NASCAR at Richmond Betting Odds & Picks: 3 Bets for Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 (Sept. 12)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano
The NASCAR Cup Series is in Richmond for the second race of the opening round of the playoffs (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN). Richmond is a 0.75-mile tri-oval, and one of the four shorter flat tracks on the schedule. In addition to Richmond, New Hampshire and Phoenix also are short, flat tracks that used the same tire compound that Goodyear is providing this weekend.
With the lower-downforce package being used, 2019 data will become mostly irrelevant. Instead, we can use 2017-2018 data in addition to the 2020 stats from Phoenix and New Hampshire.
Looking at these three tracks from 2018 and 2020, we see the top-five finishers are the elite of the elite:
- Phoenix 1, 2018: Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex
- Phoenix 2, 2018: Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Aric Almirola, Harvick
- New Hampshire, 2018: Harvick, Kyle Busch, Almirola, Truex, Elliott
- Richmond 1, 2018: Kyle Busch, Elliott, Hamlin, Joey Logano, Harvick
- Richmond 2, 2018: Kyle Busch, Harvick Truex, Elliott, Almirola
- Phoenix, 2020: Logano, Harvick, Kyle Busch, Larson, Clint Bowyer
- New Hampshire, 2020: Keselowski, Hamlin, Truex, Logano, Harvick
Here’s the top-five tally by driver for these seven races (wins in parenthesis):
- Kevin Harvick 7 (2)
- Kyle Busch 6 (3)
- Martin Truex 4
- Chase Elliott 4
- Joey Logano 3 (1)
- Denny Hamlin 3
- Aric Almirola 3
- Brad Keselowski 2 (1)
- Kyle Larson 2
- Clint Bowyer 1
Armed with this information, it looks like betting favorites will be the way to go today. Here are my two best values for tonight’s race.
Kevin Harvick (+480) to Win at Richmond
Harvick’s numbers at these three tracks are astonishing, with a perfect seven for seven in the top-five department. That includes two wins, one at Phoenix and one at New Hampshire each in 2018.
The 2020 variety of Harvick has been just as good. He’s one of just two drivers to have at least 25 fastest laps at both Phoenix and New Hampshire. His average running position of 6.2 is tied for second-best, and he’s led 73 laps combined. He had the fastest average green-flag speed at Phoenix, although it dipped to only seventh fastest at New Hampshire.
Still, he has to be considered the top favorite among the favorites. This offering at FanDuel is as good as it will get on Harvick this weekend. There’s value here down to +400.
Joey Logano (+1500) to Win at Richmond
William Hill’s offering is quite out of line with most of the other books. Logano is often in the +700 to +900 range, but this price tag at one of Logano’s better tracks is too good to pass up.
Logano has eight top-five finishes in 14 Richmond starts with Team Penske, which also happens to date to the start of the Gen 6 era in 2013. Included in those finishes are two wins. He also has a win at Phoenix this year, which is Richmond’s most similar track.
His average green-flag speed at both Phoenix and Richmond was fourth, yet he’s priced as the sixth-highest driver at William Hill. Logano is worth it even at 9-1, but if you can get him in the double digits, that’s excellent value.
Aric Almirola (+4000) to Win at Richmond
The top play here is Almirola at +400 for a top-five or +100 for a top-10, but a small bet to win is also reasonable. Just looking at the statistics above, Almirola has three top-five finishes in the seven relevant races. None of those came in 2020, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t shone on this tire compound.
Almirola finished eighth at Phoenix and seventh at New Hampshire. More importantly, he had the fourth-best average running position at the two races combined, and was eighth and sixth in average green-flag speed at Phoenix and New Hampshire, respectively.
A hopeful bet at 40-1 is reasonable, which is his price tag at William Hill. I’d take him as low as +3500.