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NASCAR Betting Picks for the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway

by September 11, 2021
Martin Truex

The second race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs will take place under the lights this weekend at Richmond Raceway. The Federated Auto Parts 400 traces its history all the way back to 1958. That being said, it has been run under several different names and also at a variety of distances. A renovation to the track in 1988 that expanded it from a half-mile to the present-day 0.75-mile oval ultimately allowed the event to stabilize at its current 300-mile, 400-lap distance. If last weekend’s chaotic racing at Darlington is any indication, fans and bettors alike are presumably in for a wild run during these NASCAR Playoffs.

The following outlines some of the best NASCAR betting picks for Saturday evening’s Federated Auto Parts 400. Analysis of the top odds and picks to win outright is also included.

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Federated Auto Parts 400 Best Bets

The following sections detail the top NASCAR betting picks for Saturday night’s race at Richmond Raceway.

Top 3 Finish: Denny Hamlin (+200 at DraftKings)

It’s still crazy to fathom that last weekend’s Southern 500 victory was the first of the year for Denny Hamlin. Given that he was battling for a regular-season championship right down to the final race despite never reaching victory lane, it goes without saying that he was close on multiple occasions. The spring race at Richmond was perhaps the most glaring example of all. Hamlin spent the vast majority of the Toyota Owners 400 out in front. If not for a late-race caution and the restart of a lifetime by Alex Bowman, the No. 11 car almost certainly would have won on that day. Perhaps finally capturing that elusive first win last week will spur Hamlin and his team forward to more victory burnouts during the NASCAR Playoffs.

In addition to riding a wave of momentum into the Federated Auto Parts 400, Hamlin has a tremendous history and stats at Richmond Raceway, specifically. That runner-up result here in the Spring was just the latest in a run of great success for Hamlin at “America’s Premier Short Track”. He has an average finish of 5.6 over the last 10 at Richmond, tops among all NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Half of those results have in fact been top-3 finishes, including two of the last three. That sort of consistency makes a 2-1 bet on another Hamlin top-3 an excellent option. In many ways, it’s remarkable that Hamlin is not the odds-on NASCAR betting favorite to win the race outright.

Top 10 Finish: Austin Dillon (+135 at BetMGM)

Never one to shy away from admitting when I am wrong, I would like to acknowledge that both Austin Dillon and Ross Chastain made me look pretty foolish for fading them last week. Only time will tell as to whether that general handicapping angle emerges as the NASCAR Playoffs roll on. Either way, the betting value on Dillon to score a top-10 finish on Saturday cannot be ignored. The No. 3 team rebounded from just missing out on a playoff berth by scoring a top-10 in last week’s Southern 500. It was a solid run and one that Dillon is capable of putting together again at Richmond.

After struggling mightily at Richmond Raceway early on in his NASCAR Cup Series career, Dillon has managed to turn his fortunes around in recent starts. His last five outings at the 0.75-mile track have yielded four top-10 finishes, with three of those seeing him place sixth or better. This includes the spring race here earlier this year. Despite Chevrolet not possessing the same advantage with this setup as they have at other tracks, Dillon has been consistently fast. There is always going to be some added risk in betting on a non-playoff driver at this point in the season. In this specific case, the +135 odds enable the value and potential return to outweigh said risk.

Richard Childress Racing to Have More Cars Finish Top 10 Than Chip Ganassi Racing: No (+115 at DraftKings)

We’re taking a slightly different route for our final best bet this week in the form of a race team prop. Both Richard Childress Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing are two-car teams. Each team also has one of their two drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. While RCR’s Tyler Reddick and Austin Dillon have been the more consistent duo over the course of the full season, they have not been on par with the CGR Camaros over the last few months. With that said, not many teams have. The final season in NASCAR for Chip Ganassi is finishing out with a bang. Both Kurt Busch and Ross Chastain scored top-10 finishes at Darlington a week ago. For RCR, only Dillon was able to nab the final top-10 spot. 

One other key factor to note for this NASCAR betting prediction is that the Federated Auto Parts 400 will be run under the lights at night. Busch has stated on numerous occasions this season that the Ganassi cars really seem to run better at night when the track surface is cooler and racing speeds tend to increase. This was evident as recently as last week at Darlington. Not only did Busch himself fly through the field after a late-race setback to finish sixth, but Chastain steadily made his way to the front as day turned to night. If not for a late caution, Chastain might have actually scored a shocking win. And while Busch’s Atlanta win earlier this year technically came during a daytime race, heavy cloud cover on that day undoubtedly kept the track surface a bit cooler than it otherwise would have been. Don’t hesitate to grab plus-money value on Chip Ganassi Racing in this team matchup.

NASCAR Betting Odds to Win | Richmond

The table below offers a comparison of the NASCAR betting odds to win the Federated Auto Parts 400 across three major U.S. sportsbooks. The top 20 drivers in terms of odds are included.

Favorite: Martin Truex Jr. (+550 at DraftKings and FanDuel)

The fact that Martin Truex Jr. is the NASCAR betting favorite to win Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 suggests that oddsmakers weighed track history very heavily this week. When it comes to recent races at Richmond, Truex has been among the best in the business. A fifth-place showing here back in the spring marked the fifth consecutive top-5 for the No. 19 car. However, in the four races before that, Truex had been even more impressive. He successfully strung together four straight top-3 results, including sweeping both races in 2019. With such a solid track history, the only downfall to backing Truex this week is his inconsistency over the second half of this current season.

Value Bet: Christopher Bell (+1800 at BetMGM and FanDuel)

The easy choices for a NASCAR betting value pick this week are Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson. But with their odds not far behind the favorite, Truex, we will dig a bit further in hopes of getting a greater return. As a team, Joe Gibbs Racing has aced Richmond Raceway better than all the rest in recent years. While the stats of Truex and Hamlin have already been discussed in this article, Kyle Busch has been no slouch here either. That leaves the No. 20 car and the team’s youngest driver, Christopher Bell. Although he has only had two total Cup Series starts at the track, Bell turned in a solid fourth-place finish back in the spring. He has also been running well of late and was runner-up at New Hampshire this summer, easily the most comparable track to Richmond in terms of package and setup. With some helpful insights from his veteran teammates, don’t be shocked if Bell scores his second win of the season this weekend.

Longshot Hopeful: Aric Almirola (+4000 at BetMGM)

Along similar lines to the Christopher Bell value pick, Aric Almirola was easily the best car at New Hampshire earlier this year. The stunning victory he earned there is the only reason he snuck into the NASCAR Playoffs after a season of horrible luck. Almirola was solid last week at Darlington and has also been steadily improving at Richmond over the course of his career. He has finished top-10 in each of the last two races, including a sixth-place showing here in the spring. The Stewart-Haas Racing Fords have been a step behind at several tracks this year, but this setup and package have been much more favorable for them. At 40-1, why not take a shot on Almirola and the No. 10 team?

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Henry John is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Henry, check out his archive and follow him @HankTimeSports.

Motorsports, NASCAR