Denny Hamlin had been a forgotten man this season since his strong showing during Speed Week, but he put himself in the thick of the Race to the Chase with a huge victory at Talladega last Sunday. Greg Biffle raced his way to a second-place finish and Clint Bowyer ended-up third. I went with Kyle Larson as a 22/1 longshot as my value pick for last week’s race and he finished a respectable ninth after starting 29th.
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 Bovada.
There are a pair of favorites to win this race at 6/1 odds starting with Jimmie Johnson. Concern continues to grow for a No. 48 race team that is still searching for the right formula to nail down its first point race victory of the year. It has come close a few times with three top-five finishes and a pair of top 10’s, but this team has grown accustomed to winning races on its way to six previous Sprint Cup titles. Johnson’s chances to get it done this Saturday night would appear to be pretty good after posting 10-straight top-10 finishes at this track including two previous victories and a third-place finish in last year’s race. His average finishing position at Kansas is an impressive 7.5.
The next 6/1 favorite to win on Saturday night is Kevin Harvick. He has already made his way to Victory Lane twice this season with wins at Phoenix and Darlington. The No. 4 car is currently all the way back in 19th place in the Sprint Cup standings, but under NASCAR’s new rules for qualifying for the Chase it is all about wins so this team is really at the top of the heap as one of just two teams with multiple point race victories this season. Harvick’s odds to win this race are definitely enhanced with a first-place finish in the fall race at Kansas last season, but his average finishing position at this track is just 12.1.
The third-favorite to take the checkered flag in this race at 8/1 is Matt Kenseth. He is also searching for his first win this year after leading the Sprint Cup field with seven victories last season. The No. 20 car has finished in the top 10 in seven of the first 10 point races this year so you would have to believe that this team is due. Kenseth also adds some solid value to these odds as the defending champion of this week’s Sprint Cup race. He also won the second race here in 2012 as part of a run that includes four top-five finishes in his last five trips around this track in a Sprint Cup race.
Top Value Pick
There are a number of solid contenders with longer odds to win this race, but combining current form with past results at this track, I have zeroed-in on Brad Keselowski at 10/1 as this week’s top value pick. While he has been in the headlines lately for all the wrong reasons after causing a controversial wreck at the end of the race at Talladega, his overall form makes him a strong contender to add a second Sprint Cup victory to this season’s resume. The No. 2 car won earlier in the season at Las Vegas and it is currently in sixth place in the standings with 294 total points. Keselowski only has eight previous Sprint Cup runs at Kansas Speedway, but he won this race in 2011 and he finished sixth in this event in 2013.