Hollywood Casino 400 Betting Preview & Picks
NASCAR's Cup Series will visit Kansas Speedway on Sunday for the running of the Hollywood Casino 400. Last week, Kyle Larson secured his championship bid by securing a victory at Texas Motor Speedway in the opening race of the Round of 8. Now, just two races remain before the championship finale at Phoenix, meaning each of the next two events will play a pivotal role in the race for the Cup Series title. While fans keep their eye on the championship picture, it's time to turn our attention towards the best betting options for Sunday's return to Kansas Speedway.
Back in May, Kyle Busch earned his 1st victory of the season by taking the checkered flag in the Buschy McBusch Race 400, and yes, that was the actual name of the event. Busch has been among the top drivers on the intermediate layouts this season with the 550hp rules package. However, in recent weeks, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson have been the most dominant drivers in the Cup Series with the most momentum. Larson has captured back-to-back wins stemming from victories at the ROVAL and last week's Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas. Meanwhile, Denny Hamlin also has two playoff wins to his credit and is another driver that has been really good on the intermediate layouts. I thought both Busch and Hamlin would have been bigger factors last week at Texas, but Larson dominated to the tune of leading 256 of 334 laps en route to victory.
From a historical standpoint, Kansas Speedway has not produced many surprise winners. The 1.5-mile layout is a very fast track with a lot of grip. As a result, we typically see the top teams/drivers excel at this venue which has resulted in the likes of Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, and Joey Logano earning three victories which is tied for the most among active drivers. Meanwhile, there are numerous additional top names with multiple wins, including guys like Martin Truex Jr, Brad Keselowski, and Kyle Busch. Chase Elliott and Ryan Newman are the only other drivers in the field with a victory at Kansas. Needless to say, this is one of those top-heavy venues where victories will likely come from one of those previous winners.
With that said, I still believe William Byron and Ryan Blaney are your biggest contenders that could earn their first victory at Kansas Speedway. Blaney has been terrific all year, especially on the 1.5-mile layouts. Meanwhile, Byron was the only driver in the field last week to even mimic some of the lap times Larson was laying down on a consistent basis. Byron scored his only victory this season on another 1.5-mile layout at Homestead earlier this year and has several top 5 finishes, including last week's runner-up result. If there is going to be a surprise winner this week at Kansas, I would expect it to either come from Byron or Blaney. For that reason, among others, I believe both drivers offer value in the form of H2H match-ups as well.
For transparency, I would not get overly carried away with this weekend's Hollywood Casino 400 as I believe there will be better handicapping opportunities in the final two races of the season. Since this event is relatively top-heavy, there is not much value in terms of bets for the outright victory. However, I do believe guys like Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick offer some dark horse potential to bring value to lineups this week. Both drivers have struggled tremendously in 2021 but have been showing better speed in recent weeks. Keselowski appears to be the guy with the most consistency at the moment and recorded a strong 3rd place result in the May race at Kansas. Personally, I still believe Kyle Busch has been the best driver with the 550hp package, but I cannot deny the improvement from both Harvick and Keselowski in recent weeks. Since both drivers are still getting decent value based on their overall performance in 2021, both Keselowski and Harvick provide value options.
Be sure to follow me at NASCARWagers.com for all official selections for this weekend's races at Kansas Speedway