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Categorized | NASCAR

2012 Indianapolis 500 Free Picks: Why Pole-Sitter Ryan Briscoe is a Bad Bet

2012 Indianapolis 500 Free Picks – Why Pole-Sitter Ryan Briscoe is a Bad Bet: When Ryan Briscoe grabbed the pole for this weekend Indianapolis 500, he not only set a record for the smallest victory margin for any pole-sitter in the race’s history, but he set himself up as an early favorite to win the 96th running of the Indy 500, as well. In fact, oddsmakers have made Briscoe the overall favorite for Sunday’s race, giving him 6/5 odds to win. However, a closer look at Briscoe reveals that oddsmakers may be reading too much into his pole-winning performance, making him a very overrated option for bettors this weekend.

Yes, pole sitters have had a lot of success in the Indianapolis 500. More race winners (20) have started from the pole than from any other position, and 42 winners have started from the first row. In the last six years, no winner has started worse than sixth, and five eventual winners started from the first row, including three from the pole. Again, Briscoe does have an advantage starting up front, but there have been plenty of drivers that have failed to win after starting first, and Briscoe is likely to join that list.

For starters, he has always been a solid qualifier at Indianapolis, posting an 11.0 average starting position. However, his average finish at the Indy 500 is just 17.3 in six starts. Briscoe has just two top-10s and only a single top-five in those six starts, and his top-five finish came way back in 2007. Since then he hasn’t finished better than 15th in four Indy 500 starts, and in three of those starts, he qualified fourth or better. In other words, Briscoe is no stranger to starting on the first row at Indy, but finishing anywhere near the front on race day has been foreign to him.

Given his odds, his struggle at Indianapolis alone should scare of bettors. To make matters worse, Briscoe has displayed an overall downward trend in the IndyCar Series the last few years. In his debut season of 2008, he won two races. He followed it up in 2009 with three victories and 13 top-five finishes. In the two-plus season since, Briscoe has managed just one win and 13 top-five finishes combined. Last season, he posted a career-worst 10.8 average finish, and he is on pace to get worse this season, entering the Indy 500 with a 13.0 average finish.

Had Briscoe been somewhat of a longshot to win Sunday’s race, his pole-winning time would have made him an intriguing longshot to bet on. However, making him the outright favorite is ridiculous. We are talking about a driver that has had a history of qualifying near the front at Indy, only to underperform and fade on race day. Throw in the fact that he has been mired in the worst two-year stretch of his career, and what is the incentive to place a bet on Briscoe this weekend? The payoff is going to be minimal, and there is nothing in his history that suggests Sunday’s race will end in anything but disappointment for Briscoe.

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2012 Indianapolis 500 Odds – May 27th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Driver Odds to Win the 2012 Indy 500
Driver to win the Indy Indianapolis 500
701 Dario Franchitti +900
702 Scott Dixon +900
703 Helio Castroneves +500
704 Ryan Briscoe +300
705 Will Power +600
706 Marco Andretti +800
707 Tony Kanaan +1200
708 Ryan Hunter Reay +1200
709 James Hinchcliffe +800
710 JR Hildebrand +4000
711 Oriol Servia +8000
712 Alex Tagliani +5000
713 Graham Rahal +4000
714 Justin Wilson +10000
715 Rubens Barichello +5000
716 Ed Carpenter +8000
717 Takuma Sato +8000
718 Field +2000

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