NASCAR Picks: AAA Texas 500

David Schwab

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 3:48 PM GMT

It is down to a three-race Chase to NASCAR’s Sprint Cup title starting with the running of the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday afternoon. Let's look at some drivers and odds.

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It is down to a three-race Chase to NASCAR’s Sprint Cup title starting with the running of the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday afternoon. The green flag is set to wave at 12:15 p.m. (PT) and the race will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.

Jeff Gordon kept is title hopes alive with a huge victory at Martinsville last Sunday. Matt Kenseth was our value pick for this race at +1000 and while he did not win he closed the gap in the standings by taking second. Clint Bowyer ended-up taking third with Jimmie Johnson coming in fifth. 

The following is a look at a few of the top favorites for Sunday’s race along with our top value pick based on odds provided by most sportsbooks

Favorites 

Jimmie Johnson’s tenuous four-point lead in the Sprint Cup standings disappeared after last week’s fifth-place finish so now he finds himself tied at the top with 2294 points. The No. 48 car has just one finish outside the top 10 in the first seven races of this year’s Chase and just two outside the top five so you know this team will be running near or at the front of the pack all day long this Sunday afternoon. Adding even more value to Johnson’s +350 betting odds to win this race is the fact that he comes in as the defending champion. He finished sixth in the first race at Fort Worth this season and has an average finishing position of 9.1 at this track. 

The other co-leader at the top of the standings is Matt Kenseth. Driving the No. 20 car this season, he has posted victories in seven point races including the first two in the Chase. Right now, this would give him the tie-breaker over Johnson, who has five previous checkered flags this year. Kenseth has been opened as a +400 second-favorite to widen that gap with another win this Sunday and current form alone adds value to these odds. Looking back at his past performance at this track in Sprint Cup races, even more value piles up with seven top-five finishes in his last nine races here dating back to the 2009 season. Kenseth has two previous point-race victories at Texas and an average finishing position of 8.5. 

Kyle Busch has turned-in one of his best career performances ever in this year’s Chase and he comes into race No. 7 of the 10 race playoff as a +500 third-favorite to win on Sunday. The No. 18 car is currently in fifth-place in the standings and given that the team is 36 points behind the leaders, it is left racing for checkered flags from here on in. Last week’s 15th-place finish at Martinsville pretty ended any realistic chance to claim this year’s Cup, but Busch remains a serious threat to win anytime he gets behind the wheel. The real value in these odds comes from his victory at this track earlier this season. This followed a third-place finish in last year’s race.

Top Value Pick 

One of the few drivers in the Chase that still has a mathematical chance to win the title is Kevin Harvick, who is currently in fourth place in the standings with 2,266 points which is 28 points out of the lead. For that reason alone we have made him out top value pick to win this race at +1200. The No. 29 car already has one victory in the Chase with a first-place finish at Kansas to go along with two previous checkered flags this year at Charlotte and Richmond. The one drain on these odds is the fact that Harvick has never won a Sprint Cup race at Texas for our NASCAR betting and he has an average finishing position of 12.5 at this track.