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A playoff driver is going to win the race at Las Vegas. How many others will finish in the top 10?
Sunday’s race (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) is the fourth playoff race at Las Vegas. The first three races have been won by drivers in the postseason. Kurt Busch won in 2020, Martin Truex Jr. won in 2019 and Brad Keselowski won in 2018.
That’s a big reason why the 12 remaining playoff drivers are the top 12 favorites for the race. And if you assume a playoff driver is going to win — we certainly are — the biggest question becomes how many more will finish in the top 10.
The 2020 fall race at Vegas was the first playoff race at the track where a playoff driver didn’t finish second. Matt DiBenedetto took advantage of some late crashes and had his career-best finish. Playoff drivers then took the next four spots.
In 2019, the entire top 10 was made up of playoff drivers. In 2018, the top seven finishers were playoff drivers. It’s a safe bet that the majority of the top 10 will be playoff drivers.
Kyle Larson is the betting favorite for Sunday’s race at +275. Larson won the spring race at Las Vegas earlier this year in his first win for Hendrick Motorsports. He’s won five times since, including last Saturday night at Bristol after teammate Chase Elliott helped hold up Kevin Harvick in the waning laps.
Here’s what you need to know to bet on the race. All odds are via BetMGM.
Kyle Larson (+275)
Kyle Busch (+650)
Denny Hamlin (+650)
Martin Truex Jr. (+750)
Chase Elliott (+800)
Larson’s odds to win the race are higher than his odds to win the championship. Larson is now down to +200 to be the 2021 Cup Series champion. To be the champ he has to advance to the winner-take-all race in the top four in the standings and then finish highest among those four drivers. Seems a safer bet to simply take him at Vegas with those odds, right?
Busch’s only Las Vegas win came in 2009, and he’s finished in the top three in three of the last seven races at Vegas. Hamlin has never won at Vegas though he’s finished in the top four in each of the last two races at the track. Truex has finished in the top 10 in seven of the last eight Vegas races and has won two of them. Elliott has three top 10s in nine starts and hasn’t finished in the top 10 in the last three races.
Good mid-tier value
Ryan Blaney (+1400)
Alex Bowman (+1800)
Blaney is great value for his odds. He has four top fives and seven top 10s in 10 starts. He’s finished outside the top 20 just once at Vegas. The 2021 spring race was Bowman’s first finish outside the top 20 at Vegas with Hendrick Motorsports.
Don't bet this driver
William Byron (+1200)
Byron’s best Vegas finish in seven starts is seventh. He just crept into the second round of the playoffs and hasn’t been nearly as good in the past 14 races as he was in the first 15. Byron has finished outside the top 20 in six of the past 14 races after he finished in the top 11 in each of the first 15.
Looking for a long shot?
Tyler Reddick (+5000)
As we said earlier, a driver outside of the playoffs isn’t going to win on Sunday. But if you’re going to throw a dollar or two away, Reddick is a decent bet.