The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup series’ 36 point-race schedule is down to its final two events of the season with just a couple of drivers still in the Chase for the title. This Sunday’s race from Phoenix International Speedway is the AdvoCare 500. It is set to get underway at 11 a.m. (PT) and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN. 

Jimmie Johnson tightened the noose on a sixth career Sprint Cup title by taking the checkered flag last week at Texas, but Brad Keselowski remained right on his tail by finishing second. Our value pick for the week at +900 was Kasey Kahne, but he fell all the way to 25th after starting 13th

NASCAR Betting Preview- AdvoCare 500

The following is a look at a few of the favorites to watch this Saturday night along with our value pick according to their current odds to win as provided by Wagerweb.

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NASCAR Betting

Jimmie Johnson certainly put the hammer down in his quest to regain the Sprint Cup title that he held for five-straight years prior to last season’s loss, with back-to-back checkered flags in the last two races of the Chase. He has been opened as a +400 favorite to make it three in-a-row this Sunday and for good cause. The No. 48 car remains in first place in the standings with an expanded seven point lead. It now has five wins on the season, which is tied for the most in the series. Adding even more value to these odds is Johnson’s impressive 5.3 average finishing position at this track that includes three-straight victories from 2008 to 2009 and a third-place finish in last year’s race.

The only driver with a legitimate shot to catch Johnson is Brad Keselowski, who has been opened at +500 to win on Sunday. His second-place finish kept the title race tight and proved that the No. 2 car was not about to go away quietly in this Chase to the championship. This team is also no stranger to victory lane this season with five wins of its own. Working against Keselowski is his inexperience at this track with just six career races here, but a fifth-place finish in the first race at Phoenix this season has to be a boost to his confidence coming into this one.

Last week’s 20th-place finish at Texas officially ended Denny Hamlin’s title chances, dropping him all the way to seventh in the Sprint Cup Standings, but the No. 11 car would love nothing more than to play the role of spoiler this week. Hamlin has been opened at the third-favorite to win at Phoenix at +600 after claiming the checkered flag in the first race here this season. He has five other top-five finishes at this track to go along with this win and an average finishing position of 10.9, so look for him to be a factor in this race. 

Kasey Kahne is another driver that saw his title hopes go up in flames with a poor showing last week. The No. 5 car is still in fourth-place in the standings but 58 points out of the lead. None the less, look for this team to be a factor in this race at +800 to win. What makes things really interesting is that Kahne comes into this year’s race as the defending champion. Sapping some of the value from his odds is the fact that it was his only career win at this track and his average finishing position here is a dismal 20.0.

Top Value Pick

There are a number of veteran drivers listed at +1200 to win this race, but the one that caught our eye as this week’s to value NASCAR pick to win is Jeff Gordon. His title hopes faded a couple of weeks back, but you know that the No. 24 car would like one more shot at getting to victory lane after posting just one previous win this year. The risk you run in this pick is that Gordon may actually work to help his Hendricks Motorsports’ teammate (Johnson) get the win, but you cannot discount the fact that he won the first race here in 2011 and finished eighth in the early race at Phoenix this season.