The Pocono 400 might be the most conflicting race of the year.

On one hand, shorter races seem to make sense; so, shortening the race by 40 laps seems like a good idea. On the other hand, I really like racing at Pocono and feel a bit bummed by the move.

The shortening of Sunday’s race has also shortened the race, causing even more conflict with my picks.

Prior to seeing the odds, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin seemed like obvious picks. They have the highest average finishing position among active drivers, with six wins between them. But 4/1 odds are quite conflicting, especially with so many other drivers offering compelling cases to win.

  •     Big tracks have favored Ford in 2012.
  •     Stewart Haas Racing has a great record here.
  •     Jeff Gordon won this race last year.
  •     Kurt Busch has led 274 laps here….oh wait.

The easy way or the hard way? Up a fake 455 dollars after Jimmie Johnson’s win, I’m not conflicted in having some fun.

15 fake dollars on Jeff Gordon at 8/1
Toxic luck? Yes. But Gordon had bad luck last week and almost won. Gordon needs two wins in the next thirteen races. Why not now?

10 fake dollars on Carl Edwards at 10/1
Edwards needs at least one win to ensure a Chase spot. Only four drivers have led more laps here in the last five years. One of them won’t be racing Sunday.

10 fake dollars on Brad Keselowski at 12/1
Penske cars run well here. Plus, I’m done with AJ Allmendinger.

10 fake dollars on Kasey Kahne at 15/1
Pocono isn’t like Charlotte, except that both are big. Kahne races well on big fast tracks.

5 fake dollars on Ryan Newman at 30/1
Four drives have a better average finish over the last five years. None have these odds.

I’m going to feel quite conflicted when Hamlin or Johnson dominates on Sunday. At least the race will be shorter. Here’s what The Spread thinks. Enjoy the race, and insert random catchphrase here.

Denny Hamlin 4/1
Jimmie Johnson 4/1
Tony Stewart 8/1
Jeff Gordon 8/1
Kyle Busch 8/1
Carl Edwards 10/1
Brad Keselowski 12/1
Kevin Harvick 12/1
Dale Earnhardt Jr 15/1
Greg Biffle 15/1
Kasey Kahne 15/1
Matt Kenseth 15/1
Martin Truex Jr 25/1
Ryan Newman 30/1
Mark Martin 40/1
Clint Bowyer 40/1
AJ Allmendinger 50/1
Marcos Ambrose 75/1
Joey Logano 75/1
Paul Menard 100/1
Jamie McMurray 100/1
Juan Montoya 100/1
Jeff Burton 100/1
Aric Almirola 200/1
Regan Smith 300/1
Landon Cassill 300/1
David Gilliland 300/1
Bobby Labonte 300/1
David Ragan 300/1
Field (Any Other Driver) 50/1