Monster Energy Series Consumers Energy 400 Free Pick - Odds and Race Predictions

August 12, 2:30 PM EDT

NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series returns to Michigan International Speedway this week for the running of Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400 as the second race of the year at this track. Race time on NBC Sports Network for Sunday’s main event is set 2:30 p.m. (ET).

Chase Elliott raced his way to his first career Cup Series victory last Sunday on the road course at Watkins Glen. Martin Truex Jr. ended up second in that race followed by another strong run for Kyle Busch in third place. My top-valued play was Denny Hamlin at longer +1500 odds, but he was a non-factor in this race finishing 13th.

The following is a look at a trio of the top favorites to win this Sunday’s race in Michigan along with my top-valued pick to win at longer odds as provided by 5Dimes

Consumers Energy 400 Race Favorites

Kevin Harvick +285

Harvick had his issues on the road course at Watkins Glen last Sunday with a 10th-place finish. This might be considered a good day for many of the other Cup Series drivers on the list, but not for a guy that has already posted six victories and 10 additional runs inside the top five. The No. 4 Ford remains in second place in the current Cup Series standings with 874 total points. The team’s last victory in a point race was just a few weeks back at New Hampshire. Adding value to Harvick’s odds to win as the favorite for Sunday is a second-place finish earlier in the year at Michigan. He ended up 13th in this race last season.

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Martin Truex Jr. +450

The defending 2017 Cup Series Champ came close to making another trip to Victory Lane last week with that second-place finish. Truex is third in the standings in both wins (4) and total points (813). He has guided his No. 78 Toyota to a total of 15 runs inside the top five through the first 22 point-race events on the schedule. His last victory came at Kentucky on July 14 as part of a string of three wins in six races. Truex posted one of his worst runs of the season at Michigan in early June with an 18th-place finish, but he did take second in this race last season.

Kyle Busch +450

The biggest thing in Busch's favor right now is momentum. He leads the Cup Series in points with 934 points following last week's third-place run, and he is tied with Harvick in point-race wins with six. He has now led the No. 18 Toyota to four-straight runs of fourth or better, including a victory two weeks ago at Pocono. This team has placed inside the top five in 16 Cup Series events this season. Adding even more value to his odds to win again on Sunday is a solid fourth-place finish at Michigan earlier this year. His last victory here was in this event in the 2011 racing season.

Consumers Energy Prediction 08/12/2018

Picking winners outside the top three drivers in the standings have been tough to do when you consider that Elliott became just the eighth different driver to win a point race this season with last Sunday’s victory. Bowyer is one of four drivers with multiple victories this season in what has been one of his best efforts to date in a long tenure racing the Cup Series. The No. 14 Ford has been rather quiet in recent weeks with five-straight finishes outside the top 10, but that should change this Sunday after winning the first race at Michigan this season. Bowyer also won at Martinsville earlier in the year.

Free Pick: 
Clint Bowyer +1500

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