While the 16-driver field for the 10-race playoff to this season’s Cup Series racing title is just about set, you know there are going some drivers on the bubble racing hard this Sunday afternoon.
Erik Jones punched his ticket to the playoff with his first career Cup Series victory on Sunday night at Darlington. Kyle Larson ended up second with Kyle Busch rounding out the Top 3. Turning my attention to Sunday’s race at the Brickyard, the following three drivers offer the best value to win based on their posted odds at 5Dimes online sportsbook.
Kyle Busch +330
Busch has made his way to Victory Lane a Cup Series-high four times this season. He has also guided the No. 18 Toyota to a Top 5 finish in more than half of the first 25 point races this season. Even more impressive is the fact that he has only placed outside the Top 10 in four events. These stats add value to the odds in every race he runs, so you could justify betting on him to win every time he gets behind the wheel. Coming off last week’s near miss at Darlington, I am betting that this team gets things right this time around at another high-profile racing venue.
If you are looking for even more reason to go chalk on Busch as the clear favorite, back-to-back victories in the Brickyard 400 in 2015 and 2016 top the list. Coming off a wreck in 2017, he faded to eighth last year. This means the motivation to get back to Victory Lane at Indy is running high.
Kurt Busch +1800
Kurt remains in the long-casting shadow of his younger brother, but he has quietly put together a pretty solid racing resume this season driving the No. 1 Chevrolet. He basically clinched a playoff spot with a recent victory at Kentucky. It also helps that this team is holding down seventh place in the current Cup Series standings with 790 total points. The main thing that makes this Busch brother attractive at longer odds is his overall consistency. While it does not register on the same level as Kyle, the fact that Kurt has 14 Top 10 runs in 25 races is a plus.
Indy would not rank high as one of Kurt’s favorite tracks with an average finishing position of 18.8 over the course of his Cup Series career. However, an encouraging note is an eighth-place run in 2015 and a sixth-place finish in last year’s trip around the Brickyard.
Daniel Suarez +4000
Anyway you look at it, betting longshots in a Cup Series race is a low-percentage flyer at best. When it’s the last race of the regular season and you are on the bubble for the 16-driver field, motivation becomes a strong edge in finding the right flyer to take. Jimmie Johnson would probably be the obvious choice at +5000 odds sitting in 18th place in the standings. Unfortunately I think the gas tank is empty for one of NASCAR’s best drivers ever. That is why I am going with Suarez as an up-and-coming young gun in the Cup Series. He is tied for 16th place in the standings with a chance to earn a playoff spot for the first time in three seasons of Cup Series racing. The No. 41 Ford has posted nine runs in the Top 10 with three ending up as Top 5 finishes.
Two previous runs at Indy in a Cup Series race are highlighted by a seventh-place finish in 2017. You have to believe that Suarez will leave nothing in the tank this time around the Brickyard in an effort to extend his season.