Tuesday, October 29, 2013

LVH surprisingly tabs Johnson as favorite to win 2013 AAA Texas 500

This weeks favorites: Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch
LAS VEGAS - Matt Kenseth really shook things up on the Sprint Cup odds board at the LVH SuperBook with his career-best second-place finish at Martinsville last week. Jimmie Johnson had a slim four-point lead in the Chase over Kenseth, but it was his career dominance on the half-mile track that had him as a giant -300 favorite to win his sixth Sprint Cup title. That was supposed to be a race where Johnson separated himself from Kenseth, a driver that had always been just average at Martinsville.

Now, with things all tied up and three races to go, Johnson is only a -140 favorite with Kenseth at +110 to win the Championship. Technically, Kenseth is actually leading in points because the first tie-breaker is season wins, of which Kenseth has seven and Johnson five. Tony Stewart proved in 2011 that the tie-breaker can be huge.

When looking at the final three races of the Chase, starting with the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday, there looks to be some value with Kenseth because two of those three races are on 1.5-mile tracks. Kenseth has four wins on the nine 1.5-mile tracks this season while Johnson doesn't have any.

However, despite Johnson having only three top-5 finishes on 1.5-mile tracks this season, the LVH has posted Johnson as the 7-to-2 favorite to win on Sunday, with Kenseth the second choice at 4-to-1. Both have two career wins on the track. Over the past 20 Texas races, Kenseth has a 6.8 average finish while Johnson's is 9.1.

Johnson won this race last fall, but it's apparent that the No. 48 team hasn't completely figured out the new Gen-6 car on these types of tracks this season, resulting in zero wins. The same can be said for the rest of the Hendrick Motorsports cars on 1.5-mile tracks, while Joe Gibbs Racing has won six of the nine races.

We could assume that Johnson's team is getting better as he's had top-5 finishes on two of the last three races at 1.5-mile tracks (Chicago and Charlotte), but the only thing concrete and bankable is JGR with their six wins, four coming from Kenseth.

The one thing Johnson has going for him, not only this week at Texas, but also at Phoenix and Homestead, is that he's as cool as they come in these situations. Kenseth showed some moxie last week at Martinsville that surprised a lot of us, but in past Chases, we've only seen Kenseth fail. With Johnson, we've seen him win it all five times. The big difference from all five of his championship seasons and now is that he was the dominant force at 1.5-mile tracks.

Kyle Busch rolled rather easily in the first Texas race this season. He started from the pole and led 171 of 334 laps en route to his first career win there. This week he's listed at 5-to-1 odds. Another reason to like Busch Sunday is that he won on Texas' sister track at Atlanta in early September. Of all the 1.5-mile tracks, Atlanta and Charlotte resemble Texas' high banks the most.

On the same note as Kyle Busch, we also have to consider Kevin Harvick, who is listed at 12-to-1 odds. Harvick won at Charlotte in May and also at the flatter Kansas layout on Oct. 6. On the year, he has three wins and sits in fourth-place, 28-points back in the standings. Brad Keselowski is 12-to-1 this week, and the thing to like most about him is that he won on the last 1.5-mile track raced on. His Charlotte win three weeks ago was his first of the season, but it's obvious that the Penske Racing team may have found something missing to make them faster on this type of track.

A driver that has been fast on this type of track all season but has yet to capture a win is Kurt Busch, who comes in at 20-to-1 odds. Before finishing 14th at Charlotte, Busch had a string of five straight finishes of sixth or better on 1.5-mile tracks.

Read More Here.....LVH Texas odds and updated Sprint Cup odds

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