NASCAR’s long and grueling Sprint Cup season all comes down to a Final Four field. The Championship Round of this year’s Chase takes place this Sunday afternoon with the running of the Ford EcoBoost 400.
The three automatic qualifiers for this race were Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Joey Logano with victories in the previous three races of this year’s Chase and Kyle Busch qualified with the most points of the other five drivers that advanced to the Round of 8.
Jimmie Johnson: Odds to Win Sunday +350
Odds to Win Sprint Cup Title +200
The last time Johnson won the Sprint Cup title was in 2013 to raise his career total to six championship runs, but a victory on Sunday might mean the most after struggling the last two seasons in the Chase. He finished 11th of 16 in 2014 and last season he only improved to 10th under the new elimination rules of this 10-race playoff. This season behind the wheel of the No. 48 Chevrolet he reversed his fortunes with victories at Charlotte and Martinsville to advance all the way to the Championship Round. I am banking on the sport’s top driver to complete that run with title No. 7.
Kyle Busch: Odds to Win Sunday +500
Odds to Win Sprint Cup Title +260
After watching Busch race in last season’s run to a Sprint Cup title, you would never want to count the No. 18 Toyota out with a chance to repeat. He won that title by winning the race at Homestead-Miami, which only adds more value to his current odds. My main concern for this year’s title race with someone like Johnson in the field is Busch’s recent inability to actually take the checkered flag. He placed inside the Top 5 in six of 10 Chase events this year, but could never lay claim to that top spot.
Joey Logano.: Odds to Win Sunday +750
Odds to Win Sprint Cup Title: +300
Two years ago Logano was in this same exact position and he came up well short by finishing 16th in this race to fall to fourth in the final Sprint Cup standings. His victory last Sunday at Phoenix gives the No. 22 Ford quite a bit of momentum heading into this year’s championship race, but I am not all that sure that he is ready to take that next step with so much on the line. Somewhere down the line Logano is going to win a championship given his tender age of just 26, but not this Sunday against the likes of the other three veteran contenders in the field.
Carl Edwards: Odds to Win Sunday +750
Odds to Win Spring Cup Title: +300
If Edwards had slightly longer odds to win both this race and the Sprint Cup title, I would consider pulling the trigger on a bet, but the value in his current numbers just is not there in light of the other competition. Give him credit for a recent win at Texas to earn a spot in Sunday’s Final Four and there is some value in the fact that he made his way to Victory Lane twice at this track over the course of his Sprint Cup career in 2008 and 2010. However, recent form Homestead-Miami is not in his favor after Edwards was unable to crack the Top 10 in his last four runs here.