NASCAR Sprint Cup Betting Preview: Auto Club 400

David Schwab

Thursday, March 17, 2016 5:56 PM GMT

A three-race West Coast swing comes to a close this Sunday at Auto Club Speedway when NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series pulls into Fontana, California in preparation for Sunday’s Auto Club 400.

This race is set to get underway at 3:30 p.m. (ET) and it will be broadcast nationally on FOX. 

I went against Kevin Harvick as the favorite last Sunday at Phoenix and paid the price in his first point-race victory of the new season. Carl Edwards posted a strong run to finish second and Denny Hamlin placed third.

The following is a look at my top valued favorite, contender and longshot to win Sunday’s race at Fontana based on betting odds as provided by Bovada.

 

Top Valued Favorite
Defending 2015 Sprint Cup Champion Kyle Busch is still looking for his first point-race victory of the new season and I am banking on his +500 odds as one of two second-favorites to break through with a victory at Fontana this Sunday. The No. 18 team has come close to taking the checkered flag in the first four events with third-place finishes at Daytona and Atlanta followed by back-to-back fourth-place finishes in the first two races of this West Coast swing. Last Sunday this team started from the pole position and led the race for 75 laps. What really adds value to his odds is Busch’s recent track record at Auto Club. He missed last year’s event due to injury, but going back to 2011, he posted back-to-back victories in 2013 and 2014 after placing third or better the previous two seasons.

 

Top Valued Contender
Moving further down the list, there is also some great betting value in Brad Keselowski’s +1200 odds to win this race. He is coming off a poor showing last Sunday in Phoenix with a 29th-place finish, but that came right after the No. 2 car pulled into Victory Lane in this year’s race in Las Vegas. While it is true that Keselowski has been a bit hit or miss through his first four point-race events this season, he also adds some value to these odds as the defending champion of this Sunday’s race.

 

Top Valued Longshot
I have been riding NASCAR’s young guns as my top-valued longshots through the first four events and I came somewhat close last week with Austin Dillon taking ninth-place at +2000 odds. This Sunday, I am going with Kyle Larson and the No. 42 car as my top longshot for my sports picks at +2500. He is off to a quiet start in his third full season racing in the Sprint Cup series with a seven-place finish at Daytona being his only Top 10 of the year. This will be just his third career start at Fontana in a point-race event and while Larson was a non-factor in last year’s race with a 26th-place finish after starting fifth, he has had some success in his young career here with a second-place finish in the 2014 Auto Club 400.

 

Racing Odds for other Notable Drivers
Home-grown Californian Jimmie Johnson returns to his home state as a +450 favorite to win his second point race this season, while Kevin Harvick joins Busch as a +500 second-favorite to claim another checkered flag this Sunday. Matt Kenseth has been opened as a +700 fourth-favorite and Joey Logano’s odds to post his first win of the season are set at +800. The pairing of Carl Edwards and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are next on the list at +1000 and Kurt Busch joins Keselowski at +1200 betting odds to win.