NASCAR betting finally didn't have a massive long-shot take the checkered flag, as Kyle Larson's victory at last weekend's Pennzoil 400 at +1,000 broke the string of big odds paying off.
With Instacart 500 odds on the board, will we again see a return to (relative) normalcy...or with another improbable bet take the checkered flag?
Get the inside track with Covers Experts' Auto Racing Advisor's Instacart 500 picks and betting predictions, with the green flag set to drop Sunday, March 14 at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Instacart 500 favorites: Tight at the top
Brad Keselowski (+600)
He's only the favorite because he is on the pole. Keselowski, however, did finish as runner-up last Sunday in Vegas and last Fall in Phoenix.
Denny Hamlin (+650)
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has eight Top-10 finishes in his last 10 starts in the desert. Hamlin has three Top-5 finishes in his last four Phoenix starts—as well three Top 5s in four 2021 races so far.
Kevin Harvick (+650)
The proverbial “King of the Desert” has historically been astounding in Phoenix. Harvick has seven wins alone, along with 10 total Top-2 finishes in 18 tries since 2012. Furthermore, Harvick has finished worse than seventh just twice in those 18 starts. His last eight spring race finishes are second, 13th, first, first, first, sixth, first, ninth and second, respectively. His only deterrent, however, is he hasn’t won with this new configuration.
Joey Logano (+800)
You need to use him now. Logano wasn't always among the ones to beat at Phoenix but he has four consecutive Top-10 finishes, including a win in this very race last year and a third last November.
Kyle Busch (+800)
This may be one of his best tracks now. “Rowdy” enters Phoenix with 10 Top-7 finishes, including nine in the Top 4 in his last 11 tries. In 2018, and again in 2019, he was first or second in both events and he finished third in this very race last year.
Covers NASCAR Betting Content
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Kyle Larson (+1,000)
It’s only a matter of time before Larson wins in Phoenix. The California native has four consecutive Top-6 finishes at Phoenix, including three of those in the Top 4. In fact, Larson has six Top 6s in his last eight Phoenix tries overall. He won last Sunday too.
Ryan Blaney (+1,400)
Arguably the top Penske driver at this track. Blaney may have only scored two Top-5 finishes in 10 Phoenix starts, but they were third-place efforts last year. He also was sixth in November to give himself three Top-6 results in his last four Phoenix starts.
Tyler Reddick (+6,600)
He had a Top-5 car in this Phoenix race last year. In Xfinity competition, he has four Top 10s in as many tries, including a third-place run in both races in 2019.
Instacart 500 fades: Careful on Keselowski and Harvick
Brad Keselowski (+600)
He's only the favorite based on being on the pole. He has just three Top-5 finishes at Phoenix since 2015. I don't like his odds for this stat.
Kevin Harvick (+650)
As noted above, he's been great at Phoenix in the past but he's yet to win since this new configuration and he starts off with bad track position too.
For being two of the top favorites, the odds aren't great that either he or Keselowski win.
Instacart 500 head-to-head pick
Kyle Larson (-109) vs Joey Logano (-121)
Go with Larson here. He's coming off of a win and has three Top 10's in four tries this season. Also, Larson has six straight Top-6 results at Phoenix to his credit. I expect longer green flag runs here—and Logano has struggled with that this season.
Instacart 500 race preview
Sunday will mark the 50th time the NASCAR Cup Series has raced at the Phoenix Raceway. They first started coming to the Arizona desert in the fall of 1988, but the spring race wasn’t added until 2005.
We’ve had four straight different organizations win the spring race, which all started with Ryan Newman (Richard Childress Racing) in 2017. Kevin Harvick (Stewart-Haas Racing), Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing) and Joey Logano (Team Penske) followed.
While we’ve seen some long green flag runs and only one overtime finish in the last seven races, expect a late-race caution still. Six of the last 11 races have seen a final green flag stretch to the finish of three or fewer laps.
The best comparison to Phoenix is likely Richmond. While Richmond is 0.25 miles shorter than Phoenix, they’re pretty close in shape and have similar corners. New Hampshire is another track that you can use past notes or data on, with that being a one-mile flat track.
Instacart 500 Odds key stat
Starting position matters here. Six of the last seven Phoenix winners have come from a Top-10 starting spot. In fact, 10 of the last 13 victors have started in the first five rows.