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Categorized | NASCAR

2018 Toyota Owners 400 Picks and Predictions: Favorites and Bad Bets for the Toyota Owners 400

2018 Toyota Owners 400 Picks and Predictions: Favorites and Bad Bets for the Toyota Owners 400: The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Richmond Raceway this season for the third short track event of the 2018 season and the second in as many weeks. Last weekend at Bristol, we saw the chaos that a short track can produce, but when all was said and done, it was household names Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson who battled for the win.

Yes, a short track like Richmond can produce some surprises, but more often than not, it is still one of the top drivers who ends up celebrating in victory lane. If you plan on betting on the winner of Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400, you will still want to put a majority of your money on the frontrunners.

With that in mind, here is a closer look at the favorites that I recommend betting on at Richmond this weekend, as well as a couple of drivers that the oddsmakers like that I’d avoid.

2018 Toyota Owners 400 Picks and Predictions: Favorites and Bad Bets for the Toyota Owners 400

Favorites to Bet

Kyle Busch (7/2)

As dominant as he has been in recent weeks, Busch would deserve to be the favorite at any track. He’s finished third or better in each of the six races leading up to Richmond, winning at Texas and Bristol the last two weeks. He also happens to be excellent at Richmond, winning four times and compiling the best average finish among active drivers. If you like to back the smart money, put your money on Busch Saturday night.

Denny Hamlin (13/2)

The Virginia native has enjoyed a ton of success at his home-state track, winning three times and leading more laps than any other driver. He has been particularly dialed in in recent years, reeling off five straight finishes of sixth or better and leading 189 laps in a win here in the fall of 2016. Hamlin is one of the top threats when the series heads to Richmond.

Brad Keselowski (10/1)

While he only has one win at Richmond, Keselowski could easily have several more. He led 100 laps and finished second here last spring, and he has led more than 100 laps four times in the last nine races, leading more laps than any other driver in that stretch. Keselowski knows how to run up front at Richmond, and sitting outside the top-five betting favorites, he could be a steal.

Joey Logano (12/1)

He’s the defending winner of this weekend’s race, and Logano has been as reliable as any driver in the series at Richmond. In 10 starts here with Team Penske, he leads all drivers with nine top-10s, two wins and a 6.1 average finish. Logano gives you a little more room for profit than the other top options, but his resume stacks up with any driver out there.

Bad Bets

Kevin Harvick (9/2)

Harvick has been one of the best drivers in the series this year, but the only two tracks where he hasn’t had the speed to win were the two short tracks, Martinsville and Bristol. Granted, he is a three-time winner at Richmond, but his last victory here came in 2013, and he has failed to lead a lap in three of the last five races. Harvick is going to have a top-10 car Saturday night, but I’m not convinced he is going to have the car to beat. I think he’s a little overvalued.

Chase Elliott (12/1)

No driver is more overrated this weekend than Elliott. For one, he hasn’t found his rhythm this year, managing just one top-five finish and leading eight total laps. Meanwhile, it’s not like he’s been great at Richmond. He has a 16.2 average finish in five Cup starts here, and he hasn’t finished better than 10th. Don’t waste your money.

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