This Sunday afternoon at Chicagoland Speedway marks the start of this season’s Chase to NASCAR’s 2016 Sprint Cup title. The top 16 drivers in the current Sprint Cup standings will take aim at winning this year’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 in a 2:30 p.m. (ET) start on NBC Sports Network.
Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag last Saturday night at Richmond and Kyle Larson remained one of the hottest drivers in the series with his third-straight Top 3 finish by taking second. Martin Truex Jr. also served notice that he is ready for Chase with a third-place run.
The following is a look at my top valued favorite, contender and longshot to win this Sunday's race based on betting odds as provided by TopBet, which in my book is the top online sportsbook in the game when it comes to betting on NASCAR.
Top Valued Favorite
I am going chalk right out of the gate in this year's Chase with Kevin Harvick at +450 betting odds to win. This is his time of the year and he comes into this race in solid racing form with a fifth-place finish or better in his last four point race events including a victory at Bristol a few weeks back. The No. 4 Chevrolet tallied the most Top 5 finishes in this series so far with 13 in the first 26 point-race events. There is also some solid value in Harvick's odds to win this race with three Top 5 runs at Chicagoland in his last five races here.
Top Valued Contender
Brad Keselowski is one of two drivers this season to win four point races and his betting odds to win this race have been set at +1000. His current form behind the wheel of the No. 2 Ford adds some value to these odds with four Top 5 finishes in the last six events, but the main reason I like Keselowski at longer odds this week is his winner-take-all mentality this time of the year. He has also enjoyed some solid success at Chicagoland in recent years with victories in this event in both 2012 and 2014.
Top Valued Longshot
Moving down the list of drivers in the Chase with some of the longest odds to win this race, I have locked in on veteran driver Tony Stewart at +3000 in what will be the start of his final attempt to add another Sprint Cup title to his storied NASCAR racing career behind the wheel of his No. 14 Chevrolet. He has already proven he can still be a factor in this series with five Top 5 runs this year including a victory at Sonoma. This helped him secure the No. 11 spot in the current Sprint Cup standings with 2003 total points. The main reason I am high on Stewart's chances to upset the field this Sunday is a solid track record at Chicagoland that includes three victories with the last one coming in 2011.
Betting Odds for other Notable Drivers
Following Harvick, as the favorite NASCAR picks are Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. at +700 odds to win. There is a trio of drivers listed at +800 including Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, and Matt Kenseth. Two more drivers joining Keselowski at +1000 are Joey Logano and Kyle Larson, while Kurt Busch joins six-time Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson at +1200 betting odds to win this race. Rookie driver Chase Elliott secured the No. 14 spot in the Chase and his odds to win his first race this season stand at +1800.