Coming off yet another non-playoff driver winning last weekend at Bristol, we turn the page to Texas Motor Speedway and the EchoPark Automotive 500. Texas is one of the few “standard” tracks in the playoffs, which makes it a key track to get a win at and clinch a spot in the Round of 8. It likely won’t be that easy to pull off though given how intermediate races have gone this year and Texas’ history.
Texas Motor Speedway layout and betting strategy
The 1.5-mile track outside of Fort Worth, Texas has seemingly been being tweaked non-stop since it was built. It recently underwent a repave a few years back to try and salvage it. It hasn’t worked much. The combination of the relatively steep banking, the newish asphalt, and the quad-oval design creates racing that can be tough to watch at times. The hope is that this Next Gen car can improve it here, like it has for a few other intermediate tracks. While there was an All-Star race here back in May, that won’t hold much weight to Sunday’s race. Why? There are different tires on the cars this week, and that was a made-up format with a half field. Typically we’ve seen little passing towards the top 10 of the field in the last several races here, and unless chaos happens that’s likely to be the case yet again.
EchoPark Automotive 500 outright winner picks
Odds listed are from DraftKings Sportsbook at the time of publishing
Denny Hamlin (+550)
Hamlin has been remarkably consistent down the stretch on intermediate style tracks. At the last 5 high-speed, intermediate races this year, he finished no worse than P4 in all of them with one win and back-to-back runners-up. While the two other drivers in the Toyota camp have had a run of bad luck, that luck has stayed quite a bit away from Hamlin. Finally, Hamlin has a win here in the last 5 races to go along with 3 top-11s.
Christopher Bell (+700)
Back-to-back P3 finishes at Texas and 5 top-6 finishes in the last six intermediate races this year have Bell high on the favorites list. He’s been quite speedy in basically every race in the last 2 months, as well. All of the strong finishes, speed, and consistency are one thing, but let’s also factor what’s next. Talladega and the Charlotte Roval finish this round before better tracks for him to make up Round 8. This is his best shot to advance to the next round in the playoffs. We can’t ignore that.
William Byron (+1200)
Since the playoffs have started, Byron has been consistently fast. That makes sense given that he said the test wheels have been taken off of him. So let’s pounce on him again. Byron has finished top-eight in the last two intermediate races including running faster than his finish position at Kansas, on the same tires as they’ll have this weekend. The last race at Texas saw Byron finish P2, as well. Like Bell, the best shot at him guaranteeing a spot in the Round of 8 is to win at this “standard” track.
Alex Bowman (+2500)
Bowman has an every other race theme going at Texas. P18, P5, P30, P5 and P33 are the last 5 finishes for Bowman at Texas. This is that every other race. Let’s couple that with him posting 6 top-10s in the 8 high-speed intermediate races this year. That puts him tied with Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell this year. His average running position in those races is seventh-best as well. These odds are too long for a guy who has been as good at these tracks as anyone in the field.
Best NASCAR prop bets for Texas Motor Speedway
Saturday bet: Christopher Bell to win pole (+800)
This bet is specifically for Saturday. Over the eight high-speed intermediate races this year, Bell has the best average starting spot of anyone in the field. Why is he fourth in the odds then? He’s started P4 or better in the last 7 similar races — including being on the pole twice. He also ranks in the top 4 in terms of pure speed metrics at these layouts. This is too good a return not to put some money on.
Kevin Harvick top-5 finish (+250)
Yes, Harvick had a disastrous Round of 16 in the playoffs. A couple of wrecks and then not enough points in the 3rd race. That doesn’t turn us away from this bet though. He’s been the most consistent driver in Texas over the last seven years, regardless of layout with a few wins and several strong finishes. Here’s the thing about those wrecks in the last few races: they happened when he was running well. Presuming the speed is still in the 4-car, this is a nice return for something Harvick has done 3 times in the last five Texas races.
Erik Jones top-10 finish (+300)
Jones pulled off four top-12 finishes in the last f5 Texas races, three of them top-10s. Looking at this year, he posted 3 top-10s in the eight intermediates. That doesn’t sound great but he does have the 10th-best average running position in those races. If he can avoid the issues that have robbed him of better finishes this year, we’re looking at a good return for a driver and car capable of finishing top-10.
H2H: William Byron to beat Martin Truex Jr. (+100)
Do we really have to explain this? Truex hasn’t had good runs much at all this year while Byron’s bad runs can be explained by test setups. Byron with a proper setup, like he’s had the last 3 intermediates and Truex, out of the playoffs, with bad luck isn’t really a comparison, Sure, the average finishes for Byron and Truex are similar at both the similar races this year and the last 5 Texas races, but this year’s results are still in favor of Byron in the true speed metrics.
At Pickswise we offer free NASCAR picks including analysis and NASCAR betting advice from expert NASCAR handicappers.