By Jordan McAbee
Now that practice and qualifying are finished, we have a clearer picture of which drivers are going to be contenders (and pretenders) in today’s QuikTrip Folds of Honor 500. For a full top 25 rundown, I invite you to check out my Post Practice Predictions article over at ifantasyrace.
Kevin Harvick remains the race day favorite for this week’s event at Atlanta Motor Speedway at +475, followed by Denny Hamlin at +575 and Joey Logano at +650.
Race Day Betting Picks for Atlanta
The driver odds in this post are accurate as of 9:30 am ET on February 28, 2016 and came from Bovada.
BET OF THE DAY: Jimmie Johnson (+725) – The early betting lines had Johnson as the 3rd-most favored driver in the field at +650. After practice and qualifying, he is now the 5th-most favored driver at +725 with the three above ahead of him as well as Kyle Busch at +700. The thing is, Joey Logano has looked like garbage all weekend and Kyle Busch has to start at the rear of the field. Thus, there’s some great value in putting some money on JJ. The #48 Chevrolet was one of the best cars in Happy Hour on Saturday and Johnson leads all active drivers with four wins at Atlanta. Yeah, he qualified mid-pack in 19th, but let’s not forget that he won this race after starting 37th last year. Jimmie is my pick to win today and I nearly jumped for joy when I saw I could get him at +725.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (+1800) – I noticed that many people from the Sprint Cup garage (crew chiefs, team members, etc.) were talking about the #88 Chevrolet when asked which cars are the strongest for today’s QuikTrip Folds of Honor 500. And I don’t disagree. It’s pretty rare that the Junior shows a ton of speed in Happy Hour, but he did just that on Saturday, ending up 6th on the ten-lap average chart with the 4th-best overall lap. I thought I was happy locking Kurt Busch in at +1600 earlier this week. I’m even happier taking Earnhardt, Jr. at +1800 on race day! From an average finish perspective, Atlanta is the best track on the circuit for him, and he finished 3rd in this race a year ago.
STAY AWAY: Joey Logano (+650) – Joey Logano isn’t going to win this race, yet he’s 3rd on the odds list. Both Penske Fords have struggled with their cars over the race weekend, and if Happy Hour on Saturday was any indication, the #22 team might struggle to even crack the top 10 today. Yeah, Logano looked that bad. I wouldn’t have predicted that in any race this season but for whatever reason the Penske boys just haven’t quite figured out NASCAR’s new package yet. The #22 team is going to have to take a major swing at adjustments before the race goes green today if they want a respectable finish, but it’s going to take a lot to get this car into the top 5 with a shot to win, and I just don’t see it happening.