Indy 500 Picks: Ed Carpenter a value play
The Indy 500 takes place this weekend and won't be blacked-out in the local TV market so we can expect plenty of TV viewers but how will the race pan out? Neil Monnery has some ideas...
It comes as no surprise to see Scott Dixon having qualified fastest for the Indy 500 and that he’s the betting favorite with the Indiana Sportsbooks. The 40-year-old is looking to win the race for the second time - and for the first time since 2008. He’s the reigning IndyCar champ and looked like the class of the field all the way through free practice for the event at the World Famous Indianapolis Speedway on Sunday.
Joining him on Row 1 is Colton Herta and Rinus VeeKay. Sometimes in sport it is easy and lazy to build up the narrative of a great old sportsperson taking on the young up and comer. Herta is just 21 and was beaten to the top spot in qualifying by just 0.030 seconds. Going into the season, a lot of the talk was these would be the top two all season long and to see them already battling it out at the front in Indy500 qualifying is exciting to see.
Exciting it may be but value betting wise? Maybe less so…
Last time out we saw former Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean totally dominate the Indianapolis GP. Sadly he has chosen not to ride on oval tracks this season and he continues to get used to the cars. He was involved in a spectacular crash in F1 towards the end of last season and that could also be part of his decision to sidestep the fast oval races.
Tony Keenan won this race back in 2013 and has qualified fifth in his Chip Ganassi Racing car. Backing experienced drivers is rarely a bad thing when it comes to the Indy 500. Takuma Sato will start on the outside of Row 5 but has won this race twice in the past five years. Alexander Rossi won as a rookie in 2016 and is the fourth favorite heading into this year's event.
Pato O’Ward is a +1200 shot and third favorite but the winner of the opening race of the season has qualified down in 12th.
Helio Castroneves is a three-time champion but he hasn’t drunk that milk since 2009. An excellent qualifying puts him on Row 3 but even at +3000 I’m swerving to avoid.
Scott Dixon deserves to the betting favorite at +380 but always tough to back knowing all the crazy things that can happen in this race.
I’m looking for value as anything can happen at the Indy 500. I think the hometown kid Ed Carpenter at +2500 is worth a few bucks. He has qualified fourth and has finished in the top-six twice in the past few years.
If you really want to back a long-shot - Pietro Fittipalti has a very famous surname in motorsports. He’s the grandson of two-time F1 champion Emerson Fittipalti and was the fastest rookie in qualifying. At +20,000 you can get incredible value and if you are opening an account and get a free bet to start with - why not swing for the fences?