Joe Gibbs Racing is expected to continue its domination of the Round of 16, as Kyle Busch is listed as the early odds favorites at PointsBet SportsBook to win Saturday’s Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
Busch’s status is enhanced by three wins, a runner-up finish and two more top-fives in his last seven Bristol starts on the paved surface. He is listed at +440 for the win. Prior to this strong set of seven races, Busch finished outside the top 25 in five of six Bristol races from 2014-17. Busch finished 17th earlier this spring when Bristol was covered with dirt.
Busch enters the race eight points above the cutline to advance to the next round. Four playoff drivers will be eliminated from title contention at Bristol.
This is the first time this season that Busch has been considered the favorite to win a race and these are the lowest odds he’s faced all year. His previous low was a +675 at Darlington Raceway two weeks ago.
One way to view American odds is to move the decimal point two positions to the left. That will let a bettor know what they will make on a $1 bet. The return on investment for +440 odds is $4.40. For bettors more comfortable with fractional odds, a line of +300 is the same as 3/1.
Kyle Larson is ranked second with odds of +520. He has not yet scored a victory at Bristol, but Larson finished second in both events in 2018 and has top-10 finishes in five of his last six attempts on the high-banked, concrete track.
Ranked third with a line of +675 is one of the opening favorites from last week, Denny Hamlin. He finished outside the top 15 in both Bristol races of 2020, but swept the top five in 2019 with a victory in the fall race. Hamlin finished third on the dirt track this spring.
Chase Elliott is ranked fourth with odds of +850. With a career average finish of 12.1 in 10 starts, Bristol is not one of Elliott’s better tracks, but he has been a contender in the last three fall races with finishes of third in 2018, fifth in 2019 and seventh last year.
Joey Logano rounds out the top five with a line of +1000. He is coming off back-to-back, top-10 finishes that includes a fifth last week at Richmond. Logano has two Bristol wins and they both came in the Night Race. His most recent win was in 2015. In the seven Bristol races immediately following, he scored six top-10s. His last three efforts on the paved track have all been outside the top 10, but he won the Bristol dirt race with odds of +3300.
Last week’s winner at Richmond, Martin Truex Jr. has been given long odds of +1600, which ranks him ninth at PointsBet. Truex has become one of NASCAR’s better short track racers, but Bristol has not been kind with only one top 10 (an eighth in 2017) in his last 17 efforts on the paved oval. Truex’s last top @BMfive at Bristol came in spring 2012 when he finished third.
The last two winners on this paved half-mile track also face long odds.
After winning in spring 2020, Brad Keselowski is ranked sixth with a line of +1300.
Kevin Harvick is also listed at +1300. He won last year’s edition of this race.
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Dan Beaver handicaps NASCAR races for NBC Sports Edge.