NASCAR’s 2017 Monster Energy Cup Series remains out west for Sunday's Camping World 500 at Phoenix Raceway. Starting time is set for 3:30 p.m. ET and it will be broadcast nationally on Fox. Kevin Harvick is clearly the driver to beat in the desert.
Martin Truex Jr. made his way to Victory Lane last week in the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas to become the third different race winner in the first three events. Kyle Larson stayed hot with his second straight runner-up, and Chase Elliott rounded out the top three drivers. The following is a look at my top valued favorite, contender and longshot to win this Sunday's race at Phoenix based on betting odds as provided by 5Dimes
Top Valued Favorite
Kevin Harvick is off to a rough start this season with just one finish inside the Top 10 in his first three events. His day ended early last Sunday in a wreck, and a costly mistake on pit road at Atlanta cost the No. 4 Chevrolet an apparent victory. His No. 22 finish at Daytona was another forgettable run. Despite the disappointing start, it would be hard to not go chalk this week on Harvick's +350 betting odds to win given his complete dominance at Phoenix over the past five seasons. Since 2012, he has posted six victories at this track with an additional two second-place runs over the course of the 10 races here.
Top Valued Contender
I have been touting Chase Elliott as the real deal ever since he became the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet in 2016 as the heir apparent to Jeff Gordon's racing legacy. Elliott qualified for the playoffs that year and finished 10th in the final standings but failed to win a points race. This season started off with a 14th-place run at Daytona, and since he has posted a fifth-place finish at Atlanta to go with last week's third in Las Vegas. Elliott's odds to break through with a victory this Sunday have been set +1350, and when you combine current form with his two Top 10 runs at Phoenix in his rookie season, I really like the value at this number.
Top Valued Long Shot
Moving down the list in search of value at a higher number, I decided to go with another one of NASCAR's young guns. Ryan Blaney has been opened as a +3300 long shot to get his first Cup series career victory in his second full season racing at the sport's highest level. This season, the No. 21 Ford made an early splash with a second-place finish in the Daytona 500 and turned in another solid effort last week with a seventh-place run in the Kobalt 400. Blaney posted nine Top 10 finishes in 2016, and the encouraging thing for this Sunday is two of those runs were at this track.
Racing Odds For Other Notable Drivers
A trio of high-profile drivers have been listed at +850 second-favorites to win this week, including defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, who is still looking for his first Top 10 run of the year. Joining him are Kyle Busch and Joey Logano. The betting odds for the next group of drivers have been set at +1350. Joining Elliott at these odds are Truex Jr., Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin.