Thursday, July 15, 2010

Who Will Win NASCAR's Chase For The Championship and When To Bet

By Micah Roberts

The beauty about NASCAR’s current 10 race Chase for the Championship format is that not much changes throughout the season -- according to what the experts thought -- and the top drivers who were expected to be there likely will. From a betting stand point, the questions of when, where, why, and who to wager on to win the 2010 title presses on.

Is there any value on betting right now and if not, when should the wager be made? Obviously if liking Jimmie Johnson to win his unprecedented fifth straight NASCAR Championship, there may be more value on him if waiting a while. Who knows what will happen with him in the first few Chase races. He could possibly stumble during the run in similar fashion to what we saw during a seven race stretch following his Bristol win that saw him slide down to seventh in points.

The value of betting right now rests with those drivers whose odds are above 10/1 that can have a case made for them to run consistently over the final 10 race chase. When trying to figure out who those drivers are, you have to handicap all 10 races, right now. Who has shown they have what it takes to run well on the varied tracks of the Chase and who will be that driver that is part of an organization on the upswing.

Last year the Childress stable of drivers all ran terrific down the 10-race stretch. None of the four drivers were eligible for the Chase, but they turned things around quickly which set up for a great start to the 2010 season and has proven to be very successful with Kevin Harvick continuing to lead in points.

On the opposite end, Brian Vickers and his Red Bull team spent all the energy that they had within their organization in 2009 just to make the Chase. Once they qualified as one of the top-12 after several great runs to accumulate points, they stumbled badly in the Chase. Vickers slid back as far as possible with continuous poor runs. Who knew that something like a slide that bad could happen after being so strong, but it's a least something to consider when looking at drivers close to not making it this year who have high odds placed on them.

Through it all, Johnson was just too tough an obstacle to conquer for everyone else. All the tracks on the Chase schedule are tracks that Johnson has been NASCAR’s elite at. He owns more Chase wins than anyone by a wide margin and is mentally on top of his game like no one else. If waiting for Johnson to make the mistake to benefit someone else, you might be waiting for quite a while. The driver who could take the title from Johnson this year will have to do some extraordinary driving and likely go above what they have done at any juncture during the regular season.

In 2008 Carl Edwards had three Chase wins along with five other top-four finishes and still lost to Johnson thanks to mishaps at Talladega and Charlotte that saw him finish 29th and 33rd respectively. In any other era or time, Edwards would have won it all, but this is the Johnson era where it takes something real special to have a chance.

Here’s a look at the current top-12 in points, along with my predictions and updated odds to win the title courtesy of the Las Vegas Hilton Super Book. I do believe this will be the year that someone actually stops Johnson’s reign.

Read More Here Including Chase Predictions....

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