If there were any lingering concerns about Jimmie Johnson’s chances to win an unprecedented seventh Sprint Cup title, they were officially dispelled after he posted his second-straight point race victory with a win last week at Dover. Brad Keselowski raced his way to a second-place finish, and Matt Kenseth continues to keep knocking on the door for his first win of the year by taking third.
I went with Joey Logano at +1000 as my value pick to win last week, and he ended-up eighth after starting third. The following is a look at a few of the top favorites to win this Sunday’s race along with my top value NASCAR pick based on odds provided by Sportsbook.
The Oddsmakers are sticking with the hot hand by opening Jimmie Johnson as a +500 favorite to extend his winning streak to three. There is no real reason to doubt his chances given how well the No. 48 car has run these past few weeks. This team has climbed to fourth place in the Sprint Cup standings with 436 total points and it is now the third race team this season with multiple wins. Johnson only adds value to these odds as the defending champion of this race. It was his third career victory at this track in a Sprint Cup race and his average finishing position at Pocono is a solid 8.8.
Kevin Harvick is another one of the three multiple point race winners this season, and he has been opened at +600 to claim his third checkered flag of the year this Sunday afternoon. The No. 4 car has already led 796 laps this season on its way to those two wins, and two additional top-five finishes. It has climbed to 12th in the standings with 373 points, but it is ranked third in the Race to the Chase, because of its previous two victories. Some of the value in Harvick’s odds is lost due to the fact that he has never won a Sprint Cup race at this track, but he has finished in the top 10 in six of his last nine races here, including a sixth-place finish in last year’s event.
Keep your eyes on long-time Sprint Cup veteran Jeff Gordon this week as a +700 third favorite to win this race. He has already made his way to Victory Lane once this season at Kansas and the No. 24 car is sitting in second place in the standings with 461 points after posting an additional four top-five finishes to go along with that win. Gordon’s recent performance at Pocono adds even more value to these odds with a victory in this race in 2011 followed by a win in the second race at this track in 2012. He finished 12th in last year’s race, but bounced back with a second-place finish in the second race of the 2013 season here.
Top Value Pick: Dale Earnhardt Jr. started this season with a bang by winning the Daytona 500, and he proved it was not a fluke by adding five more top-five finishes since then. The No. 88 car has been fairly quiet lately with a 19th-place finish at Charlotte followed by a ninth-place finish last week at Dover, but this team is still holding down fifth-place in the standings with 429 points.
I like Junior as my value NASCAR pick to win this week at +1200 mainly because of his recent performance at this track. With last season’s fifth-place finish in the second race of the season at Pocono, he has now placed in the top 10 in five of his last six trips around this track including a third-place finish in last year’s race.