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NASCAR Odds: Southern 500 Preview

Continuing to sit atop the Sprint Cup Series after the first 10 races of the season, Jimmie Johnson is one of the favorites on the NASCAR betting lines at the sportsbooks to win the Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Saturday night.

Johnson holds a 41-point lead on Carl Edwards in the driver standings heading into this weekend after turning in seven Top-10 results through 10 events, and he's tied with Kyle Busch at +500 on the NASCAR odds at TopBet to visit Victory Lane at Darlington on Saturday.

And not only is Johnson the current standings leader, but he's also the defending champion at the Bojangles' Southern 500, beating Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart across the finish line at the race last May. Busch was fourth that day, while Martin Truex Jr. managed to turn in a fifth-place result.

Matt Kenseth was sixth at the Bojangles' Southern 500 in 2012, and he's at +600 at TopBet to win the race on Saturday, with Kasey Kahne and Denny Hamlin both at +800. Kahne had to settle for an eight-place result at Darlington last May.

Edwards holds down +1000 odds at TopBet for this week's race, with Truex Jr., Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle, and Brad Keselowski all at +1200, and each of Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick at +1800. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is third in the Sprint Cup Series standings, has +2000 odds for the Darlington event.

Odds to Win 2013 Bojangles' Southern 500 at TopBet:

Kyle Busch +500
Jimmie Johnson +500
Matt Kenseth +600
Kasey Kahne +800
Denny Hamlin +800
Carl Edwards +1,000
Jeff Gordon +1,200
Greg Biffle +1,200
Martin Truex Jr +1,200
Brad Keselowski +1,200
Clint Bowyer +1,800
Kevin Harvick +1,800
Dale Earnhardt Jr +2,000
Tony Stewart +2,500
Joey Logano +3,000
Kurt Busch +5,000
Mark Martin +5,000
Ricky Stenhouse +5,000
Jamie McMurray +5,000
Juan Montoya +7,500
David Ragan +7,500
Jeff Burton +10,000
Regan Smith +10,000
Trevor Bayne +10,000
Paul Menard +10,000
Danica Patrick +10,000
Marcos Ambrose +10,000
Aric Almirola +10,000
Ryan Newman +10,000
Field (Any Other Driver) +3,000

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Jimmie Johnson hasn’t won yet this season but he is the most consistent driver, tallying seven Top-10 finishes in only 10 races on the Sprint Cup Series circuit. Johnson is an 11/2 favorite at Bovada for this weekend’s running of the Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

This race seems to produce a different winner each year, and the oddsmakers at Bovada have a cluster of drivers sitting at 8/1 odds. They include the only back-to-back winner of this race in Greg Biffle, plus Jeff Gordon (a two-time winner), Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, and defending Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart.

Denny Hamlin has two victories this season, five Top-10 finishes, and is the 2010 winner of the Southern 500. Hamlin could be a smart wager at 10/1 odds on the NASCAR betting lines, which also have Kevin Harvick at 10/1 odds.

Matt Kenseth is having a great NASCAR season, having posted a win at Daytona and picking up six Top-10 finishes this year to put him into second place in the standings. Kenseth leads a group of drivers who are sitting at 12/1 odds on the  Southern 500 betting lines. Joining Kenseth at 12/1 odds are Brad Keselowski, who has two Sprint Cup Series victories already, and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Rounding out the top tier of drivers on the Bovada odds board for the  Southern 500 at Darlington this weekend are Kasey Kahne at 15/1 odds, Martin Truex Jr. at 18/1 odds, and Ryan Newman at 20/1 odds.

Mark Martin has been inside the Top 10 on four occasions this year and won this race in 2009; he could be a strong underdog bet at 25/1 odds. Another solid underdog bet is Clint Bowyer, who is 10th in the Sprint Cup Series standings and is at 28/1 odds for this race. Defending champion Regan Smith sits way back at 150/1 odds.