This season’s Eliminator Round of NASCAR’s Chase to the 2015 Sprint Cup title gets underway on Sunday afternoon with the running of the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway. All the racing action is set to get underway at 10:15 a.m. (PT).
Joey Logano’s victory last Sunday at Talladega completed an incredible three-race sweep in the Contender Round of this year’s Chase. My top favorite for that race was Dale Earnhardt Jr and despite a solid second-place run it still was not enough to land him in the final field of eight. Veteran driver Jeff Gordon was able to secure a spot in this round with a third-place finish last week.
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
There is a group of five drivers all listed at +600 betting odds to win on Sunday, but I am going with Kyle Busch as +700 as my top valued favorite. After staving-off elimination in the opening round of the Chase with a second-place finish at Dover, the No. 18 car did just enough to work its way into the Eliminator Round with a fifth-place finish at Kansas followed by an 11th-place run at Talladega. Busch missed the first race at Martinsville this season while recovering from an earlier injury, but in this Sunday’s event he has placed in the Top 5 in three of the last six runs.
Top Valued Contender
Half the field left in the Chase have longer odds than +1000 to win on Sunday including Brad Keselowski at +1200. He is another driver that has done just enough to stay alive, but the former Sprint Cup Champ did look sharp with a fourth-place finish in last week’s race. The No. 2 car has only been able to make its way to Victory Lane once this season, but most of the value in these odds lies in Keselowski’s recent racing form at this track. He finished second in the first race here this season and going back to 2012, he has placed sixth or better in four of his last six runs around this track in a Sprint Cup event.
Top Valued Longshot
Kurt Busch is also in the field of eight for the Eliminator Round and his betting odds to win this race have been set at +2000. He joins his brother as the final two drivers to qualify for this round and he has the longest odds to win on Sunday of any of the eight drivers still in contention for the title. The No. 41 car has been fairly solid in the Chase with a Top 10 finish in four of the first six races including a third-place finish at Chicago and a fifth-place run at Charlotte. When it comes to Martinsville, Busch placed 14th in the first race here this season and a distant 36th in last year’s event, but he did take the checkered flag in the first race here in 2014.
Betting Odds for Other Notable Drivers
The field of five drivers listed as +600 favorites to win on Sunday starts with Joey Logano as easily the hottest driver left in the Chase. The two other Chase drivers at these odds are Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick. Both Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson have been eliminated from title contention, but they are also listed in this group of favorites for sports picks. Matt Kenseth also failed to advance into the final eight, but he joins Kyle Busch at +700 betting odds to win on Sunday.