California Odds - California boy Johnson continues Auto Club dominance
Jimmie Johnson has won the fall California race two years running, and his numbers show why he’s the sportsbook favorite at +350. Over 13 races, Johnson has the best starting average at 9.2, and the best finishing average at 6.2. He romped here last year, leading 228 laps, and he finished ninth here in the spring. He’ll be eager to bounce back after a ninth-place run at Kansas last week, when a bad call on pit road to take four tires put him back in the pack. His Hendrick teammates, Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon come in at +500 after top-five finishes at Kansas, and they combined to win the first three California races from 1997-99. Gordon finished second to Matt Kenseth in the spring, leading 64 laps, and he’s tied with Kenseth and Johnson with three wins each out West. Martin had an engine failure and ran just 179 of the 250 laps. Tony Stewart is paired with Roush-Fenway drivers Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle at +800, and Stewart’s win at Kansas kept him in the sportsbook hunt for the title. Stewart hasn’t won in 16 trips to California, but he finished eighth in the spring. Edwards and Biffle both have won the spring race here, and both finished in the top six in last year’s fall race. Biffle is the best bet here, coming off a great day at Kansas in which he led 113 laps. The always-dangerous Juan Pablo Montoya comes in at +1000, and his fourth-place run at Kansas was his third straight top-five, and fourth in five races. He’s yet to break the top 10 at California, but he came in 11th here in the spring, and seeing as he had a bad track record at each of the previous three places the Sprint Cup has been to, look for the No.42 to be up front all day. Outside of drivers in the Chase, your best bets are Kyle Busch at +1000, and Kenseth at +1200. Both are in the top five in terms of finishing average at California, and Busch won here in 2005, while Kenseth has a trio of checkered flags, including this year’s spring race. Busch would be the better play here, as he finished a respectable 12th at Kansas, and Kenseth’s No.17 team has been disarray since leaving California in the spring. LEE-ROY’S PICK: You know Johnson and Chad Knaus heard the media talk that the rest of NASCAR is catching up to the No.48 team after a suspect pit call at Kansas in which they were outsmarted. But I ask you: how many times has that happened in the last three years? And now they’re at a place where they’ve utterly dominated over the last few years, especially in the fall, and now there’s more on the line after the date for this race was switched from Labor Day to inside the Chase. Pick Jimmie Johnson’s Pepsi 500 odds of +350 this weekend.
For more sports betting picks and tips as we count down to Homestead-Miami, check out Lee-Roy in betonline.com’s The Betting Edge. Lee-Roy Buckles is betonline.com's racing expert.