Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Several Candidates to Win Saturday's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona; Might Be Junior's Turn

By Micah Roberts

For the NASCAR bettor, there is nothing more exhilarating than seeing fair odds listed by a sportsbook on a race with a theoretic hold of less than 30% -- well, maybe actually winning is better, but the fair odds treatment gets my juices flowing before the event even starts. That’s why I was beaming on Tuesday when I saw the odds released by the Las Vegas Hilton Super Book for this week’s race at Daytona; no driver was listed at lower than 10/1.

The three co-favorites this week at 10/ 1 are Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, and Kevin Harvick with four others listed at 12/1, and then three others at 15/1 before getting into the 20 to 1 range. There is a lot of value this week, but unlike most of the non-restrictor plate races this season, it truly is a crap shoot which is why the generous odds are plentiful.

What a transition we have seen in restrictor plate races in just a mere two seasons. For almost a decade, the restrictor plate races offered some of the lowest odds on the favorites because they became so predictable -- almost more so than road course races with Jeff Gordon when he was dominating. Between the run DEI had with Dale Earnhardt Jr and Michael Waltrip and Hendrick Motorsports with Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and even Brian Vickers, it was fairly easy to predict which led to the odds being very short.

You could pretty much just pick a Chevy to win at Daytona and be in good shape because from the fall of 1992 to the 2007 Daytona 500, a Chevy had won 22 of 30 races at Daytona. Beginning in the fall of 2007, we saw a massive switch in power that began the trend of uncertainty and led to such fair odds being given by the sports books for restrictor plate races. In the six races run since then, we have seen two different Fords and Toyotas win, a Dodge, and a Chevy win. The Chevrolet drought ended this year with Jamie McMurray winning this year’s Daytona 500.

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