NASCAR Odds, Picks & Predictions for Richmond: The Hot Driver to Bet for Sunday’s Federated Auto Parts 400
Sean Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: NASCAR Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick
For the second time this year, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Richmond Raceway for the Federated Auto Parts 400 (3 p.m. ET, USA).
Richmond is the second track, and the first non-drafting track, to have a return visit by the Cup Series. This means two things.
First, we'll be able to see which teams have improved, or maybe which ones have fallen behind a bit compared to the spring race.
Second, we'll be able to lean on that spring race to aid our betting decisions this week.
One driver checks both boxes.
He's shown recent speed even at tracks that aren't similar to Richmond. This same driver also put in a stellar performance at the first Richmond race, as well as other shorter flat tracks this year.
NASCAR Picks for Richmond
*Odds as of Tuesday afternoon
In the spring race, Martin Truex, Jr. and Kevin Harvick had arguably the two best cars.
It's hard to compare, because different pit strategies all melded together to form an exciting finish. Those differing strategies also made comparing green flag speed and average running position difficult.
What is undoubtedly true, though, is that Harvick was the fastest car on his strategy, and was catching race winner Denny Hamlin, but ran out of laps.
Harvick has also shown well at the shorter flat tracks of Phoenix, New Hampshire and Gateway, in addition to Richmond. All these tracks run the same tire as well.
Aside from his DNF at Gateway, Harvick has picked up top-six finishes at each of the races at these tracks. His average driver rating of 111.6 is definitely representative of a top-five car.
I'm also not too worried about leaving Gateway out of this analysis. It's the least similar to Richmond of the three comparable tracks. It's the longest and fastest of the bunch, while Richmond is the shortest and slowest. Gateway also boasts the lowest tire wear, while Richmond has the highest.
In addition to similar tracks, Stewart-Haas Racing – Harvick in particular – has found plenty of speed lately. At the high-horsepower tracks of Pocono and Michigan, Harvick was impressive.
He was running in the top five at Pocono before getting caught up in Ross Chastain's wreck. And of course, he won this past weekend at Michigan.
That's a marked improvement from earlier this year, when the team struggled to find speed at high-speed tracks.
Harvick's overall speed gain, plus his efforts at similar tracks and Richmond earlier this year, mean he should be in contention for the win.
While +1700 outright at FanDuel has value per my model, I prefer his T3 odds at +550 at the same book. That gives us a little wiggle room to finish second or third even if he doesn't win, while still giving bettors a large 35% edge according to my model (20.7% podium odds, +385 breakeven).
The Bet: Kevin Harvick Top-3 Finish +550 | Bet to: +450