The final race of the Contender Round in this year’s Chase to the 2015 Sprint Cup title takes place this Sunday at the storied Talladega Superspeedway with the running of the CampingWorld.com 500. This race is set to get underway at 11:30 a.m. (PT) and it will be broadcast nationally on NBC.
Joey Logano served notice that he is serious about winning the Sprint Cup title with a victory last week at Kansas following his run to the Winner’s Circle the week before at Charlotte. I almost struck gold with Denny Hamlin as my top contender at +1000 betting odds with his second-place finish and Jimmie Johnson took third.
The following is a look at my top valued favorite, contender and longshot to win this Sunday’s race based on betting odds provided by Pinnacle.
Top Valued Favorite
When it comes to restrictor plate races at tracks like Daytona and Talladega, the one driver that tends to stand out from all the rest is Dale Earnhardt Jr. He has struggled this entire Chase to avoid elimination, but this will be his best chance to advance to the next round as a +450 favorite to win on Sunday. The No. 88 car needed a strong run at Dover to make it into the field of 12 for this round and it ended-up in second place. You would have to believe that this team remains highly motivated for a strong run in this race to get into the field of eight. The real value in Dale Jr’s odds is his recent victory at Talladega in the first race here this season.
Top Valued Contender
Another high-profile driver on the brink of elimination in the Chase is Matt Kenseth. That is hard to believe considering his strong performance in the Challenger Round with a fifth-place finish at Chicago and a victory at New Hampshire, but two poor performances in this round has the No. 20 in 12th-place in the standings right now. That should provide some solid motivation for a strong run this week as a +1000 third-favorite to win. Kenseth is the kind of driver that knows how to put himself in position to win with a total of five point-race victories this season and I also like the fact that he finished second in this race last year.
Top Valued Longshot
The betting odds to win are generally longer at Talladega given the nature of this track, so there is quite a bit of value in the longshot category this week. I have settled-in on Ryan Newman at +4000. I am definitely going out on a limb with this sports pick, but he is another Chase driver that needs a strong finish to keep his title hopes alive. The No. 31 car is used to racing under the radar and this team went all the way to the championship race in last year’s Chase. This year, it has been a hit or miss performance in the Chase, but Newman did post a solid seventh-place finish at Talladega earlier in the year. This followed a fifth-place finish in last year’s event.
Betting Odds for Other Notable Drivers
As mentioned, the odds for this race are generally longer than at other tracks. The second-favorite to win on Sunday is Jimmie Johnson at +700, but following Kenseth’s +1000 odds the next few drivers on the list are Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne and Kevin Harvick at +1200. Joey Logano is in a larger group of six drivers at +1500 betting odds to make a clean sweep of the Contender Round. Also included in this group are Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.