NASCAR PROP BETS, VERSION TWO

Denny Hamlin. Oh how you scorn me.

I wrote a column putting money on him to win at Martinsville before the odds came out. Upon seeing those odds and hating them, I went in the other direction. Now Captain ACL has me down $200 in fake currency instead of being down less than $100 in fake moolah had I stuck with my original hunch.

In an unrelated note, I hate this column and can’t be happy enough for an off week so I can present some random prop bets to drown my sorrow for a bit.

Odds Kyle Busch has the worst points total of  any Joe Gibbs Racing team: 1/3

Busch is 16th in the points. Hamlin  is 15th. Joey Logano is 13th. If Hamlin misses an entire race, Busch wins this hands down.

But if Hamlin starts after this surgery (all reports suggest he will), Busch might be the odd duck on the pond. Logano is getting better at tracks where he struggled as a rookie. As 2009 wore on, Logano jumped substantially in points, even winning his first race. Plus, Hamlin seems to have rebounded with a tough win Monday. Get it. Rebound. He hurt his knee playing basketball. Chuckles galore.

Anyway, consider how sluggish Kyle Busch has been over this season and the end of last year. Maybe going all out every single race is starting to catch up. I would put my fake money on Busch to not be the weak link, but I also won’t be surprised if he’s gasping to get into the Chase. Talk about a segue.

Odds all three Richard Childress Racing teams make the Chase: 8/1

Kevin Harvick is in a groove with the hopes of impressing Tony Stewart enough for a gig next year.

Clint Bowyer is consistently consistent. Bowyer had 16 finishes in the top 10. But only four of those were in the top 5. Someone can catch him in the final races if they’re great.

What’s interesting is that old reliable Jeff Burton might be the wild card.  Burton wins more than Bowyer but finishes outside the top 10 more often. Bowyer might be passed. Burton might fall back to the pack.

I just can’t imagine a JGR car not making the Chase, which leaves me to bump one RCR car out of contention. This of course assumes I could actually wager on this.

Odds Paul Menard makes the Chase: 20/1

I need to do this. Paul Menard, you’re proving me wrong. If this was a crappy reality show, I would give you a rose, but not in that kind of way.

Fresh of his 2009 Flopper award, Menard is racing’s most improved driver and 11th in the points. Yes, it’s early. But, Menard clearly has better technology with Richard Petty Motorsports. Plus, having Kasey Kahne as a running buddy can’t hurt?

Actually, Kahne has struggled in 2010. And good luck seeing any other RPM car close to the top 15. With JGR, Carl Edwards and Mark Martin on the outside looking in, I can’t imagine Menard keeping his spot the entire season. Still, kudos for the good start. You can build on this, preferably with supplies from Menard’s. I hear you can save big money there.

Odds Earnhardt Ganassi Racing misses the Chase: 1/13,236,981

What in the name of Bob Griese is going on at EGR? Juan Pablo Montoya is 170 points out of the Chase a whopping six races into the season. Jamie McMurray has gone from 1st to 19th in five races. They run the same engines as RCR who has three drivers in the top nine.

As Denny Hamlin taught me, making a nickel is better than losing $50 in fake coin. EGR is a mess. Give me my dime, and let me get a gumball.

Odds Mark Martin misses the Chase: 10/1
Martin has gotten in the middle of two rinky dink wrecks. Not his fault. But Hendrick has never had four cars make the Chase. Being the fourth Hendrick car makes being the Spinal Tap drummer look like a stable career move.

Think of how many points Dale Earnhardt Jr. has tossed away this season because of silly mistakes. I don’t know if Martin’s luck is running out. But I might take my chances the clock is getting towards midnight and it’s time for me to dream about Go Daddy girls. Speaking of which, you’re welcome, and insert random catchphrase here.