Ruoff Mortgage 500 Predictions, Betting Odds, Picks (Cup Series)

  • Needing a decent finish to right his ship, Ryan Blaney starts from the pole.
  • After last year’s strong run at Phoenix, Denny Hamlin should be a contender.
  • Before time trials, Austin Cindric was a well-kept secret. Now? Not so much.

Ruoff Mortgage 500 Odds

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Driver Odds
Kyle Larson +450
Ryan Blaney +650
Denny Hamlin +650
William Byron +800
Chase Elliott +1000
Kyle Busch +1000
Joey Logano +1000
Martin Truex Jr. +1400
Christopher Bell +1800

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Ruoff Mortgage 500 Predictions

Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series event at Phoenix Raceway will have drivers and crew chiefs paying particular attention. Why? Because the one-mile track in the Sonoran desert will host the Championship 4 race in November, and that race will decide the series title.

By then, of course, the NASCAR Cup Series teams will have made quantum leaps in the development of the Next Gen race car, but the notes they accumulate this weekend will be the only data baseline available with the new car.

Sunday’s Ruoff Mortgage 500, the third and final event of the West Coast Swing, will be contested over 312 laps (312 miles), with stage breaks scheduled after 60 and 185 laps. Martin Truex Jr. is the defending winner of the event.

Ruoff Mortgage 500 Predictions

Ryan Blaney Starts from the Pole, Hoping to Change His Racing Luck

Ryan Blaney has shown excellent speed in each of the first three NASCAR Cup Series races this season, but the driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Ford has very little to show for it.

In the season-opening Daytona 500, teammate Austin Cindric blocked Blaney’s charge to the finish line and claimed the victory, as Blaney finished fourth. At Fontana, he started sixth but came home 18th.

Last Sunday at Las Vegas, Blaney crashed out of the race in 36th place after spending 10 laps in the lead. With consistently fast cars, all Blaney needs is a stroke of good fortune to find Victory Lane.

On Saturday, he won the pole for the Ruoff Mortgage 500. Given that starting position, we think Phoenix may just be the place for Blaney’s turnaround. In 12 starts at the one-mile track, Blaney boasts three top fives and seven top 10s, with a best finish of third (twice).

At +650 to win via DraftKings Sportsbook, he’s definitely worth a shot.

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Denny Hamlin Is Poised for Another Strong Run at Phoenix Raceway

The record book will tell you that Kyle Larson won last November’s Championship 4 race at Phoenix, thereby securing the NASCAR Cup Series title.

But for an opportune caution and a lightning-fast pit stop by Larson’s crew, however, Denny Hamlin might well have claimed victory in the championship race. Hamlin was running second at the time of the caution, quickly gaining on teammate Martin Truex Jr.

The yellow flag intervened and frustrated Hamlin’s hopes for a title once again. But don’t discount Hamlin’s perennial speed at the one-mile track. In 33 starts, Hamlin has 16 top fives (including two wins) and 20 top 10s.

On Saturday, he improved dramatically between practice and time trials and qualified second to Ryan Blaney. We think Hamlin is due for a win in the desert, and at +650 via DraftKings, he’s an excellent value.

And, incidentally, we’re not enthusiastic about favorite Kyle Larson (+450), who qualified seventh. Larson is commuting between Phoenix and Tulare, California, where he’s racing a 410 sprint car in World of Outlaws competition.

Larson will race at Tulare on Saturday night, and he’ll lose an hour of sleep to Daylight Savings Time, with clocks moving forward in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

Pay Close Attention to Daytona 500 winner Austin Cindric at Long Odds

Austin Cindric was fast in practice in Phoenix, and he backed up that performance with an eighth-place qualifying effort on Saturday.

Yes, the 2022 Daytona 500 winner will make his Cup Series debut at the one-mile track on Sunday, but in the last three Xfinity Series races at Phoenix, he finished first, first and second.

That’s the main reason why Cindric is our top long-shot pick to win at +2000 via DraftKings Sportsbook, even though his odds have shortened after the strong qualifying effort. He was never under the radar for us, but now everyone is aware of his potential.

And incidentally, we think the best bet on the board is the head-to-head proposition between Kurt Busch and Chase Briscoe.

We like the veteran Busch at +120 (DraftKings), even though he starts 15th to sixth for the rookie.

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How to Watch Ruoff Mortgage 500

Event Information
Race Ruoff Mortgage 500 NASCAR Cup Series race
Location Phoenix Raceway
Time Sunday, March 13, 3:30 p.m. ET
How to Watch FOX

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Reid Spencer

Expert on NASCAR

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]