NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series gears up for its second-half run to the 2015 title with a break in the action this week. With 15 of the scheduled 36 point races in the books, it is a perfect time to take a look at the recently updated futures odds to win this year’s Sprint Cup title as provided by bet365.
Under NASCAR’s new rules for its 10-race playoff known as the Chase, the only way to guarantee yourself a spot in the 16-driver field is to win and so far 10 different drivers have posted a victory in the first 15 events. Three different drivers have basically locked-down a spot with multiple victories including a six-time Sprint Cup Champion that lapping the field with four trips to the Winner’s Circle.
Heading into the push for this year’s Chase, the following is a look at the top five contenders to win this year’s Sprint Cup title.
Kevin Harvick +400
Harvick ended last season on a tremendous roll to win the 2014 Sprint Cup title and he has shown little sign of loosening his grip on a second-straight run to the top this year. He posted back-to-back victories early in the season at Las Vegas and Phoenix, but what makes the No. 4 car such a serious threat to repeat is the week-in and week-out consistency that has resulted in eight additional second-place finishes so far this year.
Kurt Busch +500
Busch was sidelined for the first three point races this season while suspended by NASCAR for some off the track issues, but ever since he was reinstated in Week 4, he has made the most of the opportunity. Busch broke through with a victory at Richmond in late April and this past Sunday he cemented his spot for a title run with a win at Michigan. I am still a bit leery about the value in these betting odds from bet365 given Busch’s past history to implode as a moment’s notice, but the lofty number is still deserved given his current form.
Jimmie Johnson +500
If you are looking for the hottest driver in the Sprint Cup series to bet on then Johnson would be my pick. The No. 48 car is only fifth in the standings with a total of 506 points, but its four checkered flags are all that really matters. This team has also been extremely consistent with a total of nine top-five finishes in 15 events. It is also hard to bet against a driver that has already won six previous Sprint Cup titles and hungry for a seventh after finishing a disappointing 11th in last year’s final standings under NASCAR’s new rules for the Chase.
Martin Truex Jr. +700
Truex Jr. began this season as a distant longshot to win a Sprint Cup title, but he has made the Oddsmakers take notice with 14 top-10 runs in 15 races. The highlight of this performance was a victory at Pocono to kick-off the month of June and the No. 78 car came close to winning again last Sunday with a third-place finish at Michigan. While Truex Jr. may be a trendy pick given his recent form, I would have to question the value in his current odds. The time to get on this bandwagon was when the odds were more than double of what they are right now.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. +800
NASCAR’s favorite driver has been able to back-up his popularity with the fans with some solid racing on the track over his past two seasons in the Sprint Cup series. After ending an extended winless drought with four point-race victories last season, the No. 88 car is in excellent shape for a spot in the Chase with an earlier win this year at Talladega. Dale Jr.’s second-place finish this past Sunday was his eighth top-five finish of the season and he is now in fourth-place in the standings with 508 total points.
The Best of the Rest
The Sprint Cup futures for a few of the other top contenders for a title start with Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano at +800. Keselowski won a Sprint Cup title in 2012 and both drivers have a good shot at making the Chase with a previous victory this season. Next on the list is Matt Kenseth at +1200 followed by Jeff Gordon at +1200. Gordon is racing in his last season in the Sprint Cup series and still searching for his first win of the year.