NASCAR Sprint Cup Betting Preview: STP 500

David Schwab

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 2:53 PM GMT

NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series will run its second short track race of the new season with a trip to Martinsville Speedway for the STP 500. The green flag for Sunday’s race is set to wave at 10 a.m. (PT) and it will be broadcast nationally on FOX.

Last Sunday at Fontana, Kyle Busch claimed his first point race victory of the new Sprint Cup season with Kyle Larson taking second and his brother Kurt Busch finishing third. I went with Jeff Gordon at 16/1 as my top value pick but after leading the race for 23 laps he faded to 13th place.

The following is a look at a few of the top favorites to win this Sunday’s race along with my top value pick based on odds provided by Bovada.

 

Favorites
Jimmie Johnson came close to winning his first point race of the season last Sunday after leading the race at Fontana for 104 laps. The No. 48 car will try and hold that lead all the way to the checkered flag this time around as the 11/4 favorite to win at Martinsville. The defending Sprint Cup Champion is currently in eighth place in the current point standings with 165 points. Under the new rules, a win this week would most likely move him at or near the top of this list. Johnson’s chances to get it done would appear to be pretty high after winning this race last season and finishing fifth in the second race at this track in 2013. He has a total of eight Sprint Cup titles at Martinsville as part of an average finishing position of 5.3.

The second favorite to win Sunday’s race is Jeff Gordon at 11/2. This veteran Sprint Cup driver has yet to win a race this season as well, but he has been in the hunt every week with two top-five finishes and another two in the top 10. The No. 24 car is currently in sixth place in the standings with 184 points so a win this week would put this team at the top of the heap. Gordon has also enjoyed his fair share of success at this track over the years with eight career Sprint Cup victories and an average finishing position of 6.8. Recent form here also adds value to these odds with a third place finish in last year’s race followed by a victory in the fall race at this track.  

It is not often that you will find Clint Bowyer listed as one of the top three favorites to win a Sprint Cup race, but that is the case this week with him listed at 8/1 to claim the checkered flag on Sunday. The current form of the No. 15 car does not support these odds with five straight finishes outside of the top 10 this season including a 15th-place finish at Bristol, which was the first short track race this year. The value in Bowyer’s odds lies in his past performance at this track. He is still searching for his first career Sprint Cup victory at Martinsville in 16 previous events, but he has finished in the top five in his last three races here including a second-place finish in last year’s race.

NASCAR Odds & Predictions for 2014 Sprint Cup Championship

Top Value Pick
Kasey Kahne has gotten off to a rough start this season with his No. 5 car posting just two top-10 finishes in its first five Sprint Cup races. This is probably one of the main reasons he has been opened as a moderate 18/1 longshot to turn things around with a win this week. The reason I like his chances to win this week as my top value pick is first, he is a quality driver that can still win a race whenever he is behind the wheel and two, his recent form at Martinsville. Kahne has run strong in two of his last three trips around this track with a third-place finish in the second race here in 2012 and a fourth-place finish in last year’s race.