It was yet another drama-filled elimination race last week at the Charlotte ROVAL. Race winner Kyle Larson had alternator issues. Despite having six victories on the season entering last Sunday’s road race, Larson found himself below the playoff cutline midway through. While the No. 5 team overcame the adversity, teammate Chase Elliott saw his Bristol feud with Kevin Harvick reignited in a BIG way.
It's Bristol payback, baby. pic.twitter.com/Fq12PG27hw
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) October 10, 2021
NASCAR had a call with both Elliott and Harvick’s teams this week, so perhaps these two will finally put that battle to bed. Either way, this weekend’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway promises plenty of excitement. After all, this is the first race of the Round of 8. Should a playoff driver emerge from the 1.5-mile oval victorious, they will clinch their spot in the Championship 4.
Eight drivers, three teams, one champion.@TeamHendrick, @Team_Penske, and @JoeGibbsRacing are the only teams left fighting for the 2021 @NASCAR Cup Series title. #NASCARPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/ly5TpSvXk1
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) October 11, 2021
When it comes to NASCAR betting discussion for this race, bettors are wise to focus specifically on the most recent races at Texas dating back to 2017. That is the sample size following a reconfiguration and repaving of the track. The following outlines some of the best NASCAR betting picks for Sunday afternoon’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500. Analysis of the top odds and picks to win outright is also included.
Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Best Bets
The following sections detail the top NASCAR betting picks for Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Top 5 Finish: Joey Logano (+190 at BetMGM)
Joey Logano has only won once all season long. That victory came back in the spring in the Bristol Dirt Race. Yet, the No. 22 team is among the eight left standing in the battle for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Championship. It pays to be consistent, and Logano has been the definition of consistent all season long. Focusing on the six playoff races run thus far, Logano has no finish worse than 11th. Four top-10’s and a pair of top-5’s have helped power him into the Round of 8 on points.
By no means should Logano’s consistency slow down this week. He has been one of the best drivers in the sport at Texas Motor Speedway over the years. In the eight points races run since the 2017 track reconfiguration, Logano has finished inside the top-5 in exactly half of them. He also has three additional top-10 showings to his name. In this summer’s NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas, Logano was fourth. He has demonstrated to have a handle on this 1.5-mile oval. With a championship still at stake and quality Team Penske equipment under the hood, there is no reason to pass up a top-5 finish for Logano on Sunday at nearly 2-1 odds.
Race Matchup: Kevin Harvick Over William Byron (+120 at DraftKings)
Whether you choose to view him as the perpetrator or victim of last week’s drama at the ROVAL, it was a race that Kevin Harvick would probably like to forget. He ultimately threw away his spot in the Round of 8 by locking up the brakes and smashing his car into the wall on a late restart. The fact that Chase Elliott had made his way back up through the field and was running just behind him at the time of the wreck certainly didn’t go unnoticed. At any rate, a ticked-off Harvick is never fun for the other drivers to race against. Unfortunately, that is precisely what NASCAR bettors should expect this week at a track Harvick has owned in recent years.
HARVICK GOES STRAIGHT INTO THE TURN 1 WALL. pic.twitter.com/aB78hjRIst
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) October 10, 2021
Since the track repave and reconfiguration in 2017, Harvick has won three times at Texas Motor Speedway. He has only had one finish outside of the top-10 in those eight races, proving he runs well even when not winning outright. Furthermore, six of the eight races have seen him finish inside the top-5. Since 2018, he has led the NASCAR Cup Series in average finish (5.5) and driver rating (116.0) at Texas. Meanwhile, William Byron was also eliminated from the NASCAR Playoffs last week. His six Cup Series starts at Texas to date pale in comparison to Harvick’s success. His best finish of sixth represents one of only two top-10 results. Therefore, a play on Harvick in this head-to-head is heavily supported by track-specific stats.
Best Finish in Group C: Kurt Busch (+290 at DraftKings)
Stop me when you think you’ve seen this before. NASCAR betting picks involving veteran Kurt Busch has been a staple of this column throughout the second half of the season. The four-driver groups are a wager where Busch has done very well this season. There’s no reason to expect anything different in the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500. Busch ran well in the NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas this summer, scoring a top-10 finish. His Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Ross Chastain, also was sharp that night, winning the first stage of the All-Star Open to reach the main event. Busch has been as consistent as anyone when it comes to actual points-paying races since the 2017 track renovations. He has finished inside the top-10 in all eight races. While he hasn’t finished better than seventh, that could be all it takes to win Group C this week.
Joining Busch in this group are a pair of Hendrick Motorsports drivers in William Byron (+240) and Alex Bowman (+290), as well as Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski (+260). None of the three come anywhere close to matching Busch’s stats at Texas. Byron holds the next best average finish over the last six races at just 16.5. Since the 2017 track reconfiguration, Byron, Bowman, and Keselowski have combined for eight top-10 finishes in the eight races run. That matches Busch’s number of top-10’s over that same span. Add in the motivation to score one last win for Chip Ganassi before he leaves NASCAR at the end of the year, and the No. 1 team is a solid bet in Group C.
NASCAR Betting Odds to Win | Texas
The table below offers a comparison of the NASCAR betting odds to win the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 across three major U.S. sportsbooks. The top 20 drivers in terms of odds are included.
Favorite: Kyle Larson (+350 at FanDuel)
No big surprise here. Fresh off of earning Win No. 7 on the season last week at the ROVAL, Kyle Larson is tabbed as the NASCAR betting favorite for Sunday’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500. Interestingly enough, Texas is a track that Larson has struggled at in previous seasons. Since 2017, a pair of top-5 finishes represent two of the three races he finished inside the top-30. Of course, Larson missed both of last year’s events at Texas and now has better equipment in his Hendrick Motorsports ride. He took home the $1 million prize by winning the NASCAR All-Star Race earlier this summer. Given how strong Chevrolet has been on the high downforce tracks all year, Larson will be tough to beat come Sunday.
We hashed out the consistency of Joey Logano both this season and at Texas Motor Speedway in the past when making a case for a top-5 finish above. The same arguments hold valid when recommending him as a value bet to win the race outright. 14-1 odds on a driver who has finished inside the top-5 in half of the last six races are tough to ignore. Logano has won at Texas and could book his spot in the Championship 4 with another victory on Sunday.
Longshot Hopeful: Tyler Reddick (+3500 at FanDuel)
Since being eliminated from the NASCAR Playoffs in the Round of 16, Tyler Reddick has been thoroughly impressive. Of course, the talent this young driver possesses is undeniable. After a runner-up showing at the ROVAL last week, the No. 8 team carries momentum into the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500. Both Reddick and the Richard Childress Racing organization have found success at Texas Motor Speedway in recent seasons. Reddick was runner-up in one of his two Cup Series starts here last year. He also won a stage in the All-Star Open to reach the main event earlier this summer. RCR teammate, Austin Dillon, has also been successful here. Most notably, he won outright last summer to earn a bid in the playoffs. It’s only a matter of time before Reddick scores Cup Series win No. 1. He’s worth a shot at 35-1 odds as a NASCAR betting longshot this week.
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