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Thread: How To Bet The 102nd Running Of The Indianapolis 500

  1. #1 How To Bet The 102nd Running Of The Indianapolis 500 
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    How to bet the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500
    PJ Walsh
    ESPN INSIDER

    IndyCar returns to Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 27 for the 102nd running of The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

    One big storyline this weekend will be the new aero package. The UAK18 aero kit produces less downforce than what has been run in recent years at Indianapolis, which means cars aren't creating the same size "hole" in the air. As a result, there will be less of an aerodynamic tow, or "draft," during Sunday's Indy 500, which should minimize the slingshot passes we've grown to know and love since 2012.

    IndyCar drivers and teams hit the track last Tuesday and practiced all week with the new aero package. As bettors, this data is invaluable. Historical results are all but obsolete, considering the aero updates made to the 2018 race car. Luckily, IndyCar is very generous in releasing this practice data, allowing us to analyze and determine which drivers are undervalued by the current Indy 500 betting market.

    After poring through the practice data and monitoring what drivers are saying about their race cars, I've pinpointed four futures bets offering value for Sunday's race. Let's take a look at some of the best bets for the 2018 Indianapolis 500.

    Note: All odds via Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, as of May 25.

    Best bets

    Marco Andretti (15-1)

    Most drivers, even those who are fast on the practice charts, are consistently complaining that their cars aren't driving well in traffic. This is forcing most drivers to lift off the throttle in the corners, making it difficult for those back in the pack to catch and pass the leaders. However, there is one driver who has been pleased with his car's handling in traffic throughout the month of May: Marco Andretti.

    Andretti's car never quite had the no-tow speed he needed to make a run at a top-five starting position in qualifying, but the car has been really fast in race trim. I've compiled data from each of the Indy 500 practice sessions to rank each driver's speed in race trim. Andretti unloaded with a rocket early last week and never looked back, earning the No. 1 spot in my rankings. The combination of a fast race car on the speed charts and the driver revealing he's happy with the car makes Andretti my favorite Indy 500 bet.

    Helio Castroneves (12-1)
    After Andretti, there's a big group of drivers in the next tier of my ratings. For a handful of reasons, I've settled on Castroneves.

    Castroneves is a three-time winner of the Indy 500. In full disclosure, I've found experience to be overrated and haven't considered it much when placing bets. However, with a new aero package and uncertainty about what to expect once all 33 cars are on the racetrack, I like drivers who have experienced different kinds of racing at the Brickyard. Castroneves has seen and done it all at Indianapolis, which will be a big advantage over the younger drivers in the field.

    On top of his experience, Castroneves has a very fast race car. He ranks third in my ratings and has a solid, top-10 starting spot. Give me Castroneves at 12-1, forming a formidable one-two punch with Andretti.

    Long shots

    Matheus Leist (40-1)

    As a rookie, Leist has shown plenty of speed since getting to Indianapolis, highlighted by an 11th-place run in qualifying. I know I just waxed poetic about Castroneves' experience, but Leist's lack thereof is priced into the current number.

    He drives for AJ Foyt Racing, and with teammate Tony Kanaan listed among the favorites, his equipment is certainly good enough to run up front. The rookie has been plenty fast, as well, clocking in 10th overall in my speed ratings and making him a very interesting flier bet.

    Do not settle on 40-1 before placing your wager. Shop for the best price on this long shot.

    Spencer Pigot (50-1)
    Pigot checks a lot of the same boxes as Leist. He has very fast teammates at Ed Carpenter Racing, with Ed Carpenter on the pole and Danica Patrick starting seventh in her final race. Pigot also ranks 13th in my Indy 500 ratings. At just 24 years old, he has two Indy 500 starts under his belt, so he has a notebook on what to expect when getting around Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
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    AJ Foyt Racing has placed a lot of time, effort, and money into this Indy 500. I do not know if they can overcome Penske and Andretti but they should be players. I am certain Leist has learned a lot from Kanaan, one of the classiest guys in the sport.
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    H.Man and Mosi……….appreciate the info...…….BOL with your action...…..indy
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    Possible Record Heat Today...

    Today is the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 and it could quite possibly be the hottest 500 on record.
    We stay dry in the Indy metro through the morning as temperatures quickly climb. By the start of the race around noon, we'll be at 88° with a heat index in the lower 90s.
    An isolated pop-up storm will be possible, mainly after 3pm and in the southern half of the state. Otherwise, just increasing clouds with the heat of the day.
    The "standing" record for the hottest Indy 500 was 92° in 1937. We're forecasting a high of 93° this afternoon and with the humidity added in, will feel more like 95-98°.
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    New Car Package and Heat Pose Issues:

    INDIANAPOLIS – The past several years have put the spectacle back into the Indianapolis 500.
    Takuma Sato won in 2017 with a daring pass of Helio Castroneves with just six laps to go. Juan Pablo Montoya tracked down his Team Penske teammate Will Power with just three laps remaining in 2015, and Ryan Hunter-Reay won a see-saw battle with Castroneves by .06 of a second in 2014.
    Heart-stopping finishes have again become the norm at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And the intensity figures to be ratcheted up a few more notches for today’s 102nd running of the Indy 500.

    A new aerodynamic kit for this IndyCar season has proven difficult to solve, and with temperatures forecast in the 90s, this could be the hottest 500 on record.
    There’s been speculation throughout the month as to what it ultimately will mean for the product on the track.
    The four Penske drivers – Power, Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and series points leader Josef Newgarden – have been consistently fast throughout practice. They’re each starting in the first three rows, with Pagenaud (second) and Power (third) sitting on Row 1.
    And the front of the pack figures to be where the action really is.
    “The racing in the front to me, honestly, is going to be more intense than last year,” Power said. “You can pass someone on the front straight, they’ll repass you back on the back straight. I think the changes for the lead will be more than ever.
    “As you get back in the pack, it’s always been tough to pass. I don’t think it’s ever been easy to get by. I think it will be great racing, yeah. I think the fans will enjoy it.”
    It might not be quite as fun for the drivers.
    There have been issues with downforce throughout the month of May. Drivers are complaining about the steering in the new cars, and it’s made passing difficult.
    The first and second car in any given draft don’t seem to have a problem. From third on back, it’s going to take some strategy – and perhaps a bit of luck – to make gains.
    For drivers like Sage Karam – making his fifth start at Indy from the 24th position on the 33-car grid – that could make for a challenging day.
    “You’re just not going to see guys carving through (the field) like you used to,” Karam said. “You’re going to have to do it in a smarter way. You’re going to have to think outside the box. You’re going to have to really outdrive the people in front of you.”
    Fuel strategy, tire wear and pit stops all could be major factors in determining a winner.
    But the onus really seems to be on the driver this year.
    It’s hard enough to keep the car on the track for 500 miles under ideal circumstances. With everyone in the field still getting a feel for the new aerodynamic kit and how best to set it up on this historic 2.5-mile oval, the margin for error will be even tighter than normal.
    “I think it’s a good thing,” said 2013 winner Tony Kanaan, who will start 10th and posted the fastest lap during the final practice on Carb Day.
    “Everybody is really worried. You can see the guys, everybody is on the edge. But honestly, that’s going to be probably more of a pure talent of the guys trying to – how smart you’re going to be with your tools, saving this, saving that, and every engineer making a good car for every driver, and we’ll battle it out. It’s uncomfortable, but I like to be in that place.”
    Nobody is in a better position than Ed Carpenter.
    He turned the only lap at 230 mph during qualifying and took the pole position with a four-lap average of 229.618 mph – nearly a full mile per hour faster than Pagenaud (228.761).
    That should provide Carpenter with more opportunities to run in clean air, and that’s when the new car seems to handle it’s best.

    But the veteran driver and car owner knows better than to take anything for granted on the final Sunday in May. He finished 11th last year, his first time better than 27th since 2013.
    This is the third time Carpenter will start from the pole, but he’s never finished higher than fifth on race day.
    “I’ve been around here long enough, different things happen,” he said. “You never know how many more opportunities you’re going to get.”
    That’s a common theme in the garage.
    Marco Andretti knows the heartbreak the Indy 500 can unleash as well as anybody. His family has been famously cursed at this track since his grandfather, Mario, won the race in 1969.
    Marco finished second in his rookie season of 2006, and he was third in 2008, 2010 and 2014.
    But he’s also seen the other side of the coin.
    His father, Michael, has won the race in three of the past four years – including Sato’s victory last May.
    His takeaway is simple – the track is in charge, and everyone is just along for the ride.
    “It’s just circumstances have to work out,” Andretti said. “I mean, this place picks the winners.”
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