Larson Plays the Spoiler
Kyle Larson’s win last weekend in Homestead-Miami and the fact that he’s not a playoff driver currently in the round of eight means no automatic tickets were punched to Phoenix.
That leaves three playoff spots still available, with the Xfinity 500 being the last event before elimination to the final four.
For Larson, it was an especially rewarding win after being spun out and accosted by Bubba Wallace the weekend prior at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but his victory really did a shakeup for the NASCAR odds for this weekend.
Three Drivers Try to Hang On
If another non-round of eight driver wins this weekend in Martinsville, that means the final three spots in Phoenix come down to points. Ross Chastain (+1200), Chase Elliott (+600), and William Byron (+800) would currently join Joey Logano (+800) – who clinched his spot with a win in Las Vegas – as the four Championship Race drivers.
Chastain and Elliott don’t necessarily need to capture the checkered flag in this event; they just need to stay out of trouble and finish near the top.
Chastain and Elliott would likely be safe based on points, even if a driver out of the top four picked up a win. The same cannot be said for Byron, though, as he has just a five-point lead on fifth-place Denny Hamlin (+750).
Byron has some value at Martinsville after he finished fifth in this event last season and also won the Spring race at this track. Elliott is the big favorite after he led 289 laps in the 2021 event before being spun out and finishing 16th. He also won the Xfinity 500 in 2021 and finished second in the Spring race last season.
Do or Die for Hamlin
It’s a return to the crime scene for Denny Hamlin and with a lot on the line. He looked poised for a win last season but was turned by eventual winner Alex Bowman on lap 493. That set up overtime in which Hamlin finished 24th but still advanced to the Championship Race after leading 103 laps.
Hamlin now finds himself in a similar situation as he’s the first man out, currently in fifth in the playoff standings. Hamlin is five points back from Byron, so in theory, he just needs to make up that point differential on one driver.
The problem is that Byron has been solid at Martinsville the last two years, and Hamlin has finished 24th or worse in three of his last five races here. So does Hamlin still have value when betting online?
NASCAR Xfinity 500 Race Information
- Location: Martinsville Speedway, Ridgeway, VA
- Day/Time: Sunday, Oct. 30, 2 p.m. ET
- NASCAR Xfinity 500 Live Stream: NBCSports.com
NASCAR Xfinity 500 Betting Lines
|ODDS TO WIN XFINITY 500||MONEYLINE|
|Martin Truex Jr.||900|
NASCAR Xfinity 500 Prediction
Bowman’s win here last year was the first time a non-playoff driver won the Martinsville race since Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2017.
That means somebody near the top will be taking the checkered flag, with Elliott being the best bet on the Las Vegas odds with his success at this track.
Somebody else who has been good here, who desperately needs a win and has slightly better odds is Byron at +800.
It’s hard to complete a spring-fall sweep at a track, but the stakes are high for Byron and he needs a solid race.