NASCAR Cup Series 2018 First Data 500 Preview and Picks

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 2:20 PM UTC

Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018 2:20 PM UTC

NASCAR’s field for this season’s Monster Energy Cup Series racing title is down to eight drivers heading into this Sunday afternoon’s First Data 500 around the short track at Martinsville. Kyle Busch has been opened as the clear favorite to win at 5Dimes online sportsbook for the slated 2:30 p.m. start on NBC Sports Network.

<h2>The No. 18 Toyota is the Car to Beat at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday Afternoon</h2><p>Chase Elliott may be the hottest driver in the remaining field with last Sunday’s victory at Kansas, but Kyle Busch could be primed for a win this Sunday after taking second in that race. Kyle Larson finished third, but it was not enough to make the cut into the next elimination round.</p><p>The betting odds to win this Sunday’s race at Martinsville are up on the board at <a href=";book=5dimes" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Check This Top Rated Sportsbook">5Dimes</a> and the following three drivers offer the best value at varying degrees of risk.</p><p> </p><p> </p><h2><strong>Top-Valued Favorite: Kyle Busch +275</strong></h2><p>You almost have to go chalk in this one with Busch returning to top form last week at Kansas. The No. 18 Toyota did win at Richmond in the opening elimination round of this 10-race playoff and he has every intention of getting into the four-driver field for the season-ending championship race at Homestead-Miami. This racing team is smart enough to know that with so many unpredictable finishes in the first six playoff runs, a victory in one of the next three Cup Series events is the only way to guarantee it has a shot at winning this season’s title.</p><p>The other reason you have to go chalk with the favorite is a solid racing record at this Sunday’s track. I especially like the fact that Busch won this event last season.</p><p> </p><p> </p><h2><strong>Top-Valued Contender: Kevin Harvick +1300</strong></h2><p>Along with Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr., these three drivers combined to win 17 of the Cup Series first 26 races. With the exception of Busch’s win at Richmond, this power trio has been shutdown in the first six postseason events. Harvick’s best finish was second at Richmond. He faded to 12<sup>th</sup> last Sunday at Kansas after placing a distant 28<sup>th</sup> at Talladega the week before. The big question betting him this week at these very attractive odds is <a href="" target="_blank" title="SBR' Sports Picks &amp; Predictions">can this team quickly turn things around to stay in the title hunt?</a> Obviously, my answer to that question is yes.</p><p>Martinsville has not been one of Harvick’s best venues over the course of his career, but he is too good of a driver to ignore with his odds to win set so high. The good news is the fact that he remained right in the mix in his last two runs around this short track with a pair of fifth-place finishes.</p><h2> </h2><h2> </h2><h2><strong>Top-Valued Longshot: Kurt Busch +3000</strong></h2><p>The elder Busch has lived in the shadow of the spotlight shining on his younger brother for several years now, but he has very quietly raced well enough to give his No. 41 Ford a chance to steal the show with a racing title of his own. His lone victory of the season came in the second race at Bristol and his best effort in the playoff has been back-to-back fifth-place runs at Charlotte and Dover.</p><p>When betting on Cup Series longshots this time of the year, I always look for drivers that are still in title contention. Since Busch’s average finishing position at Martinsville is just 21.4, I am basing this entire pick on his seventh-place position in the current Cup Series standings.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;The third round of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs gets underway Sunday at Martinsville. &lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;What do you need to know before filling out lineups for the First Data 500?&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;🏎️ ➡️ &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— FanDuel (@FanDuel) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;October 23, 2018&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;"}[/]</p><p> </p><h2><strong>First Data 500- <a href="" target="_blank" title="SBR's Odds Board">Betting Odds</a> for Other Notable Drivers</strong></h2><p>Following Busch as the favorite is the trio of Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski and Clint Bowyer at +640 odds. Chase Elliott looks to stay hot at +750 odds rounding out the top five with Joey Logano next on the list at +1000.</p>
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