By Jordan McAbee
Well, it’s always good to start out the new NASCAR season on a good note. We’re now 2-for-2 on hitting winners heading into the third race of the season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. These two wins allow for a little room to play with when it comes to taking some long shot bets. However, there should only be a few drivers who have a legitimate change with Sunday’s race in Sin City, and week #4 at Phoenix will probably have less contenders. Still, let’s take a look at some of the early week value picks that can be had.
Please note that I typically don’t mess with the favorites this early in the week, which is why they’re rarely mentioned in this post. Once practice and qualifying are finished, I narrow down my list of potential winners and then re-evaluate the favorites, so be sure to check for my Race Day Picks post on Sunday.
Kevin Harvick is once again the favorite heading into the race weekend at +425, followed by Jimmie Johnson at +525, and then Joey Logano +600.
Early Betting Picks for Las Vegas
The driver odds in this post are accurate as of 5:00 pm ET on March 2, 2016 and came from Bovada.
Carl Edwards (+1100) – There are three drivers that are right in this middle range this week that I think we need to lock in while we can, and it all starts with Carl Edwards. Honestly, I think on race day he’s going to be closer to +800, so I’m hopping all over these 11-to-1 odds now. Carl is a two-time winner here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with wins coming back in 2011 and in 2008. He has the 4th-best average finish (12.2) among all active drivers at this track and Edwards has came home 5th or better in four of his last five starts here. Need I say more? The Gibbs Toyotas love this new low downforce package and Carl Edwards loves Las Vegas. The stars are lining up for another top 5 race out of the #19 Toyota on Sunday, and maybe even a win.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (+1200) – The #88 Chevrolet wasn’t the 2nd-best car at Atlanta last weekend, but that’s where it finished–and that’s all that matters in the NASCAR world. Also, like Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has been awesome here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with top 5s in both races here over the last two seasons, and a four-race streak of top 10s to go along with it. If Junior has a car similar to what he had at Atlanta, we could definitely see him get to victory lane in Sin City on Sunday. He has never won here (yet) but he does have three 2nd-place finishes to his credit–the most recent coming in 2014.
Martin Truex, Jr. (+1200) – How can you not like Truex this week? He arguably had the 2nd-best car at Atlanta, he showed in 2015 that he’s one of the best drivers at all of the intermediate race tracks, and he’s off to a blazing fast start in 2016. I’m honestly pleasantly surprised that the #78 Toyota is starting out at 12-to-1 odds this week considering Truex finished 2nd in last year’s race at Las Vegas. He’s going to be one of those drivers this season that finally gets to victory lane when it’s least expected. Will that be this weekend?