Last Updated: 2018-11-13
A full field of drivers will be running around the track for the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but only four of them will have the chance at the championship. The final race of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is this weekend and the top finisher between Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., and Kevin Harvick will win the title.
This season hasn’t been a great one for NASCAR. There have been some exciting finishes, but 19 of the 36 races were won by Harvick, Truex, or Busch. There have been some spats on social media and some colorful interview clips, which are always fun, but poor attendance and a shortage of sponsors are grabbing a lot more headlines. The sport may need to try thinking outside the box for next year. The Roval race at Charlotte was a great idea, though maybe not during the playoffs. Something needs to change in order to entice more viewers, both in person and on TV, and some new sponsors and advertisers.
This race should be a celebration of the season, but it is probably anything but. Big name sponsors are leaving and Furniture Row Racing had to cease operations, so Truex will be going over to Joe Gibbs Racing. Some of the sport’s most consistent and tenured figures, like Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin, failed to win races. Fan favorites are becoming harder to find without racers like Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
There will be a lot of soul searching and market research in the offseason.
In the meantime, there is one more race in 2018. All of the other drivers in the field will be in search of a win and the generous payday that comes along with that, but only the final four can win the championship for the season.
In the matchups market, here’s what 5Dimes Sportsbook has in the early betting odds:
Odds weren’t listed at time of writing for Harvick vs. Busch, but they should be pretty close because both guys are listed at +300 to win the race. Kyle Larson, who isn’t even in the final four, is +350 to pick up this win. Truex is next at +630.
Not surprisingly, Busch, Harvick, and Truex all have wins here within the last four years. The other win in that span belongs to Jimmie Johnson back in 2016. It was the first overtime finish at Homestead-Miami in a decade and a great end to the season.
Harvick hasn’t won at Homestead since 2014, but it hasn’t been from lack of trying. He’s been second, third, and fourth since that win and has three career runner-up finishes, three career third-place finishes, one fourth, and one fifth. He hasn’t finished outside the top 10 at Homestead-Miami since 2007. You know he’s going to be up there with a chance to win this thing and the +300 price tag seems fairly generous.
Busch hasn’t been as consistent as Harvick, but he was second last year, sixth in 2016, and won this in 2015. He led the most laps and finished fourth in 2012. He won last week at Phoenix and ran very well at just about every 1.5-mile track this season. Because he isn’t as accomplished at Homestead, the nod at the same price would go to Harvick, but you’re going to see a good amount of Busch money on the board this week.
Larson is kind of an interesting pick to be third on the board, seeing as how he’s gone all 35 races this season without a win and was bounced from the playoffs after the Round of 12. Then you look at what he’s done in Homestead. Larson has led the most laps each of the last two years and has three straight top-five finishes. It’s still hard to take him here, given that he’s never won on a 1.5-mile track and he’s up against guys that do it regularly, but you have to respect what he’s been able to accomplish at this track. Just not enough to bet him at +350.
Not when you can get Truex at +630. Maybe he wasn’t the 1.5-mile master this season like he has been in the past, but this will be an emotional race for Truex and his team with the dissolution of Furniture Row Racing. It has been a bit of a disappointing season overall, but Truex is still in the final four. He won this race last year. He hasn’t been as good as Harvick or Busch in this race, but with odds better than 6/1, why not take a shot? Even taking Busch and Harvick for a unit each and Truex at a quarter-unit or a half-unit will turn profit if any of the three win. Truex, after all, was the favorite in this race last year.
Logano is +1100, even though he’s still standing in the final four. He’s really timed his wins well. He won at Talladega to get into the playoffs with ease and then won at Martinsville to put himself in the final four. Outside of that, he’s been well below the other contenders. He does have three straight top-six finishes here, but he is unlikely to win this weekend.
Somebody like Brad Keselowski at +1650 has a much better chance given his proficiency on the 1.5-mile tracks. He only has two top-five finishes in his career at Homestead, so this has not been a good track for him. It really hasn’t been a good season except for the three straight wins at Darlington, Indianapolis, and Las Vegas. He was second last week, so maybe he’s going to finish on a high note.
Coverage of the Ford EcoBoost 400 will be on NBC on Sunday afternoon with a 2:30 p.m. ET start time.
Odds as of November 13, 4 p.m. ET:
Kevin Harvick +300
Kyle Busch +300
Kyle Larson +350
Martin Truex Jr +630
Joey Logano +1100
Brad Keselowski +1650
Chase Elliott +2200
Denny Hamlin +2200
Clint Bowyer +2650
Kurt Busch +2650
Erik Jones +3300
Aric Almirola +4400
Ryan Blaney +4400
Jimmie Johnson +8800
Austin Dillon +8800
Alex Bowman +11000
Daniel Suarez +11000
Ricky Stenhouse Jr +22000
Jamie McMurray +33000
Paul Menard +33000
Ryan Newman +55000
William Byron +55000
Matt Kenseth +55000
Ty Dillon +110000
AJ Allmendinger +110000
Chris Buescher +110000
Michael McDowell +220000
Darrell Wallace Jr +220000
Regan Smith +450000
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