2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Betting Preview

By: David Schwab | Sunday, February 13, 2011
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NASCAR’s 2011 Sprint Cup season begins Sunday with the Daytona 500.

The boys of NASCAR are back in action as Speed Week is underway at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida with a full slate of events.

Kicking off the 2011 Sprint Cup season is the Budweiser Shootout this Saturday night. This non-points race pits all the winners from last season’s races as well as any driver who won a pole position or made it into the Chase in a 75-lap exhibition that is worth $200,000 to the winner.

Thursday’s Gatorade Duels are two 150-mile qualifying races that will set the field for the Great American Race, the Daytona 500 which will be held on Sunday, February 20. Often referred to as NASCAR’s Super Bowl of racing, it is the sport’s most prestigious event as well as the first points race of a 36-race schedule that runs all the way until November 20 when the 2011 Sprint Cup Champion will be crowned.

Jimmie Johnson has dominated NASCAR’s Sprint Cup racing circuit with five straight racing titles so it is little wonder that BetED.com has been opened him at plus 330 to make it six in a row this season. Last year he won three of the first five races to start the season on his way to a total of six victories and a title-clinching 6622 points.

Johnson ended 2010 with 23 top 10’s, including 17 top five’s, and an average finishing position of 12.2. He has 53 career victories to go along with his five Sprint Cup titles.

Denny Hamlin, who has been opened as the second-favorite at plus 500, might have the best chance of dethroning Johnson. Hamlin’s No. 11 car stayed neck-and-neck with the No. 48 car right up until the final week of racing last year, ending just 39 points out of the lead in one of the most exciting Sprint Cup finishes in recent memory. His eight victories were the most of any driver and he recorded 18 top 10 finishes. Hamlin ended the year with an average finishing position of 12.9.

Carl Edwards may not be one the most recognizable drivers on the Sprint Cup circuit but he has quietly worked his way up through the ranks to become one of the most consistent drivers in the sport today. He raced his No. 99 car to victory lane twice last season and finished in the top 10 a total of 19 times. The 2010 season was easily the best of his career with an average finishing position of 11.8 and a fourth-place finish in the final point standings.

Edwards is currently the third-favorite to win it all at plus 600.

The other driver that remained in the thick of the title race last season with a third-place finish was Kevin Harvick. He has opened at plus 800 to win this season. Harvick won three times last year and finished in the top 10 an amazing 26 times. He actually was in the top five in 16 of those races and had an average finishing position of 8.7.

The one driver to keep an eye on as a wild card this season is Kyle Busch. He has become NASCAR’s ‘bad boy’ of racing in his short career, but he has also become a serious threat to win every time he gets behind the wheel of the No. 18 car. He finished 2010 with three victories and recorded 18 top 10 finishes for an average finishing position of 14.

His problems in the past have come in the Chase, which includes the final 10 races of the season. Last season he entered the Chase in fourth-place but finished a disappointing eighth in the final standings. There is some definite value in his opening odds of plus 1000.

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