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STP 400 Betting News and Notes

STP 400 Betting News and Notes

STP 400 Preview
By Micah Roberts
VegasInsider.com

You have to feel for Martin Truex Jr. because he just can’t seem to get a break. He’s got a great Michael Waltrip Racing car that produces top-flight Toyota horse power on the 1.5-mile tracks, but he’s had quite a few bad beats over the last two seasons that have stopped him from winning his first race since Dover in 2007.

Saturday night at Texas was another in a long line of bad beats for Truex Jr. With no more pit stops remaining and only 20 laps to go -- while running away from second-place Kyle Busch, Truex‘s old friend “Debris“ made an appearance on the track again and the caution flag flew. His 1.5 second lead was washed away and he was forced into the pits to get fresh tires like everyone else, but Busch‘s crew got the No. 18 car out first.

Busch, one of the best in the business on restarts, out-drag raced Truex Jr. for the lead and stayed there for the final 15 laps. Truex Jr. was so close, but so far away. Another sure win got away from the No. 56.

It was at Kansas, site of this week’s race, last year when some unexpected gremlins slowed Truex’s car -- while leading -- with 20 laps to go. Denny Hamlin made the pass, and then his car mysteriously came back to life. He almost chased down Hamlin for the win, but would have to settle for another runner-up position, 0.7 seconds behind from victory. He had led 173 of the 267 laps on the day.

In the fall Kansas race, Truex Jr. made a hard charging effort to catch Matt Kenseth but fell 0.54 seconds short. Another runner-up finish and another lost opportunity. If there’s any positives that can be spun out of it all, at least the team knows they’re capable of putting one of the fastest cars on 1.5-mile tracks. And this time around, they might finally get some of good type of luck instead of the bad type.

Kansas is a flatter track than the 1.5-mile tracks run already this season at Las Vegas and Texas, but the variable banking of 17-20 degrees in the turns make it run more similar to Las Vegas. Between what we saw in Las Vegas in March and last week at Texas -- and to an extent, Fontana, we have a lot data to go off to try and find who will be the fastest this week.

Or, to make things simple, you can just look at who won at the three down force tracks this season and simply state that a Joe Gibbs Toyota will win. Matt Kenseth won at Las Vegas and Kyle Busch won at Fontana and Texas.  Only two drivers have finished within the top-5 of all three -- Busch and Carl Edwards.

It’s apparent that the Toyota’s have a major edge over the rest of the field on these type of tracks in the new Gen-6 car and that edge doesn’t look to be challenged this week. In the case of Edwards’s Ford running so consistent, you can’t really say he was contender or a threat to win in any of top-5's. He simply managed to race hard in the later stages of the race, but his car wasn’t ever close to being as good as Busch’s.

If we look at past history at Kansas since it opened in 2001, it doesn’t come as surprise to see Jimmie Johnson right at the top with a track record average finish of eighth that includes two wins. Most of Johnson’s 62 wins have come of down force tracks and these are type that have made him a five-time Cup Champion. But on three tries this season -- on the type that has been his preference, he doesn’t have a top-5 yet. He finished sixth at both Las Vegas and Texas and was 12th at Fontana.

The second most successful driver at Kansas has been Greg Biffle with a 9.5 average finish and two wins, the last coming in 2010. Biflle was right there with Edwards last week at Texas -- finishing fourth, but you never had the feeling that he would have enough to pass either Toyota driven by Busch or Truex Jr.

Jeff Gordon won the first two races at Kansas, and looked to have the best of all non-Toyota’s at Texas until experiencing a broken hub with 25 laps to go that ended his night. He consistently ran in the top-5 all night which should give the team some confidence coming into Kansas. However, it’s worth noting that Gordon hasn’t cracked the top-10 in any of the three down force tracks yet.

Brad Keselowski is an interesting choice this week in his Penske Ford. He won at Kansas in 2010 and ran well in the final stages at Texas last week. Keselowski also ran well at Las Vegas with a third-place finish. He’s third best at Kansas with an average finish of 9.8.

Kenseth is on a streak of three straight top-5 finishes at Kansas, including his win last fall. Now with his switch to a Joe Gibbs Toyota, and a Vegas win already in his pocket, he should be considered one of the favorites to win this week, right up there with the favored Busch.

As for Busch himself, he’s got everything aligned in his favor this week except history. In 11 Kansas starts, he doesn’t have any top-5 finishes. He’s averaged a 21st-place finish over those races with his best finish of seventh coming in 2006. Between the roll Busch is on, which stems from the Chase last year, and the edge Toyota has in the Gen-6 car, we can throw history out the window. But it’s still knowledge to keep tucked away that might help sway you into a driver to win with better odds.

And that brings us back to Truex Jr. Before last season’s runner-ups at Kansas, he had never had a top-10 finish there. But of all the drivers, his 25/1 odds makes him a driver to at least put a little something on. His last win on any track came six years ago, which might scare a few away, but let’s hope for a feel-good story on Sunday with a driver that has a great car, some success on the track, and most of all, is well deserving of finally having a great moment.

Top-5 Finish Prediction:

1) #56 Martin Truex Jr. (25/1)
2) #20 Matt Kenseth (7/1)
3) #18 Kyle Busch (6/1)
4) #99 Carl Edwards (12/1)
5) #16 Greg Biffle (12/1)

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Re: STP 400 Betting News and Notes

Odds to win NASCAR Sprint Cup
By: The Linemakers   
Sportingnews.com

LAS VEGAS -- Jimmie Johnson is still the LVH SuperBook’s 3-to-1 favorite to win the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup title, but hard charging on the outside is Kyle Busch at 5-to-1, following his second win of the season last week at Texas. Busch has won two of the three races on down force tracks this season, and as we’ve seen in the past, drivers who fare the best on these types of tracks usually have the upper hand when it comes to winning the championship.

Johnson has thrived on 1.5-and 2-mile tracks over his career. His dominance on these tracks carried him to five straight Cup championships. But so far this season, Johnson has yet to crack the top five between Las Vegas, Fontana and Texas. Busch has finished in the top five at all three.

Of the 36 races run this season, 14 will be held on 1.5- or 2-mile tracks, which makes them the most important in the series. Five of the 10 races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup – NASCAR’s playoffs – will be run on these type of tracks.

We’ve yet to see Busch excel when it really counts in the Chase, but during the Chase last season – which he wasn’t part of – we saw top-five finishes out of him in seven of the 10 races. This season in the new Gen-6 car, he’s finished fourth or better at Las Vegas, Fontana and Texas. Johnson may have the points lead, but his team doesn’t have the new car figured out on the tracks that matter most, at least to its high standards.

Last year’s champion, Brad Keselowski, is listed next at 7-to-1, followed by Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne at 8-to-1. Keselowski is currently second in points and has finished in the top five four times in the first seven races, second best to Busch’s five.

Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are all posted at 12-to-1. Even though Edwards hasn’t had the look of a winner in any of the down force tracks, he’s still managed to finish in the top five of all them. Only he and Busch can say they have done so this season.

Along the same lines as Edwards is his teammate Greg Biffle, who has odds posted at 15-to-1. Biffle hasn’t wowed anyone with his finishes this season – one top five – but he’s been consistent and is currently fourth in the standings.

Two-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart looks to be having had the hardest time with the Gen-6 learning curve. He’s currently 22nd in points and has only one top-10 finish. The LVH has reacted and has him at 30-to-1 to win it all.

The major surprise on the LVH’s odds board is Denny Hamlin at only 20-to-1. He‘s expected to miss three more races with a back injury, but he still has an outside shot of making the Chase; he can get there if he’s within the top 20 in points after 26 races and has more wins than the drivers in 11th and 12th position. He should be back for the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, and from there, he will be driving like a bat out of hell with his only goal to capture wins.

Expect Hamlin to run well at the two Pocono races, both Michigan races, Indianapolis, New Hampshire, Dover, Atlanta, and then Richmond, one his favorites, in the final race before the Chase. His story will be a fun one to watch because he has such a different agenda than everyone else. If he makes the Chase, being part of the Joe Gibbs operation will serve him well on the tracks that require lots of horsepower.

ODDS TO WIN 2013 SPRINT CUP CHAMPIONSHIP


JIMMIE JOHNSON 3-1
KYLE BUSCH 5-1
BRAD KESELOWSKI 7-1
KASEY KAHNE 8-1
MATT KENSETH 8-1
JEFF GORDON 12-1
CARL EDWARDS 12-1
DALE EARNHARDT JR 12-1
CLINT BOWYER 15-1
GREG BIFFLE 15-1
DENNY HAMLIN 20-1
TONY STEWART 30-1
MARTIN TRUEX JR 30-1
KEVIN HARVICK 30-1
JOEY LOGANO 50-1
JAMIE McMURRAY 75-1
RYAN NEWMAN 100-1
KURT BUSCH 100-1
MARCOS AMBROSE 100-1
PAUL MENARD 100-1
JUAN MONTOYA 100-1
RICKY STENHOUSE JR 100-1
ARIC ALMIROLA 100-1
JEFF BURTON 500-1
DANICA PATRICK 2000-1
FIELD 200-1

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Re: STP 400 Betting News and Notes

NASCAR Sprint Cup Odds
By: Micah Roberts   
Sportingnews.com

LAS VEGAS - Jimmie Johnson may not have a top-five finish on any of the three down force track runs this season, but the LVH SuperBook still has him as the 6-to-1 favorite to win Sunday’s STP 400 at Kansas Speedway.

What Johnson does have going for him this week is history, as his has been the best on the 1.5-mile track since it opened in 2001. He has a track-best eighth-place average finish, and his two wins (2008, 2011) are tied with three other drivers for the most.

The next driver listed on the odds board is Kyle Busch at 7-to-1. Although Busch doesn’t have Johnson’s history at Kansas, he has been the best on the tracks most similar to this one this season. He’s never had a top five at Kansas in his 11 starts, but he finished in the top five at Las Vegas, Fontana and Texas, including winning at two of them.

Because of the new Gen-6 car, we don't put as much emphasis on history and focus more of what has happened in 2013. That suggests Busch should probably be the favorite. The Toyotas, especially from the Joe Gibbs stable, have dominated on these type of tracks this season, and no Ford or Chevy drivers have shown they are near the same plateau Toyota has consistently displayed.

Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and Kasey Kahne all come into Sunday’s race with 8-to-1 odds. Keselowski has a 9.8 average finish in Kansas, with a 2010 win to his credit, and he also ran very well and finished third at Las Vegas, a track that probably runs most similar to Kansas.

Kenseth won the fall race last season and has finished seventh or better in his last five starts at Kansas. He’s driving a Gibbs Toyota and should be considered live again this week. He also won at Las Vegas this season.

Greg Biffle is a two-time Kansas winner (2007, 2010) and is second behind Johnson for the top average finish there (9.5). He notched his first top five of the season last week at Texas, but has been steady everywhere else, which has carried him to fourth place in the Cup standings.

Kasey Kahne’s best Kansas finish came in 2011, when he was runner-up to Johnson. Last season he finished eighth and fourth at this track. Because he led the most laps at Las Vegas, he should be considered one of the top-contending Chevys this week.

The other Chevy that should run well is Jeff Gordon with odds at 12-to-1. He won the first two races ever at Kansas (2001, 2002), but more important is how he ran last week when he gave the Toyotas driven by Busch and Martin Truex Jr. all they could handle. However, with 20 laps to go, a broken hub sent Gordon to the showers early and relegated him to a 38th-place finish.

Another driver to pay close attention to is Truex, who finished second in both Kansas races last season. The LVH is right on top of it by offering odds of only 12-to-1; Truex has been in the 25-to-1 range weekly. He lost both races last season by a combined 1.2 seconds. He hasn’t won a race since Dover in 2007, but after mysterious debris led to a caution flag at Texas last week – while he was leading – he’s about ready for some things to go his way. If looking to take a chance on him this week, shop around for a better price.

Here’s a look the complete list of STP 400 odds offered by the LVH.

JIMMIE JOHNSON 6-1
KYLE BUSCH 7-1
BRAD KESELOWSKI 8-1
MATT KENSETH 8-1
GREG BIFFLE 8-1
KASEY KAHNE 8-1
CARL EDWARDS 12-1
JEFF GORDON 12-1
DALE EARNHARDT JR 12-1
MARTIN TRUEX JR 12-1
CLINT BOWYER 15-1
KEVIN HARVICK 15-1
TONY STEWART 20-1
BRIAN VICKERS 25-1
JOEY LOGANO 25-1
MARK MARTIN 40-1
ARIC ALMIROLA 40-1
KURT BUSCH 50-1
RICKY STENHOUSE JR 60-1
RYAN NEWMAN 75-1
PAUL MENARD 75-1
MARCOS AMBROSE 75-1
JAMIE McMURRAY 75-1
JUAN MONTOYA 100-1
ELLIOTT SADLER 100-1
JEFF BURTON 200-1
REGAN SMITH 300-1
DANICA PATRICK 500-1
CASEY MEARS 1000-1
FIELD 100-1

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Re: STP 400 Betting News and Notes

Driver's Tale of the Tape at Kansas


Greg Biffle (No. 16 ACE Brand Ford)

· Two wins, seven top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 9.5
· Average Running Position of 7.6, second-best
· Driver Rating of 113.0, second-best
· 202 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
· 650 Green Flag Passes, 13th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 163.872 mph, second-fastest
· Series-high 2,354 Laps in the Top 15 (89.9%)
· 435 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), second-most

Clint Bowyer (No. 15 5-Hour Energy Toyota)

· One top five, four top 10s
· Average finish of 14.0
· Driver Rating of 88.9, 13th-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 163.196 mph, 12th-fastest

Carl Edwards (No. 99 Aflac Ford)

· Four top fives, eight top 10s
· Average finish of 10.8
· Average Running Position of 13.0, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 95.1, sixth-best
· 115 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
· 723 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 163.343 mph, eighth-fastest
· 1,740 Laps in the Top 15 (66.5%), ninth-most
· 407 Quality Passes, fourth-most

Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet)

· Two wins, eight top fives, 10 top 10s
· Average finish of 11.0
· Average Running Position of 8.9, third-best
· Driver Rating of 101.5, fourth-best
· 99 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 163.720 mph, third-fastest
· 2,331 Laps in the Top 15 (89.0%), third-most
· 416 Quality Passes, third-most

Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet)

· One top five, six top 10s
· Average finish of 12.9
· Average Running Position of 13.2, ninth-best
· Driver Rating of 90.6, eighth-best
· 79 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
· Series-high 782 Green Flag Passes
· Average Green Flag Speed of 163.199 mph, 11th-fastest
· 1,754 Laps in the Top 15 (67.0%), seventh-most
· 358 Quality Passes, eighth-most

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's / KOBALT Tools Chevrolet)

· Two wins, five top fives, 11 top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 8.0
· Series-best Average Running Position of 7.2
· Series-best Driver Rating of 119.5
· Series-high 403 Fastest Laps Run
· 703 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most
· Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 164.270 mph
· 2,335 Laps in the Top 15 (89.2%), second-most
· Series-high 453 Quality Passes

Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Farmers Insurance 85th Anniversary Chevrolet)

· Two top fives, five top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 15.0
· Average Running Position of 14.3, 12th-best
· Driver Rating of 89.8, 11th-best
· 108 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
· 725 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 163.230 mph, 10th-fastest
· 1,651 Laps in the Top 15 (63.1%), 10th-most
· 338 Quality Passes, 10th-most

Matt Kenseth (No. 20 The Home Depot / Husky Toyota)

· One win, five top fives, eight top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 15.8
· Average Running Position of 10.1, fourth-best
· Driver Rating of 106.4, third-best
· 169 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 163.528 mph, fifth-fastest
· 2,104 Laps in the Top 15 (80.4%), fourth-most
· 353 Quality Passes, ninth-most

Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford)

· One win, two top fives, three top 10s
· Average finish of 9.8
· Average Running Position of 12.8, seventh-best
· Driver Rating of 90.1, 10th-best

Mark Martin (No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota)

· One win, two top fives, five top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 15.3
· Average Running Position of 12.4, sixth-best
· Driver Rating of 91.3, seventh-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 163.190 mph, 13th-fastest
· 1,777 Laps in the Top 15 (67.9%), sixth-most
· 289 Quality Passes, 13th-most

Tony Stewart (No. 14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet)

· Two wins, six top fives, nine top 10s
· Average finish of 11.7
· Average Running Position of 10.4, fifth-best
· Driver Rating of 100.8, fifth-best
· 137 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
· 668 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 163.537 mph, fourth-fastest
· 1,951 Laps in the Top 15 (74.5%), fifth-most
· 390 Quality Passes, fifth-most

Martin Truex Jr. (No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota)

· Two top fives, two top 10s
· Average finish of 20.9
· Average Running Position of 13.8, 10th-best
· Driver Rating of 90.5, ninth-best
· 104 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 163.378 mph, sixth-fastest
· 1,464 Laps in the Top 15 (62.3%), 13th-most

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Re: STP 400 Betting News and Notes

STP 400 Post-Practice Betting Notes
By: Micah Roberts
Sportingnews.com

If you had to take a double take when looking at Saturday's practice times from Kansas Speedway, you wouldn't be alone. It's been quite a while since we have actually seen an Earnhardt-Ganassi car have the look of a winner based on practice times, but between Juan Pablo Montoya being fastest in the early session and Jamie McMurray having the best 10-consecutive lap average in both practices, they should both hold their own in Sunday's STP 400.

In light of the penalties NASCAR assessed to the Penske drivers after last week's race at Texas, the initial reaction to seeing Montoya and McMurray so mysteriously fast is that they may be attempting some creative engineering, which is totally cool. This is a tough series and more power to the teams that stretch the boundaries of the rules.

McMurray hasn't been as good at any of the previous seven tracks this season, but he does find himself running consistently on a weekly basis, sitting 12th in points. The speed from Montoya is probability the biggest surprise. He has yet to finish in the top 10 of any race this season, and he's still sitting behind Denny Hamlin in points at 27th place.

It wasn't just McMurray and Montoya that made a huge impression. Part-time Penske Cup driver Sam Hornish Jr. blazed a trail on Saturday with the second-best 10-consecutive lap average behind McMurray. Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. all looked fast, as well. It was like a bizzaro practice day where most of the top drivers from the down-force tracks this season didn't shine as much.

Matt Kenseth won the fall race last season while driving the No. 17 Stenhouse Jr. is using and finished Saturday's happy hour with the fastest individual lap. Kenseth gets the top rating this week because of that lap and winning at Las Vegas, which is the most similar to Kansas' 17-20 degrees of variable banking.

Kyle Busch has never fared well at Kansas and didn't practice particularly well, but he's still been the best on these type of tracks this season. His Fontana and Texas wins give him a lot of creditability here.

Martin Truex Jr. ran well in practice and gives plenty of reasons that he might be in store for his first win since 2007 at Dover. He was unlucky last week with a second-place finish at Texas, and he finished second in both Kansas races last season.

There looks to be about 25 drivers that have a good chance of winning on Sunday, which shows that some of the teams that were behind on the Gen-6 car at Las Vegas, Fontana and Texas, are catching up fast. The 2003 Kansas winner, Ryan Newman, looks to be one of those drivers that could shock the series.

This has the look of being a race that a long shot could cash at high odds. The best advice is to have an open mind with futures this week and take a gamble on a few.

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