The new NASCAR Sprint Cup series season is only five point events into its 36-race schedule, but with a break in the action this week it is the perfect time to make some predictions as to which drivers offer the best value in their futures odds to win this year’s Spring Cup title.
A trio of past champions have made some early noise with victories in the first few events and some of the young guns in the Sprint Cup series continue to impress with some solid runs. With so many races left on the slate it's still anyone’s guess as to which driver comes out on top in late November at Homestead-Miami, but you know that no matter whatever happens it will be a wild ride to that final checkered flag.
Top Valued Favorite
There are three drivers at the top of the list at +550 betting odds, but I am going with Jimmie Johnson as my top-valued favorite. He has already won a Sprint Cup title six times in his storied career, but under the new rules of the Chase that started with the 2014 season, he fell out of contention in the early rounds. These recent setbacks only work to make the No. 48 race team even hungrier to win another title and if the fast start to this season is any indication of what is yet to come, they should make good on this bet. Johnson has already won twice in the first five events with a victory at Atlanta and last Sunday at Fontana.
Top Valued Contender
Another driver at much longer odds hungry to win a Sprint Cup title is Dale Earnhardt Jr. at +1200. Ever since he joined this series in 1999, he has been racing in the shadow of his famous dad. While he has taken home numerous titles as the Sprint Cup series’ most popular driver, an actual racing title would fill a huge void in his overall racing resume. The No. 88 car has been extremely competitive the last two seasons with a combined seven trips to Victory Lane, but they have also come-up short in the Chase. Current form is good with three Top-10 finishes in the first five events, but the key to cashing-in on this futures bet is Dale Jr’s ability to take the checkered flag in October and November.
Top Valued Longshot
Playing a longshot to win a Sprint Cup title is a high risk/high reward proposition given just how tough the competition is at the top of the list. If I had to go way out on a limb with a small play on a driver with long odds it would be Austin Dillon at +9000. He came into the Sprint Cup series with quite a bit of fanfare as a full-time driver in 2014 behind the wheel of the famed No. 3 car that Dale Earnhardt made so famous in his storied racing career. Last season, he managed to finish in the Top 10 in five events, but that was not good enough to qualify for the Chase. This season, he has already finished in the Top 10 in three of five events including a fifth-place run at Las Vegas. Dillon is currently in 10th-place in the Sprint Cup standings and if he can get into the 2016 Chase anything can happen from there.
Futures Odds for other Notable Drivers
The other two favorites to win this year’s title at +550 betting odds are defending champion Kyle Busch and 2014 Sprint Cup Champ Kevin Harvick, both very reasonable betting picks. Next on the futures list at +650 is Joey Logano, followed by 2012 champion Brad Keselowski at +750. Matt Kenseth is in the mix at +900 along with Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin rounds-out the top eight drivers at +1100.