NASCAR Cup Series - Auto Club 400
NASCAR's Cup Series kicks off the month of March with Sunday's Auto Club 400 in Fontana, California. This is the second of three point races on this year's West Coast Swing. The green flag for this Sunday's race at Auto Club Speedway is set for 3:30 p.m. (ET) on FOX.
Auto Club 400 - Top NASCAR Value Bets
Denny Hamlin got a fast start out of the gate with his photo-finish win at Daytona. This past Sunday, Joey Logano made his way to Victory Lane in Las Vegas. He outran Matt DiBenedetto and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to headline the Top 3 finishers. Kevin Harvick at +465 was my top-value choice to win last week, but he faded to eighth place in the final running order.
Breaking down the betting odds to win this Sunday's race at 5Dimes, as one of the best online sportsbooks to bet NASCAR, the following three drivers top my list as high-value plays.
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Top Favorite - Kyle Busch + 550
I cashed in on Busch's victory in last year's Auto Club 400 at +500 odds, so he immediately topped my list for this Sunday's race. There could be some concern with his current form after placing 15th at Las Vegas coming off a really rough 24th-place run at Daytona. There is a reason why Busch is a two-time (and current) Cup Series title winner. He is also a very streaky driver guiding the No. 18 Toyota around any track. Poor finishes in multiple races can quickly turn into a two or three-race winning streak.
Along with last year's win in this race, Busch also won back-to-back races at Fontana in 2013 and 2014. He has placed inside the Top 3 in six of his last eight trips around this oval to add even more value to his +550 odds.
Top Contender - Ryan Blaney +1700
I see Blaney as a solid value pick this season any time he is listed at longer odds. Racing in his fifth full-time Cup Series campaign, he is starting to develop a better level of consistency behind the wheel of the No. 12 Ford. Blaney could have easily won the Daytona 500 after getting edged out by Hamlin. A fade to 11th last Sunday is not that big of a concern after leading that race for 19 laps.
I am not all that sure why this week's odds are so long. Blaney has cracked the Top 10 in his last three Cup Series races at Auto Club, including a fifth-place finish last season. This only makes him more valuable as a top contender to win.
Top Longshot - Jimmie Johnson +2650
Johnson was able to make some noise early on his NASCAR farewell tour by taking fifth place at Las Vegas. I will be the first to admit that this is more of a sentimental pick than anything. Yet, the California native would love nothing more than to break an extended winless streak on his home turf. The seven-time Cup Series Champion's last victory in a point race was back in 2017. He won three races that season in his last competitive run at an eighth racing title.
Racing in his final Cup Series campaign, Fontana is one stop that makes some betting sense to add Johnson into the mix. His average finishing position at this track is 7.6, and he has posted a total of six victories going back to his last one in 2016.
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