The Round of 16 is complete and it did not end without some surprises. Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick have been eliminated. The first three races were won by the favorites (Kyle Larson won at Darlington at 6-1 odds, Tyler Reddick won at Kansas at 9-1 odds and Denny Hamlin won at Bristol at 7-1 odds). That means the winner of the playoff races had an average of 7-1 odds. Will we see this trend continue or can we get a little more bang for the buck and see a driver with double-digit odds in Victory Lane at Texas? I plan to bet the favorites, but there are some drivers with double-digit odds I like this week.
Tyler Reddick won this race last year at 15-1 odds. Ryan Blaney won the Coca-Cola 600 this year at 16-1 odds. The last six races at Texas have been won by Tyler Reddick (2022), Kyle Larson (2021), Kyle Busch (2020), Austin Dillon (2020), Kevin Harvick (2019) and Denny Hamlin (2019). Most of these drivers were the favorites to win. Reddick wasn’t a favorite, but it wasn’t a surprise to see him in Victory Lane. The only long-shot to win was Dillon at 28-1 odds in 2020. It will like be tough to cash a ticket on a driver listed at odds greater then 16-1 odds Sunday.
* The odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook. The odds could change between the time of this article and the time you place your bet.
** The first number is the amount of money based on the second number (the amount of the wager). So if you bet $1 on Kyle Larson at 5-1 odds, you will win $5.
KYLE LARSON (5-1): There is a good chance that Denny Hamlin or Kyle Larson will be back in Victory Lane Sunday. I do not want to bet both of them at 5-1 odds, so I had to choose one of the favorites. I decided to go with Larson. He has the best Driver Rating at Texas (125.6) and he won two of the last four races at the track. Larson just led the most laps at Kansas two weeks ago (a similar track to Kansas) and he finished second at Las Vegas and second in the first race at Kansas. I am betting Larson more as an insurance policy this week to get my money back if he smokes the field.
WILLIAM BYRON (7-1): There is a “Big Four” for the race Sunday. Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Tyler Reddick and William Byron are the clear favorites according to the stats, track history and recent performance in the last round of the playoffs. I will bet three of them and fade Hamlin (That will probably guarantee that the No. 11 car is in Victory Lane Sunday). Byron has the best average finishing position on the 1.5-mile tracks this year. He won at Las Vegas, finished second at Charlotte and third at Kansas. Byron also has the fastest pit crew and that should help him get to Victory Lane Sunday.
TYLER REDDICK (8-1): The first thing I did when the odds came out was to look to see where Reddick was priced. I know I was going to bet him because all of the stats suggest this is his race to win. Reddick won at Texas last year. He also won the last race on a 1.5-mile track two weeks ago at Kansas. Byron had one of the most dominant cars at Texas last year. He should be a threat to win Sunday.
BRAD KESELOWSKI (14-1): Keselowski has been one of the most consistent drivers at Texas Motor Speedway. He has finished six consecutive races at Texas in the top-10. Keselowski won the pole at Texas last year and he led 31 laps. The No. 6 car is much faster in 2023 than they were in 2022. 14-1 odds for Keselowski sounds pretty good to me.
CHASE ELLIOTT (16-1): Can Elliott go winless in 2023? Of course he could, but I think he will find Victory Lane before the season is complete. Elliott has been running well lately. He finished 8th at Darlington, 6th at Kansas and 7th at Bristol in the first round of the playoffs. The only drivers who had a better average finishing position than Elliott were Kyle Larson and Tyler Reddick. I will take a chance with Elliott at Texas.
LONG-SHOT BET: I am not betting any long-shots, but if you want to throw a dart and hope to hit the bull’s-eye, ERIK JONES is your guy. He finished 3rd two weeks ago at Kansas and he finished 6th at Texas last year. Legacy Motorsports found some speed over that last month. 55-1 odds on Jones is pretty tempting.
Good luck Sunday!
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