It took an extra day because of rain, but Joey Logano was able to post his first victory of the season with Monday’s win at Texas. Jeff Gordon also ran well in second place and Kyle Busch remained hot by taking third. My value pick for that race was Dale Earnhardt Jr at +1200, but fiery wreck ended his day early.
The following is a look at a few of the top favorites to win this Saturday night’s race along with my top value pick based on odds provided by Sportsbook.
He may have won six Sprint Cup titles during his storied career, but Jimmie Johnson has been shutout of victory lane in the first seven point races this season. He has been opened as a +500 favorite to end this drought with a trip to the winner’s circle this Saturday night. The No. 48 car has had its chances this year with two top-five finishes and two additional runs in the top 10 while leading a total of 493 laps, but without a win under its belt, this team is sitting in 10th place in the current Sprint Cup standings with 228 total points. Johnson’s last two Sprint Cup runs at this track have resulted in a victory in 2012 and a fourth-place finish last season to add even more value to these odds. His average finishing position at Darlington is 8.6.
There is a group of four drivers at +700 odds to win on Saturday night led by one of my favorite Matt Kenseth. He finished last season as a close runner-up to Johnson for the title after posting seven Sprint Cup wins in the 2013 season, but he is still searching for his first victory of the new season heading into this race. The No. 20 car has been competitive almost every week by placing in the top 10 of five of the first seven races, but without that first win, it is stuck in ninth place of the standings with 255 total points. That could easily end on Saturday with Kenseth coming in as the defending champion in this race. He has only finished outside the top 10 in two of his last eight trips around this track.
Another of the drivers listed at +700 to win this race is Kyle Busch. He made his way to the winner’s circle in Fontana and, after this past Monday’s third-place finish, the No. 18 race team is sitting in third place in the current standings with 231 total points. It now has four top-five finishes under its belt this year. Busch is another driver that adds some solid value to his odds with his past performance at Darlington. He won this race in 2008 and in 2012 he ended-up fourth to go along with a sixth-place finish in last year’s race.
Top Value Pick
There are a number of interesting choices if you are looking for longer odds in this race, but my top value pick for Saturday night is Denny Hamlin at +1000. This guy has had his fair share of troubles over the past two seasons, but he still remains one of the top drivers on the track when the No. 11 car is running well. This team has been opened at +1000 to break through this week with a win after finishing second at Daytona and sixth at Bristol earlier in the year. The main reason I like Hamlin’s chance this Saturday night is his victory here in 2010 followed by back-to-back second-place finishes in this race over the past two seasons.