NASCAR Sprint Cup Picks: Advocare 500 at Atlanta

David Schwab

Thursday, August 29, 2013 3:21 PM GMT

Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 3:21 PM GMT

NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series will make its annual visit to Atlanta Motor Speedway this Labor Day Weekend for the running of the AdvoCare 500.

Sunday night’s race is set to get underway at 4:30 p.m. (PT) and it will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.

Last Saturday night at Bristol, Matt Kenseth became the first five-time point race winner this season with a first-place finish in the Irwin Tools Night Race. Kasey Kahne took second and Juan Pablos Montoya finished a surprising third. Our value racing pick to win last week’s race was Clint Bowyer at +1000, but he could only manage a 14th-place finish after starting 24th.

The following is a look at a few of the top favorites for Sunday night’s race along with our top value pick based on NASCAR odds provided by Sportsbook.

Favorites

Jimmie Johnson’s lead in the current Sprint Cup standings has been whittled down to just 18 points after a couple of poor finishes the past few weeks so there has to be some sense of urgency for the No. 48 racing team to right the ship this week. Odds makers must agree by opening him as the favorite to win this race at +450. Johnson has already won four point races this season and the non-point All Star Race back in May, but the real value in these racing odds is a solid track record in Atlanta. He finished 34th in last year’s race because of a wreck but this followed a second-place finish in 2011 and a third-place finish the year before that. He also has three previous Sprint Cup victories here on his resume.

Last week’s winner Matt Kenseth has been opened as a +600 second favorite to win again this Sunday night. It is hard to argue with this logic based on the No. 20 car’s form all season long. Not only has this team won five races this year, it has placed in the top 10 in an additional seven events. It is now in sixth place in the standings with 736 points which is only 85 points behind Johnson. Kenseth has already led more laps this year than in any other full season in the Sprint Cup series, but some of the value in his odds is lost due to his past performance in this race. He did finish second in 2010, but that was his only top-five finish in his last six trips around this track.

One of the next favorites at +700 is Kasey Kahne. Last week’s second-place finish moved the No. 5 car into eighth-place in the standings with 701 points. It remains in great shape to earn a spot in this year’s Chase with two previous point race titles and it has now finished in the top five in a total of eight races this season. It has been a struggle for Kahne at Atlanta the last three years but prior to that he took the checkered flag in this race in 2009.

The other driver listed at +700 to win this race is Kyle Busch. After a very disappointing 2012 season, the No. 18 team has turned things around this year with three point-race victories and seven other top-five finishes that has it sitting in fifth-place in the standings with 739 points. Busch has had mixed results at this track over the years, but he did win here in 2008. Since then he ended-up fifth in this race in 2010 and sixth in last year’s AdvoCare 500.

Top Value Pick

It has been a forgettable season for Denny Hamlin and the No. 11 car, but anytime you can get longer odds on the defending champion of last year’s race it is worth the risk. He has been opened at +1500 to successfully defend his title making him our top value betting pick this week. Hamlin already missed four races early in the season due to injury and he has not finished better than eighth in his last 11 point races so we are going way out on a limb with this pick.

NASCAR pick: Denny Hamlin at 14/1 at Bovada

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