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Behind the lines

Kyle Busch gets the recognition

May 15, 2008|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

It may have taken a little time, but driver Kyle Busch, who leads NASCAR's standings for the Sprint Cup championship, is finally getting respect from Las Vegas oddsmakers.

The 23-year-old Busch is listed as a 6-1 favorite to win Saturday night's Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards also are listed at 6-1, according to Linesmaker.com.

Although Busch has ranked among this season's top drivers all year, he has often been overlooked by oddsmakers in favor of drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Johnson.

But after picking up three Sprint Cup victories and eight from NASCAR's top three series (Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series and Craftsman Truck Series), Busch is now recognized as one of the top drivers on the circuit.

At Bodoglife.com's updated odds to win the 2008 Sprint Cup championship, Busch is listed along with Earnhardt as a 7-2 favorite, followed by Johnson and Stewart at 6-1, Edwards at 13-2, Denny Hamlin at 7-1 and Gordon at 8-1.

Busch leads the standings with 1,690 points, 79 ahead of Jeff Burton, 134 ahead of Earnhardt and 190 ahead of Hamlin. But this week's All-Star Race will not count toward the Sprint Cup standings.

In matchup odds listed at Sportsbetting.com, Busch is a slight favorite (-125) over Earnhardt (-105).

Pro basketball

The San Antonio Spurs may be the defending NBA champions, but they are one defeat away from being eliminated by the New Orleans Hornets.

The Spurs, who trail 3-2 in the best-of-seven series, are listed as 7.5-point home favorites for tonight's Game 6 and are 15-3-2 against the spread in their last 20 playoff games as a favorite.

But early-money support has flowed in the direction of the Hornets.

According to wagerline.com, New Orleans had received 54.24% of the picks against the spread as of Wednesday afternoon.

NBA add: The over/under combined points total for tonight's game is 184. The over is 8-3 in the Hornets' last 11 games as a road underdog, and the over is 5-1 in the Spurs last six games as a favorite.

Hockey

If the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have posted an impressive 11-1 record in the playoffs, defeat the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, they will advance to their first NHL Stanley Cup finals since 1992.

The Penguins, who lead 3-0 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals, are listed as -170 favorites for Game 4, with the Flyers at +150.

Philadelphia, which lost Game 3, 5-2, on Tuesday night, is 11-1 in its last 12 games following a loss of three or more goals, and 9-2 in its last 11 home games.

NHL add: The over/under combined goals total for tonight's game is 5.5. The under is 6-0 in Pittsburgh's last six games as a road favorite, and the under is 6-1 in the Flyers' last seven home games against a team with a winning road record.

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lonnie.white@latimes.com

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