Race Weekend Central

Bettin’ the Horsepower: Watch Out for Denny Hamlin Again in Virginia

Well folks, I hope you survived the carnage in Talladega and came out up a few dollars in the process. My sleeper pick David Ragan couldn’t pull it off, but if you followed my “Solid Bet” of Kevin Harvick at 10/1, at least you made a few bucks. This week we have one of the biggest betting weekends of the year. No, not because of Richmond, but because of the Kentucky Derby. But in the wonderful world of NASCAR, this weekend we will betting the horse-ponies this weekend instead of the ponies… corny I know.

So for those of you eager to bet on Saturday night’s short-track action in Virginia, let’s take a look today at some intriguing options that could make your wonderful sports-filled weekend even better.

All odds are taken from BetUS.com as of Thursday afternoon. Note that these odds tend to change throughout the year and what you see in this column may or may not be the odds you see at the time of your bet.

Solid Bets

It seems every week in this space I mention mostly Hendrick Motorsports cars, but not this weekend. Gibbs cars won both races at the Virginia short track last year and Denny Hamlin is one of the hottest drivers on the circuit right now. Even at 6/1 I’d take him this weekend as I feel he has a great shot at the win. Kyle Busch has been a mainstay up front in Richmond for the past three years and is sitting out there at 8/1. Based on these two drivers’ successes I’d also take a flier on a much improved Joey Logano at 40/1.

Another driver I like this week is Kurt Busch who is having a good season, has a history of short-track success and has much better odds than the Hendrick guys at 12/1.

The bet of the week though may be Ryan Newman at 40/1. He finished fourth in this race last year and finished in the top 10 at every short track event in 2009. If you aren’t confident in him winning this weekend you can still take him to finish in the top three at 12/1.

Play the Odds

For whatever reason I haven’t been that high on Tony Stewart in this column and so far it hasn’t bit me yet. At 12/1 though he makes a good pick at Richmond. If he falls below that, stay away. I expect Jimmie Johnson (5/1), Jeff Gordon (8/1) and Mark Martin (8/1) to run well, but this week I feel there are better options… watch the odds though and if they fluctuate jump on these guys.

All three Childress cars have odds better than 10/1 – which is tempting – and if you have a gut feeling follow it. But I don’t.

Longshots Worthy of a Flier

Looking back at past Richmond races I found it surprising that Sam Hornish Jr. had the seventh-highest points total of all drivers last year. No, he’s not my long-shot this week, but his teammate is. Brad Keselowski again sits there at 80/1. I swear one of these weekends this is going to come back to bite whichever sports book carries these odds, but I haven’t been able to hit it yet. Maybe this is that weekend.

Another driver who had a bit of success last year that I could see breaking out this weekend is Brian Vickers at 60/1. For both Keselowski and Vickers you can take them to place in the top three at roughly one-third of the odds.

Don’t Touch…

Dale Earnhardt Jr. He carries a lot of momentum into Richmond – a track where he has run well – but his odds are equal to Johnson at 5/1 this week. I don’t think I need to explain why I’d rather take the No. 48 team than the No. 88 boys. Knaus and Co. are simply superior. Of course, if you feel Earnhardt can win – and the same goes for the 42 other drivers – by all means place the bet.

My Prediction

Another short track in Virginia… I’ll go with Hamlin (6/1). There’s just something about the way he’s been racing with that hurt knee that intrigues me. Maybe it gave a shot in the arm to the team, maybe Hamlin feels he needs to make up for the injury, but whatever it is it’s been working.

About the author

The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

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