Food City 500 at Bristol on Sunday


    The NASCAR Sprint Cup heads to Bristol for some short track excitement. Bumpers will fly, side panels will be pushed in and tempers will flare at Thunder Valley in the Food City 500.

    The edge that Kevin Harvick has had all season is somewhat shortened at Bristol. Harvick is favored to win this week due to finishing first or second in six of seven starts thus far to begin the Sprint Cup season.

    However, Bristol Motor Speedway will have tough competition. He won for the time in Bristol in 2005, but had not had a finish in the top five since 2008, which includes 12 races.

    The high-bank, half-mile layout at Bristol should have three or four solid candidates to win the race. While Harvick’s chances will remain high, he is not the intimidating factor on this track as he would be on a track that is down force.

    He was not the winner in Texas a week ago, but still managed second place. Harvick has led for 766 of the 2,150 total laps run this season in seven starts, which shows how dominant he has been.

    Last season both winners at Bristol Carl Edwards as well Joey Logano were surprises. In 2013, Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne took the checkered flags and in 2012 Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski, which shows a diverse number of drivers being success.

    The drivers can run two wide comfortably on the track and passing takes place on both grooves inside and outside, which takes some excitement away from the Bristol from before when everyone would fight to have the inside line.

    Despite cosmetic changes, old-fashioned short track racing on a half-mile fast track remains at Bristol.

    This is the Sprint Cup season’s eighth race but data from previous races is hard to use at this one since Bristol is such a unique track. Not even the Martinsville half-mile flat layout is comparable to this one.

    The one track that could possibly be similar but still not that much would be the Dover one mile, but there will not be any racing up there until late in May.

    Racers that will have the best chance of finishing first this week besides Harvick are Keselowski, Kenseth, Logano, Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch.


    Harvick Huge Favorite at Phoenix on Sunday


    Kevin Harvick is on quite a roll and headed to his best track. Harvick has won the past three Sprint Cup NASCAR races held at Phoenix International Raceway and 4 of the last 5, which is a big reason he is currently at 3 to 1 to win the 500 on Sunday.

    Another big contributing factor to Harvick being the overwhelming favorite is he is currently on a big run where he has finished either first or second in the opening three races of the Sprint Cup 2015 season.

    Going back to the 2014 Sprint Cup season, Harvick was first or second in the final six races of the season.

    When taking into consideration his current top form and his past history at this track, the 3 to 1 price is a steal. Brad Keselowski is next highest at 7 to 1 odds followed by Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson all at 8 to 1.

    The six wins by Harvick at Phoenix are the most in the history of the track since 1988 when the first Cup race took place. Johnson has four wins here and is second to Harvick and has a 7.7 track best average finish.

    However, his win drought at the speedway is his longest, with no wins over his last 10 starts. In his 23 career starts at Phoenix, Johnson has 14 finishes in the top-five.

    Keselowski has yet to win at Phoenix in his career, but did win during last season on flat tracks that are similar at New Hampshire and Richmond. He was sixth or better in 5 of this last 6 starts at Phoenix.

    Logano last year had his best finishes at Phoenix of his career with a 4th and 6th in two starts and in 2010 a 3rd place.

    Earnhardt Jr. was victorious in consecutive seasons in 2003 and 2004 at Phoenix, when there was only one race per year at the track. He has finished in eighth or better over his last four starts at the track. He is the only driver near Harvick in this season’s first three races as far as consistency is concerned finishing in the top five in each of the three.

    Jeff Gordon has seen one of his worst starts of his career this season. He has won twice in his 32 starts at Phoenix but finished fifth in one and second in another of the two races there last season.

    No trends exist as of yet showing that Harvick could be upset, but with racing you never know. However, he sure looks like he is on cruise control to start the season.

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    Who’s Your 2015 NASCAR Champion? I’ve Got the …


    Word has it Tony Stewart is feeling like his old self. That could be bad news for the rest of the NASCAR drivers.

    This Sunday is the Daytona 500 and unlike many professional sports, NASCAR kicks off its’ season with its’ biggest race. In other words, this is like the having the Super Bowl as the first game of the National Football League season.

    The biggest news as we start the new season is that this will be the last full schedule for NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon. The four-time champion may race a limited schedule in the coming seasons but this will be in effect, his final run at a Cup title.

    The opener at Daytona will also be the 14th since the death of Dale Earnhardt. There are plenty of people who know far more than I do about NASCAR but no one will alter my opinion. When Earnhardt passed away that day a piece of NASCAR did too and it has never recovered.

    Also expected to be a story-line is the racing of Tony Stewart. He’s already proven that “Smoke” is back with his driving in the Unlimited as well as comments about racing in general. Common thought is that the only way Stewart is a factor in the Cup chase is if he returns to aggressive ways and style. That wasn’t easy following his accidental hitting of Kevin Ward, Jr on a dirt track race in New York. Ward of course died in the accident.

    Our friends at Bovada have graciously provided us with the latest odds on who are the favorites for the 2015 Sprint Cup Chase.   

    2015 Sprint Cup Championship Odds


    Is Jimmie Johnson ready to add a seventh title? I think so.

    Jimmie Johnson 13/2

    Why wouldn’t he be the top favorite? He’s only won the Cup six times for crying out loud. Yes, he’s had a couple of down seasons but it’s not like he’s ready for retirement.

    Jeff Gordon 15/2

    Kevin Harvick 15/2

    Gordon has been one of the racers that fans either love or hate. I think he’ll finally get more respect at tracks across the country in his final full season but I’m not sure that means a title. Harvick is the defending champion and repeating is never easy. He could be the first guy not named Jimmie Johnson to repeat as the champ since… Jeff Gordon.

    Brad Kesolowski 8/1

    Last season saw Kesolowski lead NASCAR in wins with six and there’s good reason to like his chances this season.

    Joey Logano  9/1

    At some point, Logano is going to win a Cup and I think it happens pretty soon. He had some tough luck heading into the final race last year and looks to reverse that trend.

    Matt Kenseth 10/1

    Carl Edwards 10/1

    Kyle Busch 10/1

    Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 10/1

    Kenseth didn’t win last season but did have 22 top ten finishes… Edwards is a bigger favorite with many NASCAR previews mostly due to a team switch… Kyle Busch is another guy who seems to be “due…” What can you say about Junior? He finds ways to win races here and there but will he find consistency?

    Longer Shots I like

    Tony Stewart 22/1

    Like I said in the opening, if he can put the past behind him and return to his racing style then the sky could be the limit.

    Ryan Newman 40/1

    Newman was pretty consistent last year despite not winning any races over the final 10. He has always been a guy who ‘could’ win the Cup so why not now?

    My Pick: Jimmie Johnson doesn’t get enough credit for how fearsome of a competitor he is and I think he finds a way to add a seventh title.



    NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Phoenix for the Subway …

    SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500

    It’s high time we jumped into the exciting action of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, and with today’s desert showdown in Phoenix Arizona for the Subway Fresh Fit 500 starting at 1:00 PM ET, it’s a perfect opportunity to delve into this increasingly popular sport, and take a look at some of its stars as we enter the second event of the 8-month long campaign.

    After what was undoubtedly one of the most bizarre Daytona 500 races ever witnessed, in which pounding rain pushed the start to Monday for the first time in history, numerous wrecks knocked top competitors out of the field in the early goings, and a collision between Juan Pablo Montoya and a jet dryer produced arguable one of the greatest fireballs ever seen on a race track (thankfully only minor injuries to Montoya’s foot were sustained), we move into even closer confines at the 1-mile track at Phoenix for an intimate race featuring the top names in the NASCAR circuit. With Mark Martin jumping out on the pole position with a speed of 136.815, it will be interesting to see if this race becomes favored for the veteran drivers who are better adept at working in the pack, or if all hell breaks loose once again and a free-for-all ensues if the tight racing quarters produce more fender benders.

    Let’s take a look at some of the top drivers, and which ones have the best shots at emerging victorious in the 2nd race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and check out the betting lines courtesy of TopBet Sportsbook, one of the best online sportsbooks reviewed here.

    Tony Stewart – Starting in the first row for the race today, last year’s Sprint Cup Champion comes off a mediocre showing in the Daytona 500 last week, finishing 16th and once again failing to catch the elusive Daytona 500 trophy that has escaped him all his career. He’s got history in Phoenix as well, where he picked up his first victory back in 1999, but hasn’t won since. Stewart finished in the Top 10 in both races here last year, and has been amongst the leaders over the years, however something always seems to keep Stewart off the podium in this race. At +800 odds, could Stewart finally find his way to win here after 13 years? History is certainly against him, but Stewart is a great driver who with a little luck today could be a solid payoff in this race.

    Carl Edwards – Edwards sat on top of the leaderboard to start the Daytona 500 last week, and while his 8th place finish was a little disappointing as he never led a single lap during the race, his consistency was once again on display with another top 10 placing on a wild race day. Edwards last came away a winner in Phoenix in 2010, and has nabbed 6 top-5 finishes and 10 top 10′s. Sitting way back in the pack in 24th position, but still getting low odds at +800, Edwards is obviously a consideration to pull out a victory in this race today.

    Jimmy Johnson – The former Sprint Cup Series Champion got his season off to a very rocky start. Getting knocked out of the Daytona 500 after the first lap, as well as seeing his crew chief Chip Knaus suspended and the team docked 25 points for a failed car inspection, Johnson will need a big showing in today’s race to get the team back from an early-season hole. JJ has the top odds for the race today as he’s qualified 4th, and has won at Phoenix 4 times. Add in his history of solid performances of the years here (11 top 5′s, 14 top 10′s), and there’s plenty of reason why he’s a top candidate to pull off a victory on the shorter track today, getting +400 odds at TopBet.

    Kyle Busch – Last year’s 2nd place finisher at Phoenix, Busch is always a gamer on this short oval, and quietly enters this race in the 12th spot. Busch has 1 win and 8 top-10 finishes out in the desert, and in 3 of the 4 races on this track over the last two years he’s been in position to win. There’s no question that Busch is a great driver, and in a race where a well set-up car and a great driver is often the winning combination, this could be his race. Last spring saw an engine issue as the only thing preventing Busch from entering victory lane, so at +600 odds today, the Joe Gibbs’ Racing M&M’s car could be a good horse to get behind.

    Jeff Gordon – The defending Subway Fresh Fit 500 champion seems to have a lot of people questioning whether he’s fallen off a little bit from his elite-level racing form, but the veteran driver could be in contention to win especially if there are problems in the front of the pack. Starting 30th definitely hurts his chances a bit, but in a long race on a short track anything can happen. Gordon has an impressive 10 top 5 finishes on this track to go along with last year’s win, indicating his skill as a driver, so don’t rule him out with decent +1500 odds as a longer shot.

    Denny Hamlin – Qualifying 13th for this race and finishing 4th in the Daytona 500 last week, Hamlin has 5 top-5 finishes and 6 top 10′s to his credit, but has never won at Phoenix during his career. At +1000 odds to win, he could be one of the best options amongst the drivers who haven’t experienced victory on this track.

    Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Winless in 130 races now after just falling short at Daytona and finishing second, it seems its only a matter of time before Junior finds his way to the podium. He’s racing hard and aggressive, and even though he’s in the back of the pack starting 29th after a mediocre showing on qualifying day, we’re not ruling him out as he should be working with teammate Jeff Gordon all day long, and should have confidence backing him after a good Daytona finish. At +2500 odds, he’s an intriguing pick as a great driver on a long shot bet.

    Make sure to check out all the betting lines for the Subway Fresh Fit 500 race at Phoenix International Raceway, as the budding NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will undoubtedly make for great sports betting options to help close out another busy, sports-packed weekend. Jump into the action today at TopBet Sportsbook, and take a shot on one of the top drivers in NASCAR competition at the exciting 312 mile race in the desert.


    NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heads to Talladega for the Good …


    The 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship race has certainly been an intriguing battle this year, as so many drivers remain in the hunt for the Chase, and without a doubt the 500-mile grind at Talladega Speedway for the Good Sam Club 500 this Sunday, October 23rd will be a race well worth watching and wagering on at one of the best online sportsbooks reviewed here. With the Good Sam Club 500 typically being one of the defining races in the Chase for the Championship playoffs, there’s no doubt that plenty of race-day drama, the unavoidable heartbreaking crashes, and eventually an ecstatic winner will give race fans something to cheer about come Sunday, and all the reasons for you non-race fans to hop online, wager on the best suited driver for Sunday, and watch the action unfold towards the pinnacle of what has been one of the best seasons of NASCAR racing in recent memory.

    With Jimmie Johnson entering this Sunday’s race holding on to just a slim chance a repeating as Series champion for a sixth straight time this season, it’s all on the line for the driver of the #48 Chevrolet, who finished 34th in last weekend’s Bank of America 500 after a scary crash, and dropped 5 positions in the points standing to 8th. Johnson will need a culmination of a good finish and some bad luck from other top drivers, as the pack continues to chase points leader Carl Edwards, who sits 5 points north of Kevin Harvick with five races left on the season. Also in the hunt for the Championship are the usual suspects consisting of Matt Kenseth (-7 points), Kyle Busch (-18), Tony Stewart (-24), to name a few of the top drivers who will be racing aggressively on Sunday to try and overtake the lead heading into the final few races of the season. Without a doubt, Sunday’s race between the top competitors in the Chase series becomes all the more interesting in light of recent events in IndyCar racing, where Dan Wheldon suffered a tragic loss of life due to excessive attainable speeds in Las Vegas last weekend, and changes in NASCAR’s rulebook regarding larger restrictor plates and no lubrication for bumpers could change up how cars draft with one another come race day. With both the safety of drivers as well as the desire to push a more aggressive race in the 500-mile Good Sam Club showdown, no doubt something will have to give this weekend, which for race fans means even more excitement when enjoying the sport from a spectator position.

    Betting Lines for the Good Sam Club 500 at Sportsbook

    After winning 5 times at Talladega over his career and finishing 4th here in April, many are picking Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the eventual winner, with Bodog Sportsbook giving him 9/1 odds of seeing the checkered flag first on Sunday. Kevin Harvick, #2 in the points standings and winner of the 2010 race here, also looks to be a good bet for Talladega after finishing 5th there in April. Usually one of the better race strategists, Harvick could benefit from the new rules in place and a more safety-focused race day ahead, adapting better than most to the on-track changes in racing conditions. At 10/1 odds, Harvick is our pick to win Talladega this weekend, as we’ll bet he’s able to avoid getting caught up in at least one of the pile-ups sure to happen at this race track. For further top sports betting picks on the Good Sam Club 500, find Jimmie Johnson at 11/1 odds in what could be his last stand to reclaim his championship crown again, Jeff Gordon (6-time winner) who is out of the Chase picture -66 points back but looks decent at 12/1 odds, or perhaps even look to an outside shot like A.J. Allmendinger, who has yet to win a race but comes in at 45/1 odds despite being the only driver to finish in the Top 11 three times in restrictor plate races (no one has finished 10th or better in all three races this season). It could be a chance to cash in on a long shot at Talladega as this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has seen plenty of new winners like Marcos Ambrose, David Ragan, Regan Smith and Paul Renard all take the podium for the first time, so do a little research on Sunday’s race, pick your best driver or drivers to make the action all that much more exciting, and enjoy the one of the final races in what has been an exciting and intriguing season of NASCAR racing!



    NASCAR Weekend: Watkins Glen Preview


    There’s only 5 races left before the Chase begins, and the next stop in the Sprint Cup Series hits Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 14th as racers switch over to road course action for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen event (yes, this is the worst sponsor name I’ve ever seen, too).

    Leading the charge on this road course in terms of experience is veteran driver Mark Martin, driving the #5 Chevrolet. Martin will become tied with Michael Waltrip on Sunday for the most NASCAR starts at Watkins Glen, and is a three-time winner there. While he hasn’t seen a victory there since 1995 he’s sitting on a record 12 top-five finishes and 16 top-tens at the Glen, certainly showing that he knows this track well and will be the veteran in the pack on Sunday.

    However, this year’s crop of the best road course drivers finds a number of different names usually not associated with the best odds for a given NASCAR event, and looking over the current odds for winners on Sunday at Watkins Glen, you might be surprised at which names bubble to the top.

    Bodog Sportsbook holds the odds for all drivers set to compete on Sunday, with the top odds being given to Marcos Ambrose at 9/2 to win based on his three consecutive Nationwide Series wins there.

    The Aussie driver however has failed to nab a victory at the Glen in Sprint Cup Series competition, finishing with two 3rd place finishes and one 2nd place finish in his last three races there. Is the saying down under ’4th times’ the charm’?

    Tony Stewart comes in the as the most decorated driver at Watkins Glen this weekend, earning 5 victories, 7 top-five finishes and 10 top-tens. His average finish is 5.4, so expect the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy to be in the hunt for certain. Stewart has the second-highest odds of victory at Bodog Sportsbook, at 13/2.

    While Juan Pablo Montoya comes in at the third-highest odds for raceday (15/2 odds), Jeff Gordon sits in my #3 spot as a candidate to win the race, based on his strong history at the Glen. He’s won 4 times there with 6 top-five finishes and 9 top-tens with 2 pole positions earned. Gordon gets 9/1 odds to win, along with Jimmie Johnson, who could also be a solid pick as he’s yet to earn a victory on this road course.
    Carl Edwards maintains a slim 9-point lead on Jimmie Johnson in the driver standings heading into this weekend’s 90-lap road race, and comes in at 16/1 odds. Edwards and Johnson both have 3 top-five finishes, though Edwards has had more success with an average finish of 8.2 (vs. Johnson’s 14.7).

    Not to be overlooked however are Kyle and Kurt Busch, who finished 2nd and 3rd at Pocono last weekend, and sit -11 and -15 points behind Edwards in the driver standings. Kyle Busch figures to be the better driver at the Glen however, and at 8/1 odds, the M&M’s car could be a standout to look for on Sunday.

    Our 1-2-3 Pick for Watkins Glen: Tony Stewart, Marcos Ambrose, Kyle Busch.


    NASCAR Heads to Pocono Raceway for the Good Sam RV …


    There are a great many races scheduled for the 2011 Sprint Cup Series season, however the 21st stop of the year is definitely one of the most exciting, and for drivers one of the most intense and grueling races on the circuit. With just six races left before the beginning of The Chase for the Championship takes off, the action at Pocono on August 7th is certain to be highly contested during the 200-lap race around the 2.5 mile circuit, and a number of drivers stand a chance to prevail in such a long distance affair. Coming off an exciting weekend of action at the Brickyard 400 from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the progression to the similar style of race set-up at Pocono looks to favor those racers who had a good showing last weekend, and could give sports betting fans a solid background for whom to pick ahead of Sunday’s race day.

    The big standout that most NASCAR buffs point to as a favorite for this weekend is Jeff Gordon. He finished 2nd in last week’s Brickyard 400, won the 5 Hour Energy 500 at Pocono on June 12th, and is tied for the most number of victories (5) on this circuit. A win on Sunday could see him surpass a tie with Bill Elliot’s record and would see him become the first driver since Denny Hamlin in 2006 to sweep the season at Pocono.

    Speaking of Hamlin, he also comes in as a potential driver worth wagering on, based on his prior success at this track. However, Hamlin has struggled a little this season, sitting currently 11th in the Sprint Cup Series standings and finishing 27th last weekend at Indy. Being that he’s got four victories under his belt on this track, and he’s considered one of the best flat-track drivers in the business, a hungry Hamlin could turn into a good wagering options at one of the top sportsbooks reviewed here, once the betting lines are put up. Being a superstitious man, between my favorite number 11, the #11 car of Hamlin, and him sitting 11th in the polls coming into this race, I might find myself inclined to wager on Denny Hamlin becoming the 3rd driver in history with 5 wins at this storied race facility.

    Is any NASCAR conversation about favorites for a given race complete without the mention of Jimmy Johnson? I think not. Johnson is quietly sitting second in the points standings for the Sprint Cup, and based on his two wins at Pocono as well as seven top-five and thirteen top-ten finishes, Finding Johnson among the top-three at the end of Sunday seems highly likely.

    Other worthwhile considerations for drivers to wager on this weekend would have to include Carl Edwards, the Sprint Cup Standings leader (2 wins at Pocono, five top-five finishes), and Kurt Busch (finished second behind Jeff Gordon in the 5 Hour Energy 500, 2 wins at Pocono as well). In this long of race however, there’s always the possibility of a wild card emerging from a wreckage or simple misfortune (such as Denny Hamlin’s flat tire that took him out of the running after leading 76 laps), so make sure to closely watch which cars are running well, and who’s got the best fuel efficiency heading into this long and tiring race. No doubt for NASCAR fans and sports fans alike, this Sunday’s race at Pocono should provide plenty of great excitement regardless of whether or not you’ve been tuned into the NASCAR series so far this year.