NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series heads to the sports gambling capital of the USA this week for Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The green flag is expected to wave at 3:30 p.m. ET and it will be broadcast nationally on FOX.
Brad Keselowski took full advantage of some favorable circumstances to win last Sunday's race at Atlanta, with Kyle Larson finishing second and Matt Kenseth taking third in the second point-race event this season under NASCAR's new points format. The following is a look at my top valued favorite, contender and long shot to win this Sunday's race at Las Vegas based on betting odds as provided by BookMaker.
Top Valued Favorite
Kevin Harvick had a clear path to Victory Lane last Sunday after leading that race most of the way, but a costly mistake on pit road late led to a disappointing ninth-place finish. Despite the fact that the No. 4 Chevrolet only has one Top-10 finish in its first two races, this has been the best overall car on the track in terms of total laps led. This team is leading the Cup standings with 90 points as a result of winning a few race segments along the way under NASCAR's new format. What really make Harvick attractive as a +500 favorite to win this week's race is a solid track record at Las Vegas that includes a victory in 2015.
Top Valued Contender
Moving down the list of betting odds to win this race, I happen to think there is quite a bit of value in Matt Kenseth at +1200. He was one of the many drivers that had their day cut short at Daytona due to a high number of wrecks, but he quickly returned to form driving the No. 20 Toyota last week at Atlanta with that Top-3 finish. With 20 point-race victories to his credit over a span of six seasons, Kenseth has clearly proven he knows how to make his way to the Winner's Circle, which always adds value to his odds. I also like the fact that he has also posted three career victories at this week's track with the last win at Las Vegas in 2013.
Top Valued Long Shot
Kasey Kahne was one of the hottest young drivers in Cup series racing when he moved up to NASCAR's highest level in back in 2004, but his recent track record driving the No. 5 Chevrolet has been nothing to brag about. His early performance this season with a seventh-place finish at Daytona and a fourth-place run at Atlanta have piqued my interest for Sunday's race as a +3000 long shot to win. Kahne has not won a points race since the 2014 season, so I would also like to think that he is due. Las Vegas may not be one of his favorite tracks with an average finishing position of 13.5, but he has been able to post a Top-10 finish in three of his last runs here.
Odds For Other Notable Drivers
Following Harvick as one of the top favorites to win this week is last week's winner Brad Keselowski at +600. There is a group of four drivers next on the list at +700 that includes Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Chase Elliott. Martin Truex Jr. has been listed at +1000 odds to win and Kyle Larson joins Kenseth at +1200. Rounding out the Top-10 drivers on this week's list are Dale Earnhardt Jr. at +1500 and Denny Hamlin at +1800.