Is there a chink in the king’s armor?

I have been losing fake money on this column for several months now (Editor’s Note: He’s down $350 after picking the wrong Busch brother in Charlotte but omitted this from his column. Hmmm), but have decided to offer some educational content to go with the entertainment value I have to use as  disclaimer every time I write this.

This week’s odds are showing a few trends I’ve never seen before.  And if you like Lowe’s, Rick Hendrick, or drivers who have stunk this year, the numbers may be cause for concern

Let’s start with Captain Lowe’s. He’s not the sole favorite this week. That hasn’t happened since Daytona. Johnson, while he has run well, hasn’t won since that gnarly looking wing came off the car. Johnson also hasn’t won at this track in the last five years, while Denny Hamlin has won here three times.

Johnson’s boss has a problem as well. Vegas is changing its tune on two of Rick Hendrick’s drivers. Mark Martin has been reduced to 20/1. The lowest Martin has been in 2010 was 15/1. Then there’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. He’s 60/1. What in the name of Kyle Petty is going on with that? For the most popular driver in NASCAR to be this much of an underdog is staggering.

Other drivers with big names have big odds. Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards and Ryan Newman are among the drivers to see a spike over the last few weeks. Each of these drivers has struggled this season, and it seems the money isn’t pouring in at the ticket counters.

With that in mind, here are some quick picks for Sunday at Pocono, which sounds like a cheesy Amanda Seyfried movie title. (You’re welcome for the link)

$25 on Denny Hamlin at 5/1: Dude loves this track and is always in the hunt. He has the best average finish of any driver in the last five years. I want winners.

$15 on Kurt Busch at 8/1: In the last five years, Busch has two wins at Pocono. His average finishing position is ninth, but I’m betting fake money on wins. This dude has done that on this track.

$5 on Tony  Stewart at 20/1: The defending race champion is this low. Wow. Consider me a sucker for this sucker bet. Plus, it’s another excuse to promote a really cool auction for charity.

$5 on Carl Edwards at 20/1: Pocono is a track where Edwards has excelled. And since I picked a Toyota, Dodge and Chevy, I felt guilty for Ford and David Cook. And yes, this is the worst Idol commercial in the history of ever.

Ford. Dodge. Chevy. Toyota. There’s not a chink in this plan. I’ll get the winning manufacturer. The winning driver…ugh. Here’s what The Spread thinks about Sunday’s race. Now insert random catchphrase here.

Jimmie Johnson 5/1    
Denny Hamlin 5/1    
Jeff Gordon 8/1    
Kyle Busch 8/1    
Kurt Busch 8/1    
Jeff Burton 15/1    
Juan Pablo Montoya 15/1    
Kevin Harvick 18/1    
Kasey Kahne 20/1    
Clint Bowyer 20/1    
Tony Stewart 20/1    
Mark Martin 20/1    
Greg Biffle 20/1    
Carl Edwards 20/1    
Joey Logano 20/1    
Matt Kenseth 20/1    
Jamie McMurray 25/1    
Ryan Newman 30/1    
Martin Truex Jr 40/1    
David Reutimann 40/1    
Brad Keselowski 60/1    
Dale Earnhardt Jr 60/1    
AJ Allmendinger 100/1    
David Ragan 100/1    
Casey Mears 100/1    
Travis Kvapil 100/1    
David Gilliland 100/1    
Scott Speed 100/1    
Paul Menard 100/1    
Regan Smith 100/1    
Marcos Ambrose 100/1    
Sam Hornish Jr 100/1    
Elliott Sadler 100/1
Field (Any Other Driver) 100/1