The 300-1 bet to lock in now for Sunday’s race
The NTT IndyCar Series kicks off its 2022 campaign on Sunday with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (12 p.m. ET, NBC).
Alex Palou is the defending series champion looking to fend off Josef Newgarden, Pato O’Ward, Scott Dixon, Colton Herta and a host of other drivers.
Twenty-six full-time enrollments are expected to take place this year in an incredibly competitive field. That includes six rookies, five of whom will race the full program, and a sixth, Tatiana Calderón, who will race 12 of the 17 races.
The focus here is on one of these recruits.
Bookmakers often struggle to set lines for rookies with the lack of data in a smaller market.
This is where we have the advantage.
I watched this young driver for months, waiting to this day for the books to publish lines about the IndyCar season opener.
I will have more bets for you on race day, but this opportunity is too good to wait. This line will move, perhaps even before the start of on-track activity on Friday.
But I have no doubt that opportunity will be long gone when we see practice times and qualifying.
The time has come.
I present to you one of my favorite IndyCar bets of all time.
Firestone St. Petersburg Grand Prix pick
*Quote on Wednesday evening
Last time I was on a 300-1 longshot in a motorsport, it ended abruptly.
But I bet on another 300-1 longshot to win this weekend in St. Petersburg.
Kyle Kirkwood is quite possibly one of the best IndyCar prospects I’ve met in my life, if not the best.
He is the first person to win championships in each of the three Road to Indy series.
Not only did he win three titles, he did it in a dominant fashion. Look at this record.
All that yellow you see over there are wins. And they all come to road and street courses.
You could look at these results and say Kirkwood started slow, and you’d be right.
Kirkwood only won four times in total over the first three weekends of each series, which included 16 races in total (some races were doubles, which I count as a full weekend).
After that he won an insane 27 times in the 34 races outside of the first three race weekends.
The difference here is that IndyCar has many track time. Not only will Kirkwood get plenty of laps in multiple practice sessions on race weekends, Kirkwood also completed nearly 300 laps in pre-season testing at Sebring.
On the first day of this test, Kirkwood posted a time in the middle of the pack. However, on day two, Kirkwood turned it into a fifth-place finisher among drivers who did laps.
Sebring is actually a surprisingly comparable track to St. Petersburg. Here’s how IndyCar.com’s Curt Cavin describes it:
… the 1.7 mile short circuit resembles the St. Petersburg temporary street circuit in that it features bumpy braking zones with changing surfaces, tight turns and a long straight on an airport runway . Are the tracks similar enough to be apples to apples? No. But Sebring is the best preparation for St. Petersburg.
On this second day, Kirkwood beat his two teammates by more than 0.7 seconds. This is another theme that has been a must for him.
In 2020, he won nine of 16 races on the 2000 Indy Pro schedule. The rest of his teammates combined for two podium finishes and no wins.
In the 2021 Indy Lights season, he won the championship, winning 10 of 20 races in the process. His teammates finished the year fifth, sixth and seventh in the standings, combining for zero wins.
One of those teammates from the 2021 campaign is Devlin DeFrancesco. DeFrancesco finished sixth in the standings and now takes 29th place at Andretti Autosport.
Krikwood even beat DeFrancesco’s time at the Sebring test, despite the fact that DeFrancesco was competing in top-tier gear while Kirkwood’s gear was traditionally lower-tier.
You see, Kirkwood jumps in the No. 14 flagship car for AJ Foyt Enterprises, which is another reason his odds of winning are so high in many books.
AJ Foyt Enterprises has exactly one win since the Champ Car/IRL merger in 2008 in what is now the IndyCar Series.
That win came from Takuma Sato, a former Formula 1 driver and two-time Indy 500 winner. Sato earned his third start for Foyt. He did it on the streets of Long Beach, another temporary street circuit with bumpy braking zones, surface changes, tight corners and a massively long straight.
Last year, four-time Champ Car champion Sebastian Bourdais took this car to two top five finishes. That’s impressive coming from a 41-year-old who is clearly past his prime.
Kirkwood can absolutely match and even exceed the feat achieved by Bourdais last year. A Sato race is not out of the question.
That brings us to this weekend; Kirkwood exudes confidence.
In an interview on foytracing.com, Kirkwood expected to be quick from the start. When I say he’s confident in his car and his lap times at Sebring, I mean extremely confident.
Based on that confidence in the car and the lap times, as well as his unparalleled resume in the ladder series, I expect him to start in the top half of the field.
With a bit of speed and maybe a bit of luck, he could pull off a shock victory on his debut.
It opened 500-1 at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, and Caesars Sportsbook has it at 300-1. This number 300-1 means that this bet only needs to succeed 0.33% of the time to be profitable in the long run.
I have Kirkwood about a 3% chance of winning.
I want to bet Kirkwood before he wins at those long odds – not after winning, and we don’t get those prizes anymore.
I’d bet Kirkwood up 50-1.
The bet: Victory of Kyle Kirkwood (+30000)