AdvoCare 500 NASCAR Betting Preview

By: Adam Markowitz | Thursday, September 1, 2011

Labor Day weekend in sports mean so many things. College football is back. The NFL is right around the corner. And the boys of NASCAR are about set to begin their version of the playoffs.

On Sunday night at 7:46 (ET), some of the best drivers in the world will engage in NASCAR betting action at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the AdvoCare 500, the next-to-last race before the Chase for the Sprint Cup. TV coverage is provided by ESPN.

There are really only a few drivers that are sweating their spots in the Chase for the Sprint Cup right now. We fully expect to see 10 drivers locked up in their Chase bids after this race. Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon have already punched their tickets into the postseason, and Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. should all get in with this race.

One more driver will clinch a Wild Card slot. There are a slew of drivers hoping that the hot racing of Brad Keselowski continues at Atlanta. The driver of the No. 2 Dodge was once at least +5000 on the NASCAR odds in every race.  But thanks to the fact that he has won twice in his last four races and finished in the Top 3 in all four, he has improved to +1200 on the Don Best odds screen.

Keselowski needs just a handful of points to clinch at least a Wild Card berth, but he is still putting out the effort to close that 21-point gap between he and Tony Stewart in 10th place.

Stewart is also +1200 on the AdvoCare 500 odds and doesn't have a win to his credit on the season.  If he falls behind Keselowski or Clint Bowyer, who is 22 points behind the cutoff line, he won't be in the postseason.

However, there's good news for Stewart this week. He has run at Atlanta Motor Speedway 24 times in his career and has three wins, including taking the checkered flag in this race last season. He also has 14 Top 10 finishes and an average finishing position of 11.6 in these races, meaning Stewart is sure to be a factor come Sunday night.

Bowyer is lined at +3500 this week, and he knows if he'll be in the Chase if he can win just one of these last two races.

There are still several drivers that know a win will likely put them in the second season. Denny Hamlin, who finally cracked the Top 10 for the first time in five races last week at the Irwin Tools Night Race, is +1200, while all three of Paul Menard, David Ragan and Marcos Ambrose are tremendous underdogs.

The favorites on Sunday are Edwards, Busch and Johnson, all at +800. Gordon, who has two wins this year and four at Atlanta Motor Speedway in his career, is the fourth choice at +900.

Cloud coverage should cool down what otherwise would be a hot holiday weekend in the Peach State. Temperatures are expected to be in the low-80s when the race drops the green flag, and they should dip into the low-70s by the conclusion of the race. Though there is going to be plenty of cloud coverage, there shouldn't be much of a chance of rain.

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