The sixth race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs — and the final race of the Round of 12 — will take place this weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. Rain may have had its way with last weekend’s action at Talladega Superspeedway, but it won’t be able to come between us and an exciting race this Sunday. That’s because the Bank of America ROVAL 400 is a road-course event, so drivers can use rain tires to race despite inclement weather.
Things are about to get wild.
SUNDAY | 2 PM ET | NBC pic.twitter.com/88kilGk8Me
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) October 8, 2021
To many fans, the Charlotte Road Course is better known as the Charlotte ROVAL. Of course, it gets the name ROVAL because the circuit runs on both the infield road course setup and part of the oval track itself. The drivers will have to navigate a whopping 17 turns each time around the course this Sunday afternoon. As far as the playoff standings are concerned, a number of drivers both need a great finish or even an outright win to advance to the Round of 8. There certainly are a lot of details to consider when handicapping Sunday’s race and deciding on some NASCAR betting picks.
This article will attempt to do just that! The following outlines some of the best NASCAR betting picks for Sunday afternoon’s Bank of America ROVAL 400. Analysis of the top odds and picks to win outright is also included.
Welcome to 𝙍𝘼𝘾𝙀 𝙒𝙀𝙀𝙆 🏁
— Talladega Superspeedway (@TALLADEGA) September 27, 2021
Bank of America ROVAL 400 Best Bets
The following sections detail the top NASCAR betting picks for Sunday’s race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course.
Top 5 Finish: Christopher Bell (+220 at BetMGM)
Only one of the four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers is currently below the playoff cutline heading to the Charlotte ROVAL: Christopher Bell. He pulled off a top-5 finish in the rain-shortened race at Talladega last week. Despite this, he is still 28 points behind both Chase Elliott and teammate Kyle Busch in the NASCAR Playoff standings. Bell took damage early in the first race of the Round of 12 at Las Vegas. He struggled his way to a 24th-place finish and failed to garner any stage points. His lack of regular-season playoff points didn’t help matters. While Bell could still mathematically point his way into the Round of 8, it sure feels like a must-win scenario faces him and the No. 20 team at the ROVAL this week.
— Joe Gibbs Racing (@JoeGibbsRacing) October 8, 2021
On the bright side, Bell certainly has proven himself capable of finishing well on the road courses. In fact, he won the first road race of the season back in February on the Daytona International Speedway Road Course. Much like the Charlotte ROVAL, that circuit also runs on both the infield road track and the oval. Bell also scored a top-5 finish in July at Road America and a top-10 result at Watkins Glen. While he only finished 24th in this race last year, he is in a very different situation this time around. Not only is he in the playoffs, but his current Joe Gibbs equipment is vastly superior to his 2020 ride in the No. 95 for Leavine Family Racing. Bell has no choice but to go out and finish as high as he possibly can this Sunday. He has had a solid season on the road courses and will be pushing with all he has.
Top 10 Finish: Chase Briscoe (+110 at BetMGM)
We’ll stick with the theme of young drivers who have been performing well on road courses this season with our second pick. Chase Briscoe hasn’t had a terrific rookie season in the Cup Series. However, with the entire Stewart-Haas Racing garage seemingly a step behind, it’s fair to wonder how much blame falls on his shoulders. As the season has gone on, Briscoe has thrown down some of his best runs on the type of track where he began his racing career: road courses. Most recently, he was racing Denny Hamlin for the win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. Of course, Briscoe wound up spinning Hamlin out, and the resulting penalty saw him wind up 26th. The finish wasn’t even close to a true reflection of how well he ran that day.
Chase Briscoe won the inaugural Xfinity series race at the Charlotte Roval.
Last year he led 23 laps and was leading with 2 laps to go until he spun out during a restart in the rain. (18th) pic.twitter.com/szXcYxCZt1
— Ryan (@ifantasyrace) October 5, 2021
Taking the Indy race out, Briscoe has finished inside the top-10 in three of the other five road races on the season. He finished sixth at both Circuit of the Americas and Road America and came in ninth at Watkins Glen. But this current season is not the only reason to be optimistic about the No. 14 car this weekend. Going back to Briscoe’s time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, he averaged a top-10 finish in three races on the Charlotte ROVAL. He won one of those three races and posted an average driver rating of 124.9. While he is yet to face the ROVAL in a Cup car, Briscoe has some of the best numbers of any Xfinity driver at the track. A plus-money return on a top-10 makes for an intriguing NASCAR betting option this week.
Best Finish in Group E: Chris Buescher (+275 at DraftKings)
After getting off to a great start in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, Chris Buescher fell off big time during the summer. He finished well short of qualifying for the playoffs and didn’t have much positive happen aside from inking a contract extension with Roush Fenway Racing. But when it comes to Sunday Bank of America ROVAL 400, it’s worth considering Buescher when placing your NASCAR betting picks. He is one of the more consistent road racers in the Cup Series today. Buescher is matched up against an interesting trio of drivers in Group E this week. Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell is listed as the Group E favorite at +250. Austin Dillon and Daniel Suarez join Buescher at +275 odds to win this four-man horse race.
It’s no surprise that McDowell is the favorite, given his reputation on road courses. However, he hasn’t had much success on them this season. McDowell has zero momentum coming in, too, as last week’s 17th-place result marked his first top-20 in the last six races. Buescher has a respectable average finish of 14.86 in the 14 Cup Series road races dating back through 2018. That is the best of any driver in this group, as is his 18.3 average finish in the three previous Charlotte ROVAL races. Since the start of the playoffs, Buescher has had two top-10 showings, including sixth last week at Talladega. With some momentum on his side and not a lot of great competition, the No. 17 car is a great choice to win Group E.
NASCAR Betting Odds to Win | Charlotte ROVAL
The table below offers a comparison of the NASCAR betting odds to win the Bank of America ROVAL 400 across three major U.S. sportsbooks. The top 20 drivers in terms of odds are included.
Favorite: Chase Elliott (+230 at FanDuel)
No surprise here. Considering how good Chase Elliott is on the road courses, a +230 return on the No. 9 car to win Sunday’s race is nothing to sneeze at. Elliott has compiled an astounding average finish of 5.93 in the 14 road races run since the start of 2018. He has won exactly half of those, with two of the seven victories coming at COTA and Road America this season. He has 11 top-5 showings and an average driver rating of 124.0. To top it all off, Elliott has won the Bank of America ROVAL 400 each of the last two years. A deserving NASCAR betting favorite indeed.
Value Bet: Kyle Larson (+550 at FanDuel)
For as great as Chase Elliott has been on road courses recently, Kyle Larson has been right there with him this year. In his first season driving for Hendrick Motorsports, Larson has two road race wins of his own. Both victories came in dominant fashion at Sonoma and Watkins Glen. Larson might well have earned a third at COTA if not for the race being called early due to rainfall. While the No. 5 team is sitting in a good position as far as advancing to the Round of 8 in the playoffs, Larson will undoubtedly want to pad his points at the ROVAL if possible. The driver with the second-shortest odds is arguably the best value on the board this week.
#TBT to the craziest race of the 2020 season!
Just about a year ago @AJDinger battled his competitors, darkness, and torrential downpour to grab his second straight Roval™ victory! 🏁#DriveForTheCure250 | #TrophyHunting | #EllsworthAdvisors pic.twitter.com/5d7mxS5aDn
— Kaulig Racing (@KauligRacing) October 7, 2021
Longshot Hopeful: A.J. Allmendinger (+2100 at FanDuel)
A.J. Allmendinger wound up the winner in the wild road race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway back in August. That marked the first Cup Series win for Kaulig Racing, a team that is preparing to go full time at the top level next season. Allmendinger will have the added advantage of competing in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race this weekend. Of course, one could argue that he doesn’t really need to practice driving the Charlotte ROVAL. Allmendinger has won both of his previous Xfinity starts on the track. In one previous Cup Series start back in 2018, he finished seventh. He starts at the tail end of the field this Sunday, but if anyone can drive all the way to the front on a road course, it’s Allmendinger.
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