By the time the sun sets on a NASCAR race day, we usually know who won and how the driver standings look. This weekend in Bristol, the action doesn’t begin until the sun goes down, as we are looking at a night race for what is the final leg of the Round of 16 in the Cup Series playoffs. By the time this one is all over. We will be well into the night and bidding goodbye to the 4 drivers that will not be moving on. The race down by the playoff line is tight, so this one should be a ton of fun. With playoff wins in the opening two races in the Round of 16, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. have already punched their tickets. That doesn’t mean they won’t want to win this weekend, so let’s take a look at some of the favorites for the Bass Pro Shops Night Race along with their NASCAR odds.
NASCAR Cup Series Betting: Bass Pro Shops Night Race Preview
Kyle Larson (+220)
Last season, we saw Kevin Harvick dominate the season from start to finish, only to go cold in the playoffs when it really mattered. While Kyle Larson has not been as dominant as Harvick was last year, he still finished the regular season with the most wins of any driver and headed into the postseason as the prohibitive favorite to win it all. While not picking up wins of late, Larson has been in and around the lead in more races than not, but he would like to get back to winning ways this weekend. Earlier this season at Bristol, Larson ran 29th, although that was a dirt race. That one aside, he has a pair of 2nd place finishes in his last 4 at Bristol.
Denny Hamlin (+450)
As we did with Larson, we are going to ignore the dirt race earlier in the season and focus instead on previous road races at Bristol. Hamlin waited until the opening race of the playoffs to pick up his first win of the season, so the pressure is off him this weekend. That said, he would like to keep the good times rolling and head into the Round of 12 in a good run of form. Hamlin was not particularly good at Bristol last season, but he won there back in 2019, which was his second win on the Bristol track. Definitely worth a look on Saturday night.
Martin Truex Jr. (+600)
When you have already moved on to the next round of the playoffs, there are a couple of ways to approach a race. You can let the others duke it out while staying out of trouble, or you can take a run at picking up another win and showing your intent. Most drivers would almost certainly opt for the latter of those two options. With his win last weekend Truex Jr. is already into the Round of 12, which may be a good thing given that Bristol is a track where he routinely struggles. He has not cracked the top 10 at Bristol in 7 straight races.
Chase Elliott (+850)
You could argue that we have yet to see the best out of the defending champion this season, but as we saw in 2020, Elliott does have a flair for the dramatic when it comes to the playoffs. While he is up among the favorites for this race, I would be a little on the fence about playing him to win this weekend. He has never won at Bristol and has an average finish of around 12th in his 10 runs on that track.
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