Friday, April 20, 2012

NASCAR Betting: Analyzing Kansas STP 400 Driver Matchups

By Frederic Crespi

With both practices in the books and qualifying set for early Saturday, the folks at Don Best ( have slotted this Sunday's driver vs. driver matchups.  Let's take a look at what we can expect to see once the prices on these matchups come out sometime late Saturday or early Sunday morning.  I will quote my prices on these matchups based upon a 30 cent line (-150 favorite = +120 underdog).

Crespi thinks Johnson should be -160 favorite vs Stewart
#48 Jimmie Johnson vs. #14 Tony Stewart: Based upon momentum and track history, Johnson has to not only be favored, but most likely over-priced in my opinion. Stewart and his team will right whatever went wrong last week at Texas for sure, but this is Johnson’s race.  Johnson as a -160 favorite here.

#14 Tony Stewart vs. #17 Matt Kenseth: We can't expect last week's performance by Stewart to indicate a sign of similar finishes. But I really do like the chances of Kenseth, therefore, I would make Kenseth a -120 to -125 favorite.

#17 Matt Kenseth vs. #16 Greg Biffle: Ok…yeah, I like Kenseth this week to run well and contend for the win. But, as hot and fast as "The Biff" has been so far, he has to be favored here, and most likely over-favored in my opinion.  Biffle should start out as a -150 favorite.

#16 Greg Biffle vs. #29 Kevin Harvick: Well, if Biffle should be at least -150 over Kenseth, he has to be a touch higher over Harvick right? It's tough to give Harvick and his team +130 or more, but Biffle has been just that good.  Biffle as a -165 favorite here.

#29 Kevin Harvick vs. #99 Carl Edwards: I rank both of these driver’s chances pretty even this weekend, but I like the "hometown" angle that Edwards has.  Roush has been fast, and it's time for Edwards to get himself some on Sunday.  Edwards as a -145 favorite here.

#99 Carl Edwards vs. #24 Jeff Gordon: This seems a little closer to me than the previous matchup, but based upon how well Gordon has run at this track and the likelihood that Hendrick has a grabbing their 200th victory, I think that Edwards should be favored, but barely.  Edwards as a -120 favorite in this one.

#24 Jeff Gordon vs. #18 Kyle Busch: Kyle looked pretty good in today’s first practice, but Gordon should still be favored in this battle. Busch is likely to break out very soon though.  Gordon as a -130 favorite here.

#18 Kyle Busch vs. #2 Brad Keselowski: Now this is a very intriguing matchup.  Both have run well at times this season, but both have arguably been a touch disappointing as well.  We can’t dismiss the Miller Lite’s 1st and 3rd place finishes here last year either.  Busch as a very very slight favorite of -120 in this matchup.

#2 Brad Keselowski vs. #11 Denny Hamlin: Well, if Kyle is -115, then his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate should be just a touch higher based upon his more consistent top 12 performance so far this year.  Hamlin -125 here.

#11 Denny Hamlin vs. #5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne is fast again this weekend so far, but we all know where that has gotten us if backing him on a weekly basis. Call me a sucker, but I like this Farmer’s car this week to finish in the top 10. With that said, this matchup is pretty much as a pk ‘em as it gets. Each driver at -115.

#5 Kasey Kahne vs. #88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.: We got ourselves a Hendrick Motorsports battle here.  Junior has been much more consistent in terms of finishes this year, and he looks more focused on points than wins in my opinion.  This is another pk ‘em up matchup. Both should finish in the top 10.

#88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. vs. #15 Clint Bowyer: This sure looks like yet another even matchup to me.  But, although Bowyer and MWR have been really good this year, there is no reason not to make the Mountain Dew car a favorite.  Not by much, but Junior at -130.

#15 Clint Bowyer vs. #55 Mark Martin: And another battle of teammates in this one….I’m pretty equal on both of these drivers chances (would make both their finish positions at 12½) but let’s once again go with the “hometown” angle and make Bowyer a -120 favorite.

Martin Truex Jr is on verge of winning a race soon (Getty)
#55 Mark Martin vs. #56 Martin Truex, Jr.: Come on now…again with this teammate angle? Ok, it makes sense, but once we dig a little deeper, Truex looks to be on the verge of a win.  This driver and team are really dialed in so far, so Martin Truex, Jr. has to be at least -145 in my opinion.

#55 Martin Truex, Jr. vs. #39 Ryan Newman: Truex has simply been much more consistent so far this year. If this price comes any less than -150 (and I hate laying juice) I will be all over this.  Truex, Jr. at -175 at least.

#39 Ryan Newman vs. #22 A.J. Allmendinger: Now, this is a really interesting matchup for me. I love how the Pennzoil Dodge ran here last year with Kurt Busch behind the wheel, and I love the angle of Keselowski winning his first race for Penske at this race last June.  However, based upon season performance, Newman should be the favorite…just not that large of one. Newman -130 at the very most.

#22 A.J. Allmendinger vs. #31 Jeff Burton: Hey, I love “The Mayor” as much as anyone, but this one looks like a mismatch in my opinion.  I believe Burton and this team will get it straight (Hello Talladega!), but they should be a dog in this matchup.  The Dinger at -130 at least.

#16 Greg Biffle vs. #2 Brad Keselowski: This one is sure interesting insn’t it? The hottest driver in the Sprint Cup Series vs. the previous spring/summer Kansas winner.  Based upon the first 7 races, Biffle should be a prohibitive favorite.  If “The Biff” should be -150 over Kenseth and -165 over Harvick, where does this number go to? Can’t be much more, but Biffle should open at -180.

#29 Kevin Harvick vs. #11 Denny Hamlin: This is pretty simple here really.  This is yet another pk ‘em up matchup this weekend, as both drivers are likely to finish in the top 12.  I would lean to Harvick only because of last week’s performance by both drivers.  Harvick as a -130 favorite.

#17 Matt Kenseth vs. #99 Carl Edwards: And yet another very tough matchup to handicap.  Kenseth has been much more consistent this year and warrants being the favorite here. But not by my much at all.  Let’s go with Kenseth -125 in this matchup.

#48 Jimmie Johnson vs. #18 Kyle Busch: On paper, this looks like a complete mismatch. Johnson is seriously on the verge of a victory if his last few races are any indication, and Kyle and his team (outside of Fontana) haven’t been very good.  Johnson -180 at least here.

#55 Mark Martin vs. A.J. Allmendinger: Talk about a rough matchup to figure out…I’m pretty sure most believe Martin should be the easy favorite here, but as I mentioned earlier, I really like this 22 car this week.  Opinions aside, Martin should come around the -140 to -150 chalk this week.

#88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. vs. #39 Ryan Newman: Humm….You gotta lean to Jr. in this one as he consistently finds his way into the top 10 and higher.  Price wise, Dale Jr. will most likely come higher than he should be, but he should be no higher than -150.

# 55 Martin Truex, Jr. vs. #31 Jeff Burton: They still have to race the race on Sunday, but this one looks like the Kentucky Five playing against Austin Peay.  This shouldn’t be close based upon the results so far this year.. Truex Jr., -180 at the very least.

#14 Tony Stewart vs. #18 Kyle Busch: And another “wow” matchup! Kyle and his JGR team will get it together, and last week’s performance by the Stewart-Haas crew was an aberration. With the two W’s at Vegas and Fontana, you have to favor Stewart for sure, but I wouldn’t bet this one at all, unless anyone of these guys are +130 or better. Unlikely to say the least, so let’s go with Stewart -140 at the very most.

Have a great race everyone!

Frederic Crespi has been in the Las Vegas sports book industry since 1994. His favorite sport to bet on is NASCAR and the prices listed above are his opinion on what the rotation matchup odds should be. His betting notes will be available weekly after the final practices. 

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