NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series heads to Michigan International Speedway this week for the running of the Quicken Loans 400. This Sunday’s main event is slated to get underway at 10 a.m. (PT) and the race will be broadcast nationally on FOX Sports 1.
Last week at Pocono, Martin Truex Jr. stunned the favorites by taking the checkered flag for his first Sprint Cup victory of the year. In what has become a familiar sight all year long, Kevin Harvick finished second with Jimmie Johnson rounding-out the top three in third. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was my top-valued favorite in this race, but he finished just outside the top 10 in 11th place.
Top Valued Favorite
Two weeks ago at Dover I cashed-in on Jimmie Johnson as the top favorite and I am going chalk again in this race with Kevin Harvick as my top valued favorite to win at +400 betting odds. You can almost guarantee he will have the No. 4 car in or near the lead when the checkered flag waves considering that through the first 14 point races on the schedule this team has won twice and finished second eight other times. The defending 2014 Sprint Cup Champion is still first in the standings with 559 total points. Other than Johnson, he is the only other driver with multiple wins this year. Harvick adds even more value to these odds with four-straight second-place finishes at Michigan in the last two years.
Top Valued Contender
Brad Keselowski notched his first Sprint Cup point-race victory at Fontana in the fifth race on this year’s schedule and his betting odds to win again Sunday are set at +1200. It has been hit or miss for the No. 2 car since that winning run, but there is always value in this team when the odds are set a bit longer. Following that earlier win, Keselowski went onto to finish in the top five in his next two races. He has only cracked the top-10 twice since then which speaks directly to his streaky nature in the Sprint Cup series. The main reason I like his chances this week is his third-place finish in last year’s race along with an eighth-place finish with the second race at Michigan in 2014.
Top Valued Longshot
I have used Kyle Larson as my top-valued longshot a few times in the past and I like his chances this week at +2000 betting odds to pull-off the upset. He has built-up a bit of momentum behind the wheel of the No. 42 car the past two weeks with a third-place finish at Dover and an eighth-place finish at Pocono this past Sunday. That run at Dover’s Monster Mile was his top finish of the season. He had also posted three additional top-10 finishes earlier in the year to remain in striking distance of a spot in this season’s Chase. This will be just his third career start in a Sprint Cup race at Michigan, but Larson was able to post an eighth-place finish in last year’s event.
Betting Odds for Other Notable Drivers
Jimmie Johnson continues to hold his weekly spot near the top of the list as a +500 second-favorite to win his fifth point race of the year. Kurt Busch is next on the list at +800 followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and last week’s winner Martin Truex Jr. at +1000 betting odds. Keselowski is joined by Jeff Gordon, Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth in the next wave of drivers at +1200 odds to win on Sunday.