FireKeepers Casino 400 NASCAR Driver Matchup Odds & Picks: Will Kyle Busch Win Again at Michigan?
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch
- NASCAR's FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan was postponed from Sunday afternoon to Monday at 5 p.m. ET (FS1) due to rain.
- Kyle Busch enters the race in good form as the No. 1 driver in NASCAR and the favorite to win.
- Matthew Freedman breaks down his three favorite individual driver matchups for the race.
Yesterday’s NASCAR FireKeepers Casino 400 was postponed until Monday due to rain. As a result, all bets made before the expected start to Sunday’s race are still action, and most sportsbooks have already reopened odds to accept more action before this afternoon’s 5 p.m. ET green flag.
A two-mile, D-shaped tri-oval with a wide surface, low tire wear, long straightaways and high banking, Michigan is one of the fastest tracks on the NASCAR circuit. With the new aerodynamic and rules package, it’s always hard to predict how any given race will unfold, but if the past is any guide, we should expect to see high speeds and lots of passing at Michigan.
In projecting driver performance for this race, I’ve focused mostly on these factors.
- Year-to-date performance
- 10-lap practice speed
- Track history
- Large oval history
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A quick primer on the odds below: A $100 bet at +110 odds would profit $110, while a $150 wager at -150 odds would pay out $100.
2019 FireKeepers Casino 400: Brad Keselowski vs. Kevin Harvick
- Brad Keselowski: +100
- Kevin Harvick: -130
The new aerodynamic and rules package has not been kind to Harvick. He’s still a top-five driver, but he’s yet to finish in even the top three in any race this year, whereas last year he had five wins and five additional top-five finishes entering the first Michigan race.
But since NASCAR introduced the Generation 6 car in 2013, Harvick has dominated Michigan. He has only one win there over the past six years, but he also has nine top-five finishes, including six second-place performances.
Keselowski hasn’t been horrible at Michigan, where he has eight top-10 finishes since 2013, but he also hasn’t been great: He has just one top-two finish there.
And even though Kez has three wins this year, Harvick actually has the higher driver rating (100.7 vs. 100.4).
Given that Harvick has the superior starting position (3 vs. 8) and faster final-practice 10-lap average (4 vs. 10), I’d bet on Harvick down to -145.
The Pick: Harvick (-130)
Joey Logano vs. Kyle Busch
- Joey Logano: +155
- Kyle Busch: -185
Busch has been the best driver in NASCAR since last season, and he’s in good form, entering the race fresh off a win at Pocono last week. He leads all drivers this season with his 568 driver points and 116.3 driver rating.
But Logano is second with 564 points and a 102.1 driver rating, and he has the better Gen-6 history at Michigan. Logano has two wins at Michigan since 2013. Busch has zero. Logano has five top-five finishes in that span. Busch has three. Logano has 11 — ELEVEN! — top-10 Michigan performances over the past six years. Busch has five.
Busch easily has the better final-practice 10-lap average (7 vs. 17), but Logano is a notoriously poor practicer, and he has the better starting position (1 vs. 15).
Busch probably should be favored — it’s hard to say that anyone is racing better than he is right now — but +155 is just too generous given Logano’s Michigan record.
I’d bet on Logano down to +125.
The Pick: Logano (+155)
Chase Elliott vs. Kyle Larson
- Chase Elliott: -125
- Kyle Larson: -105
Since becoming a full-time Cup Series driver in 2014, Larson has won five races: Four of them have been at two-mile D-shaped tri-ovals, and three at Michigan in particular. Larson’s not a top-tier driver, but he has five top-10 finishes in 10 Michigan races.
It’s not easy to bet against Larson at this track.
But he hasn’t won a race since 2017, and he has just one top-five finish this season. Meanwhile, Elliott has won four races since last year, and in each of his past five events, he has finished top-five.
Elliott is third in driver points (511) and sixth in driver rating (97.9). Larson is a distant 16th (342) and 15th (80.4).
On top of that, Elliott has arguably been better than Larson at Michigan. He doesn’t have a win there, but in his six career Michigan races, Larson has six top-10 finishes with three second-place performances.
Given that Elliott has the better starting position (17 vs. 22) and final-practice 10-lap average (9 vs. 13), I’d bet on him over Larson down to -150.
The Pick: Elliott (-125)