Just when things seem easier to predict, they get that much tougher.

Kurt Busch bucked a trend, won a race and cost me fake money last week in Dover. I should still be happy up 65 fake dollars, but I’m not. Here’s why.

Predicting races during the Chase should get easier. Drivers on the outside rarely get into Victory Lane. Smart fans know who the contenders are and can ride them to wins. Heck, Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson led me from virtual bankruptcy to being up big for the year.

This year, consider the following.

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. had one of the best recent track records at Chase tracks. Now, he’s done in all caps.
  • Tony Stewart wins two Chase races, then doesn’t even look like he registered for  Dover.
  • Kurt Busch won at a track where he had a historical disadvantage.

Sure, it’s easy to narrow one’s focus to the Chase drivers. Going from twelve contenders to actual selections makes throwing darts blindfolded look reliable. Pardon my while I try and tie a double knot without the benefit of eyesight.

15 fake dollars on Jimmie Johnson at 6/1

Johnson has led the third most laps here in the last five years and has a win. Both of those numbers intrigue me, even after I said he couldn’t win the Sprint Cup last week.

15 fake dollars on Jeff Gordon at 8/1

Five finishes of fifth or better in the last five years. Zero wins. People can change. So can Gordon’s luck.

10 fake dollars on Kurt Busch at 9/1
Nobody has led more laps here since 2006. Plus Penske has had success here.

10 fake dollars on Brad Keselowski at 15/1
This screams like a great fake wager. Brad won this race earlier in the year. Fuel duel? Sure. But it seems like every race is a fuel due, and we’ve seen Penske cars stay strong on various tracks.

Just when things seem easier to predict, they get that much tougher. Bad for Vegas patrons. Good for Vegas casinos. Great for fans. Enjoy Kansas, see what The Spread thinks and insert random catchphrase here.

Jimmie Johnson 6/1
Carl Edwards 8/1
Jeff Gordon 8/1
Kyle Busch 8/1
Tony Stewart 8/1
Kurt Busch 9/1
Matt Kenseth 12/1
Kevin Harvick 12/1
Brad Keselowski 15/1
Greg Biffle 15/1
Denny Hamlin 18/1
Kasey Kahne 20/1
Mark Martin 30/1
Clint Bowyer 30/1
Dale Earnhardt Jr 30/1
Ryan Newman 30/1
Martin Truex Jr 40/1
Brian Vickers 40/1
Jeff Burton 40/1
David Ragan 40/1
Jamie McMurray 50/1
AJ Allmendinger 50/1
Juan Pablo Montoya 50/1
Joey Logano 50/1
David Reutimann 50/1
Field 20/1