Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.
|Martin Truex Jr.||+1200|
Ross Chastain to win the race at +900
Christopher Bell to beat Denny Hamlin head-to-head at +130
Trackhouse Racing driver Ross Chastain must be licking his chops. The first two races in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs’ Round of 8—starting with Sunday’s South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway—will take place on 1.5-mile intermediate tracks.
Who do you think might have the best record on 1.5-milers this season? Chastain, of course. In seven races on those tracks, the driver of the No. 1 Chevy has posted an average finish of 7.0, buoyed by a third-place run when the series visited Vegas in March.
In fact, Chastain has scored 60 more points than any other Cup driver in races at the mile-and-a-half venues.
Despite a brush with the wall at the Charlotte ROVAL, Chastain advanced to the Round of 8 and sits fourth in the Playoff standings. We think he’ll be the first driver to qualify for the Championship 4 with a win in Sin City on Sunday, at +900 via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Yes, Denny Hamlin led 31 laps and ran strong in the early going of the NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas in March—before drivetrain issues ruined his winning chances and dropped him to 32nd at the finish.
And, yes, the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas have been strong at the intermediate speedways this season.
Hamlin’s own record at the Sin City track, however, argues against his status as a pre-race favorite. In 21 starts at LVMS, the driver of the No. 11 JGR Camry has one victory and just five top-fives, for an average finish of 13.2.
Hamlin may run in the top five on Sunday, but we don’t think he’ll put forth a race-winning effort, and we certainly don’t like him as the race favorite at +550 via DraftKings.
Chase Briscoe has raced at Las Vegas in the NASCAR Cup Series exactly three times, with the best finish of 14th.
In the March race this season, he crashed out in 35th place. Nevertheless, we think he’s the best sleeper pick on the board.
In effect, Briscoe is playing with house money, a good position to be in at Las Vegas.
It’s also noteworthy that the driver of the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Ford is the only driver to sweep both races at Vegas in the Xfinity Series, a feat he accomplished in 2020.
|Race||South Point 400 NASCAR Cup Series race|
|Location||Las Vegas Motor Speedway|
|Time||Sunday, October 16, 2:30 p.m. ET|
|How to Watch||NBC|
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]More info on Reid Spencer
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