33to1 staff picks race winners

After months of training, race day is finally here. Today, the women take the track at 4 p.m. Tomorrow, the men will have their turn at Bill Armstrong Stadium with the green flag scheduled to drop at 2 p.m.

After months of analysis and reporting, we can finally unveil who we think is going to take the checkered flag.

Here’s our staff picks, as well as your chance to cast your own vote for who you think will win.

Robby Howard

Men’s winner: Phi Delta Theta

Ever since the day after last year’s race, I’ve thought Phi Delt has been the favorite to win the race this year. It’s a team that came out of no where last year and surprised everyone, including themselves, to finish third. They did all of that with an extremely young team, led by perhaps the most surprising rider in last year’s field, Rob Lee. Lee is now back, as is Wesley Ring and Brendan Wise. All three now have valuable race experience, something I believe to be one of the most important components of a race winner. That, and an extremely strong, dominant rider. Lee is just that. He finished second in ITTs and was a semifinalist in Miss ‘N Out before withdrawing with a flu virus. He was on the bike late last year, and now he knows exactly what he needs to do to move his team up those extra two places.

Projected top 5: Phi Delta Theta, Delta Tau Delta, Black Key Bulls, Beta Theta Pi, Cutters

Women’s winner: Teter

In a race that is wide open due to a relatively young field, Teter is the one team that returns a bulk of its experience. Emma Caughlin is in her fourth career race and has already tasted victory once during her freshman year. She’s looking to get back to that, and thus far has shown she’s on a mission to do that. She won Miss ‘N Out for the first time in her career and finished fourth in ITTs, showing she is one of the most dominant riders in the field. She’s joined on the team by one of her best friends, Ashton DeHahn, who has also shown she is one of the race’s top riders. The pair make up what is arguably the strongest rider duo on the women’s side, finishing fourth and sixth at ITTs, and Teter’s other two riders finished in the top 19 at ITTs. In the end, the experience of Caughlin and DeHahn will prove pivotal in late race strategy, leading to Teter’s first race win since 2011.

Projected top 5: Teter, Alpha Chi Omega, Kappa Alpha Theta, Melanzana, Phi Mu

Jordan Littman

Men’s winner: Black Key Bulls

The men’s race has a variety of competitors this year that certainly have a chance at winning it all. But no team has shown more consistency and depth than Black Key Bulls this spring, and come race day it will show in its first-ever Little 500 victory. With plenty of top riders — we all know depth is a key component in the race — and a solid team strategy as well as shown in its Team Pursuit title, Black Key Bulls could be primed to raise the Borg-Warner Trophy on Saturday.

Women’s winner: Teter

It’s been three years since Teter has won the Little 500, but tonight, Teter is set to do just that. With a Spring Series victory in a Team Pursuit blowout over Alpha Chi Omega, Teter certainly has the most momentum heading into tonight’s race. And with a very experienced group of riders that will be hungry for a title (that also won’t have to be competing against the likes of Kayce Doogs or Kathleen Chelminiak) Teter has a good of a shot as any to win the Borg Warner Trophy tonight for its fourth-ever title.

Charlie Scudder

Men’s winner: Black Key Bulls

Women’s winner: Teter

Besides dominating the spring series, these two teams have performed at a level consistent with past winners. Teter women are coming off a two-year lull after winning in 2010 and 2011. Black Key Bulls have never won the race but have been performing at the top of the pack.

Jeff LaFave

Men’s winner: Phi Delta Theta

Women’s winner: Alpha Chi Omega

I never claimed to be a smart man. Just a rational one. And I like the idea that fast teams will win a distance-oriented, time-sensitive competition. I’m going with your two resident pole-winning teams to conquer Howdy Wilcox’s famous trophy race.

YOUR TURN

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