Monster Energy Series STP 500 Free Pick
NASCAR’s Cup Series returns to the East Coast this week for this Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. Race time on FOX for the sixth point race of the season is set for 1 p.m.
STP 500 Value Bets
It has been a profitable ride the past two Cup Series races with Kyle Busch as my top betting favorite. After posting his first victory of the season at Phoenix, he paid off again last Sunday as a +500 second-favorite with a win at Fontana. Joey Logano took second in that race followed by Brad Keselowski in third.
With NASCAR making its first stop of the season at Martinsville this Sunday, here are my top three value plays for this race based on betting odds at 5Dimes online sportsbook.
STP 500 Top Favorite - Martin Truex Jr. +525
While I am tempted to keep riding Busch this week, most of the value has been squeezed out of his low +160 betting odds as the favorite. It is still hard to win any Cup Series race no matter how great he is racing right now. Truex is actually the second-favorite on the board to win on Sunday along with Keselowski. The No. 19 Toyota slipped to eighth place at Fontana in the final running order after placing second at Phoenix. Other than a wreck at Daytona, this team has been right in the thick of the other four events with a Top 10 run in each week’s race.
Truex also adds some value to his extended odds with a trio of top five runs in his last three trips around this Sunday’s track. This includes a fourth-place finish in this event last season.
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STP 500 Top Contender - Kevin Harvick +1600
I am going with the standing betting theory that whenever you get these long of odds for one of the best NASCAR drivers in the game, you take them. Harvick is still looking for his first checkered flag of the season after finishing fourth at Fontana. After his day ended early at Daytona in a wreck, the driver of the No. 4 Ford as finished fourth in three of his next four races. The only exception was a ninth-place run at Phoenix. After tying Kyle for eight Cup Series victories in 2018, Harvick knows that it is time to get off the stick to start closing the early gap this time around.
Martinsville is not one of his favorite tracks with an average finishing position of 15.3 over the course of his career, but Harvick did manage to place fifth in this event last year.
STP 500 Top Longshot - Ryan Blaney +2200
Blaney has turned into one of my go-to guys when it comes to solid drivers at much longer odds. He has turned in a respectable performance the past two weeks driving the No. 12 Ford following a slow start out of the gate. After leading 94 laps at Phoenix before fading back to third, he remained right in the mix at Fontana with a fifth-place finish. He has been able to lead at least a dozen laps in three of his first five point-race events this year. His team is currently in 10th place in the Cup Series standings with 155 total points.
Racing in his fourth full-time Cup Series season, Blaney is not all that long on experience at the shorter track at Martinsville. However, one encouraging sign for Sunday is a third-place finish in last year’s STP 500.
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