Michigan International Speedway is the next stop on NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series schedule this week and they will be in town for the running of the Firekeepers Casino 400.
Last Sunday's scheduled race at Pocono took an extra day than planned to get in due to rain, but it was well worth the wait for Kurt Busch with his first point race victory of the season. Dale Earnhardt Jr. ended-up second and Brad Keselowski rounded-out the Top 3.
Top Valued Favorite
I have to go chalk this week with Kevin Harvick as the favorite to win at +600 betting odds. He faded to ninth this past Monday at Pocono, but the No. 4 Chevrolet remains at the top of the current Sprint Cup standings with 490 total points. This team has not raced with the same consistency that led to 16 finishes inside the top two last season, but it has still led close to 700 laps this year. The main reason I like Harvick this week is a string of five second-place runs in his last six Sprint Cup events at this track.
Top Valued Contender
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is currently 11th in the standings with 381 points and still looking for its first checkered flag of the year, but the No. 88 Chevrolet could be poised to end this drought at +1800 odds to win following a strong showing at Pocono. This was his fifth finish inside the Top 5 this season and his fourth time as a runner up in a race. Adding even more value to these odds is a solid track record in this week's race over the past few seasons. Starting with a win in 2012, he took seventh in 2014 before posting a second-place finish in this event last year.
Top Valued Longshot
I have been touting many of the young drivers in the Sprint Cup series as high-valued longshots and this week I am going Kyle Larson at +2000 betting odds to win. The No. 42 Chevrolet is well down the list in the standings at No. 21 with 302 points but moving in the right direction following an 11th-place finish at Pocono. He finished third at Martinsville earlier in the season and he nearly upset the field at Dover by leading the race for 85 laps before ending-up second. This will be his fifth trip around the oval at Michigan in a Sprint Cup event and his best finish was eighth in this race in 2014.
Betting Odds for other Notable Drivers
Following Harvick as the favorite there is a group of three drivers at +700 odds to win made up of Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth. The next group on the list expands to four at +800 odds starting with three-time winner this season Kyle Busch. The other three drivers at these odds are Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards and Martin Truex Jr. Last week's winner Kurt Busch is listed at +1200 to win again followed by Denny Hamlin at +1600 odds. Joining Earnhardt at +1800 odds is rookie Chase Elliott. Driving the No. 24 car, he is coming off a fourth-place finish at Pocono after leading that race for 51 laps.