Almost nobody cares about American open wheel racing outside of one weekend each year. That weekend is here, though, so it is time to pay attention. Even if you aren’t a fan of Indy racing you’ll probably catch a minute or two of the Indy 500 on TV on Sunday. If you’re going to watch then you might as well bet on it, so here’s a look at the big names in the race and their betting prospects.
Scott Dixon (3/1) – Dixon earned the pole, so he is the favorite by a comfortable margin. He has had a good year so far with a win and two thirds in five races. He’s also been one of the more consistent drivers on the circuit the last three years, finishing second in the standings last year and fourth the year before. He’s never won at Indy, but he has been close. He was second last year and fourth the year before. He started fourth both years, so he is a row farther forward, and his car is running perhaps better than ever. THe pole has been a decent place to start from recently – Sam Hornish Jr. won from there is 2006, and so did Buddy Rice in 2004.
Helio Castroneves (9/2) – I never thought I would say something like this, but Castroneves has probably been bet down a bit because he is a good dancer. He won Dancing with the Stars to gain international fame outside of the world of car racing. He’s more than just a pair of fancy feet, though. He’s currently leading the point standings for the ciruit with two second place finishes and two fourth. He’s also a two time winner of this race, though the last of those came in 2002. Castroneves will certainly be a big part of this race, but I’m not convinced that these odds make him much of a value pick – he’s more likely to be close than in front at the checkered flag.
Dan Wheldon (9/2) – The man with the famously bad temper won this race in 2005, and he comes into this year’s version of a win in Kansas. He’s had a rough time of it the last two years at Indy, but his car is faster this year, and he seems more determined than ever. He could certainly win.
Tony Kanaan (5/1) – Sooner or later this Brazilian is going to win an Indy 500. He’s too good not to. He’s held a lead at some point in each of the last five races in Indianapolis, but he’s always found problems and has only found the podium twice in that time. He’s been solid this year, with a second in Kansas and two other top five finishes.
Danica Patrick (10/1) – She’s the biggest name in Indy racing, but she isn’t the biggest bargain. She has a win this year (finally), but her chances of winning aren’t well reflected by these odds. Her car was solid in qualifying, but it was definitely a step below the best. She hasn’t done particularly well here, with back-to-back 8th place finishes. There is a good chance she will be in the picture, but I would confidently say that she would win less than one in ten times this race was run. That doesn’t make her a good bet. She’d look pretty good with a milk mustache if she did win, though.