NASCAR season preview odds

With speed week coming up it won’t be long before NASCAR is roaring around Daytona International Speedway. Is this the season someone finally unseats four-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson?

The Sprint Cup season unofficially begins with the Daytona 500 on February 14 (happy Valentines Day honey, we’re watching the Great American Race), but before that there’s speed week and along with it the Budweiser Shootout and the Gatorade Duel.

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The Shootout is first up on February 6 and the favorite surprisingly isn’t Johnson. The latest Budweiser Shootout odds over at Bovada have Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch listed as the race co-favorites at +700. Stewart has won the Shootout three times in his career, with his last victory coming in 2007. Busch has never won

. FYI – last year’s Shootout winner Kevin Harvick is a +1200 underdog to repeat.

Daytona 500 odds – Who’s favored?

The top of the odds lists for the Daytona 500 at Bovada is the same as the odds for the shootout. Stewart and Busch are also the favorites there, both at +800. If either fulfills the oddsmakers assessment and wins at Daytona in a few weeks it would be the first Daytona 500 win for both drivers.

Stewart and Busch are currently the only drivers on the Daytona 500 odds to receive triple digit odds. Following them down the list are Denny Hamlin at +1000, Jeff Gordon also at +1000, Johnson at +1200 and Mark Martin at +1200. From that impressive quartet of drivers only Gordon and Johnson have won the Daytona 500 before. Gordon, a three-winner claimed the checkered flag in 1997, 1999 and 2005, while Johnson’s lone Daytona 500 win came in 2006.

Last year the Daytona 500 winner was Matt Kenseth. He was quite an underdog when he won last season and he’s quite low on the odds list again this year at +2500. Other recent winners and their odds include 2008 winner Ryan Newman (+3000) and 2007 winner Kevin Harvick (+2000).

Sprint Cup odds – Guess who’s on top?

The Sprint Cup odds at Bovada shouldn’t surprise anyone. The favorite to win the Cup this season is of course Jimmie Johnson. After winning the Cup the last four years how could he not be favored. He’s quite a big favorite too, coming in at +250. By comparison the next driver on the list, Mark Martin is listed at +700.

Martin couldn’t catch Johnson during the Chase last season, but came the closest of any driver. If Martin can finally win his first Cup championship this season it would be the capper of a terrific career foe the NASCAR veteran.

Just a few of the other drivers that could give threaten Johnson’s run for a fifth-straight title include Kyle Busch (+800), Jeff Gordon (+800), Tony Stewart (+1000) and Denny Hamlin (+1000). Both Busch and Stewart led the standings at times last season, but neither driver could match Johnson’s consistency and his performance during the Chase.