Martinsville Short-Track Fun for NASCAR STP 500

David Schwab

Thursday, March 22, 2018 11:54 AM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 22, 2018 11:54 AM UTC

NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series returns to the East Coast for Sunday's STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. The green flag from the short track is slated to wave at 2 p.m. (ET) and is broadcast on Fox Sports 1.

Kevin Harvick’s incredible three-race winning streak came to an end last Sunday at Fontana with defending Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. taking the checkered flag. Kyle Larson posted his best finish of the year by taking second and Kyle Busch was once again right in the mix with a third-place run.

The betting odds for this Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville have been posted at 5Dimes, and the following three offer the best value when it comes to breaking down the numbers.

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Martinsville. Sunday on FS1.

— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) March 21, 2018

Top Valued Favorite

Kyle Busch has done everything but win a race over the past few weeks after leading 128 laps at Phoenix and 68 laps last Sunday as part of a three-race run where he has finished inside the top three each time. He comes into this race as a +350 favorite to finally cross the finish line first. While there is quite a bit of value in those odds given his current form, the real value is Busch’s dominating performance at Martinsville in recent years behind the wheel of the No. 18 Toyota.

He finished second to Brad Keselowski in last year’s STP 500 before winning the second race at Martinsville later in the season. Going back to the second race here in 2015, Busch has placed fifth or better in his last five trips around this shortened oval, including a victory in this race in 2016.

Top Valued Contender

It is a two-man field for drivers with +1000 betting odds or higher in the contender category this week. I went with Jimmie Johnson last week at Fontana as my top-valued long shot at +2200 odds, and the No. 48 Chevrolet finally showed some signs of life this season by finishing ninth. Johnson is still buried in the standings at 18th and his odds to win this week are set at +1200 along with Clint Bowyer.

This has been one of Johnson’s slowest starts over the course of his fabled Cup Series career, but with nine previous victories at Martinsville as part of an average finishing position of 7.7 at this track, he is well worth the risk.

Top Valued Long Shot

Anytime you can get a Top-10 driver in the Cup Series standings at longer odds it is worth a second look. The betting odds that Kyle Larson wins his first point race of the season this Sunday coming off last week’s second-place run have been set at +2000. The main reason why these odds have been set so long is his 23.6 average finishing position at Martinsville in his first eight trips around this oval. His best run here was third in this event in 2016.

The main reason why I love the value in Larson’s odds to win Sunday’s race is current form. The No. 42 Chevrolet has three runs inside the top 10 in the first five events, including a third-place finish at Las Vegas to go along with last week’s Top-3 finish.

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