The NASCAR Cup Series heads to another short track, Richmond Raceway, for the second event at the track this year. Read on for our Federated Auto Parts 400 preview.
Denny Hamlin stole the win at Richmond earlier this year. He led only five laps of the 400-lap event and recorded only the seventh-best driver rating. That surprise win may have serious consequences for the playoff race, as two of the best drivers in that event, Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr., remain winless.
Although the three-quarter-mile Richmond Raceway is technically a short track, it compares much more favorably to New Hampshire, Phoenix, and Gateway. Dover and Martinsville are also useful comparators.
Here are my outright picks for NASCAR's Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway in Richmond, VA (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
Federated Auto Parts 400 Odds
Federated Auto Parts 400 Odds Analysis
The books are heavily favoring the Toyotas. That should come as no surprise after the manufacturer's strong recent showings. Several books have Hamlin and Truex as co-favorites at +600, but you'll find Truex at +550 at some books. Their teammates, Kyle Busch and Christopher Bell, generally own the next-best odds.
Surprisingly, the drivers who led the most laps in the spring Richmond race have decent lines. Ryan Blaney led 128 laps and owns odds of +1200. William Byron led 122 and can be found between +1500 and +2000.
Federated Auto Parts 400 Picks
Check out the latest comprehensive and most trusted Sportsbook Reviews by SBR.
Who Will Win the Federated Auto Parts 400?
This number opened at a friendlier +700, but it has ticked down as low as +550. Getting the +650 at FanDuel is probably the best we can find before qualifying, so bettors interested in playing the should-be favorite are advised to head there.
Truex's strong performance at Richmond translated to the highlighted comparator tracks. He finished sixth at Gateway after leading 42 laps and fourth at New Hampshire after leading 172, more than half the race.
Ultimately, game theory is the best reason to target Truex. After Kevin Harvick's upset win at Michigan, Truex needs a win to qualify for the playoffs. Richmond Raceway is the perfect spot for him and the No. 19 team to get aggressive and nab a trophy.
This number is a bit out of whack. William Byron hasn't had a consistent season - he owns only six top-10 finishes to date - but the No. 24 and his Hendrick Motorsports teammates have been fast all year. That was evident here in the spring, as Byron led 30% of the race.
The comparator tracks are split on Byron. He dominated at Martinsville by leading 52.6% of the race. However, he failed to score a top 10 or lead a lap at Gateway or New Hampshire. He led 12 laps at Phoenix but also failed to score a top 10. However, Chase Elliott led double-digit laps in both events, and he even finished a close second in New Hampshire.
A few advanced metrics point to value on Byron, too. He owns the eighth-best average running position and has led the second-highest percentage of all laps this year. He'll need to recapture his early April magic to score a win on Sunday, but there's enough value here to warrant a wager.
Brad Keselowski and RFK Racing haven't had the best season, but they have made significant improvements. His teammate, Chris Buescher, owns the same number of top 10 finishes as Denny Hamlin, and he has one more than Byron. Keselowski has just three, but he has the risk tolerance - and the need - to pull off an upset on Sunday.
After a brutal early-season penalty, Keselowski has just 364 driver points. That puts him behind the worst one-time winner, Kurt Busch, by over 100 points. As a result, Keselowski may need to score not one, but two wins, to qualify for the playoffs. That's especially true since the next two tracks, Watkins Glen and Daytona, could easily produce new winners.
Barring some late-season heroics, Keselowski won't be racing for a championship for the first time since 2013. But Keselowski's impressive comeback performance at New Hampshire back in July - plus his two wins, six top fives, and 10 top 10s at Richmond since 2014 - suggest he could pull off an upset if the cards fall his way. Consider splitting a unit between his outright and his top-10 market, which you can find at +350.
Where to Bet Federated Auto Parts 400
Here are our top-rated sportsbooks:
Federated Auto Parts 400 picks made 8/9/2022 at 2:18 p.m. ET