This season’s NASCAR Sprint Cup series all comes down to two drivers battling it out in one final race for the title with this week’s running of the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. All the action is set to get underway at 11 a.m. (PT) and the race will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
Brad Keselowski comes in as the current
point leader and can secure his first Sprint Cup title by finishing better than
15th in this Sunday’s race, but five-time champion Jimmie Johnson is
still lurking in the wings, 20 points off the lead. It will be a day-long duel
to the finish between these two, but there are a number of other drivers that
will also have a say in the final outcome.
The following is a look at a few of the
favorites to watch this Sunday afternoon along with our top value pick
according to their current odds to win as provided by Sportsbook.
Jimmie Johnson’s scenario for Sunday’s race is fairly simple: win and hope for the best when it comes to his only competition for this
season’s Sprint Cup title. NASCAR odds makers like his chances, making the No.48
car the odds-on-favorite at +400 to take the checkered flag at Homestead. This
would have been a much tighter competition if Johnson had avoided a
disastrous 32nd finish last week in Phoenix after an extended stay
in the pits. He now has to pin his title hopes on a track where he has never
won before; he did finish fifth in 2009 and second in 2010, but his overall
finishing position here is just 13.5.
Denny Hamlin is one of three second-favorites at +800 to steal the show this
Sunday. The No.11 car finished second in last week’s race, but its title hopes
had already crashed and burned with finishes outside the top 10 in the three
previous point races. None the less, Hamlin is always a threat to win and has
some level of success at this track. He finished third in this race in 2006 and
2007 and took the checkered flag here in 2009. His overall finishing position
at Homestead in seven career races is 10.9.
Another second favorite to win on Sunday
at +800 is Matt Kenseth. He started
this season with a win at Daytona and would love nothing more than to end it
with a win in Miami. While the No.17 car has suffered through a long dry spell
after that initial victory, it did post a pair of wins at Talladega and Kansas
during this season’s Chase. Kenseth has also raced well at Homestead with
victory here in 2007 and a fourth-place finish in last year’s race. Overall, he
has three top-five finishes at this track in his last seven races here.
The final driver listed at +800 to win
this week is Kasey Kahne. He was
able to keep his title hopes alive for a good part of the 10-race Chase, but
faded from contention with a 25th-place finish at Texas. The No.5 car
has posted two wins this season but has not made its way to victory lane since
taking the checkered flag at New Hampshire in mid-July. Kahne has never won at
Homestead but he does have four top-10 finishes in his seven races here.
Top Value Pick
The man in the driver’s
seat for this season’s title has been opened at +1000 to win Sunday’s race even
though Brad Keselowski only needs to
or better to secure his first career Sprint Cup.
Something tells you that the No.2 car is not going to play it safe this week as
often times that is a sure way to race your way to a poor finish. That is why
we are going with Keselowski as our value pick
on Sunday to erase any title
doubts by actually winning this race. The five-year Sprint series veteran has
limited experience at this track and has never finished better than 13th
in four previous races here. However, that has been the case all season long at
most of the tracks, and he has still managed to win five previous times this