On the road course at Sonoma last Sunday, Martin Truex Jr. raced his way to victory lane followed by Jeff Gordon in second and Carl Edwards in third. Our value pick to win this race was Juan Montoya at +1000 but he was never a factor after fading to the back of the pack early to finish 34th overall.
Now that the Sprint Cup series is back to racing on ovals, Jimmie Johnson has returned to his usual spot as one of the top favorites to win at betting odds of +600. He still holds the lead in the Sprint Cup standings but it is down to 25 points after last week’s ninth-place finish. The No.48 car has now posted three victories and seven other top-10 finishes in the first 16 point races of this season. In the two previous Sprint Cup races at this track, Johnson finished third in 2011 and sixth in last year’s race after starting from the pole position.
The other favorite to win this race at +600 is Kyle Busch. He has already won twice this season and with five additional top-five finishes the No.18 car is currently in eighth place in the standings with a total of 461 points. It has finished sixth or better in four of the last six point races. At Kentucky, Busch followed-up a victory from the pole position in 2011 with a 10th-place finish last season after starting second.
Matt Kenseth is the lone third-favorite to win on Saturday night at +700. He is the only other three-time winner this season and he has his No.20 race team sitting in fifth place in the Sprint Cup standings with 481 points. Current form saps some of the value from these odds considering that Kenseth has now finished outside the top 10 in four of his last five races since taking the checkered flag at Darlington in early May. Kenseth’s two previous trips around this week’s track have resulted in a sixth-place finish in 2011 and a seventh-place finish in last year’s race.
It has been a tough go of it so far this season for Denny Hamlin, but this could be a break-out week for the No.11 car as a +800 fourth-favorite to win this race. After missing four races earlier this year while recovering from a back injury that he sustained at Fontana, Hamlin has only managed two top-five finishes in his last seven races. He finished 11th in his first race at Kentucky in 2011 but was very much a factor last season with 58 laps led and a third-place finish in this race.
Top Value Pick
There are a number of quality drivers with longer odds this week, but our top value NASCAR pick for this race at +1200 is Brad Keselowski. It has been lonely at the top for the defending Sprint Cup Champion with no victories this season, but he has still kept the No.2 car in striking distance with five top-five finishes this year. What really adds value to his odds is the fact that Keselowski is also the defending champion of this race after taking the checkered flag last year at Kentucky.