Saturday NASCAR at Bristol Odds & Picks: 3 Bets for Bass Pro Shops Night Race

Saturday NASCAR at Bristol Odds & Picks: 3 Bets for Bass Pro Shops Night Race article feature image
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Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Toyota, leads Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Chevrolet

  • The Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol goes green tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN).
  • Nick Giffen details one favorite, one mid-tier driver and one longshot to bet for Saturday night's NASCAR Cup Series race.

The final race of the first round of NASCAR’s Cup Series playoffs takes place tonight at Bristol Motor Speedway. The half-mile, highly-banked bull ring features plenty of action. The stakes are high, with several drivers on the bubble, and two solid Bristol drivers likely in a win-or-go-home scenario.

Fortunately, we have data from Bristol earlier this year, both as a regular season race and for the first time in the All-Star race. Additionally, we can hearken back to 2018 for more low-downforce data at Bristol.

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Kyle Busch (+650) to Win at Bristol

I know Busch hasn’t won in 2020, but that’s possibly what’s keeping his price down this far. If we look at the last three low-downforce races at Bristol, Busch is simply top of the field.

His average green flag speed comes in at 2.7, placing him first among all drivers — Kevin Harvick is next with a 5.0 average green flag speed. Busch has also had a fastest lap total of 58, 47, and 55, which ranks first or second in each race. He won the opener in 2018 and came in fourth earlier this year despite leading 100 laps and having the most fastest laps.

He should be the favorite, and we’re getting him at a discount at FanDuel and BetMGM among other places. I’d bet Kyle down to +500.

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Ryan Blaney (+1800) to Win at Bristol

Blaney is one of the two drivers that’s most likely going to need a win to advance. He sits 27 points behind the cut line, so making up that many points and leapfrogging four drivers is probably too much to ask.

However, Bristol is an excellent race for Blaney under low-downforce rules. He’s led at least 60 laps in each of the last three low-downforce Bristol races, with an average of 93.7 per race. In 2018 he was dominating the opening race in Thunder Valley before being taken out by two lapped cars wrecking in front of him. This year, he was leading when he spun and Ty Dillon plowed into him.

A driver that leads this much, especially while he’s desperate for a win, should be in the high single-digits or low double-digits. This 18-1 price at BetMGM is a steal. You can also get him 17-1 at FanDuel. I like him down to 12-1.

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Jimmie Johnson (+3500) to Win at Bristol

Surprise, surprise, it’s Jimmie Johnson who actually ranks third among all drivers in average green flag speed over the last three low-downforce Bristol races!

And that’s not just 2018 data weighing too heavily. Johnson was the second-fastest driver in the first race this year en route to a third-place finish. Johnson has shown more consistency than outright speed, with fastest lap totals of 26, 12, and 16, but if he’s consistent again and keeps his nose clean, he should be near the front. From there, anything can happen.

Johnson is looking for one more win to close the career out, so there’s that incentive as well.

A 40-1 price is available at Station Casinos in Las Vegas, but you can also find him at 35-1 at William Hill sportsbooks. There’s value here down to 30-1.

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