Monster Energy Series AAA Texas 500 Pick
The NASCAR Cup Series playoff heads out to Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday for the first of three season-ending events to determine this year's racing champion. Race time for the AAA Texas 500 is 3 p.m. (ET) and televised on NBC Sports Network.
AAA Texas 500 - Value Bets
Martin Truex Jr. clinched the first of four spots in this year's championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 17 by winning last Sunday's point race at Martinsville. William Byron stunned the betting public with an unexpected second-place finish, and Brad Keselowski took third to round out the Top 3.
I went chalk in that race with Kyle Busch as a +275 favorite, but he slipped all the way to 14th place in the final running order.
A very popular NASCAR online sportsbook, 5Dimes has released its futures odds to win at Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday. The following three drivers offer the best betting value in their posted number.
AAA Texas 500 Top Favorite - Denny Hamlin +770
Coming off a wild fourth-place finish at Martinsville that resulted in a post-race flare up with Joey Logano, I think Hamlin is fired up for another strong race at Texas. He has longer odds than some of the heavier favorites, but that only adds more value to this play. The No. 11 Toyota won the race at Kansas two weeks ago to secure a spot in this eight-driver elimination round. The team’s recent success has it in second place in the updated Cup Series standings with 4082 total points. Hamlin knows that the only way to guarantee a spot in the final four-driver field for the championship race is with a victory in one of the next two playoff events.
The real value in Hamlin’s odds is his earlier victory this season at Texas. He also finished third in this event going back to the 2017 racing season. Pulling off the sweep in Fort Worth would go along way towards his chances to secure his first career Cup Series racing title.
AAA Texas 500 Top Contender - Ryan Blaney +1320
Blaney has the longest odds to win on Sunday when it comes to the top eight drivers still competing for this year's title. He was able to take fifth place at Martinsville to hold onto sixth place in the current standings with a total of 4057 points. Moving into the top four on points alone over the next two races would be a tall task, to say the least, so Blaney is looking for his second victory of the season to seal the deal. That first win of the year came in the playoff race at Talladega to earn a spot in the final eight.
Engine troubles dropped Blaney’s No. 12 Ford to 37th place in the first race at Texas this season. This followed a string of strong finishes at this track in his previous three trips around the oval in a Cup Series event. This includes a second-place finish in this race last year.
AAA Texas 500 Top Longshot - William Byron +2750
With the surprising second-place finish last Sunday, Byron popped onto my betting radar for this Sunday's race as a top-valued longshot. Racing in just his second full-time Cup Series season, he was able to advance past the opening playoff elimination round. While he did not make the cut for this round, driving the No. 24 Chevrolet, he has made his presence felt with four Top 10 runs in the first seven playoff races. This team is 10th in the current standings with a total of 2226 points.
A very limited Cup Series driving record at Texas has produced two Top 10 runs in three events. This includes a sixth-place finish in the first race at this track this season.