NASCAR Sprint Cup Picks: Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond

David Schwab

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 4:27 PM GMT

Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2013 4:27 PM GMT

This week’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond marks the final NASCAR Sprint Cup series point race before the start of the 10-race Chase to this season’s title.

Saturday night’s race is set to get underway at 5:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast nationally on ABC.

Kyle Busch cemented his spot in the Chase with a victory in last Sunday night’s race at Atlanta. Joey Logano helped his Chase chances with a second-place finish and Martin Truex Jr. stayed in the hunt for spot in the 12-man field by taking third. We went out on a limb with Denny Hamlin as our +1500 value racing pick last week and it did not pay off with a distant 38th-place finish after starting a promising fourth.

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

Favorites

Odds makers decided to ride a hot hand by listing Kyle Busch as this week’s favorite to win at +500. He has climbed his way to fifth place in the Sprint Cup standings with a total of 786 points. Last Sunday night’s victory was his fourth of the season to go along with another seven top-five finishes for the No. 18 race team. Busch finished 24th in the first race at Richmond this season, but his overall performance at this track remains strong with four Sprint Cup victories and an average finishing position of 6.5.

There is a trio of second-favorites at +700 to win on Saturday night led by the current point leader Jimmie Johnson. The No. 48 car has been surprisingly quiet the past few weeks with three-straight finishes of 28th or higher, but the overall record remains extremely strong this season with four checkered flags and five additional top-five finishes. Richmond may not be a good track to try and work out the kinks considering that Johnson’s average finishing position here is 16.3. He finished 13th in this race last season and 12th in the first race here this year.

Matt Kenseth has already secured a spot in this year’s Chase on the strength of five point-race victories and a grand total of 12 top-10 finishes. He has also been opened at +700 to win this week and for good reason. The No. 20 car has led an amazing 1144 laps this season including 140 in the first race at Richmond. Kenseth ended-up finishing seventh in that race after starting on the pole. He also had a strong showing in this race last season with a fifth-place finish after starting 17th.

The third driver opened at +700 to win this week is last season’s Sprint Cup Champion Brad Keselowski. He has been a forgotten man this year in the No. 2 car with zero point race victories and he will most likely not even have a chance to defend his title considering the fact that he is currently 15th in the standings. Current form adds little sports betting value to these odds nor does his past performance at this track. Keselowski finished 33 in the first race at Richmond this year and his best Sprint Cup finish here is seventh in last year’s race.

Top Value Pick

Kevin Harvick has found the winner’s circle twice this season with one of those trips being at this very track. He has also raced the No. 29 car to third-place in the standings with 13 top-10 finishes so we are still scratching our heads as to why he has been opened at +1200 to complete the series sweep at Richmond. We decided to bite by making Harvick our top value pick to prove the odds makers wrong. It also helps that he won this race in 2011 and finished 10th in this event last year.

NASCAR pick: Kevin Harvick at 11/1 at Bovada

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