Indy 500 Free Picks

It doesn't get any better than Memorial Day Weekend if you are a fan of auto racing.

And for those IRL fans out there, this Sunday brings us the 93rd annual Indianapolis 500 from historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Though this race has lost most of it's prestige the last few years, it is still one of the few races that even non race fans have heard of and will watch come Sunday.

Bet the Indianapolis 500

Handicapping the IRL is really not very difficult. Once you get past the top teams, the drop off in talent and equipment is dramatic, which means the majority of the field has no real chance of contending for a win, let alone winning a race as important as the Indianapolis 500.

Tony Kanaan 9/1
A few weeks back we suggested betting Tony Kanaan early at 12/1 before qualifying and just like we predicted, Kanaan looked very good all week in practice and will start sixth on Sunday. The 2004 IRL champion has three top five finishes and four top 10s in his seven Indy 500 starts, and is probably the most accomplished driver in the field never to have won the 500. (And actually, he should have won in 2005 if not for a questionable late caution flag.) The key to winning this race is taking care of your car so you have something at the end of the race and this is what Kanaan is known for. He usually puts himself in contention toward the end of most races, which is why we think he will win Sunday.

Dario Franchitti 7/1
2007 INDY 500 winner Dario Franchitti returned to the IRL this year after a brief and unsuccessful stint in NASCAR. (Although it wasn't his driving which caused him to leave, but a under funded team which lead to his downfall.) Franchitti was fortunate to land a ride with the powerhouse team of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, which won last years 500 with Scott Dixon and has always fielded cars that contend each and every year. What we like about both Kanaan and Franchitti is they have the patience and experience to have their cars in position in the final laps to come away with a victory.

Live Longshots

Will Power 30/1
Will Power is a very talented up-and-coming driver who competes for Team Penske, who has won the Indy 500 an amazing 14 times. Team Penske is known to gamble when it comes to race strategy and we wouldn't be surprised to see them try something big with Power.

Paul Tracy 25/1
Tracy has lots of experience and some decent runs here and we wouldn't be shocked to see him and his team gamble at the end if they are in position to steal a win since this is most likely his only race this year in the IRL.

Race Matchup

Tony Kanaan -115 vs Danica Patrick

Anytime you can bet one of the best drivers in the IRL against Danica Patrick at this price you have to take advantage of it. Danica Patrick is the most over-hyped driver in some time, who has done very little in the IRL but always seems to get a ton of publicity. If you look at her one win and one good finish in the 2007 INDY 500, both came because her team gambled and won with fuel mileage strategy. Other than those two races, she has never lived up to her hype and unless her team gambles again, we expect to see her back in the middle of the pack at the finish as usual.

Bet the Indianapolis 500

Posted: 5/20/09 1:16PM ET

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