The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Round of 8 kicks off on Sunday with the seventh race of the playoffs — the 2021 Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500. The race will take place at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, where the top-eight NASCAR drivers will compete to take one step closer to claiming the title of the champion.
There is little room for error. The thinner field field presents plenty of exciting online sports betting options, some we will explore in this NASCAR Cup Series betting preview.
Kyle Larson Expected to Deliver
By winning the 2021 Bank of America Roval 400, Kyle Larson claimed his seventh W of the season and second of the playoffs. With that, the 29-year-old is now at 4,065 championship points, 35 ahead of Denny Hamlin in second and 36 clear of Martin Truex Jr. in third.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) October 10, 2021
Unsurprisingly, Larson is billed as the most likely driver to win in Texas, so if you’re looking to betnow on the undisputed best driver ahead of this weekend’s race, Larson is the right choice. However, priced at only +250, there is little to no value to be found backing the current frontrunner.
He might have won the most races and is driving in the best car, but it’s not like he is significantly better than Hamlin, nor is Larsen unbeatable. That particularly holds true in Fort Worth, where Larson has yet to win and hasn’t placed better than 12th across his last two starts.
As evident by the NASCAR odds for this weekend, Larson and Hamlin are undeniably the favorites to win the upcoming race. If you consider how solid they’ve been on the same tire combination that will be used in Texas, that makes sense.
The three races that have used the same tires on the year were Las Vegas and Michigan, where Larson and Hamlin both delivered. However, if we look at the drivers with the fastest lap, another name stands out.
Larson has recorded the fastest laps on this tire combination in 2021; however, the second-fastest driver wasn’t Hamlin but William Byron. Despite that, Byron travels to Texas priced as a massive underdog at +1400.
The offered betting odds make little to no sense since it’s not like Byron hasn’t had solid finishes on the year. He won 2021 Dixie Vodka 400 at the start of the season and placed third in Bristol in September.
Admittedly, Byron hasn’t achieved much during the playoffs besides his third-place finish in Bristol, but in terms of raw speed, there aren’t many drivers who can compare to Byron. Particularly on this tire combination – Byron has led the fourth-most laps and posted the fifth-best driver rating.
Based on those stats, it’s hard to fade Byron. What’s more, Byron has shown valiant effort at the Roval, and while he came up short, he has done well enough to earn our trust.
“It was lookin’ like it was gonna be a really good day,” said Byron after the race. “Even after the caution, it was looking like we were gonna have a shot to win.”
As the NASCAR Cup Series field thins down, betting on the favorites to win becomes far less appealing. Although you could make a case for Larson, who is in excellent form and should arguably win in Texas, he does not come off as a good pick.
Instead, we’re putting our trust in Byron, mainly because the offered NASCAR betting odds on him seem a bit off. You could say that he is one of the underdogs, which he is, but at +1400, the online bookmakers are underestimating Byron and his speed.