NASCAR Odds, Picks, Predictions for COTA: The Featured Matchup to Bet for Sunday’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix

NASCAR Odds, Picks, Predictions for COTA: The Featured Matchup to Bet for Sunday’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix article feature image

Sean Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: William Byron, driver of the #24 Liberty University Chevrolet.

The sixth race of the NASCAR Cup Series season takes us to Circuit of the Americas (COTA) for the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX).

This will be the sixth different style of racing we've seen over the first six races, but five races is still plenty to help us start to evaluate the 2022 season.

Combining this five-race average data with prior years' road-course performance leads me to a matchup tilting far too heavily in one driver's favor.

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Early in the season, two drivers have looked like the class of the field.

Ryan Blaney and William Byron rank first and second when averaging multiple metrics used to predict performance.

Byron, last weekend's winner at Atlanta, seems especially undervalued when compared to his teammate, Kyle Larson.

Larson is a driver we expected to dominate based off his incredible 2021 championship season. However, that just hasn't been the case so far in 2022.

If we apply the same logic to Larson at road courses, it takes us from a driver who had three wins and a runner-up finish to a driver who should be in contention for wins, but not necessarily dominant.

That's just not reflected across the industry, where Larson and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott are the far-and-away betting favorites to win.

This has also translated to Larson's matchup value, where Byron is a +165 underdog to Larson at BetMGM.

Byron is no slouch at road courses, leading 51 laps last year. He led nearly one-quarter of the race at Road America. Additionally, Byron was in great position to win the Charlotte Roval race until he was bumped by Tyler Reddick.

If Byron's improvement applies to road courses as it has to the first five races and Larson's step back carries over, this matchup could be a toss-up.

My model has Byron as a small underdog to Larson, making this +165 line solid value.

The bet: William Byron (+165) over Kyle Larson

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