Jimmie Johnson made a bold statement that he is back in the title race with a victory at Dover’s Monster Mile last Sunday. Dale Earnhardt Jr. kept his slim title hopes alive by taking second and Joey Logano finished third. Our value pick for last week’s race was Kurt Busch at +1800, but he fell out of contention with a 21st-place finish.
The following is a look at a few of the top favorites for this Sunday’s race along with our top value pick based on their current betting odds to win provided by Sportsbook.
Matt Kenseth won the first two Chase events this season but lost some ground in the Sprint Cup Standings with a seventh-place finish at Dover. The No. 20 car is still in the lead with 2149 points and it still boasts the most point-race victories this season with seven. Adding even more value to Kenseth’s +350 odds to win again this Sunday is the fact that he won this race last season and made it two in a row at this track by taking the checkered flag in the first race here this year. He has not finished out of the top five in his last four Sprint Cup races at Kansas.
The Oddsmakers are going with the hot hand this week with Jimmie Johnson listed at +400 to make it two Chase victories in a row. The No. 48 car has now won five point races this season to go along with seven other top-five finishes. This team is now just eight points out of the lead in the current standings with a total of 2141 points. Since 2007, Johnson has not finished out of the top 10 at this track. He placed ninth in this race last season and third in the first event at Kansas this year. His average finishing position here is 7.6.
Kyle Busch is the first of two drivers listed at +600 to win this race. After posting two straight second-place finishes at Chicago and New Hampshire to start the Chase, the No. 18 car fell back to fifth in last Sunday’s race. This team is right in the thick of things in the standings with 2137 total points, which is just 12 points out of the lead. Busch finished a disappointing 31st in last year’s race and 38th earlier this season as a result of a couple of wrecks.
The other driver listed at +600 for this week’s race is Kasey Kahne. It has been a rough start in this year’s Chase for the No. 5 team with three-straight finishes out of the top 10. This string of bad luck has pretty much ended its title chances, but this team does have two previous point race victories this year. Kahne’s recent performance at this track adds some value to these odds with four-straight top-10 finishes including a second-place finish in this race in 2011 and a second-place finish in the first race here this season.
Top Value Pick
Jeff Gordon has been flying under the radar all season long with zero wins and just six top-five finishes, but he has still raced well enough to have his No. 24 car tied for fourth in the standings with 2110 points. This team finished fourth in Dover last week after taking sixth in Chicago, so you know it is getting close. What makes Gordon our value NASCAR pick to win this week at +1200 is a solid track record at Kansas Speedway. From 2007 to 2011 he did not finish outside the top five in five consecutive races and he placed 10th in this race last season.