The first race of the year on the short track at Martinsville Speedway is set for Sunday as NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series rolls into Southwest Virginia for the running of the STP 500. Race time is set for 2 p.m. (ET) and it will be broadcast nationally on Fox Sports 1.
Kyle Larson snapped his streak of three straight runner-up finishes by winning last week’s race at Fontana. Brad Keselowski filled that void by taking second in the race and Clint Bowyer turned in a solid run by placing third.
The following is a look at my top valued favorite, contender and long shot to win this Sunday’s race at Martinsville based on betting odds as provided by 5Dimes.
Top Valued Favorite
It is only a matter of time before Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 Chevrolet get things back on track following a very slow start this season. The defending Cup series champion is buried in the standings with 109 total points following a five-race run that has only produced one Top-10 finish. Regardless of his current form, Johnson has been opened as a +650 third-favorite to quickly turn things around with a victory on Sunday, and I believe there is quite a bit of value in those odds given his track record at Martinsville. He has nine career victories here in a Cup series event, including in last season’s fall race that was instrumental in his title run.
Kevin Harvick is another one of NASCAR’s top drivers off to an unexpected slow start and his betting odds to turn things around this week with a victory have been set at +1150. The No. 4 Chevrolet has been limited to a pair of Top-10 runs through the first five events of the new season, but to its credit it has already led 342 laps this year. A late-race mistake cost the team the race at Atlanta, and it took another step in the right direction with a sixth-place finish at Phoenix. One of the main reasons for Harvick’s longer odds in this race is his recent struggles on the short track at Martinsville, but he did win this event in 2011.
Top Valued Long Shot
With a season-opening victory at Daytona, Kurt Busch immediately put his No. 41 Ford in excellent position for a title run this year. He followed it up with a respectable seventh-place finish at Atlanta, but this team has not been able to crack the Top 20 since. Busch’s odds to add a second checkered flag to this season’s resume with a victory at Martinsville are set long at +4400, but it might be worth the added risk with a small wager he actually wins. This is not one of Kurt’s favorite tracks with an average finishing position of 21.2, but you only have to go back to this event in 2014 to find the last time he won at Martinsville..
Odds To Win For Other Notable Drivers
Kyle Busch won this race last season, and he has been opened as one of two favorites at +550 odds to make it two in a row. The other driver at those odds is Denny Hamlin, who has won here five previous times. Following Johnson on the list is Brad Keselowski as a +750 fourth-favorite to win for the second time this season. Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. are set at +850 odds to win, and things drop off from there with Matt Kenseth joining Harvick at +1100. Last week’s winner Larson has +1350 odds this Sunday and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounds out the Top 10 drivers at +1650 betting odds.Talk NASCAR In Our Forum