The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday for the 2021 South Point 400. It will mark the 30th race of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, the fourth of the playoffs, and the first race of Round of 12.
Located in Clark County, Nevada, Las Vegas Motor Speedway is known for many things. But most notably, this is the track where Kyle Larson won in March and began his attack for the title.
It marked Larson’s first NASCAR Cup Series victory since Dover in 2019 and started a domino effect, which saw the 29-year-old win five more races. Most recently, Larson triumphed at the 2021 Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol and re-established himself as the main favorite on the NASCAR outright betting markets.
While Larson is undeniably the man to watch this weekend, the question remains: Can he keep his wheels spinning and win his sixth of the season?
Raging Harvick Out for Blood
It’s challenging making a case against Kyle Larson (+250), who comes off as the safest bet for the 2021 South Point. However, his success over the season can quickly blind you and make you forget that there are a handful of excellent drivers in the mix.
Again we are left with a long list of drivers who have the talent and experience to show up, but looking at the NASCAR odds for this weekend, there is one who stands out – Kevin Harvick (+1000).
You could argue that Larson is the better driver; however, the last time they met at the 2021 Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol, there wasn’t a lot to separate them. Larson might have won the race, but Harvick finished in a close second.
"They can boo all they want, I don't care … I'm ready to rip somebody's freaking head off."- Kevin Harvick was not happy with Chase Elliott after Bristol pic.twitter.com/qw92hC44de
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) September 19, 2021
Harvick could have won the race had he not been blocked by Chase Elliot (+750), who helped his teammate cross the finish line first. Harvick was highly frustrated, which is justifiable since he was controversially denied his first win of the season.
“I’m ready to freaking’ reap somebody’s head off,” said Harvick after the race.
Simply picking your sports betting pick for the weekend based on the driver’s motivation to deliver usually isn’t the wisest idea. However, there’s more to Harvick than that.
He is leading the laps and has won in Vegas twice before (2015, 2018). What’s more, he has finished inside the top-eight in three of his last five starts, including a runner-up finish in 2019.
Keep an Eye on Hamlin and Truex Jr.
Martin Truex Jr. (+800) heads to Las Vegas as one of the most in-form drivers of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Across three races, he has finished fourth, first, and seventh and has landed in the top-10 in seven of his last eight starts in Vegas.
Like Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin (+750) has had a solid start to the playoffs, finishing first, second, and ninth. Hamlin will be an exciting driver to follow this weekend if his scores and odds are to go by.
Long-time NASCAR fans will quickly point out that Hamlin isn’t exactly known for solid performances in Las Vegas. That’s true, for the most part, but the 40-year-old veteran started showing much better results in recent years.
In his last two starts, Hamlin finished in fourth and third, which was a nice improvement from his results across his previous five attempts (17th, 15th, 10th, 32nd), and a strong indication that he should do well on Sunday.
Larson heads to Las Vegas as the betting favorite (+250), and deservingly so. However, he is not a driver we would bet on at the offered betting odds. As noted, plenty of drivers can give him a run for his money, most notably Harvick (+1000).
Harvick was robbed of a win last weekend and will be eager to deliver in Las Vegas. However, while the motivation is there, we must also consider that Harvick has done well here before, so it wouldn’t be fair to doubt him.
At +1000, Harvick seems a bit overpriced and is an excellent bet for the 2021 South Point 400. On the topic of drivers who the bookmakers priced a bit too generously, we have Hamlin, who you can back at NASCAR odds as high as +750.
Hamlin has shown excellent form over the opening three races of the playoffs, with a win in Darlington, a runner-up finish in Richmond, and a solid ninth-place finish in Bristol. If that’s not enough to convince you, Hamlin hasn’t finished worse than fifth in his last two starts in Las Vegas!
Pick: Kevin Harvick to win (+1000)
Pick: Denny Hamlin to win (+750)