Hendrick Motorsports Preview Feb 13th, 2008
By: Our Staff
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NASCAR Wagering – Don’t Bet Against Hendrick Motorsports
As we anticipate the golden anniversary of the Daytona 500 on Sunday – what could arguably be the most exciting race Daytona International Speedway has ever seen – the NASCAR betting nation is preparing for this year’s Sprint Cup season.
Following last year’s campaign which was owned by Hendrick Motorsports drivers, who combined to win 18-of-36 races, oddsmakers are giving all their respect to three of the four horsemen of the stable.
Hendrick boasts two-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson and four-time series champ Jeff Gordon. Throw in Dale Earnhardt Jr., Casey Mears and team owner Rick Hendrick’s talent pool is starting to draw comparisons to some of the most recognized dynasties in professional sports history.
Few would mention Hendrick in the same breath as the 1960’s Boston Celtics, the 1970’s Pittsburgh Steelers or the New York Yankees. But after winning 50 percent of the races last year and then sweeping the first two events of Speedweeks, those comparisons might not be far off.
But comparisons mean little and doesn’t earn gamblers a payday. The million dollar question for those who bet on NASCAR is: Who will win the Sprint Cup in 2008?
Cale Yarborough is the only driver to win three straight Cup titles. Johnson is poised to become the second. En route to raising the Cup last season, Johnson posted the series most wins with ten. In addition to his victories, Johnson also claimed 20 top-5’s and finished in the top-10 24 times.
BetUS NASCAR odds list the defending champion the favorite at +350 to three-peat. Johnson begins his quest to make oddsmakers look like geniuses by starting on the pole for the Daytona 500. Johnson now has 14 career poles and previously won the pole here in 2002. He also won the Daytona 500 in 2006. Johnson’s qualifying speed was 187.075 mph.
Winning the pole adds another notch to the Hendrick belt and taking the checkers in the ”The Great American Race” should come as no surprise. There’s value on Johnson to raise the Cup at +350 which makes for a solid bet.
Gordon was runner up in the Chase for the Cup last year and collected the second most victories with six, a long with a series-best 21 top-5’s, 30 top-10’s and ten poles. Gordon is oddsmakers second choice to win this year’s title at +400. The four-time series champion makes for another solid selection.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. joined the Hendrick dynasty and started strong with last week’s Budweiser Shootout victory. Earnhardt Jr. left DEI after failing to make last year’s chase in a dismal season that yielded no victories and only five top-5’s and 12 top-10 finishes.
Earnhardt Jr. will have a much stronger season in 2008. He’ll now be behind the wheel of some of the fastest cars in the series on a regular basis. The fan favorite is displayed third choice to win his first Sprint Cup championship at +500.
Rarely are oddsmakers spot on but it’s hard to manufacture an argument against them for making Johnson, Gordon and Earnhardt Jr. the top-3 choices to raise the Cup. It’s also difficult to bet against them. There’s betting value on all three which doesn’t come often with favoritism.
The Hendrick team won four consecutive championships beginning in 1995, added three more Cup titles since and has 167 career wins. But last season, Hendrick took it to a whole new level. The team won nine of 16 races involving the Car of Tomorrow, including the first five. They are clearly the class of the Sprint Cup circuit and the 2008 campaign will again be dominated by Hendrick Motorsports.
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