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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Handicapping the Indy 500

SBG has the odds. I'm not a betting man, but if I were, here's my take:

Helio Castroneves: Leads the field at +300. He's on the pole, so it's understandable. He's also won it twice, but not for several years. Don't bet on him.

Scott Dixon: Starts second and is last year's winner. His odds are +350. That's not enough to make him pick-worthy.

Ryan Briscoe: He's almost as fast as his teammate Helio, but has a habit of making boneheaded moves, so he's back at +500. Don't pick him.

Dario Franchitti: Undervalued at +650. He won this race two years ago. I'd put him about +400. He's the best choice of those with a good chance to win.

Tony Kanaan: A little underrated at +850. I'd put him at +750. He's got a shot to win, but a small one.

Danica Patrick: I'd be stunned if she won. Her odds are +850, but should be about +1000. Her odds are skewed because she's a popular choice. Don't pick her.

Marco Andretti: Almost won this race three years ago, but blew it on the last lap. His odds are +1250; that's about right.

Dan Wheldon: Won this race four years ago, but is with another team. Doesn't have much of a shot. His odds are +1500; I'd put him at +1750.

Graham Rahal: The dark horse. A steal at +1500. I'd put him at more like +800. Not a strong chance, but if you're into longshots, he's the one.

Paul Tracy: Not as good a pick as Rahal, but another worthy longshot. He's at +2000; I'd put him at +1250.

Will Power: His odds are +3000. He's driving for the same team as Castroneves and Briscoe, but it's also a one-race team. I'd put him at +2000.

Vitor Meira: Also at +3000. I'd say +5000. He has virtually no chance.

Scott Sharp: Is Wheldon's teammate for this one race. His odds are +3500; I'd say +4000.

Hideki Mutoh: Vastly over-rated at +3500. He's a full-timer for a good team; Kanaan is his teammate. Still, he's never been competitive.

Alex Tagliani: +4500. Has no shot.

Ryan Hunter-Reay: +4500. A good driver who lost his sponsor and now drives for a weak team. Also has no shot.

Justin Wilson: Has a slightly better chance than his odds of +4500, but I still wouldn't pick him.

Robert Doornbos: His odds are +5000. He's Graham Rahal's teammate and had good times in practice until he wrecked his primary and back-up cars. I put him at more like +2000, but he's still the longest of longshots.

The rest of the field: The odds are +750; the only drivers left with any chance are Mario Moraes, who I'd put at +750 all by himself, and Oriol Servia, who's about +1500. Raphael Matos and Alex Lloyd are around +2500 each. So it's not a bad pick, but you're pretty much betting on Moraes.

UPDATE: Wagering Lines gives the odds for Mario Moraes at 90/1 (that's +9000). Unbelievable. I think he's got as good a shot as Kanaan, but with ten times the payoff.

UPDATE: Today (5/22) was Carb Day, the last practice session before the race. Here's the top ten eleven from today. Notice anything? He's still at 90/1, too.


Anonymous said...

off topic, re your recent comment at "Curmudgeonly & Sceptical": Perhaps you are thinking of "The Firemen's Ball" by Milos Forman? Here is the Wikipedia link:
Regards, Paul (

rockville said...

That's the one.


Reading List

  • Man Is Wolf to Man, by Janusz Bardach
  • Don't Swallow Your Gum! by Aaron Carroll & Rachel Vreeman
  • Instant Replay, by Jerry Kramer and Dick Schaap
  • New York, by Edward Rutherford
  • The Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson

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