NASCAR Sprint Cup Betting Preview
NASCAR’s Chase to this season’s Sprint Cup title crosses the halfway point this week with a return to the fabled Talladega Superspeedway for the running of the Camping World RV Sales 500.
Last season’s title winner Brad Keselowski is not even in this year’s Chase, but he was able to play the role of spoiler with last week’s victory at Charlotte. Kasey Kahne took second and Sprint Cup point leader Matt Kenseth finished third. Kevin Harvick was our value pick to win last week at +1000, but could only manage a sixth-place finish after starting third.
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 Sportsbook.
The Oddsmakers are expecting a wide open race this Sunday at Talladega with the best odds for any driver in the field set at +1000. One of those drivers happens to be Matt Kenseth, who is holding onto a tenuous four-point lead in the current Sprint Cup standings with a total of 2225 points. He has been the best driver in this year’s Chase behind the wheel of the No. 20 car with victories at Chicago and New Hampshire to go along with last week’s third-place finish at Charlotte. Kenseth also comes into this race as the defending Champion after taking the checkered flag in 2012. He finished eighth in the first race at this track this season.
The driver right on Kenseth’s bumper in the standings with 2221 points is five-time Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson, who has also been opened at +1000 to win this race. The No. 48 car finished fourth last Saturday night at Charlotte and has now placed no higher than sixth in the first five races of the Chase, including a victory at Dover three weeks ago. Johnson finished fifth in the first race at Talladega this season and he does have two previous Sprint Cup titles at this track. Overall, it has not been one of his favorite places to race during a long and illustrious career with an average finishing position of just 17.1.
A third driver opened at +1000 to win on Sunday desperately needs that victory to keep his fading title hopes alive, despite being in third place in the standings. Kevin Harvick is just 29 points out of the lead, but with every passing week this gap will become harder and harder to close without posting a few wins. The No. 29 car has already won three times this season with the last one coming just two weeks ago at Kansas, so this team’s current form adds some solid value to these betting odds. The corresponding drain on the odds is the fact that Harvick has not finished better than 11th in his last four races at this track including a wreck earlier this year that dropped him to 40th in the final results.
Top Value Pick
With the odds set so high for this race there is value across the board, but that also makes it extremely difficult to pick a winner for Sunday. We decided to go with Kasey Kahne at +1500 after last week’s impressive performance at Charlotte. While he did not win the race, he proved that the No. 5 car still has what it takes to remain competitive at this time of the year. Kahne was also taken out early in a wreck at Talladega in the first race here this season and he finished 12th in last year’s race. The good news is that he did come close to winning at this track in 2011 with a sixth-place and fourth-place finish in the two races.