar points leader isn’t being deemed much of a threat to win at Belle Isle.

DraftKings and BetRivers each list Alex Palou at +2000 for Saturday’s race, while PointsBet Sportsbook puts him at +2200.

The 24-year-old Spaniard sits comfortably ahead in the point standings, 36 points clear of Dixon for first place.

This year, Palou has a victory in the Grand Prix of Alabama, and he’s finished in the top four in four of the six races in 2021. That includes a runner-up finish at the Indy 500.

However, the points leader will be making his first foray into Detroit this weekend. With limited time on the track prior to competition, Palou is in for a challenge on this street course.

If Palou winning seems a little too far-fetched for you, you may want to consider his +550 odds for a top-3 finish.

Graham Rahal hopes to repeat weekend sweep

In the somewhat brief history of the Detroit Grand Prix, only one driver has come away with the win in both races in one weekend.

Graham Rahal was the driver to achieve that feat in 2017. He returns to Belle Isle this weekend hoping for more success.

Sitting eighth in the point standings right now, Rahal sits just outside the top favorites to win on Saturday. He is listed with +1600 odds to prevail.

Rahal’s wins at Detroit are somewhat surprising, considering he has just two other top-three finishes at the track. Those two wins back in 2017 were actually the last time he has reached victory lane in his IndyCar career.

Photo by Michael Conroy/AP
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is currently the Lead Writer of He was the former Lead Writer of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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