In a second-straight prime-time slot on Saturday night, NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series rolls into Kentucky Speedway this week for the running of the Quaker State 400 as presented by Advance Auto Parts.
Brad Keselowski became the only the second Sprint Cup driver with three point race wins on the year with his victory last Saturday night at Daytona. Kyle Busch is the other driver with three wins this year and he took second in that race. Trevor Bayne turned in a solid run to finish third.
Top Valued Favorite
I am going with Kyle Busch to win this week as one of three +600 favorites along with Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano. It is pretty obvious that his current form is rock solid with last week's second-place finish. Behind the wheel of the No. 18 Toyota, he has now the most Top 5 finishes of any driver this season with 10 through the first 17 point race events. What really adds value to these odds is Busch's track record at Kentucky. In the five seasons there has been Sprint Cup race at this track, he has won twice (2011 and 2015) and finished in the top 10 in the other three events for an average finishing position of 3.8.
Top Valued Contender
Another driver that adds quite a bit of value to his odds this week is Matt Kenseth at +1000 to win. He is coming off three-straight runs outside the top 10 so current form could be a cause for concern, but this followed a string of four-straight finishes of seventh or better including a victory at Dover. Overall, the No. 20 Toyota is 11th in the current Sprint Cup standings with 443 total points. The main reason I like Kenseth this week is his past performance at this track. In five previous runs at Kentucky, he has never finished outside the top 10. He went on to win this race in 2013 as part of an average finishing position here of 4.6.
Top Valued Longshot
Searching the list of drivers with longer odds, I have settled in on Ryan Newman at some extremely long +8000 odds to win. It has been a tough season for the No. 31 Chevrolet with just five Top 10 finishes on the year and things did not get any better at Daytona after finishing 18th. Right now this team is on the bubble as far as making this Chase; sitting in 14th-place in the standings with 425 points. Even with Newman's current form a bit questionable, I believe there is value in these long odds given some level of success at Kentucky in the past. He placed fourth in the inaugural Sprint Cup race at Kentucky in 2011 and he was third here in 2014.
Betting Odds for other Notable Drivers
Following the trio of favorites to win on Saturday you have another trio of second-favorites at +700 that include Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. Joining Kenseth at +1000 is Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch's odds to win this race are set at +1200. Rookie Chase Elliott is listed at +1500 win and a pair of other notable drivers at +1800 includes Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Denny Hamlin.