2011 Indy 500 Betting Preview

IndyCar racing gets its annual spotlight treatment this weekend when the series returns to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500.

The pole-sitter for this year's Indy 500 is Canadian Alex Tagliani. He turned in some blistering times in qualifying to earn the pole, and even though the pole-sitter has won three of the last five Indy 500 races Tagliani is not the favorite on the Indianapolis 500 odds at Sportsbook. Right now Tagliani is third on the odds list at 13/2.

[ Click here for this year's Indianapolis 500 betting preview ]

Tagliani may have posted the best time in qualifying but he hasn't done enough this season to warrant favorite status at Indy. In four races on the IndyCar circuit this season Tagliani's best finish was fifth in Long Beach. He's also never recorded a podium finish in his IndyCar Series career. Also worth noting is that in two previous starts in the Indy 500 Tagliani's best finish was tenth place last year.

Leading the Indianapolis 500 odds at Sportsbook as co-favorites ahead of Tagliani are Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon, both at 4/1.

Franchitti is a two-time Indy 500 Sportsbook and is also the reigning champion after drinking the milk at the Brickyard last season. Not only is Franchitti the defending Indy 500 champ but he has also won the IndyCar championship the last two years, and he already has a win this year at the season opener in St. Petersburg. Franchitti also has two other podium finishes and has not finished worse than fourth so far this season.

Dixon won the Indy 500 in 2008. He followed that up with a sixth-place finish in 2009 and a fifth-place result last year. So far this season Dixon has been very inconsistent on the track, finishing second at Alabama but failing to crack the Top 10 in his other three starts.

Including Franchitti and Dixon there are five former Sportsbooks of the Indy 500 in this weekend's field. The other three are three-time Sportsbook Helio Castroneves (2009, 2002, 2001), Dan Wheldon (2005), and Buddy Rice (2004).

Wheldon and Catroneves are both 10/1 underdogs at Sportsbook to win again this weekend. Wheldon has finished second at Indy the last two years, but he hasn't raced at all so far this season after parting with Panther Racing at the end of last season. Will Wheldon show any rust after being away from the track for so many months?

Castroneves always seems to be in contention at Indy with six Top 5 and nine Top 10 finishes in 10 career starts at the Brickyard. So far this season Castroneves has been very unlucky, crashing in all four starts, resulting in his best finish of the season being seventh place in Alabama. Despite his lackluster performance so far this season Castroneves' history at Indy makes him a must-pick for bettors this weekend, especially at 10/1.

The one driver we're forgetting to mention from this weekend's field is Will Power. He's stuck in the middle of the drivers we've listed on the Sportsbook Indy 500 odds at 7/1. He's also been the most dominant driver in the IndyCar Series this season with two wins and a second-place finish in four starts.

In four previous starts at Indy Power's best finish was fifth in 2009, but this could be the year he breaks through and finally wins at the Brickyard.

Odds to Win Indianapolis 500 Courtesy of Sportsbook:

Dario Franchitti 4/1
Scott Dixon 4/1
Alex Tagliani 13/2
Will Power 7/1
Dan Wheldon 10/1
Helio Castroneves 10/1
Oriol Servia 12/1
Buddy Rice 14/1
Ryan Briscoe 15/1
Danica Patrick 25/1
Townsend Bell 25/1
Marco Andretti 28/1
Tony Kanaan 28/1
Ed Carpenter 40/1
Vitor Meira 40/1
Paul Tracy 50/1
Tomas Scheckter 55/1
Graham Rahal 70/1
Takuma Sato 75/1
Bertrand Baquette 100/1
Bruno Junquiera 100/1
John Andretti 100/1
JR Hildebrand 100/1
Justin Wilson 100/1
E.J. Viso 125/1
James Hinchcliffe 125/1
Simona De Silvestro 125/1
Jay Howard 150/1
Alex Lloyd 200/1
Davey Hamilton 200/1
Ana Beatriz 250/1
Charlie Kimball 250/1
Pippa Mann 250/1