Tuesday, April 29, 2014

LVH posts Montoya as 6-to-1 Indy 500 co-favorite, Kurt Busch 20-to-1.

Kurt Busch is 20/1 to win Indy 500
LAS VEGAS -- Juan Pablo Montoya returns to the starting lineup of the Indianapolis 500 for the first time since winning the race in 2000, and although he has yet to win during the first three Verizon IndyCar Series races this season, the LVH SuperBook has posted him as a 6-to-1 co-favorite to win the 95th running of the event on May 25. Montoya's Penske teammate, and three-time Indy 500 winner, Helio Castroneves and Andretti Autosport's Marco Andretti are the other co-favorites.

The favorites aren't listed as such because it's who the book thinks will win, but rather a combination of public demand -- who they'll bet the most -- mixed in with skill and quality of car. The name Andretti is known by everyone, bettors have cashed with Castroneves three times in this race, and then there is Montoya. The Columbian is a true legend. He won at Monaco, Sonoma and Indy...who does that? His return to the race is a big deal and he will be one of the most wagered drivers at whatever odds posted.

Along with Montoya, there is also another fresh name on the odds board that should generate some excitement for this year's race. NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kurt Busch (20-to-1) will attempt to participate in both the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte on the same day. That storyline alone should help boost sports books' handle and television ratings as there will be more fans from NASCAR nation that will have a rooting interest.

The Indy 500 will always be an American institution, but between the rise and expansion of NASCAR in the early 1990's -- the Jeff Gordon era -- and the 1996 formation of the Indy Racing League that gave fans a diluted product of the Indy 500, the majority of American auto racing fans gravitated towards NASCAR.

Here in Las Vegas, there was a great example of the momentum shift just by the handle for each series going in opposite directions. In 1995, the cash handled on the Indy 500 at Las Vegas sports books rivaled the Daytona 500 as being the most wagered upon auto racing event of the year. Over the past couple of seasons all 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup races drew more action to the bet windows than the Indy 500. That's kind of a big deal, but Busch and Montoya definitely make this year's Indy race more appealing.

New Zealand's Scott Dixon (8-to-1), winner of the 2008 Indy 500, is the only other driver posted at less than double digit odds. However, two of his Chip Ganassi Racing teammates -- Tony Kanaan and Ryan Briscoe -- are listed next at 10-to-1. Kanaan won it last season driving for KV Racing Technology, giving Brazil seven wins among four drivers, which is one win behind the United Kingdom for most in a race history that dates back to 1911. Penske's Will Power, who won the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg and leads the series in points, is also 10-to-1.

Ryan Hunter-Reay is second in points and won last week in the Grand Prix of Alabama. He's part of the Andretti gang and is set at 12-to-1 odds. After him, the odds shoot all the way to 20-to-1 with his new teammate Busch. The power teams are the drivers you want to pay the attention to the most, although Kanaan proved last season that a team other than Penske, Ganassi or Andretti can win.

We'll have continuing coverage of the Indy 500 as the month goes on that will include selections, advice and updates from what's being offered around town in the props department. The Kurt Busch angle in both races should be able to produce five to six different props itself. We'll also talk with Indianapolis native, and new Las Vegas resident, Wes Reynolds about how he approaches the Indy 500 from a handicapping perspective.

Read More Here.........LVH Indy 500 odds

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