The Chase for NASCAR’s Sprint Cup title is down to two more races starting this week with a trip to Phoenix International Raceway for the running of the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500. Sunday’s event is set to get underway at 12 p.m. (PT) and the race will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
Six-time Sprint Cup winner Jimmie Johnson failed to qualify for the Eliminator Round of this year’s Chase, but he still made his presence known with a victory last week at Texas. Kevin Harvick rebounded from a poor showing by taking second and Brad Keselowski stirred the pot with a controversial third-place finish. My value NASCAR pick for last week’s race was Matt Kenseth at 10/1, but his title chances took a major hit with a 25th-place finish after starting that race on the Pole.
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.
The only way any of the final eight drivers left in the Chase can secure one of the top four spots in next week’s championship run at Homestead is to first win this Sunday’s race. Kevin Harvick comes in with the best betting odds to get the job done at 13/4. While he did come close to a trip to Victory Lane last week, the No. 4 car is sitting in eighth place in the current Sprint Cup point standings after posting a 33rd-place finish the week before at Martinsville. Harvick adds some solid value to these lofty odds after taking the checkered flag in the earlier race at Phoenix this season. Going back to this event in 2012, he has won three of his last Sprint Cup races at this track.
Jeff Gordon was on the receiving end of a Brad Keselowski bump in last week’s race that dropped the No. 24 car to 29th in the final results, but the team is still holding on to the fourth and final spot in the current standings for next week’s Sprint Cup Championship. Gordon’s betting odds to win his fifth point race this season with a victory at Phoenix have been set at 9/2. He adds some value to his odds with a fifth-place finish at Phoenix in the first race this season, but he has not won a Sprint Cup event at this track since 2011.
NASCAR’s newest bad boy, Brad Keselowski comes into this week’s race as a 5/1 third-favorite to punch his ticket to a spot in the four-team field next week with a victory this Sunday. Right off the ba,t the No. 2 car loses some value as a marked target for all the other drivers out there that have already had a run-in with this team this season. Keselowski did post his top career finish at this track in the first race this season by taking third. He has now finished sixth or better in four of his last five trips around this track in a point race.
Top Value Pick
After two-straight weeks of trying to ride Matt Kenseth as my top value pick to win, I decided to take the longer 10/1 odds on Joey Logano as this race’s top value pick. He has raced the No. 22 car to the top of the current Sprint Cup standings with 4072 points, but nothing is guaranteed without a win this Sunday. Logano has the second-most victories this season of any driver left in the Chase with five previous checkered flags. His best finish in a Sprint Cup race at Phoenix in 11 previous events was third in 2010. He went on to add a ninth-place finish in this race last season and a fourth-place finish earlier this year to his overall resume at this track.