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Kobalt Tools 400 Betting News and Notes
Kobalt Tools 400 Betting News and Notes
Las Vegas Motor Speedway Data
Season Race #: 3 of 36 (3-9-14)
Track Size: 1.5-miles
Banking/Turns 1 & 2: 20 degrees
Banking/Turns 3 & 4: 20 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 9 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 9 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 2,275 feet
Backstretch Length: 1,572 feet
Race Length: 267 laps / 400.5 miles
Top 10 Driver Ratings at Las Vegas
Jimmie Johnson 112.3
Jeff Gordon 103.8
Tony Stewart 103.4
Greg Biffle 103.0
Kyle Busch 102.8
Carl Edwards 98.8
Matt Kenseth 98.7
Kevin Harvick 94.8
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 88.2
Kasey Kahne 87.7
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (nine total) among active drivers at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
2013 pole winner: None Due to Inclement Weather
2013 race winner: Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 146.287 mph, (2:44:16), 3-10-13
Track qualifying record: Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 190.456 mph, 28.353 secs., 3-09-12
Track race record: Mark Martin, Ford, 146.554 mph, (2:43:58), 3-01-98
Re: Kobalt Tools 400 Betting News and Notes
Las Vegas Driver Tale of the Tape
Greg Biffle (No. 16 Red Cross Ford)
· Two top fives, six top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 13.8
· Average Running Position of 10.7, fourth-best
· Driver Rating of 103.0, fourth-best
· 150 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
· 483 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 170.361 mph, fourth-fastest
· 1,754 Laps in the Top 15 (72.4%), fifth-most
· 270 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), seventh-most
Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Toyota)
· One win, four top fives, five top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 14.7
· Average Running Position of 10.3, third-best
· Driver Rating of 102.8, fifth-best
· 110 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
· 500 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 170.333 mph, sixth-fastest
· Series-high 1,904 Laps in the Top 15 (78.5%)
· Series-high 358 Quality Passes
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Mountain Dew Kickstart Chevrolet)
· Two top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 15.6
· Average Running Position of 14.9, 12th-best
· Driver Rating of 88.2, ninth-best
· 90 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
· 532 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 169.982 mph, eighth-fastest
· 1,590 Laps in the Top 15 (65.6%), eighth-most
· 284 Quality Passes, sixth-most
Carl Edwards (No. 99 Aflac Ford)
· Two wins, four top fives, five top 10s
· Average finish of 9.7
· Average Running Position of 11.6, fifth-best
· Driver Rating of 98.8, sixth-best
· 155 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
· 571 Green Flag Passes, second-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 170.031 mph, seventh-fastest
· 1,768 Laps in the Top 15 (72.9%), fourth-most
· 344 Quality Passes, second-most
Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet)
· One win, six top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 15.4
· Average Running Position of 10.0, second-best
· Driver Rating of 103.8, second-best
· 177 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
· 491 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 170.356 mph, fifth-fastest
· 1,870 Laps in the Top 15 (77.1%), second-most
· 334 Quality Passes, third-most
Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John's Chevrolet)
· Three top fives, five top 10s
· Average finish of 12.7
· Average Running Position of 11.7, sixth-best
· Driver Rating of 94.8, eighth-best
· 60 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
· 521 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 169.944 mph, ninth-fastest
· 1,680 Laps in the Top 15 (69.3%), seventh-most
· 267 Quality Passes, eighth-most
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet)
· Four wins, five top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 9.5
· Series-best Average Running Position of 9.6
· Series-best Driver Rating of 112.3
· Series-high 316 Fastest Laps Run
· 499 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most
· Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 170.622 mph
· 1,825 Laps in the Top 15 (75.3%), third-most
· 311 Quality Passes, fourth-most
Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet)
· Three top fives, five top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 14.0
· Average Running Position of 14.3, ninth-best
· Driver Rating of 87.7, 10th-best
· 88 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most
· 539 Green Flag Passes, third-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 169.550 mph, 11th-fastest
· 1,498 Laps in the Top 15 (61.8%), 10th-most
· 245 Quality Passes, 11th-most
Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota)
· Three wins, six top fives, seven top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 11.6
· Average Running Position of 14.4, 10th-best
· Driver Rating of 98.7, seventh-best
· 193 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 170.475 mph, second-fastest
· 1,551 Laps in the Top 15 (64.0%), ninth-most
· 253 Quality Passes, ninth-most
Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford)
· One top 10
· Average finish of 14.0
· Average Running Position of 14.7, 11th-best
· Driver Rating of 83.1, 12th-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 169.343 mph, 12th-fastest
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Zest Ford)
· Average finish of 18.0
· Average Running Position of 12.9, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 83.5, 11th-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 169.856 mph, 10th-fastest
Tony Stewart (No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet)
· One win, six top fives, nine top 10s
· Average finish of 12.7
· Average Running Position of 11.8, seventh-best
· Driver Rating of 103.4, third-best
· 187 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
· 501 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 170.371 mph, third-fastest
· 1,733 Laps in the Top 15 (71.5%), sixth-most
· 298 Quality Passes, fifth-most
Re: Kobalt Tools 400 Betting News and Notes
Kobalt 400 Preview
By Micah Roberts
My favorite time of the year in Las Vegas is finally here. Yes, it’s March Madness, but for a few gear heads like myself, that means more than college basketball. It means Las Vegas NASCAR weekend is upon us. It means thousands of wonderfully colored jackets and t-shirts walking up and down the street with pockets full of cash that have combined to bring in over a billion dollars into the local economy since NASCAR first started coming to Las Vegas in 1998.
We have different vibes throughout the year in Las Vegas. New Year's Eve is always a rocking event, but it’s one where most of the locals stay home. The National Finals Rodeo take over the city in December, and while there is nothing more entertaining than hearing the hootin’ and hollerin’ at a backjack table with six intoxicated cowboys, it still is more about everyone else other than locals.
During the Las Vegas NASCAR week, this is something we -- as Las Vegans -- can call our own. We don’t have a pro sports franchise, but the week is something everyone in Las Vegas can call our own. And it’s not so much about the race itself, but rather the buzz of the event itself that makes it so invigorating. When I see those haulers carrying all those stock cars come down the strip on Thursday (Wednesday this year), I get a chill.
It’s an event unlike any other we have in Las Vegas because it‘s for the residents in Las Vegas as well as the thousands that fill every room in town. With over 140,000 seats available at the track, there is enough room for the locals to be just as big a presence as our valued guests. And the people that do choose to make Las Vegas their NASCAR destination of choice are some of the favorites of those working in tipping categories.
The moans and groans from bartenders, cocktail waitresses and bellmen can be heard up and down the strip when conventions like CES, Comdex, and the Magic show come to town with their thrift nature. Those guys are here for business -- and strippers -- but the NASCAR crowd is the perfect mix of family, vacationers and best of all, gamblers.
If we could only have two races a year!
The gambling aspect takes on a whole new level at the sportsbooks because this is the only time of the year where fans visiting from outside the state can make a legal wager before going to a race. The Las Vegas race is the highest handled race of the season for every book. They‘ll write more than two times the volume in wagers that they take on the next highest handled event, the Daytona 500, a race that has two months of action built up from the off-season.
Because of so much NASCAR handle and so much demand, the books go all out to give the bettors what they want and offer Super Bowl style propositions. Bettors will be able to bet just about anything that happens on the NASCAR final results sheet from cautions, lap leaders to number of cars on the lead lap when the checkered flag flies.
Despite all the propositions and matchups, the main betting option is still choosing the driver to win, so I’ll offer a couple of drivers to consider with a huge emphasis placed on last season when seven of the 11 1.5-mile races were won by Joe Gibbs Racing drivers. There are a few aero changes that may alter what we saw last year, but fast is still fast, and the JGR cars should all be expected to be very fast, including last years Las Vegas winner Matt Kenseth.
Having built up JGR, I would be remised if I didn’t mention the Penske duo of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, two drivers that came on strong in the final three 1.5-mile races of 2013. Keselowski won at Charlotte and then was sixth each at Texas and Homestead. He also finished third in last years Vegas race. Both drivers were super strong at Phoenix last week, and while Phoenix and Vegas don’t correlate, they both look like they are on the upswing, and both will offer far better odds than four-time Vegas winner Jimmie Johnson, who will once again be the favorite.
Practice will be a major factor in determining who is going to win, and all your wagers should not be completed until then. On Thursday, the teams will have a test session and then run through the regular drill of practices and qualifying on Friday and Saturday. But the best value lies within the numbers right, so go ahead and take a shot with a few before we know the entire story with how fast some of the drivers really are.
As of now, it's Miller Lite's for everyone in the grandest Vegas party of all!
Enjoy the city everyone, including the locals who help make this the most successful event of the NASCAR season.
Top-5 Finish Prediction:
1) #2 Brad Keselowski (10/1)
2) #18 Kyle Busch (10/1)
3) #48 Jimmie Johnson (7/1)
4) #20 Matt Kenseth (15/2)
5) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (10/1)
Re: Kobalt Tools 400 Betting News and Notes
#1-Jamie McMurray: chassis not reported on race preview.
#2-Brad Keselowski: Primary Chassis: PRS-859. Last Raced - New Chassis. Backup Chassis: PRS-840. Last Raced - New Chassis
#3-Austin Dillon: will pilot Chassis No. 451 in the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This is a new Chevrolet SS that will be utilized for the first time this weekend.
#4-Kevin Harvick: will pilot Chassis No. 4-843 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Sunday's Kobalt 400. Built new for 2014, Chassis 4-843 will see its first laps of competition this weekend.
#5-Kasey Kahne: Crew chief Kenny Francis and the No. 5 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-829 this weekend in Vegas. This is a new car.
#7-Michael Annett: chassis not reported on race preview.
#9-Marcos Ambrose: chassis not reported on race preview.
#10-Danica Patrick: Chassis No. 10-828 was used for the first time in November 2013 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where Patrick started 24th and finished 20th. Patrick will also test the car at Las Vegas Thursday afternoon.
#14-Tony Stewart: Chassis No. 14-848: This is a brand new racecar that has never turned a wheel on the racetrack. It has, however, visited the wind tunnel numerous times.
#16-Greg Biffle: Primary Chassis: RK-879 Brand new chassis. Backup Chassis: RK-844 Last ran Dover - finished 9th
#17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: The #17 team is bringing a brand new chassis (RK- 882) for the first intermediate track of the season. The back-up chassis (RK-860) was raced mulitple times by Stenhouse last season, including Texas where he finished 16th.
#20-Matt Kenseth: chassis not reported on race preview.
#22-Joey Logano: Primary Chassis PRS-863. Last Raced: New chassis. Backup Chassis - PRS-844. Last Raced: Backup chassis at several races (never raced)
#24-Jeff Gordon: #24 crew chief Alan Gustafson has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-830 for this Sunday's KOBALT 400. The only other event where Gordon drove this chassis was the 2013 season finale at Homestead. Then, he started 26th and finished 11th at the 1.5-mile track.
#27-Paul Menard: will pilot chassis No. 454 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend. This No. 27 Chevrolet SS is a new addition to the Richard Childress Racing stable for the 2014 season.
#31-Ryan Newman: will drive chassis No. 456 in Sunday's Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This No. 31 Chevrolet SS is brand new and will take to the track for the first time on Thursday when NASCAR holds a test session at the 1.5-mile speedway.
#34-David Regan: chassis not reported on race preview.
#35-Blake Koch: chassis not reported on race preview.
#38-David Gilliland: chassis not reported on race preview.
#42-Kyle Larson: chassis not reported on race preview.
#43-Aric Almirola: chassis not reported on race preview.
#47-A.J. Allmendinger: chassis not reported on race preview.
#48-Jimmie Johnson: Knaus has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 48-824 for Las Vegas. Johnson drove this car to a sixth-place result last October at Kansas Speedway. The backup car for Vegas is Chassis No. 48-784 which Johnson raced three times in 2013, including to Victory Lane in the All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
#51-Justin Allgaier: chassis not reported on race preview.
#55-Brian Vickers: Primary 801 and backup 803. Neither chassis has raced.
#66-Jeff Burton: Primary 796 & backup 779 - Neither chassis has raced.
#78-Martin Truex Jr.: chassis not reported on race preview.
#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.: This weekend, crew chief Steve Letarte and the No. 88 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-822. Earnhardt most recently raced this car to a third-place finish at the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway last November.
#95-Michael McDowell: will pilot Chassis No. PRS-847 in the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This Ford Fusion is new to the Wally Rogers-led team.
#99-Carl Edwards: Primary chassis RK-880 is a new chassis. Backup chassis RK-861 was last used in 2013 as a backup in Homestead and as a primary in Kansas last October finishing fifth.
Re: Kobalt Tools 400 Betting News and Notes
Driver Handicaps: Las Vegas
By: Jeff Wackerlin
To assist in making your fantasy racing picks, MRN.com's Jeff Wackerlin breaks down all the stats and information to help steer you toward Sunday's Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Who's HOT at Las Vegas
• Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards are the only drivers with multiple wins in the seven races on the current track configuration, with two each.
• Matt Kenseth is the defending race winner, taking the first victory at the track with the Gen-6 car in his first track start with Joe Gibbs Racing.
• Kevin Harvick (11.7) and Greg Biffle (12.0) each rank in the top five among all drivers in average finish on the new track configuration.
• Tony Stewart, the 2012 winner, has posted an average finish of 5.3 in his last four starts.
• Series points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. has finished in the top 10 in his last three starts.
Who to Keep an Eye On at Las Vegas
• Brad Keselowski, a winner at Charlotte Motor Speedway last fall, finished third at Las Vegas last season for his first top-20 finish at the track.
• Kasey Kahne, who led 114 laps and finished second at Las Vegas last season, ranked third among all drivers in laps led on 1.5-mile tracks in 2013 with 413.
• Clint Bowyer, who was among the fastest in Thursday's test session, ended the 2013 season with consecutive top 10s on 1.5-mile tracks.
• Kyle Busch, a two-time winner on 1.5-mile tracks last season, finished fourth last year for his first top 10 at Las Vegas since winning in 2009.
• Joey Logano posted a 6.8 average finish in the nine races where he was running at the finish on 1.5-mile tracks in 2013.
• Jeff Gordon has led the most laps in the seven races on the current Las Vegas configuration, but has yet to finish in the top 10 in three starts with crew chief Alan Gustafson.
• Denny Hamlin was the last driver to win on a 1.5-mile track, at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November 2013.
• Ryan Newman, who will make his first track start with Richard Childress Racing, saw a streak of two consecutive top fives at Las Vegas come to an end last season because of an engine issue. Kurt Busch, who posted a 13.0 average finish on 1.5-mile tracks last season, will make his first track start with Newman's old team, Stewart-Haas Racing.
Note: Sprint Cup teams will run the same combination of left- and right-side tires that they have competed with at Las Vegas since 2012. Jimmie Johnson has posted the best average finish (4.0.) in that span while Tony Stewart has led the most laps (127).
MRN.com Staff Picks
Jeff Wackerlin: Joey Logano
Pete Pistone: Matt Kenseth
Dustin Long: Kevin Harvick
John Singler: Matt Kenseth
Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by current standings
(All stats/notes are in regards to Las Vegas Motor Speedway unless noted)
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Coming off third consecutive top 10; Led 70 laps and finished 10th in 2012; Has recorded five top 10s and has yet to finish worse than 16th in six starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Posted a 15.8 average finish and five top 10s last season in the 11 races with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 822) that he finished third with at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Brad Keselowski: Coming off first top 10 (third) in five starts; Posted a 14.5 average finish, one win and seven top 10s last season in the 11 races with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 859) in the Kobalt 400.
Jeff Gordon: Leads all drivers with 370 laps led in the seven races on the current track configuration; Posted a 17.3 average finish and three top 10s last season in the 11 races with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 830) that he finished 11th with at Homestead-Miami Speedway last fall.
Kevin Harvick: Fourth among all drivers in average finish (11.7) in the seven races on the current track configuration; Won two races and ranked second among all drivers in average finish (7.5) last season in the 11 races with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 843) in the Kobalt 400.
Jimmie Johnson: Two-time winner and third among all drivers in average finish (11.3) in the seven races on the current track configuration; Won one race and ranked third among all drivers in average finish (9.0) and first in laps led (688) last season in the 11 races with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 824) that he finished sixth with at Kansas Speedway last October.
Joey Logano: 14.0 average finish in five starts; Finished 12th last season in first track start with Team Penske; Ranked sixth among all drivers in average finish (12.5) in the 11 races last year with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 844) in Sunday's race.
Matt Kenseth: Won this race last season in first track start with Joe Gibbs Racing; 15.1 average finish in the seven races on the current track configuration; Led all drivers in wins (4) and average finish (5.7) in the 11 races last year with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks.
Denny Hamlin: Tied for sixth among all drivers in average finish (13.6) in the seven races on the current track configuration; 17.5 average finish in two track starts with crew chief Darian Grubb; Last to win on a 1.5-mile track, Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Carl Edwards: Leads all drivers with a 6.7 average finish in the seven races on the current track configuration; Winner of the 2008 and 2011 races; Ranked 10th among all drivers in average finish (13.6) in the 11 races last year with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 880) in the Kobalt 400.
Greg Biffle: Finished 17th in this event last season; Fifth among all drivers in average finish (12.0) in the seven races on the current track configuration; Is debuting a new car (chassis No. 879) this weekend.
Jamie McMurray: 18.0 average finish in the seven races on the current track configuration; Finished eighth in 2012 and has posted a 10.5 average finish in last two starts: Recorded an average finish of 16.6 last season in the 11 races with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks.
Casey Mears: Recorded an average finish of 27.3 last season in the 11 races with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Recorded an average finish of 18.6 last season in the 11 races with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 882) in the Kobalt 400.
Kyle Busch: Posted one win and a 14.4 average finish in the seven races on the current track configuration; Won two races and ranked ninth among all drivers in average finish (13.5) last season in the 11 races with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks.
Ryan Newman: Recorded an average finish of 15.1 and six top 10s last season in the 11 races with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 456) in Sunday's race.
Austin Dillon: Posted an average finish of 23.8 in five Cup starts last season on 1.5-mile tracks; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 451) in the Kobalt 400.
Marcos Ambrose: Recorded an average finish of 16.8 last season in the 11 races with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will debut a new car for Sunday's race.
Kasey Kahne: 13.7 average finish in the seven races on the current track configuration; Ranked fifth among all drivers in average finish (10.1) and third in laps led (413) in the 11 races last year with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 829) in the Kobalt 400.
Reed Sorenson: Making first track start since 2009; 30.8 average finish in four starts.
Tony Stewart: Posted one win and a 13.9 average finish in the seven races on the current track configuration; Recorded an average finish of 16.0 last season in five starts with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 848) in the Kobalt 400.
Re: Kobalt Tools 400 Betting News and Notes
Kobalt Tools 400 Post Practice Betting Notes
By: Micah Roberts
LAS VEGAS – Jimmie Johnson was the easy 7-to-1 favorite coming into this week's Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and based on the way he practiced during Saturday's final sessions, bettors can expect those odds to be long gone when re-adjusted by the sports books. The four-time Vegas winner showed speed in mock qualifying trim on Friday, posting the third-fastest speed. He qualified fifth and was fourth and seventh fastest, respectively, on Saturday.
The biggest indicator that Johnson will be flexing his Vegas muscles again Sunday was that he had the best 10-consecutive lap average speeds in the final session when every team was trying to find the most speed possible on long runs. Las Vegas races have always been about those who are faster than others on the latter half of green-flag runs, and the 10-consecutive lap average is the best barometer of all to show who will be best in those situations.
Most teams are using new chassis this week, but Johnson is using the same car that finished sixth at Kansas last season. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was ninth fastest in the final session, is using the same chassis that finished third in the season finale at Homestead last season.
However, it's apparent that everything from last season means little in 2014. There is no better example than looking at the three drivers in the Joe Gibbs Racing stable. Last season they combined to win on seven of the 11 1.5-mile tracks, and they were fast in every practice leading to those wins. During practice sessions on Friday and Saturday, the JGR cars looked lost and unexpectedly slow.
Denny Hamlin had the fastest lap among the JGR cars, but it was only 16th best among all the cars during happy hour. Last year's Vegas winner Matt Kenseth could only muster the 19th-fastest lap, while 2009 Vegas winner Kyle Busch came in 25th fastest. The Gibbs cars all look like they're in for a very mediocre day, so there will be plenty of value opportunities presented because the odds and matchups won't be moved enough by the books by the start of tomorrow's race.
For instance, Kevin Harvick opened -115 over Hamlin in a driver matchup at the Golden Nugget sports book before the practices, but now that we have a better idea at what might happen, that price is off by about 75 cents. Harvick is super strong, No. 3 on our chart, while Hamlin is off expectations and way down to about 20th on our chart (if it went that far).
There will be extreme value all over Las Vegas sports books on Saturday when the matchup numbers are reposted, mainly because several places simply don't know how to equate the true value of what happened in practice to an actual number. Most books don't offer matchups on a regular basis, but they came out this week with Super Bowl-style props because the race is in town.
Kenseth (8/1), Busch (10/1) and Hamlin (12/1) were all considered favorites to win. To have all three not make our top-10 list following final practice is a big deal. I can't remember the last time that has happened, if ever. All three cars are now good bet-againsts.
I came into the week liking the Penske Racing duo of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, in that order, and I haven't wavered from that opinion much, even knowing Johnson has the best car. They start from the front row and should find themselves around the top five all race. I still like Keselowski to win the race, though, admittedly, a little less now because of Johnson.
The big wild card on Sunday will be the pair of Michael Waltrip drivers, Clint Bowyer (35/1) and Brian Vickers (50/1). Both cars were extremely fast in every practice session, almost as if they stole JGR's 1.5-mile mojo. MWR cars didn't win a race on 1.5-mile tracks last season, though Martin Truex Jr. had been close the past three seasons. Bowyer didn't win a race anywhere last season, and Vickers only won at the one-mile flat layout at New Hampshire. Both present probably the best value in odds to win and matchups on the board.
Another driver that has extreme value is Jamie McMurray at 80-to-1, but that's still a hard sell just because it's hard to trust Ganassi Racing cars. We were in the same situation last week at Phoenix when both McMurray and rookie teammate Kyle Larson looked outstanding. McMurray maintained a good finish (10th) while Larson faded.
The driver that could sneak up on everyone Sunday is Kasey Kahne (13/1), who finished with the fourth-fastest lap in happy hour, as well as the third best 10-consecutive lap average. He might have had the best car last season when he finished runner-up to Kenseth. He could be very good this week, making him a driver to stay away from betting against in any matchup.
Re: Kobalt Tools 400 Betting News and Notes
NASCAR heads to Vegas on Sunday
By: Brian Graham
The NASCAR circuit stays on the West Coast as the teams travel north from Phoenix to Sin City for Sunday's Kobalt 400. Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile, D-shaped oval track completed in 1996. It was built with bankings measuring a hefty 20° on turns, and 9° banking on the frontstretch and backstretch, which are both exactly 3,330 feet (0.63 miles). The speedway is always rocking with a seating capacity exceeding 250,000 fans, and Matt Kenseth is the defending champion of this race.
Drivers to Watch
Tony Stewart (25/1) - Two poor starts to the 2014 season have certainly affected Stewart's odds in this race from last year when he went off at a much more chalky 8-to-1 price. However, this is a driver that has a pair of top-2 finishes at this track over the past three years, placing second in 2011 before winning the race in 2013. He actually has eight top-7 finishes in 15 starts in Las Vegas, and with odds that aren't likely to be this favorable again, now is the time to put your largest wager on Stewart, who is our pick to win Sunday's race.
Carl Edwards (20/1) - Edwards' odds for Sunday's race are doubled from his 10-to-1 price last year, which makes him an even more intriguing play. Edwards has led both races this season, and finished a strong 8th in Phoenix last week. Speaking of strong, Edwards has an average finish of 6.7 in his past seven starts in Las Vegas, a run that includes two wins (2008 and 2011) and two other top-5's, which have both occurred in the past two Sin City starts. This great track record makes the No. 99 car worth dropping a small wager on.
Matt Kenseth (7/1) - Of the four chalkiest racers on the board with single-digit odds, Kenseth provides better value than the other three (Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick). Not only is Kenseth the defending champion of this race, but he has won two other times at this track in 2003 and 2004. In addition to the three victories, Kenseth has three other top-5's, which have all occurred since 2006. Kenseth always races well on intermediate tracks and has gotten off to a strong start to the 2014 season with an average finish of 9.0 in the two races.
Martin Truex, Jr. (60/1) - As darkhorse picks go, don't forget about Truex, who will provide a much heftier payout than he would have last year at this race when he was tabbed with a 30-to-1 price. Truex started the season in the front row at Daytona, but a blown engine sealed his fate after just 30 laps, and he has also been strong in Las Vegas with a pair of top-8 finishes in two of his past three starts, placing 6th in 2011 and 8th last year.
Jeff Burton (300/1) - Burton represents the best longshot value on the board at 300-to-1, which is up considerably from his 200-to-1 price in last year's Las Vegas race. He has placed 15th or better in 12 of his 16 starts in Las Vegas, tallying top-10’s in eight of these races and an average finish of 11.9. This includes a runner-up in 1998 and back-to-back victories in 1999 and 2000. And in more recent history, Burton finished fifth in 2008 and third in 2009 at this track. With such ridiculously long odds, consider a one-unit wager with a quite a payoff.
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