NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series returns to Michigan International Speedway for the second time this season for the running of Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400. The green flag is set to wave at 11:30 a.m. (PT) and the race will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network.
Joey Logano joined the elite group of multiple point-race winners this season with a victory at Watkins Glen this past Sunday. A pair of hot drivers rounded-out the top three places with Kyle Busch taking second and Kevin Harvick ending up third.
Top Valued Favorite
I am going to the top of Bovada’s list this week with Kevin Harvick as a +500 favorite to win this race. It has been nearly five months since he has guided the No. 4 car to victory lane, but you would have to think that this team is way overdue with 13 additional Top 5 finishes to go along with the two wins this year. This team is still at the top of the Sprint Cup standings with a total of 823 points through 22 events. Harvick posted one of his worst runs of the season at Michigan with a 29th-place finish in the first race here, but this followed a string of four-straight second-place finishes in a Sprint Cup race at this track.
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Top Valued Contender
Dale Earnhardt Jr. ended the longest dry spell of his Sprint Cup career with a victory at this track in 2012 and this week he is my top contender at +1000 betting odds to win again this Sunday. The No. 88 car has actually been one of the top Sprint Cup contenders all season long with two checkered flags as part of 11 finishes inside the Top 5. The team is currently holding down third in the standings with 750 total points. What really adds value to these odds is Junior’s recent performance at Michigan. In addition to winning here in 2012, he has also posted a fifth-place finish in last year’s race and a second-place finish in the first event here this season, so he is a reasonable sports pick.
Top Valued Longshot
When you bet a longshot in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series, you are always taking a risky flyer, so my theory is to go deep down the list in search of value. The driver I zeroed-in on this week is Paul Menard at +6600. Behind the wheel of the No. 27 car this season, he has managed to post two finishes in the top five and another two in the top 10, so it is not a ridiculous stretch that he can win this race. The main reason Menard is this week’s longshot pick is his recent success at Michigan. He placed eighth in the first race here this year and this followed a string of three-straight fourth-place finishes going back to this event in 2013.
Betting Odds for other Notable Drivers
Following Harvick as the favorite is Kyle Busch at +600. His recent string of four victories in five races should keep him near the top of the list for the rest of the year. There are a pair of third-favorites in Jimmie Johnson and last week’s winner Joey Logano at +800 betting odds. Brad Keselowski has been listed as a +850 fifth-favorite to win this race followed by Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Matt Kenseth at +900. Rounding-out this week’s list of top contenders are Kasey Kayne at +1400 and Carl Edwards at +1500.