NASCAR Sprint Cup Futures Odds and Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 8/4/2011
With the running of last Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis, the ‘Race to the Chase’ towards this year’s Sprint Cup title is heating up with just six races remaining until the start of NASCAR’s 10-race playoffs, which consists of the Top 10 drivers in the point standings plus, as an added new twist, two additional wildcard drivers based on total wins and/or points.
Bodog has just updated its futures’ odds for this year’s title so it is a perfect time to take a look at some of the top NASCAR Sprint Cup predictions in an effort to mine some value from the numbers.
It is no surprise that the driver that has won this title five years running is this year’s odds-on-favorite at 4/1 to add a sixth Sprint Cup title to his resume. This season has not been Jimmie Johnson’s most dominant performance on this circuit, but he has certainly done enough to put himself in perfect position to make a run in the Chase. Johnson’s sole victory this year was at Talladega in April, but he is currently second in the standings with 671 points, just 11 points out of the lead. While he has had trouble finding victory lane this year, he remains consistent with 12 Top-10 finishes in the first 20 races this season. At 4/1 the value is there, as this is one driver you do not want bet against with the title on the line.
Carl Edwards is having a career year in the Sprint Cup Series with 13 Top-10 finishes, including 10 in the Top 5. The current leader in the standings with 682 points has posted only one point-race victory this year, but his ability to stay in the hunt in just about every race makes him the second favorite to win the title at 9/2. He is no stranger to the pressures of competing in the Chase, with a fourth-place finish in the standings last season and a second-place finish in 2008. Edwards has qualified for the Chase in five of his six seasons on the circuit and remains a legitimate threat to end Johnson’s streak, but the value in his odds verses Johnson’s is not enough to jump ship on the No. 48 car.
The other favorite at 9/2 is NASCAR’s ‘bad boy’ Kyle Busch. It would be hard to argue that he is not one of the best drivers in the Sprint Cup series, and he has certainly backed this up with his performance this season. He is just one of two drivers with three victories this year, and he is currently fourth in the standings with 666 points, just 16 behind Edwards. The big question with Busch has been his past performance in the Chase itself. Last season he went into the final 10 races in fourth-place, but ended up eighth at the end of the season. In 2008 he was the point leader heading into the Chase and finished 10th in the final standings. Does Busch have the ability to break through his Chase slump and bring home the title? Yes, but at 9/2 the value is just not there to wager that he will.
The value pick for this year’s Sprint Cup title is Matt Kenseth at 9/1. His current form has been excellent, with 11 Top-10 finishes, including two victories and five other Top-5s. He is in perfect position in the standings to challenge for the title as he is tied for third with 666 points. He has the necessary experience and credentials to be able to seal the deal with a Sprint Cup title in 2003 already under his belt. Kenseth has been close a few times recently with a fourth-place finish in 2007 and a fifth-place finish last season.
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