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Categorized | NASCAR

2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Picks and Predictions: Favorites and Bad Bets for the KC Masterpiece 400

2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Picks and Predictions – Favorites and Bad Bets for the KC Masterpiece 400: The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series makes a stop at Kansas Speedway this weekend, and the 1.5-mile oval will play host to Saturday night’s KC Masterpiece 400.

Mile-and-a-half tracks like Kansas are typically the most predictable because of the importance of aerodynamics, which gives the top drivers from the top teams a decided advantage over the competition.

Kansas is a track where you will want to heavily back the favorites, and I’ve highlighted my top bets for the KC Masterpiece 400.

2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Picks and Predictions: Favorites and Bad Bets for the KC Masterpiece 400

Favorites to Bet

Kevin Harvick (5/2)

He has amassed an impressive resume at Kansas, and over the last 10 races, he leads all drivers with two wins, seven top-10s, 513 laps led and a 5.9 average finish. He’s been particularly stout since joining Stewart-Haas Racing. In eight races here with SHR, Harvick has finished third or better five times and has led double-digit laps in all but one race. This year, he has been unstoppable at the 1.5-mile tracks, logging two wins and a second-place finish in the three races so far, leading more than 80 laps in all three of those races. If you like backing the smart money, Harvick is your play this weekend

Kyle Busch (7/2)

Kansas used to be one of Busch’s worst tracks, but that has changed in a big way. He has six straight top-10s at the track, picking up five top-five finishes and a win during that span. He’s also led 50-plus laps in three of the last four races here. His numbers at the 1.5-mile tracks in 2018 only bolster his case to be considered one of the favorites. Busch has a 3.3 average finish in three races, and he led the most laps and went to victory lane at Texas the last time the series visited a 1.5-mile oval.

Martin Truex Jr. (7/2)

Although Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch have had a slight edge on Truex this year, he’s still managed two top-five finishes in the first three races at mile-and-a-half tracks this year. Perhaps more importantly, no driver has been better at Kansas recently. He swept both races at the track a year ago, and Truex has led more than 90 laps in four of the last six races here. Needless to say, he knows how to run up front and knows how to seal the deal at this place.

Ryan Blaney (15/1)

If you are looking for a little room to profit but don’t want to dip into the longshots, Blaney offers a nice in-between option. He’s posted excellent numbers at Kansas, finishing seventh or better in four of his six starts and logging three top-five finishes in his last four. Last year, he actually led 83 laps in the spring race. Blaney has picked up two top-five finishes in the first three races at 1.5-mile tracks in 2018, and he’s leading more laps than ever in his first year with Team Penske. Blaney is the best value bet on the board this weekend.

Bad Bets

Kyle Larson (8/1)

Larson is one of NASCAR’s rising stars, but Kansas hasn’t been his best track. In eight career starts here, he has managed just two top-10s and has just a single top-five finish. He’s also never won a race at a 1.5-mile oval. Throw in the fact that the Chevrolet teams have been lacking a little speed compared to the Ford and Toyota drivers so far in 2018, especially at these high-speed, intermediate ovals, and I think Larson’s is a little overvalued at 8/1. Save your money.

Denny Hamlin (18/1)

He is a former winner at Kansas, but Hamlin has been wildly inconsistent at the track in his career, especially recently. He finished outside the top 10 in three of his last four starts here, and he only has three top-10s in his last 10 races at the track. Hamlin has also developed a nasty habit of ruining his own races with speeding penalties on pit road, which he is doing on an almost weekly basis right now. Hamlin is a roll-of-the-dice bet this weekend, but he is being valued like one of the frontrunners.

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