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It’s do or die for Carl Edwards this weekend, as he must finish ahead of Jimmie Johnson in the Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway to keep his rival from all but locking up his third straight NASCAR championship. That leaves NASCAR betting fans with two options this weekend, and the same two on the Cup futures odds.

Last week Edwards kept Johnson from completely running away with the championship by recording his eighth win of the season at Texas Motor Speedway. Johnson failed to finish in the Top 10 for the first time since August after crossing the finish line in 15th place. The victory shaved 77 points off Johnson’s lead in the standings and left Edwards 106 points back with two races remaining. To keep the pressure on Johnson, Edwards will likely have to repeat that victory this weekend at Phoenix. It would be Edwards’ first career win on the track, as his best finish at Phoenix was the fourth-place result he recorded in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 both earlier this season and back in 2006.

Unfortunately for Edwards the winner of this year’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix in May was Johnson. Johnson also won the Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 last season, when it was known simply as the Checker Auto Parts 500. Even though Johnson has won the last two races at Phoenix, and his lifetime record on the track is far superior to that of Edwards, both have been given the same line to win this weekend’s race on the NASCAR odds at +400.

However, the NASCAR odds look a lot different on the Sprint Cup futures. Johnson’s 106-point lead isn’t insurmountable, but Edwards will need to run the races of his life the next two weeks and hope Johnson completely falters to have any real chance of catching him. That’s why Johnson is a huge favorite at -4000 to claim his third straight championship, while Edwards checks in at +500 to win his first. You can also wager on Greg Biffle at +1400 and Jeff Burton at +4000, but with Biffle sitting 143 points back, and Burton 212 points out, the chances of either of them stealing the title away aren’t even worth calculating.

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