Kyle Busch was expected to be the favorite to upend five-time defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, but it's brother Kurt who has four Top-10 finishes coming into this weekend’s Auto Club 400 from the Speedway in Fontana, California.
Johnson is the defending champion and is at 7/2 odds at Sportsbook.ag to collect the checkered flag in the 2011 version of the race. Johnson has a pair of Top-5 finishes this season and sits 20 points back of leader Kurt Busch (15/1) in the overall NASCAR driver standings.
Carl Edwards is out to a roaring start on the NASCAR circuit with a victory and three Top-5 finishes, and he comes in as the second favorite on the Auto Club 400 betting lines at 6/1 to capture his second race of the season.
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Kyle Busch sits sixth in the overall standings and could be a threat for a second straight victory, after beating Edwards in Bristol last time out. Busch is at solid 8/1 odds along with Jeff Gordon, who won an earlier NASCAR race in Phoenix.
A nice darkhorse at 30/1 odds is Ryan Newman - three Top 10 finishes and fourth in the Sprint Cup standings behind Tony Stewart (10/1).
While Edwards has been one of the most consistent racers of the early season, the NASCAR betting lines at Sportsbook.ag have Johnson at EVEN odds for a finish inside the Top 3. Edwards follows behind at +180, and with three Top-5 finishes could be the safest wager on the NASCAR Top-3 betting lines.
Other contenders are usually considerations in Top 3 betting for races, and the Auto Club 400 is no different. Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon are both at +250 on the NASCAR betting lines to crack the Top 3, while standings leader Kurt Busch is at +450 for a Top-3 placing.
In driver matchup betting an interesting line has Carl Edwards as a -140 favorite to finish ahead of Tony Stewart (+110). Edwards could be a good underdog wager in driver matchups against Jimmie Johnson, who is the favorite at -140 to beat out Edwards in the Auto Club 400.
Kyle Bush is a favorite at -135 to close out the race in front of Jeff Gordon, who is a good underdog wager in this driver matchup at +105.
Paul Menard has quietly gone about his business with a pair of Top-10 finishes in NASCAR races this season, and he is a good underdog pick at +105 to defeat Brian Vickers (-135) in driver matchup betting lines. Vickers has just one Top-10 finish this season.