Few things have been certain in another unpredictable NASCAR campaign, but one thing is sure heading into the playoffs' Round of 12: We will have a new Cup Series champ in 2023.
With Joey Logano's elimination, among three others, the postseason field has been thinned, and NASCAR Cup Series odds favor Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin to take the championship — as is the case with this week's Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400.
Let's break down the best betting angles, sizing up the field with the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 odds, and serving up our favorite betting picks as the next phase of the playoffs gets underway.
Odds to win 2023 Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400
|Martin Truex Jr.||+700||+700||+900|
Odds as of September 24, 2023.
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Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 field
In contrast to the condensed, top-heavy distribution of the playoffs' opening-round races, we're seeing more typical, linear pricing for the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 odds.
Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin lead the way as co-favorites, and both are hungry to close the season on a strong note, with Hamlin notching Top-3 finishes in six of the past nine races, and Larson going 1-4-2 in each of the past three.
Hamlin's win at Bristol last weekend was his third of the season, matching how many times he's won at Texas — though only one has been since 2010. Larson won here in 2021, finishing ninth last year.
The second tier of contenders features William Byron; who has been hot this season but never won in Texas, Martin Truex Jr., who has also been hot this season and also never won in Texas across far more starts, and Tyler Reddick, this race's defending champ.
Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 picks and predictions
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Odds listed below courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook, September 24, 2023.
Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 pre-qualifying favorites
Kyle Larson (+450)
He won the All-Star race, as well as the playoff race at Texas in 2021. He also has three Top-10 finishes in his last five Texas starts and has finished second, second, 20th, 30th, fourth, first, and fourth on tracks with this racing package. Larson had an average finishing spot of 3.1 in the opening round with finishes of first, fourth, and second respectively. With what’s looming ahead, he knows that he needs this race and I think he delivers.
William Byron (+700)
He was runner-up in 2021 after leading 55 laps. Last year, he led 42 laps and finished seventh. He’s been strong with this package this season with finishes of first, third, first, second, eighth, fourth, and 15th. Byron had two Top-10 finishes in three first-round races.
Tyler Reddick (+800)
The defending race winner, who has finished second, 15th, ninth, and first there respectively. On intermediate tracks this season, he’s finished fifth, 35th, second, and first in the last four. He had a stellar opening round of the playoffs too with results of second, first and 15th, respectively.
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Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 sleepers
Kyle Busch (+1,200)
Busch has five Top-10 finishes in his last six Texas starts. He won in 2020 even. The car he's driving now, won a year ago. Out of 32 career starts on this 1.5-mile track, Busch has four wins, 14 Top-5 finishes, and 18 Top-10 results. He’s also finished seventh, sixth, first, 11th, and seventh on intermediate tracks lately as well.
Ryan Blaney (+1,200)
0-for-14 here. However, Blaney has a Top-12 finish in all but one Texas start. In fact, he has seven Top 8s in his last nine tries and the only ones that he doesn’t, he led 145 laps in spring race in 2019 before an engine problem and leading 150 laps and sweeping both stages in July 2020 before a late race fluke caution. He won the All-Star race on this track in 2022 and led 29 laps in a fourth-place run last fall. He just won the Coca-Cola 600 this past May too and has four Top-10 finishes in his last five intermediate track starts. The only thing is, he hasn’t had a Top-5 finish since that ‘600 win and results of ninth, 12th, and 22nd in the opening round.
Chris Buescher (+1,500)
Can the Texas native win? On intermediate tracks, he’s finished 10th, eighth, 12th, third, and 27th in the last five starts on them. He also had two Top-4 finishes in three opening-round races.
Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 fades
Denny Hamlin (+450)
This surprisingly isn’t one of his strongest tracks and while I think he’s a great fantasy play, not so much on an outright winner for these odds. Yes, he's a three-time Texas winner and has two runner-up finishes in his last three starts on intermediate tracks this season, but he also has just two Top-5 finishes in his last 10 Texas tries too. He has great fantasy value with four Top-11 finishes in his last six there, but it's just the lack of race-winning contention that scares me here despite two straight Top-2 finishes on the season.
Martin Truex Jr. (+800)
0-for-33 here. Three of his last four Texas finishes have seen him come home 25th or worse too. He has just one single Top-5 finish in his last eight starts on the 1.5-mile track and comes to the next round with finishes of 18th, 36th, 19th in the opening round.
Christopher Bell (+1,100)
He finished third in two of the last three years here. He was only 34th last year however and with only one Top-5 finish and just two Top-10’s on intermediate tracks this season. He’s won the pole for the last three but didn’t deliver; he finished 23rd, eighth, and third respectively.
Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 prop pick
Winning Manufacturer - Chevrolet
Fords have admittedly been off on intermediate tracks this season. They led a combined 30 total laps in the opening round of the playoffs and among their 1,808 laps led in the 29 races run this season, 37.9% of them were on superspeedway drafting tracks. Since August, their race laps led were 68, 54, 17, 110 (Daytona), two, 27, one.
The top Toyota drivers struggle at Texas. Hamlin has just two Top-5 finishes in his last 10 tries. Martin Truex Jr. Is 0-for-33. Christopher Bell was 34th last year. Ty Gibbs is a rookie this season and Bubba Wallace has one Top-10 ever at Texas, and that came in his first career start there.
That leaves Chevrolet (+130) and a whole host of drivers to snag to get the outright wins. I feel good about Kyle Larson, William Byron, and Kyle Busch which is why they’re all listed above and with this pack, you get all of them wrapped into one.
Pick: Winning Manufacturer - Chevrolet (+130 at DraftKings)
Texas Motor Speedway track analysis
This track most closely resembles the Charlotte Motor Speedway with the dog leg and two longer sweeping corners. Where they somewhat differ in the fact that Texas has way more width in Turns 1 and 2 than Charlotte does.
This year is the first time in a while that NASCAR has come to Texas just once. The last couple of years this track served as the All-Star race. This year, that didn’t happen.
Don’t discount drivers outside of the Top 12 still vying for a championship. Two of the last three years, a non playoff driver won this race. Kyle Busch did it in 2020 and Tyler Reddick in 2022. It’s happened five times overall, too.
Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 trends
- Five of the last nine opening-stage winners have finished in the Top-3 in the end of the race.
- Three of the last six second-stage winners have won the race outright in the end.