Jun 19, 2014, 4:03 PM EDT
There’s nothing like putting a little pressure on Marcos Ambrose.
Okay, make that a LOT of pressure now.
It’s tough enough for Ambrose as he’s doing his best to make this year’s expanded 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup.
But now Ambrose has even more pressure on his shoulders after the Las Vegas Hilton sports book, one of the biggest in Sin City, has anointed the Australian native as the man to beat in Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.
According to a report and video on SportingNews.com, the LVH has made Ambrose a 5-1 pick to win Sunday’s race.
Being picked to win is a pretty lofty selection for a guy who has never won at Sonoma (although Ambrose has two career Sprint Cup wins at the other road course on the schedule, Watkins Glen).
Ironically, while there have been nine different winners in the last nine races at Sonoma, including first-timers Kurt Busch in 2011, Clint Bowyer in 2012 and Martin Truex Jr. last season, Gordon and Stewart dominated before that stretch, combining for seven wins in the previous nine starts there (before 2005).
Kevin Harvick has knocked on victory’s door numerous times at Sonoma, always to come up short. But because his car has indeed been so freaky fast this season, he’s a potential contender to win for the first time at the serpentine track.
Six-time and defending Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson, who has won three of the last four Cup races, has only one win at Sonoma, but the momentum he brings in could potentially lift him to his second career there – and 4th win in 5 starts, if he has his way.
Drivers with VERY long odds to win include Dale Earnhardt Jr. (60-1), Denny Hamlin (60-1), rookie Kyle Larson (75-1), road course ringer Boris Said (100-1), Danica Patrick (300-1) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (500-1).
Ouch, 500-1, really? That has to hurt that the oddsmakers have so little faith in Stenhouse on the Sonoma road course.
Still, for now, Ambrose is the man to beat, according to LVH.
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Here’s a complete look at the Sonoma odds offered by the LVH and The Linemakers and SportingNews.com:
Marcos Ambrose 5-1
Jeff Gordon 6-1
Kevin Harvick 7-1
Jimmie Johnson 7-1
Kurt Busch 7-1
Tony Stewart 8-1
Brad Keselowski 12-1
Joey Logano 12-1
Kyle Busch 12-1
Kasey Kahne 18-1
Clint Bowyer 18-1
Jamie McMurray 30-1
AJ Allmendinger 30-1
Carl Edwards 35-1
Martin Truex Jr. 35-1
Brian Vickers 35-1
Greg Biffle 50-1
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 60-1
Denny Hamlin 60-1
Paul Menard 60-1
Ryan Newman 60-1
Kyle Larson 75-1
Matt Kenseth 75-1
Justin Allgaier 75-1
Austin Dillon 100-1
Boris Said 100-1
Aric Almirola 300-1
Casey Mears 300-1
Danica Patrick 300-1
David Gilliland 500-1
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 500-1
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