NASCAR Picks: Auto Club 400

David Schwab

Friday, March 22, 2013 7:48 PM GMT

Friday, Mar. 22, 2013 7:48 PM GMT

NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series will once again crisscross the country to head out to Fontana, California this week for the running of the Auto Club 400.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Betting Preview- Auto Club 400

Last week at Bristol, Kasey Kahne found the winner’s circle for the first time this season with a victory in the Food City 500. Kyle Busch posted a solid second-place finish while Brad Keselowski kept his streak of top-five finishes alive by taking third. Our value pick for this race at 14/1 betting odd was Carl Edwards, but he fell all the way to 18th.

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

Favorites

Jimmie Johnson is traditionally one of the weekly favorites to win but he has some special motivation this week after a poor showing at Bristol. The No.48 car has been opened at +575 to get back on track this Sunday at Fontana. It started the season by winning the Daytona 500 and followed that up with a second-place finish at Phoenix. Johnson’s past record at this track adds some decent value to these odds with four previous victories and an average finishing position of 5.4.

The second-favorite to win this race is Matt Kenseth at +650. He is also coming off a rough day at Bristol with a 35th place finish last Sunday after getting taken out in a wreck. The No.20 car raced its way to a thrilling victory at Las Vegas the week before, so the current form remains high heading into the Auto Club 400. Kenseth finished 16th in last year’s Auto Club 400, but took the checkered flag in 2009 and finished fourth in 2011. His overall finishing position at Fontana is 10.2.

After a disastrous 2012 campaign in which he did not even qualify for the Chase, Kyle Busch continues to work himself back into championship form. After last week’s second-place run at Bristol, he has been opened at +750 to break through this week with a win. The No.18 car is still out of the top 10 of this season’s Sprint Cup standings with 103 points but clearly headed in the right direction after finishing fourth in Las Vegas. There is some solid value in these odds considering that Busch has gotten real close to winning this race lately with a third-place finish in 2011 and a second-place finish last season.

Check out my last pick on the Bristol Food City 500~

With four-straight top-five finishes this could be Brad Keselowski’s week to post his first win of the year. The defending Sprint Cup Champion has been opened at +800 to get it done. The No.2 car’s outstanding start has it back on top of this year’s standings with 166 points. The value in Keselowski’s odds takes a bit of a hit considering that in his four career races at this track in the Sprint Series, he has finished no better than 18th.

Top Value Pick

After digging deep into the odds for the rest of the contenders, we are going with long-time Sprint Cup veteran Tony Stewart at +1200 as our top value NASCAR pick of the week. So far the 2013 season as gotten off to a rough start for the No.14 car with just one top-10 finish to its credit, but this is more a product of bad luck with the car as opposed to Stewart’s racing form on the track. He returns to Fontana this week as the defending champion in this race and two-time winner at this track after also taking the checkered flag here in 2010.

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