The Cup Series playoffs are underway, with just 2 more races to come before we cut the number of drivers from 16 to 12. Everything that happened in the regular season is now out the window, as it’s all about winning and moving on, which is the best way to avoid getting into a situation where a certain finish is required in the final race before the cut. As it stands now, there are several drivers wallowing down near the cut line, so every single point is important over the next 2 races. This weekend, the drivers will be in Richmond for the Federated Auto Parts 400. The only driver who can really relax is Denny Hamlin, as he has already punched his Round of 12 ticket with a win last weekend. Let’s take a look at the favorites for this race along with their NASCAR odds.
NASCAR Cup Series Betting: Federated Auto Parts 400 Salute to First Responders Race Preview
Kyle Larson (+220)
Finishing the regular season at the top of the driver standings is a fantastic achievement, especially when it’s a driver who sat out the majority of the previous season due to suspension. Kyle Larson has racked up 5 wins already this season and came very close to adding another to the list, coming in just behind Hamlin at Darlington last weekend. This is going to be an interesting race for Larson, as Richmond is not a track that has been good to him over the years. That said, you cannot ignore his form this season, which is why he is routinely in as the favorite in every race.
Denny Hamlin (+450)
The pressure is off Hamlin this weekend after winning in the opening round of the playoffs, but building up momentum is never a bad idea. We were all looking at him this season and wondering when he was going to pick up that first win. I didn’t see it happening at Darlington, but he certainly proved me wrong by taking the checkered flag. I actually like his chances that much more this weekend, as he does have 3 career wins at Richmond. He has also been in the top 5 in 7 of his last 9 races at that track, so he looks to be a great bet at these odds.
Martin Truex Jr. (+800)
After a bit of a drop off in form, Truex Jr. got back on track last weekend with a 4th place finish at Darlington. He will absolutely be making the cut and heading into the Round of 12, but he will still want to maintain the level of performance he delivered in the last race. You would certainly like his chances of doing so at Richmond, as this is a track where he has been historically good. In fact, he has 2 wins in his last 4 runs there and has been no worse than 5th in his last 5 runs at Richmond.
Chase Elliott (+850)
The defending Cup Series champion did not have the best start to the playoffs last weekend, seeing his run at Darlington come to an end with a pretty brutal crash. Elliott will be looking to shake that off and get back to the head of the pack this weekend. It has now been 8 races since Elliott last took the checkered flag, but he definitely needs to be considered at Richmond. He has a trio of top 5 finishes at that track.