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NASCAR Betting Action – Johnson Tightens Grip on First Place

Lowe’s Motor Speedway – Bank Of America 500

It’s only been a week since we last looked at the NASCAR betting odds for this year’s Sprint Cup, but in those seven days a clear fave has emerged to win the championship.

Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards were tied at +150 odds to win the Sprint Cup at this time last week, but that was when they were only 10 points apart in the standings. Over the weekend Johnson ended up ninth in the Amp Energy 500 at Talladega, while Edwards was well back in 29th place. So how much did those results affect the odds?

Well, Johnson is now at -150 on the BetUS NASCAR lines to win the Sprint Cup this season, with Edwards back at +200. The Talladega results increased Johnson’s lead in the driver standings to 72 points, with just six races remaining on the season’s schedule

Greg Biffle also stumbled at Talladega, ending up in 24th place. So while Biffle was at +225 to win the Sprint Cup last week (and only 30 points behind Johnson in the driver standings), he’s now at +325 and 77 points back of first place. Jeff Burton finished fourth at Talladega to move to within 99 points of Johnson for top spot; that result has improved Burton’s Cup odds – he was at +2000 last week, but now he’s listed at +1000.

Here’s how all the Chase drivers stand heading into this weekend’s race at Lowe’s . . .

Jimmie Johnson — 5718
Carl Edwards — 5646
Greg Biffle — 5641
Jeff Burton — 5619
Clint Bowyer — 5566
Kevin Harvick — 5547
Tony Stewart — 5515
Jeff Gordon — 5486
Matt Kenseth — 5473
Dale Earnhardt Jr. — 5469
Kyle Busch — 5387
Denny Hamlin — 5383

Time is running out to make up ground in the standings, so odds to win the Cup are getting worse for the drivers trailing in the points race. Jeff Gordon is now at +2000, with Tony Stewart and Clint Bowyer at +3500, Dale Earnhardt Jr. at +4500, and Kevin Harvick at +5000. Matt Kenseth sits at +8000, while Kyle Busch has fallen down to +8500. Last-place Denny Hamlin has the longest odds to win – he’s pegged at +10000.

Johnson will be looking to take a stranglehold on the Cup this weekend when the series hits Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the Bank of America 500. Johnson has visited victory lane at Lowe’s five times in his Cup career – once in 2003, and twice each in 2004 and 2005. Gordon won this race last year, to add to his other three Cup victories at Lowe’s.

Stewart is coming off a win in last week’s Amp Energy 500, but he’s still well back of Johnson in the driver standings. Still, Stewart has also had some Lowe’s success in the past, as he won the UAW-GM Quality 500 there in 2003. And don’t forget about non-Chase driver Kasey Kahne, who won at Lowe’s in May and twice during the ’06 season.

Here’s where the Sprint Cup Series drivers will be for the final five races of the season:

10/19/08 – TUMS QuikPak 500 – Martinsville Speedway
10/26/08 – Pep Boys Auto 500 – Atlanta Motor Speedway
11/02/08 – Dickies 500 – Texas Motor Speedway
11/09/08 – Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 – Phoenix International Raceway
11/16/08 – Ford 400 – Homestead-Miami Speedway

Check the BetUS NASCAR odds section for all the latest lines for this weekend’s race.

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