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Firekeepers Casino 400 Predictions: Kyle Larson Hopes to Visit Victory Lane in a Hendrick Chevrolet

Written by: Reid Spencer
Updated August 4, 2023
12 min read
  • Denny Hamlin is favored to win at Michigan this Sunday—please explain. 
  • Kyle Larson seeks his first victory in Irish Hills with Hendrick Motorsports.
  • We’re backing Kevin Harvick to keep Ford drivers’ streak alive on Sunday.

Firekeepers Casino 400 Betting Odds

Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.

DriverOdds

Denny Hamlin

+550
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Kyle Larson

+700
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Martin Truex Jr.

+800
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Kyle Busch

+800
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William Byron

+800
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Kevin Harvick

+850
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Ryan Blaney

+1000
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Christopher Bell

+1200
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Tyler Reddick

+1200
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Joey Logano

+1400
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Bubba Wallace

+1500
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Firekeepers Casino 400 Kevin Harvick

Firekeepers Casino 400 Predictions

Oddsmakers Like Denny Hamlin at Michigan—We’re Wondering Why

You might have noticed that we’ve been on the Denny Hamlin train of late. We picked him to win on July 23 at Pocono Raceway. Bingo!

We also picked him to wo last Sunday at Richmond Raceway, and OK, he fell one spot and .549 seconds short. Close, but no cigar.

At Michigan, however, we’re not backing Hamlin, and we’re puzzled as to why oddsmakers have installed him as the favorite to win Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400.

Yes, the Toyotas have been strong this year, but a Toyota driver hasn’t won at Michigan since Matt Kenseth took the checkered flag in 2015.

Hamlin hasn’t won at the two-mile track since 2011, and his average driver rating of 94.6 at MIS is sixth among active competitors.

Accordingly, we’re not enthusiastic about Hamlin, especially at +550 via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Kyle Larson Hopes to Visit Victory Lane in a Hendrick Chevrolet

After 98 NASCAR Cup Series races without a victory, Kyle Larson finally broke through at Michigan in the second race there in 2016.

At the time, Larson was driving for Chip Ganassi Racing, and he went on to sweep both races at MIS in 2017. In fact, Larson’s first four Cup victories came at two-mile tracks—the three at Michigan along with a single win at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

In his first season with Hendrick Motorsports in 2021, Larson led a race-high 70 laps at MIS but finished third behind Ryan Blaney and Hendrick teammate William Byron.

Last year, he came home seventh and did not lead a lap.

Though Larson has won twice this year, on the short tracks at Richmond and Martinsville, he has been uncharacteristically out of sorts on the high-speed venues that employ NASCAR’s 550-horsepower competition package.

Given that Larson is coming off a miserable performance at Richmond (where he won in the spring), we don’t expect much of him a Michigan on Sunday, and will avoid him at +700 via DraftKings.

Kevin Harvick Looks to Keep Ford Streak Alive in the Irish Hills

Each year, the winning car maker at Michigan International Speedway claims the Michigan Heritage Trophy, symbolic of the proximity of the American auto industry to the two-mile track.

For five straight years—a span encompassing eight races—Ford drivers have maintained a monopoly on the coveted prize, thanks in large part to Kevin Harvick.

The driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford is the defending winner of the FireKeepers Casino 400, but that’s just the top of the iceberg. Harvick has won four of the last five Michigan races and five of the last seven.

A six-time winner at MIS overall, Harvick comes to the Irish Hills with a generous price of +850 via DraftKings. Given his recent record at the track, we can’t resist a bet on the driver known as “The Closer.”

After all, Harvick ended a 65-race drought with his win at Michigan last year. Likewise, he’s winless this year with retirement approaching at the end of the season.

We expect history to repeat itself.

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How to Watch the FireKeepers Casino 400

  • Race: FireKeepers Casino 400 NASCAR Cup Series race
  • Location: Michigan International Speedway
  • Time: Sunday, August 6, 2:30 p.m. ET
  • How to Watch: USA
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AUTHOR

Reid Spencer

220 Articles

Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]

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