Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Johnson favored at New Hampshire, Edwards offers best value at 20/1

Maybe another flip this week in store for Carl Edwards?
LAS VEGAS-- Perhaps Jimmie Johnson and his No. 48 team are so good to the core that they can just flip the switch when they set their minds to it. It felt like that Sunday night when they came home with a fifth-place finish at Chicago after experiencing four straight finishes of 28th or worse heading into the Chase.

While Johnson is the 9-to-2 favorite to win Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, he’s got company as the favorite on the LVH Super Book odds board as the 2-to-1 favorite to win NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Championship. Johnson actually had his odds raised from 3-to-2 last week, making him the co-favorite with Chase-leader Matt Kenseth.

The quick shift in Chase odds might seem a bit hasty after Johnson just brought in his second top-5 finish of the season on 1.5-mile tracks, but it’s on those types where Kenseth has thrived this season, winning four of the seven. And of the nine races remaining, four of them, Kansas, Charlotte, Texas and Homestead, will be on that style of track.

New Hampshire’s 1-mile flat layout should give Johnson a little bit of an edge over Kenseth this week though, which is why Kenseth is the co-second favorite at 7-to-1 to win along with Kyle Busch. Kenseth has never won at New Hampshire in 27 career starts, while Johnson has won there three times and has the second-best average finish (9.4) for his career among active drivers.

Busch won there in 2006 while driving for Hendrick Motorsports and his second-place finish in the July race was his best since then.

A great tool to handicap New Hampshire is by looking at what happened in previous races on similar tracks. Even though Phoenix, Richmond and New Hampshire have major differences, the one thing they share is being flat. Crew chiefs routinely bring the same chassis to all three tracks and it’s fairly common to see one or two drivers dominate a season on these types.

Through four races this season, consisting of two Richmond events and one each at Phoenix and New Hampshire, Carl Edwards has been the dominator. His only two wins on the season have come on these types and he’s the only driver to have top-10 finishes at all four this season. Yet Edwards has never won at New Hampshire, which is part of the reason he’s listed at very attractive 20-to-1 odds to win this week.

Brad Keselowski has finished sixth or better in the past four races on the 1-mile paper clip. He also finished fourth at both New Hampshire and Phoenix earlier in the season and is listed at 10-to-1 odds.

Kevin Harvick is a nice candidate to win this week at 12-to-1 odds because he’s already got an April Richmond win on his resume. He’s finished 13th or better in all four of races held on these types, and also had a magical 2006 season when he won four-of-the-six races.

Clint Bowyer is a two-time winner at New Hampshire, the first of which was his first Cup win ever in 2007. Of his eight career wins, four have come between New Hampshire and Richmond. He is still looking for his first win of this season, and if you think it’s this week, the LVH will give you 12-to-1.

Kurt Busch, a three-time winner, also comes in at 12-to-1. He was runner up at Richmond two weeks ago, and like Harvick, Busch went on a spree at the three similar tracks in 2004-2005, winning four times while driving for Jack Roush. In 2004, he swept New Hampshire and then went on to win NASCAR's first season with a playoff system.

We’ve seen Jeff Burton (60-to-1), Dale Earnhardt Jr (20-to-1), Tony Stewart (OUT), Ryan Newman (24-to-1) and Jimmie Johnson have strong runs at these tracks over their careers as well. But few have performed as consistently as Denny Hamlin (20-to-1), who won this race last season. Hamlin’s 8.8 average finish at New Hampshire is the best among all active drivers.

The biggest question with Hamlin is wondering what stage Toyota is at while using his No. 11 car as a guinea pig. He’s on a run of finishing 18th or worse over his last 13 races and Hamlin’s last top-5 finish was in Charlotte back on May 26.

Read More Here.........LVH Chase and New Hampshire Odds

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