2019 Indianapolis 500 Vegas picks and predictions: Back Ed Jones, fade Colton Herta at the Brickyard

Sunday is the most action-packed day of the year for motorsports fans. But perhaps the biggest event of the day goes at 12:45 p.m. ET with the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500. The Indy 500 has produced eight different winners in the last eight years, and oddsmakers are projecting another anything-can-happen race, as 17 of the 33 drivers in the field are at 25-1 or lower 2019 Indianapolis 500 odds. Five of those are in the single digits, including 7-1 co-favorites Will Power, who won the 2018 Indy 500, and Simon Pagenaud, who secured the pole position for the race at the Brickyard. Ed Carpenter, who will be in the No. 2 spot for the start of the race, is at 8-1, as are 2016 champion Alexander Rossi and IndyCar series points leader Josef Newgarden. Three of the top four positions are occupied by the three cars of Ed Carpenter Racing (Carpenter, Spencer Pigot at 12-1 and Ed Jones at 20-1), but you need to see what Micah Roberts has to say before locking in any of your own 2019 Indy 500 picks.

In 2016, Rossi shocked the world as a rookie, winning the Indy 500 as an 80-1 long shot. Roberts, the nation's premier auto racing betting expert, was all over Rossi from the start. In 2017, sportsbooks listed Takuma Sato as a 25-1 underdog, but Roberts was high on his speed during practice runs and listed him in the top 10 of his projected leaderboard. The result: Sato stunned IndyCar with his first win since 2013, and anybody who backed him saw a massive return. He saw something in Will Power in 2018 as a double-digit longshot, including him in his top 10, and anyone who used him was rewarded when he took the checkered flag.

Spot-on picks are the norm from Roberts, the first Vegas bookmaker to offer expanded betting on auto racing. These days, he hands out winners to his followers. Now, Roberts has studied the 2019 Indianapolis 500 grid and locked in his projected leaderboard over at SportsLine.

One driver Roberts likes on Sunday is Jones, a 20-1 underdog who has never won an IndyCar race, let alone the Indy 500. But Jones opened eyes in practice on May 16 when he had the fastest car out of 35 drivers. He'll start from the No. 4 spot on the grid.

Roberts says this will be his fastest car at the Indy 500, faster than the one he drove to a third-place finish in 2016. As a result, Roberts has the long shot in the top 10 of his leaderboard with odds worth backing.

One surprise: Roberts is not high on Colton Herta, one of the popular picks at 12-1 Indy 500 odds. Herta is one of the young hot shots in the sport today -- he's had just six races but already secured his first victory, rallying from the No. 4 spot for the win at Austin on March 24. He'll start No. 5 on Sunday.

But his times this past week have been disappointing, finishing 20th in Practice 8. Roberts says Herta could come through, but the odds are too high. There are much better values in this loaded 2019 Indy 500 starting grid.

Roberts has also identified an epic long shot with a strong chance to take the checkered flag. Vegas isn't giving this driver any respect, so anybody who backs him could cash in huge. He's only sharing who to back at SportsLine.

So who wins the 2019 Indy 500? And which massive long shot should you be all over? Visit SportsLine now to see the full projected leaderboard from the nation's premier auto racing handicapper, and find out.

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