NASCAR Returns from Break with Night Race at Darlington

darlington raceway

David Schwab

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 5:07 PM GMT

Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017 5:07 PM GMT

NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series returns to action Sunday night at Darlington Raceway for the running of the Bojangles Southern 500. This is one of two races left in the regular-season schedule before the 10-race playoff and it is set to get underway at 6 ET on NBC Sports Network.

Two weeks ago on the short track at Bristol in a night race, Kyle Busch doubled his win total on the year by taking the checkered flag. Erik Jones made his way into the top three for the second time in two weeks by taking second and Denny Hamlin ended up third.

The following is a look at my top valued favorite, contender and long shot to win this Sunday night’s race at Darlington based on betting odds provided by 5Dimes.

 

Top Valued Favorite

I am going with Kyle Larson at +550 betting odds as my top-valued favorite this week in the Bojangles Southern 500. He guided the No. 42 Chevrolet to a respectable ninth-place finish at Bristol just a week removed from guiding this team to its third point-race victory of the season at Michigan. Along with those three wins, he has placed second in seven other races to hold down the third spot in the current Cup standings with 845 points. This will be Larson’s fourth trip around the track at Darlington in a Cup series event, and he has placed 10th or better in his first three runs, including a third-place finish in last year’s race.

 

Top Valued Contender

Even though Chase Elliott is holding down the seventh spot in the current standings with 711 points as the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet, there is no guarantee that he will have a spot in the 16-driver playoff without posting a victory either this week or next. His betting odds to get it done this Sunday night are set at +1750, and I believe there is quite a bit of value in that number. Elliott is still looking for his first career victory in a Cup series event in his second full-time season racing at NASCAR’s highest level, but he continues to come close with six Top 5 runs this year. He will be looking to improve on last year’s 10th-place finish in this event in what will be his third career trip around this track.

 

Top Valued Long Shot

Longer odds mean bigger risk when betting on any NASCAR event, but I do like the value in Joey Logano’s +2500 odds to win this race. He has become almost a forgotten man over the second half of the season with just one Top 5 run in his last nine events, but the No. 22 Ford is in excellent shape to make it into the playoff with 583 points and a previous victory at Richmond. This team has placed inside the top five in eight races this season, so it still has the form to be a factor anytime the car is on the track. Adding even more value to these odds is a Top 5 finish in his last two Cup Series events at Darlington.

 

Odds For Other Notable Drivers

Kyle Busch has been opened as a +450 favorite to pick up where he left off after last week’s break followed by Martin Truex Jr. as a +500 second-favorite to win his fifth race of the season. Moving down the list, Denny Hamlin has been opened as a +700 fourth-favorite to win, with Kevin Harvick rounding out the top five drivers at +800 betting odds. Brad Keselowski is next at +1100, followed by Matt Kenseth at +1150. In the group with Elliott at +1750 are Jones and Jimmie Johnson.

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