In a rain-delayed race at Daytona last Sunday, Aric Almirola pulled-off a major upset to close-out the first half of this season’s Sprint Cup schedule with the win. It was longshots across the board last week with Brian Vickers taking second and Kurt Busch finishing third. One longshot that did not come through was my value pick Carl Edwards at 18/1. He finished 37th after starting 11th.
The following is a look at a few of the top favorites to win this Sunday’s race along with my top value betting pick based on odds provided by Bovada.
It has been a hit-or-miss run for reigning Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson over the past several weeks. After stringing together three victories in four point races starting in late May, the No. 48 car has failed to crack the top five in its last three trips around the track. A crash at Daytona ended the day just 20 laps into the race. Bovada is looking for a return to form this Sunday by opening Johnson as a 5/1 favorite to get his fourth win of the season. He won this race in 2010 and going all the way back to 2005, he has finished in the top 10 in 12 of 14 Sprint Cup races at this track.
There are two co-favorites at 15/2 odds to win this week starting with Kevin Harvick. The No. 4 car has already posted a pair of victories this season by taking the checkered flag at Phoenix and Darlington to go along with three additional top-five finishes in the first 18 point races. This team also made an early exit at Daytona last week after posting a seventh-place finish at Kentucky the week before. The value in Harvick’s odds is a bit drained considering that he has not finished in the top five at New Hampshire since 2010 and his average finishing position at this track is 13.7.
The other co-favorite at 15/2 is Brad Keselowski. A win at Kentucky two weeks ago coupled with an early season victory at Las Vegas has the No. 2 car in prime position for this year’s Chase. Add in another six top-five finishes and it is easy to see why this team is currently sitting in fourth place in the Sprint Cup standings with 586 points. Keselowski started from the pole in last year’s race and finished fourth. He came back later that season to finish 11th in the fall Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire.
Top Value Pick
I have been riding Matt Kenseth as my value pick all season long when his odds reach double digits and I am doing it again this week at 10/1. He is without a doubt the best driver this season in the Sprint Cup series without a win so it is just a matter of when (not if) he lays claim to his first checkered flag. The No. 20 car is currently in fifth place in the standings with 580 points on the strength of six previous top-five finishes. Adding even more value to these odds is a victory in Kenseth’s last Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire this past season. He also cracked the top 10 earlier that season with a ninth-place finish in last year’s race.