LAS VEGAS -- What's in a name?
When you say Indianapolis 500, you get people's attention, as it's still one of the top brand names in sports. Even though many will say that NASCAR has passed IndyCar in terms of popularity, there will still be plenty tuned to ABC at noon ET Sunday and a live crowd of 400,000, the largest of any U.S. sporting event. Because it's an iconic event (much in the same way that non-horse racing fans get involved on Kentucky Derby day), there's also betting interest with odds to win the event and head-to-head matchups and props.
When it comes to the top of the betting board, it's also a name game. Ed Salmons, who sets the odds for Jay Kornegay, the LVH's vice president of Race and Sports, made Helio Castroneves, Marco Andretti and Juan Montoya the co-favorites at 6-1 when he opened his Indy 500 odds April 28.
Andretti, a very famous name as the grandson of legendary 1969 winner Mario, was bet down to 5-1 favoritism, but now Castroneves, who is trying to join A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as the only four-time winners of the Indy 500, has taken over as the 5-1 favorite as of late Thursday night. Andretti is the second choice at 6-1 and Montoya at 7-1, followed by the trio of Will Power (my favorite racing name), Ed Carpenter and James Hinchcliffe at 8-1.