It’s been almost a month since I last penned a column for Frontstretch and while I much enjoyed writing my weekend preview column early this season, the time off brings about a change. From this point on, this space on the website every Friday morning will analyze the betting lines of each week’s Sprint Cup – and sometimes Nationwide Series – races for those of you who tend to bet NASCAR every once in a while.
All odds are taken from BetUS.com as of Thursday afternoon. Note that these odds tend to change throughout the weekend and what you see in this column may or may not be the odds you see at the time of your bet.
Without further ado here is the first edition of Bettin’ the Horsepower: Your No. 1 source for NASCAR betting information.
The Busch brothers own the bullring in Tennessee with a combined eight wins this decade. Kyle Busch has been the most recent king of the half-mile winning both races last season and finishing second in the fall Bristol race in 2008. Lil’ Busch can be had at 7/1 odds – not exactly the best odds in the world, but I’m believer in throwing down at least a few bucks on who you see as the favorite. Now I know the Gibbs trio has struggled this season so far, but don’t think they’ll be held down all season – Bristol is the perfect place for them to bounce back.
Kurt Busch hasn’t won at Bristol since 2006 and hasn’t shown anything close to the dominance that saw him in victory lane four out of five races between 2002 and 2004. Still the No. 2 comes off of a win at Atlanta two weeks ago and Busch certainly hasn’t forgotten how to drive the half-mile. At 12/1 odds he could be the right pick this weekend.
Play the odds
I really like the Childress guys at any track this year, but points leader Kevin Harvick (12/1) doesn’t have the recent track record at Bristol for me to bite at that money. Jeff Burton (12/1) can be had at the same odds, but like Harvick, is too inconsistent for me to put even a few bucks on. I actually like Clint Bowyer (12/1) more than his two teammates this weekend, but with just four top 10s in eight starts at the track I don’t like him at those odds.
The same goes for the Hendrick guys. All four have a shot to win – even Earnhardt – but I’m just not confident enough to throw a lot of money on Jimmie Johnson (9/1), Jeff Gordon (10/1), Mark Martin (10/1) or Dale Earnhardt Jr. (20/1). Watch the odds – and the practice sessions – as one of these four could easily assert himself as the favorite before the green flag on Sunday.
In any other season Denny Hamlin would be a great pick, but with a disastrous start to 2010 I don’t think many would like him at 7/1.
A guy I really like this weekend is Ryan Newman. Why? Because he was one of only two drivers to finish in the top 10 in all six short-track races last season. He can be had at 20/1 odds.
Long-shots worthy of a flier
For the same reason I like Kyle Busch and Hamlin, I REALLY like Joey Logano this week. The Gibbs cars have been solid each race at Bristol and Logano has been the strongest driver in the organization this season. Still, he can be had at 40/1 odds. To me, that’s too good to pass up.
Scott Speed, AJ Allmendinger and Brad Keselowski have had strong seasons thus far and can all be had at generous 80/1 odds. If I had to put the three in the order I like them I would go: Keselowski, Speed, Allmendinger.
In what I suspect to be a very entertaining race I like the older Busch brother this weekend. I know Kurt Busch had most of his success at the track under Jack Roush, but Penske’s No. 2 program is strong this season and his track record at the bull-ring speaks for itself.
Let’s take a brief look at this weekend’s Nationwide odds. I tend to refrain from offering advice with the series because it’s so darn hard. As you can see you can bet only seven Cup regulars at poor odds or bet the field at even worse odds. If you feel you can pick the winner, by all means go for it, but this is not the type of race to bet the odds. My prediction is: Joey Logano.
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