By Jordan McAbee
Phoenix isn’t really that great of a race from a betting perspective. Kevin Harvick is the heavy favorite for this weekend’s Good Sam 500(k), and for good reason: he’s won five of the last seven races here and has finished 1st or 2nd in seven of the last eight. And, to be honest, pretty much the only reason Harvick didn’t win the fall race here last season is because 1.) He was just trying to ensure he made it to the final round of the Chase, and that was accomplished by finishing 2nd, and 2.) the rain and NASCAR’s quick decision to call the race essentially gave the race to Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and the #88 team.
So essentially if you want to hit on a “long shot” bet this week, you’re going to have to hope that something crazy happens. I wouldn’t bank on that. Below are some value betting picks for the Phoenix race this weekend, but honestly I don’t know how far I’d go away from the favorites–specifically Kevin Harvick. Chances are this is going to be my only betting post for Phoenix, although I will come back with my Race Day Betting Picks if Harvick doesn’t look like the absolute favorite after practice and qualifying.
Early Betting Picks for Phoenix
The driver odds in this post are accurate as of 6:00 pm ET on March 9, 2016 and came from Bovada.
Kevin Harvick (+300) – Honestly, this is probably the best you’re going to get from Kevin Harvick from here on out, so if you’re going to put some money on him to win in Phoenix, you might as well do it now. I’m expecting the driver of the #4 Chevrolet to be around +250 or lower on Sunday. In case you haven’t been paying attention to NASCAR over the past few years, Harvick is an absolute machine at Phoenix, with an average finish of 1.3 in the last four races here and seven results of 1st or 2nd in the last eight. If you’re not going to put any on Harvick this week, I’d honestly just think about taking a break from the NASCAR betting world until Fontana next week. He’s just that good here at Phoenix.
Kurt Busch (+1200) – I’m putting a small bet on Kurt Busch this week at 12-to-1 odds, and for a couple of reasons. First, the #41 Chevrolet has been really fast lately, setting on the pole in each of the last two Sprint Cup events. Second, he’s pretty good here at Phoenix, with three straight top 10 finishes, including a 5th-place run in this race one year ago. Kurt Busch is one of those guys that is going to win when you least expect it, and if anyone other than Kevin Harvick wins here in the desert on Sunday I’ll be more than surprised. I do like Kurt at these odds, though, as a sort of long shot pick.
That’s all I really have this week. None of the other drivers look too attractive from a betting perspective. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is sitting at (+1200) and may get some action from me, but that’s about it. I think it’s going to be borderline impossible to beat Kevin Harvick this week, but you never know, he could have a mechanical issue or wreck.