This week, NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series will once again be under the prime time lights of Saturday night racing with the running of the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Speedway. This race is slated to get underway at 4 p.m. (PT) and it will be broadcast nationally on FOX.
It has been quite a while since Matt Kenseth crossed the finish line first in a Sprint Cup point race but that drought finally came to an end with a victory at Bristol this past Sunday. Jimmie Johnson raced well to finish second and third place went to my top valued contender; Jeff Gordon at +1200 betting odds.
The following is a look at my top valued favorite, contender and longshot to win this Saturday night’s race based on betting odds as provided by Sportsbook.ag.
Top Valued Favorite
I have held off on going with Kevin Harvick as my top valued favorite for the past few races, but you get the feeling he is due after going four races without a win. He has been opened as a +450 favorite to win on Saturday night and believe there is some solid value in those betting odds. Even when the No. 4 car does not place well it remains a factor in every single race it runs. This team finished all the way back in 38th place at Bristol, but it still led 184 laps of that race. It was the first time that Harvick failed to crack the top 10 in his last 11 Sprint Cup point races dating back to last season. As an added value to these odds, he won this event in 2013 as part of three career Sprint Cup victories at this track.
Top Valued Contender
Over the past two seasons it has been rare for Dale Earnhardt Jr. to have two bad runs in a row, so I am taking his 16th-place finish at Bristol as a sign that the No. 88 car is primed to win its first point race of the season this Saturday night. He has been opened at +1200 betting odds to get it done which offers some solid value in light of four previous finishes inside the top five in eight races this season. Dale Jr. had some early success in his career at Richmond with three checkered flags from 2000 to 2006 and he has placed in the top 10 of this event the past three years including a second-place run in 2012.
Top Valued Longshot
The hunt for the best value further down the list for this week’s race led to Martin Truex Jr. at +2500 odds to win at Richmond. He has yet to take the checkered flag racing in the No. 78 car, but last week’s 29th-place finish at Bristol was the first time this season that this team did not finish inside the top 10. Its most impressive run came at Las Vegas with a second-place finish in that race. One of the reasons that Truex Jr. has such long odds for this race is an average finishing position of 22.1 at Richmond, so I am banking heavily on current form with this pick. He did post a 10th-place finish in last year’s race after finishing seventh in the second race here in 2013.
Betting Odds for other Notable Drivers
Both Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have been listed as +600 second-favorites to win on Saturday night with the edge going to Logano as the defending champion in this event. Kurt Busch is a +700 fourth-favorite with Jimmie Johnson rounding-out the top five at +800 betting odds.