Bank of America 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Picks & Preview

David Schwab

Saturday, October 11, 2014 4:51 PM GMT

Here is our free NASCAR pick for the running of the Bank of America 500 the second of three races in the second round of this year’s NASCAR Chase happening at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Joey Logano’s checkered flag at Kansas last Sunday was a huge step towards winning this season’s Sprint Cup title. It was his second win of the Chase and fifth of the season. Kyle Larson turned in another impressive run by taking third and Kyle Busch finished third. My value NASCAR pick for last week’s race was Dale Earnhardt Jr. at 10/1 but he continues to struggle in this year’s Chase with a 39th-place finish.

The following is a look at a few of the top favorites to win Saturday night’s race along with my top value pick based on odds provided by Bovada.

 

Favorites
Kevin Harvick raced well in the first two races of this year’s Chase with top-five finishes, but two straight finishes outside of the top 10 at Dover and last week at Kansas have dialed-up the pressure for a good run this week. Bovada must like the No. 4 car’s chances as a 9/2 favorite to run well enough to get all the way to Victory Lane this Saturday night. The main reason for such lofty expectations is Harvick’s recent form at this venue. He has finished in the top 10 in eight of his last nine trips around this track in a Sprint Cup point race. This includes two victories and a second-place finish in the first point race at Charlotte this year.

There is a trio of second-favorites at 5/1 betting odds to win this race starting with Brad Keselowski. His red-hot start to this year’s Chase has cooled with a disastrous 36th-place finish at Kansas that dropped the No. 2 team all the way to 10th in the current Sprint Cup standings. Under NASCAR’s new win and advance rules to this year’s Chase, the only other five-time winner this season could quickly find himself on the outside looking as far his title chances. Keselowski finished 10th in his first race at Charlotte this season, but he does add some value to his odds as the defending champion of this race.

Another top contender that needs a big effort this week is six-time Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson, who along with Jeff Gordon are the other two drivers listed at 5/1 odds to win on Saturday night. The No. 48 car is also coming off a rough outing at Kansas in which it finished 40th after starting 32nd.  This team is now buried in the Round 2 standings and 44 points off the pace. This could be an all-or-nothing run for Johnson after winning the first Sprint Cup point race at Charlotte this season. In his last 10 trips around this track, he has finished fifth or better five times including two victories. In the other five races he finished outside the top 10.

 

Top Value Pick
Dale Jr. is another top contender that is on the brink of elimination heading into this race, but I have lost most of my confidence that he can bounce-back with a win this week at 14/1 odds. Instead I am going with Kyle Busch at those very same  odds as my top value NASCAR pick for this race. The No. 18 car moved into second-place in the standings with last week’s third-place finish and this team knows it is just one win away from completely revitalizing its chances to lay claim to this year’s racing title. Busch loses some value in these odds given that he has never won a Sprint Cup point race at this track, but he is coming off a fifth-place finish in last year’s race which was his fourth top-five run here in his last six Sprint Cup races.