AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Betting Preview
Just three races remain in NASCAR's Cup Series' playoffs, and the fight to secure a spot in the championship finale is intensifying. Last week, Joey Logano held off Kevin Harvick in the closing laps to secure the opportunity to fight for a championship at Phoenix. This Sunday, the Cup Series heads back to the Lonestar State for the running of the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Back in July, Austin Dillon scored a huge upset victory (100 to 1 odds) at Texas by gambling with late-race pit strategy, and this could be the last opportunity for bettors to cash-in on another upset winner this season.
By this point in the season, everyone should know that Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin are the weekly favorites due to the fact both drivers have combined for 16 victories this season. However, neither Harvick nor Hamlin has been spectacular on the 1.5-mile tracks this season. The duo has just three wins in ten races this season on 1.5-mile surfaces, and only one of those victories has been during the 2nd half of the season going back to Hamlin's victory at Kansas in late July. Therefore, this is one of those rare opportunities where betting odds give us value in fading some of the top favorites this week as we seek another underdog style victory. Let's take a look at a few of the drivers that we can pivot against with the favorites and also discuss a few long shots to give ourselves a strong betting opportunity for Sunday!
Historically, Texas has been one of Joey Logano's best tracks. Last week's winner has posted finishes of 4th or better in six of the last nine races at Texas, including a 3rd place finish back in July. If you consider Team Penske's overall speed at the 1.5-mile tracks this season, Logano and Ryan Blaney are considerable betting options this week due to similar performance trends. Blaney dominated the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas back in July. The driver of the No. 12 car led 150 laps before his bid for a victory was ended due to a controversial call to come to pit road on the final caution. Obviously, the track conditions will be different this week compared to the July race as cooler temperatures are forecasted for this weekend's event. Still, the Team Penske cars proved last week, at an extremely cold Kansas race, that their speed on the 1.5-mile layouts cannot be ignored.
Outside of some of the top guys, I wanted to discuss a couple of drivers that could deliver another huge upset similar to Dillon's victory back in July. The drivers that are best suited to pull off an upset are Erik Jones and Alex Bowman. Obviously, neither of these drivers provides the enormous odds opportunity that Dillon yielded in July. However, both drivers have a realistic possibility to pull off a surprising victory. Bowman started the season red hot, which included a win at Fontana before struggling in the summer months. However, the No. 88 team has found speed again, which is producing quality results. In the last two races on 1.5-mile layouts in recent weeks, Bowman recorded finishes of 5th at Las Vegas and 3rd last week at Kansas. Meanwhile, Texas has traditionally been a great track for Erik Jones, and the time is winding down for him to make a statement win with his career path on the line. Jones has posted finishes of 4th, 4th, 4th, 10th, and 6th in his last five starts. With JGR cars gaining momentum, the No. 20 car is an excellent dark horse choice for Sunday's AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500.
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fantasy racing advice for all of this weekend's races at Texas!