Coming off last week’s road course race at Sonoma, it is time to get serious in the race to this year’s Cup Series playoff. Martin Truex Jr. posted his fourth win of the season with last Sunday’s victory. He also paid off at +475 betting odds as my top-valued favorite to win. Kyle Busch took second in that race and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top three drivers.
I have come up with three drivers in this Sunday’s return to the oval at Chicagoland with the best value in their betting odds to win at 5Dimes sportsbook.
Kevin Harvick +495
When you win over 20 percent of the races you ran one season, it is hard to accept the fact that you have gone winless through your first 16 races the following year. When you are placing bets on a driver to win, you want the kind of hunger that Harvick is sure to bring into Sunday’s event. The current form of the No. 4 Ford is starting to be a concern with five-straight runs outside the top five drivers, but Harvick is too focused of a competitor to make that an issue moving forward. Despite the winless streak, he has still raced well enough to hold down third place in the current Cup Series standings with 573 total points.
The main reason I am going with the No. 4 Ford as a second-favorite to win is Harvick’s recent pair of third-place finishes in this event over the past two seasons. He started his Cup Series career with back-to-back victories at Chicagoland in 2001 and 2002.
Kyle Larson +1000
This is another driver that is trying to bring an end to an even longer winless drought. After creating quite a bit of noise in the 2017 season with four checkered flags, he has been searching for that return trip to Victory Lane in a point race ever since. Other than a third-place finish at Dover, the No. 42 Chevrolet has not been able to crack the top five in it other 15 trips around the track this season. Larson is currently 15th in the standings with 408 total points. He knows he needs at least one win to firm up a spot in the 16-driver playoff.
This will be his sixth-career Cup Series race at Chicagoland and he is boasting a 7.0 averaging finishing position through the first five runs. Following a fifth-place finish in 2017, he placed second behind Kyle Busch last year.
Erik Jones +2100
Jones is another up-and-coming driver that is the face of NASCAR’s future. He broke through last season with his first victory and he came close to winning a few times this season with third-place runs at Daytona, Kansas, and Pocono. Despite some impressive efforts, the No. 20 Toyota remains on the outside looking in at 18th in the standings with a total of 386 points. This is just his third full-time Cup Series season, so does have his race team moving in the right direction.
Jones’ lack of experience at any track he runs accounts for his status as a perennial longshot on the board. However, he is the type of driver that is going to start winning races on a regular basis as his career wears on. He went from 33rd to No. 6 in his first two efforts at Sunday’s track.