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Alex Palou Indy 500


Alex Palou, of Spain, leads a pack as they head into the first turn during the final practice for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Friday, May 26, 2023.

One sport can count Memorial Day weekend as its biggest stretch of the year, and it’s not basketball or hockey despite the NBA and NHL closing in on setting their championship matchups.

It’s motorsports, which sees three major races take place on Sunday. F1’s Monaco Grand Prix begins early in the morning before giving way to IndyCar’s Indianapolis 500 with NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte signing off in the late afternoon to early evening.

For the first time since Weekend Wagers started three years ago, I’m betting on all of it.

Why not?

F1 is the only series I don’t regularly handicap, but I’ll make an exception to join in on the Sunday fun.

It can’t go much worse than horse racing, as I now have a pair of close second-place losses through a pair of Triple Crown races so far this year. National Treasure just edged Blazing Sevens in last week’s Preakness Stakes to prevent the column from a decent score.

Shifting my focus to a different type of race course sounds refreshing. I’ve already locked in an Indianapolis 500 future at what’s currently value pricing, snagging Alex Palou at 11-1 weeks before he set qualifying records to settle in as the favorite.

But I’ll add outright wagers for the Monaco Grand Prix and Coca-Cola 600 below, as well as fire on a few matchups.

Read on for eight bets in this week’s Weekend Wagers. Odds are the best currently available in Las Vegas at publication time with the sports book noted. Plays outside of the column will be linked and tracked in the record at the bottom of the page.

WNBA (0-0, $0): New York Liberty -7 vs. Connecticut Sun (Caesars/William Hill)

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Las Vegas Aces vs. New York Liberty

$220 to win $200

As much as I’d love to have a play on today’s NBA game, Weekend Wagers is already fully leveraged on the Celtics in a variety of futures markets. I don’t have any choice but to let those bets ride at this point. So hopefully a WNBA play will suffice. The Liberty haven’t lived up to the hype as one of the best women’s teams ever assembled at 1-1 through two games, but they’ve still got scary potential with Breanna Stewart, Sabrina Ionescu and Jonquel Jones forming a Big Three. The Sun, on the other hand, look like a surprise contender with a 3-0 record including two victories over the Washington Mystics. But it’s way too early to put much stock into a week’s worth of games. This might have been New York -10 before the season started, and may still belong more in that range than this slightly decreased price.

MLB (4-4, $90): Philadelphia Phillies +125 at Atlanta Braves (Wynn)

$200 to win $250

Braves starter Charlie Morton is 39 years old and showing signs of wearing down. Phillies counterpart Zack Wheeler hasn’t been much better this season, but his underlying numbers remain characteristically strong. At some point, his analytical profile is going to catch up to his actual performance on the field. The Braves’ lineup might have the best lineup in baseball, but the Phillies’ unit isn’t far behind. It’s never fun to bet against a team with as much firepower as the Braves, but the underdog price can’t be this high when it’s one of the best National League starters in Wheeler against someone trending more towards average in Morton.  

NHL (4-6, -$330): Dallas Stars +124 at Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5 (Circa Sports)

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Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin (91) watches as a puck shot by left wing Jason Robertson gets past Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill (33) during the second period of Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference Final at T-Mobile Arena Sunday, May 21, 2023, in Las Vegas.

$200 to win $248

As a holder of a ticket on the Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup placed almost a year ago, I hate to do this but tonight’s Game 5 line is too high. Vegas holds a 3-1 series lead over Dallas, but the series has been closer than that with all but one game heading to overtime. The Stars are still without captain Jamie Benn but he shouldn’t be worth this much on the betting line. Dallas closed around +108 in each of the first two games in Vegas, and should be more around there this time. Vegas deserves to be the favorite, but not this large of a favorite.

F1 (0-0, $0): Max Verstappen to win Monaco Grand Prix at +150 (Circa)

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Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands steers his car in the pit lane during the third free practice at the Monaco racetrack, in Monaco, Saturday, May 26, 2018. The Formula one race will be held on Sunday.

$150 to win $225

Again, I don’t follow F1 so this bet is mostly for entertainment purposes only and a way to fit with the racing theme. But I do stay in the loop enough to know Verstappen and Red Bull pretty much dominate the circuit currently. That knowledge made me think Verstappen would be something like -110 maximum to win one of the biggest races of the year. A chance to get him all the way at +150 was a pleasant surprise. Maybe Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez — the only other driver to win a race this season — is a better bet at +750. Or maybe I’m just dead wrong to begin with. But in what’s likely to be my only F1 bet of the year, at least until November’s Las Vegas debut race, I’d rather go down with the best.  

IndyCar (0-0, $0): Colton Herta +120 head-to-head vs. Tony Kanaan in Indianapolis 500 (Caesars/William Hill)

$200 to win $240

Endurance matters in IndyCar’s biggest race Sunday morning, which is a big reason why the 23-year-old Herta should have an edge over the 48-year old Kanaan. Both should have fast cars, with Herta driving an Andretti Autosports Honda up against Kanaan’s McLaren, but they’re at different points of their careers. Kanaan won the Indianapolis 500 a decade ago, but is now talking like this could be his final appearance. A pick’em price would be appropriate but getting this high of a payout of Herta is too much to pass up.

NASCAR (5-4, $490): Bubba Wallace +115 head-to-head vs. Chase Elliott in Coca-Cola 600 (Caesars/William Hill)

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Bubba Wallace celebrates next to the trophy after winning a NASCAR Cup series auto race Monday, Oct. 4, 2021, in Talladega, Ala. The race was stopped mid-race due to rain.

$200 to win $230

Elliott hasn’t been the same since returning to his car last month from a snowboarding injury. Wallace has been consistently strong all season, though it’s fallen a bit under the radar without any wins. The Toyota driver has particularly performed well on 1.5-mile tracks like Charlotte. Wallace should be priced like he’ll be in contention this week, but sits instead at as high as 25-to-1 whereas Elliott is as low as 7-to-1. That can’t be right. Elliott will be a good buy-low candidate at some point, and maybe that starts this week, but I doubt it given the marathon, day-to-night nature of this 600-mile race. Even if he is better, there’s no guarantee he’ll top Wallace. The plus-price on one of the Cup series’ most underrated drivers is an attractive option.

NASCAR (5-4, $490) Ross Chastain to win Coca-Cola 600 at 12-to-1 (Circa); Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano to win Coca-Cola 600 at 25-to-1 apiece (South Point)

$100 to win $1,200 on Chastain; $50 to win $1,250 on both Blaney and Logano

Against my better judgment, I’ll dive in with a few outrights to fill out the Charlotte betting card. How could I not after hitting Denny Hamlin in last year’s Coca-Cola 600 in this column? Chastain seems like the obvious choice at the top of the board to build around. He hasn’t won in a while and is highly disliked in NASCAR circles, but all of that might be working to inflate his price. Race favorites Kyle Larson and William Byron have been better than Chastain on the season, but only marginally at 1.5-mile tracks. To supplement Chastain, let’s take the formidable pair of Team Penske drivers. Penske has underperformed this year, but this unique and prolonged race might be where it gets back on track. The odds on Blaney and Logano have drifted too far outwards.

Tennis (1-0, $600): Iga Swiatek to win French Open singles at Even money (Circa)

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Iga Swiatek, of Poland, returns a shot to Aryna Sabalenka, of Belarus, during the semifinals of the U.S. Open tennis championships, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, in New York.

$300 to win $300

A perfect storm has occurred to inflate the best women’s tennis player in the world, especially on clay, into playable betting range heading into the second tennis major of the year. Swiatek lost to Aryna Sabalenka in the Madrid Open, and then followed it with an injury retirement against Elena Rybakina in the Italian Open. She then got a difficult draw with Rybakina on her side of the French Open bracket. It’s all somewhat concerning but not enough to knock the two-time French Open champion down this low. She should still be the odds-on favorite, even if it’s only -120 or -130. Swiatek is still the one to beat at Roland Garros.

Weekend betting column year to date: 41-55-1, $145 

Weekend betting column all-time: 520-551-6, $18,644.95

Previous pending future wagers: Vegas Golden Knights at 15-to-1 to win the 2023 Stanley Cup ($200 to win $3,000); Minnesota Timberwolves to win Western Conference at 15-to-1 ($100 to win $1,500); Minnesota Timberwolves to win NBA Finals at 33-to-1 ($75 to win $2,475); Boston Celtics to win the NBA Finals at 7-to-1 ($300 to win $2,100); Texas to win the College Football Playoff at 30-to-1 ($100 to win $3,000); Tanner Mordecai to win the Heisman Trophy at 200-to-1 ($30 to win $6,000); Atlanta Braves at 5-to-1 to win the National League ($300 to win $1,500; Atlanta Braves at 10-to-1 to win the World Series ($300 to win $3,000); Buffalo Bills at 9-to-1 to win Super Bowl 58 ($300 to win $2,700); Manchester City to win English Premier League at +125 ($200 to win $250); New Orleans Breakers to win USFL title at 7-to-1 ($200 to win $1,400); Boston Celtics to win the Eastern Conference at -160 ($480 to win $300); LSU to win the College Football Playoff at 20-to-1 ($150 to win $3,000); Philadelphia Eagles to win Super Bowl 58 at 9-to-1 ($300 to win $2,700); Toronto Maple Leafs adjusted series price vs. Florida Panthers +250 ($100 to win $250); Alex Palou to win Indianapolis 500 at 11-to-1 ($100 to win $1,100); Jayson Tatum to win NBA Finals MVP at +240 ($200 to win $480); Nolan Smith to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year at 20-to-1 ($100 to win $2,000); Kansas to win 2024 NCAA Tournament at 14-to-1 ($200 to win $2,800); Los Angeles Chargers -2.5 vs. Miami Dolphins in Week 1 ($330 to win $300); Tampa Bay Buccaneers +7 at Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 ($220 to win $200); Baltimore Ravens -9 vs. Houston Texans in Week 1 ($330 to win $300)

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or

Article written by #LasVegasSun