NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series returns to prime time this Saturday night with the running of this season’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Starting time for Saturday night’s main event in Fort Worth is slated for 7:30 p.m. (ET) and the race will be broadcast nationally on FOX.
Kyle Busch made a strong statement that he is ready to defend his 2015 Sprint Cup title with his victory last Sunday at Martinsville in the STP 500. Both AJ Allmendinger and Kyle Larson almost upset the field as longshots with a second and third-place finish.
The following is a look at my top valued favorite, contender and longshot to win Saturday night’s race at Texas based on betting odds as provided by Bovada.
Top Valued Favorite
You almost have to go chalk this week with Jimmie Johnson’s +500 betting odds to win. While the No. 48 car did slide to ninth last Sunday in Martinsville, this team has managed to finish in the Top 10 in four of the first six Sprint Cup point races and more importantly it has managed to finish first at both Atlanta and Fontana. What really adds value to Johnson’s odds is his recent dominance at this track. Going back to the second race at Texas Motor Speedway in 2014, he has made the trip to Victory Lane in three-straight Sprint Cup events at this track.
Top Valued Contender
Denny Hamlin got this season started with a bang by winning the Daytona 500 by the smallest margin of victory in that storied race’s history. The No. 11 car then went on to post back-to-back third-place finishes at Phoenix and Fontana and the team is currently tied for ninth in the Sprint Cup standings with 172 points through the first six events. Hamlin has had his issues at Texas Motor Speedway in recent years with just two Top 10 runs since 2011 so it is easy to see why he comes into this race at +1200 betting odds to win. What caught my eye was a rare sweep at Fort Worth in both point races in the 2010 Sprint Cup season. Perhaps he can recapture that winning racing form this year starting with a victory on Saturday night.
Top Valued Longshot
Last week a couple of longshots made a run at the checkered flag so maybe I am due to finally cash-in on a driver at long odds. I have turned my attention to Jamie McMurray at +5000 for my sports picks as this week’s top-valued longshot. He is currently 13th in the Sprint Cup standings with 143 points and while he only has one Top 10 finish on the 2016 racing resume, he has been consistent enough to stay within the cutoff for the Chase as far as accumulating points. The main reason that I like Murray and the No. 1 car in this race is his encouraging sixth-place run in last year’s event. He has now finished 10th or better in his last three Sprint Cup races at this track.
Betting Odds for other Notable Drivers
Kevin Harvick finished second to Johnson in this race last season and he comes into this year’s event as a co-favorite to win at +500 betting odds. Third on the list at +700 are Joey Logano and Kyle Busch, while Matt Kenseth’s odds to win this race are set at +800. Things start to drop off from there with both Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards set at +1000 and following Hamlin at +1200 is Martin Truex Jr. at +1500 to win.