The Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook in Las Vegas became the first sports book in Nevada to post opening odds for the 2010 Daytona 500 and Sprint Cup Championship.
Over the last four seasons there has been little drama in the Chase for the Championship that has seen Jimmie Johnson win an unprecedented four straight titles.
Despite the streak, the Las Vegas Hilton hasn’t over-adjusted on what seems to be as sure of a sure thing as there is in NASCAR by opening Johnson as the 5-to-2 favorite, a price that has been on par with Johnson at the start of each of his last three seasons.
For whatever reason, the public – knowing that Johnson is going to be tough to beat, would rather bet a little amount to win big, which takes Johnson completely out of many betting equations, that is, until Johnson wins and you lose. But that’s where the fun of wagering this early in the season comes into play.
People want to root for an underdog. Some folks bet a new driver to win the title every year when they visit Vegas, giving them action and someone new to cheer for throughout the season.
The real value, or at least appearance of the value, lies within the drivers who are trying to stop Johnson’s reign. Mark Martin (7-1), Kyle Busch (8-1), and Jeff Gordon (8-1) round out the top four favorites to win the Championship.
Should you want to go deeper with a long-shot possibility, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, and Carl Edwards are 10-to-1 and Juan Pablo Montoya is 12-to-1.
The interesting drivers to keep an eye on in the Championship Chase in 2010 will be the Childress drivers led by Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton, who are both listed at 30-to-1. Even though neither made the Chase last season, they both came on strong during the Chase races, closing out the season on a positive note for what had been an exhausting year for both.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s third season with Rick Hendrick has him starting the season with his highest odds ever to win a Championship at 30-to-1. Junior always fell into the supply and demand category in Las Vegas betting, which always made his odds lower. The bookmakers used to set his odds lower just because the majority of the public would bet Junior, weighing out the scales of risk on him for a race or Championship.
This time around, the Junior Nation has seen enough and don‘t believe in him anymore. Last season he barely got a blip of attention from NASCAR bettors, who saw that things weren’t right in the No. 88 camp.
But it may be a little early to jump completely off the bandwagon. Junior will be coming into a full season with Hendrick Motorsports cars, made and set-up the Hendrick way. The last two seasons Tony Eury Jr. had tinkered with his own set-up on the Hendrick cars counteracting the edge that had seen teammates Johnson, Gordon, and Martin excel.
According to the odds, the Daytona 500 should be wide open. Only one driver, Kyle Busch at 8-to-1, is listed at odds lower than 12-to-1. After Busch, there are seven drivers listed at 12-to-1.
Busch has been the most consistently dominant restrictor-plate driver over the last two seasons, but we‘ve seen a transformation in plate racing that has brought so many more teams to an equal level. Who can forget the decade long Chevy reign that saw DEI or Hendrick win just about every plate race where it was almost a foregone conclusion that Ford or Dodge had no chance.
Now it’s quite the opposite. Last season we saw Jack Roush win his first Daytona 500 with Matt Kenseth and then go to Talladega and win with Jamie McMurray in the fall. In the first Talladega race, a rookie, Brad Keselowski, won the race with a team that was a part time operation.
2010 should be no different and beginning with Daytona your guess is as good as anyone to who will win kicking off the season.
It’s pretty cool that you can almost smell the high octane fuel, burnt tires, and asphalt before Christmas.
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Odds to Win 2010
Sun., Feb. 14 c/o Lv Hilton
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Juan Pablo Montoya
Martin Truex Jr
Sam Hornish Jr
Field (All Others)
Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Micah Roberts