Denny Hamlin is favored at Texas

It looks like Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports against the field on Sunday at Texas.

The six of the top seven favorites for the NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET, USA) are either JGR or Hendrick drivers. The seventh driver is Tyler Reddick. He drives for 23XI Motorsports, the Toyota team co-owned by JGR driver Denny Hamlin that works closely with JGR. Reddick also won the most recent intermediate track race at Kansas two weeks ago.

Hamlin enters the weekend as the favorite after he won at Bristol on Saturday night. Hamlin has three wins at Texas and 15 top-10 finishes in 32 career starts at the 1.5-mile track.

Sunday’s race is also the first 400-mile race at the track. Texas has hosted 42 Cup Series races since it opened in 1997 and each of those races have been at least 500 miles with the exception of a rain-shortened event in 2016. But with the last five races each lasting at least 3.5 hours and the most recent race at the track droning on for nearly 4.5 hours thanks to myriad tire issues, the race being 100 miles shorter isn’t a bad idea.

Teams will be running a different type of tire on the right side of their cars with the goal of avoiding the failures that plagued last season’s race. The tire problems led to 16 cautions as over 25% of the race was run under yellow.

Here’s what you need to know to bet Sunday’s race. All odds are from BetMGM.

The favorites

  • Denny Hamlin (+500)

  • Kyle Larson (+600)

  • William Byron (+800)

  • Tyler Reddick (+800)

  • Martin Truex Jr. (+800)

Larson has a win and six top-10 finishes in 15 points races at the track but his average finish is 17.8. Byron has a 50% top-10 rate in eight starts while Reddick has the best average finish of any active driver. Reddick has one win, two top fives and three top 10s in four starts. Truex has never won at Texas and has five top fives and 17 top 10s. Truex has finished in the top 10 nine times at Texas since 2015 but also has four finishes of 25th or worse in his last eight races at the track.

Good mid-tier value

  • Kyle Busch (+1400)

  • Chris Buescher (+1600)

Busch won this race a season ago in his final days at JGR. He has four wins and 14 top fives in 32 starts at the track. Buescher hasn’t finished in the top 10 in 13 Texas starts but has shown considerable intermediate track speed recently and you’re going to hear a lot about how he grew up not far from the track.

Don’t bet this driver

Logano has a win and 15 top 10s in 27 Texas starts and finished second to Busch a season ago. But something has been off with the Team Penske cars at intermediate tracks and Logano’s fifth-place finish at Kansas came because of a late two-tire pit stop.

Looking for a long shot?

Jones has seven top 10s in 11 starts at Texas and was sixth last season. He was third at Kansas and 10th at Darlington while also finishing 10th at Michigan in August. Don’t be surprised if he has another solid run on Sunday.