We are a little over a month away from the start of another NASCAR Sprint Cup season with the running of the Daytona 500 on Feb.24 to kick things off with a bang.
2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Futures
The following is a brief
look at the favorite, contenders and top valued longshot to win this season’s
title according to BetOnline’s current odds.
Brad Keselowski may have
shocked the racing world last season with his impressive run to the 2012 Sprint
Cup title, but the betting odds are not in his favor repeat as
champion this year. That honor belongs to five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmy Johnson at +400, who held the
title from 2006 to 2010 before relinquishing the crown to Tony Stewart in 2011.
Johnson bounced-back from a very disappointing 2011 campaign with a third-place
finish in the final point standings last season. The No.48-car posted five
victories to go along with 13 other top-five finishes in the 36-point race
schedule. A 32-place finish in the second-to-last race of the season at Phoenix
all but mathematically eliminated him from a chance to win his sixth title, but
he was the only other driver to remain in the hunt right until the bitter end.
My top driver in this
category is Denny Hamlin at +800. He
ended-up sixth in the final point standings but still has to be pleased with
his team’s overall results having tied both Johnson and Keselowski for the most
checkered flags in 2012 with five. The No.11 car posted a total of 14 top-five
finishes and ended-up in the top 10 in almost half the races it ran last year.
What adds even more value to Hamlin’s odds is the consistency he has shown over
the past three seasons. Going back to 2010, he remained in the thick of the
title race with eight victories on his way to a second-place finish in the
standings. He suffered a bit of a downturn in 2011 but still managed to finish
ninth in the standings.
Another top contender at +800
and someone to tail with your NASCAR Picks to win his first career Sprint Cup title is Kasey Kahne. He raced his way to a
fourth-place finish last season and appears poised to be the next young gun to
make a run all the way to the top this year. The No.5 car remained in the title
picture deep into last season’s 10-race Chase, but a tough 25th-place
finish at Texas in the third to final race of the year ended his chances. Kahne
posted two victories and 10 other top-five finishes in 2012, but he will need
to develop a bit more consistency over the course of the whole season to
improve his chances to win it all.
The odds for a few other drivers
in this category have Kyle Busch at +800 along with Keselowski, Jeff Gordon and
Matt Kenseth all at +1000.
There are a number of
intriguing possibilities in this category including Tony Stewart at +1200 and
Dale Earnhardt Jr. at +1500, but my top value play with longer odds is Kevin Harvick at +2000. The No.29 car
got off to a strong start last season and did finish eighth in the final point
standings but there were just too many dry spells in between. What really makes
Harvick’s odds so attractive is his cumulative performance over the past three
seasons. Going back to 2010, he remained in the thick of the Chase to the title
with Johnson and Hamlin heading into the final race of the season at Homestead.
In 2011, he finished third overall again with four victories and a total of 19