There is just one more stop before the start of this season’s Chase to NASCAR’s Sprint Cup title and it is this Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway. The running of this year’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond is slated to get underway at 7:30 p.m. (ET) and the race will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network.
Martin Truex Jr. became the eighth Sprint Cup driver to win multiple point-race events this season with last Sunday night's victory at Darlington. Kevin Harvick appears to be ready for a run at another title with a second-place finish in that race and for the second week in a row Kyle Larson ended up in the Top 3.
The following is a look at my top valued favorite, contender and longshot to win this Saturday night at Richmond-based on betting odds as provided by TopBet as one of the top online sportsbooks in the game when it comes to betting on NASCAR.
Top Valued Favorite
It is hard to argue against going with Kevin Harvick as a +600 favorite to win at Richmond along with Kyle Busch. Behind the wheel of the No. 4 Chevrolet, he has quietly been preparing for a run at what would be his second Sprint Cup title in three years. Current form is excellent with last week's second-place run and he has now finished sixth or better in his last seven point-race events including a victory at Bristol on Aug. 20. Harvick has now placed in the Top 5 in almost half of the first 25 point-race events including a second-place finish at Richmond earlier this season. It was the second-straight Sprint Cup race here where he finished as the runner-up.
Top Valued Contender
I really like Matt Kenseth at +1000 odds as this week's top-valued pick to win. He has only finished in the Top 5 in four Sprint Cup events this season, but the No. 20 Toyota is firmly in this year's Chase with victories at Dover and more recently New Hampshire. Another plus coming into Richmond is a sixth-place run at Darlington last week after finishing outside the Top 10 in three of his previous four-point race events. The main reason I like Kenseth this week is his recent racing record at Richmond. Going back to last season, he has finished seventh in each of the early races at this track wrapped around a victory in this race in 2015.
Top Valued Longshot
I have been touting rookie Chase Elliott all season long and I am not about to back off that stance this week at Richmond. It has been an up and down season behind the wheel of the No. 24 Chevrolet, but the overall highlight reel includes seven Top 5 finishes and a possible spot in the Chase as long as the wheels do not completely come off in this race. He has the most points of any driver without a win; however, he knows that a victory at Richmond would seal the deal as a +2000 longshot. Following a prolonged dry spell that lasted most of the summer, Elliott recently placed second at Michigan and 10th last week at Darlington. In his first run at Richmond, he remained in the hunt for a good part of the race before fading to 12th.
Betting Odds for other Notable Drivers
Following both Harvick and Busch as favorites NASCAR picks to win is a group of four drivers listed as +800 second-favorites for Saturday night. Brad Keselowski leads this group with four checkered flags this season, while the other three drivers (Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, and Joey Logano) have combined to win another five-point race events. Joining Kenseth at +1000 betting odds are Jimmie Johnson and last week's winner Martin Truex Jr.