NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series rolls into Michigan International Speedway this week to begin preparations for Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400, which is the 15th point-race event of the season. Race time is slated for 3 p.m. (ET) with FOX Sports 1 carrying the national broadcast.
It was a good day for betting longshots in last Sunday afternoon’s Cup Series race at Pocono with Ryan Blaney in first-place and Erik Jones taking third to surround second-place finisher Kevin Harvick as one of the top favorites to win. This was Blaney’s first career victory in Cup Series racing and Jones’ first Top 3 run.
The following is a look at my top valued favorite, contender, and a longshot to win this Sunday at Michigan based on betting odds as provided by 5Dimes.Top Valued Favorite
Kyle Larson is only in his fourth full-time season racing at NASCAR’s highest level, but he has quickly established himself as one of the top contenders to win this year’s Cup Series title. Along with a victory earlier this season at Fontana, he has been able to guide his No. 42 Chevrolet to another five second-place finishes including one at Dover two weeks ago. He slipped to seventh last week at Pocono, but he comes into this race at +500 betting odds to get the win. Larson is holding down the second spot in the current standings with 583 points. In limited racing experience at this week’s venue, he made a statement last season by winning the second race here after placing third in this event.Top Valued Contender
There are a number of veteran Cup Series drivers still looking for their first victory of the year including Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. The one that caught my eye this week at longer +1800 odds is Denny Hamlin. He has raced well enough to move the No. 11 Toyota team into ninth place in the standings with 386 total points. However, in his first 14 point-race events this season he has only made his way into the top five in two races. The real value in Hamlin’s odds this week is his ability to win at this track with a pair of career victories at Michigan in a Cup Series event.Top Valued Longshot
Both Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones closed at long odds heading into last week’s race at Pocono and quite a few of NASCAR’s lesser known drivers have been popping up in Top-3 finishes all season long. The one name on this week’s list that offers some solid value in my book would be Jamie McMurray at +3000 betting odds to win. The 15-year Cup Series veteran has quietly moved his No. 1 Chevrolet racing team into eighth place in the current standings with 418 points on the strength of eight runs inside the top 10 this year. His best finish was second at Talladega and he placed seventh at Dover two weeks ago. Last season at Michigan, McMurray turned in his best career performance to date with a ninth-place finish in this event followed by an eighth-place run in the second race here.Betting Odds for other Notable Drivers
Martin Truex Jr. has been listed as a +600 second-favorite to post his third victory of the season. There is a trio of drivers next on the list at +700 made up of Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, and Brad Keselowski. Both Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch have been listed at +800 betting odds to win at Michigan and Joey Logano’s odds to make his way to Victory Lane have been set at +1000.