Ruoff Mortgage 500 Picks, Predictions and Race Preview

It's been a wild NASCAR season thus far, and we could be in for more madness in the desert. As the Cup Series circuit rolls into Phoenix, get the best betting angles for the Ruoff Mortgage 500, including why Martin Truex Jr's one of the top picks.

Last Updated: Mar 10, 2022 2:28 PM ET Read Time: 5 min
Martin Truex Jr. Ruoff Mortgage 500 NASCAR
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 NASCAR season is off to a wild start, highlighted by competitive parity and super-close photo finishes. Things shouldn't get any tamer this weekend in the desert for the Ruoff Mortgage 500.

Get the NASCAR betting low-down with our Ruoff Mortgage 500 picks and predictions, getting underway at 3:30 p.m. ET, Sunday, March 13.

You can also check out the full Ruoff Mortgage 500 odds breakdown.

Ruoff Mortgage 500 favorites

Martin Truex Jr. (+700)

He finally won at Phoenix last spring and was runner-up in November. It was a huge load off of his shoulders because quite frankly, until he joined Joe Gibbs Racing, he never was much of a threat there either.

But, Truex has since finished third in the fall of 2017, fifth in the spring race of 2018, runner-up in the spring race of 2019 and sixth, 10th and second respectively in his last three November starts to go along with his March win a year ago. That makes him a viable “favorite”, especially since he won at Martinsville and Richmond in the spring of last year, too. 

Kyle Busch (+700)

“Rowdy” has 11 Top-7 finishes at Phoenix including nine in the Top 4 in his last 13 tries. In 2018 and again in 2019, he was first or second in both events.

He finished third in the spring race of 2020, but 11th, 25th and 7th since though, too. In saying that, he has a pair of Top-6 finishes in three tries this season, so he may be back to normal again.

Denny Hamlin (+800)

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has 10 Top-10 finishes in his last 12 starts in the Arizona desert. Hamlin has five Top-5 finishes in his last six Phoenix starts as well as being at his best on short tracks last season.

He finished third in Phoenix (33 laps led) in the spring and again in the fall, third in Martinsville (276 laps led spring, 103 in the fall), second in both races at Richmond (207 laps led, 197 laps led), seventh at Dover, 10th in Loudon (one lap led) and ninth in Bristol. 

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Ruoff Mortgage 500 long-shot picks

Ryan Blaney (+1,200)

One of the top Penske drivers at this track. Blaney has five Top 10s in his last six at Phoenix, including a pair of third-place runs in 2019, 10th and sixth in 2020 and 10th (35 laps led) and fourth last year. 

Kevin Harvick (+2,000)

The proverbial “King of the Desert” has been astounding in Phoenix. Since 2012, Harvick has seven wins alone to go along with 11 Top-2 finishes (20 tries). Furthermore, Harvick has finished worse than seventh just three times in those 20 starts, too.

In saying that, his only deterrent is that he hasn’t won with this new configuration.

Harvick hasn’t exactly been like the Harvick of old at Phoenix lately. While he does have seven wins to go along with nine Top-2 finishes in his last 20 starts, he’s 0-for-6 on wins since the track was reconfigured.

Aric Almirola (+2,500)

Since he joined Stewart-Haas Racing, Almirola has been stout in Phoenix. The Florida native has finished in the Top 10 in six of his last eight starts, including eighth and 11th in his last two March starts as well as sixth last Fall. He won at Loudon last year, too. Also, Almirola is the only driver to score a Top 10 in all three races run this season, with all being in the Top 6 at that.

Ruoff Mortgage 500 fades

Alex Bowman (+2,500)

Despite entering off of a win, he never has scored a Top 10 in eight starts at Phoenix with HMS.

Tyler Reddick (+2,500)

He was 33rd, 19th, 29th and 19th in his four Phoenix starts in Cup.

Kurt Busch (+5,000)

He’s been 10th or worse in eight of his last 10 there including finishing 12th, 15th and 16th in his last three.

Ruoff Mortgage 500 matchup pick

Alex Bowman (-115) vs. Christopher Bell (-115)

Bowman is coming off of a win last week in Las Vegas, but 0-for-8 in terms of Top 10s in Phoenix. Bell is coming off of a Vegas pole himself and was also ninth in both Phoenix races last year.

PICK: Bell (-115)

Ruoff Mortgage 500 preview

Ruoff Mortgage 500 preview

NASCAR will wrap up the west coast swing this weekend in the Arizona desert. Sunday will mark the 52nd time the NASCAR Cup Series has raced at the Phoenix Raceway. It first started coming to the Arizona desert in the fall of 1988. The spring race though wasn’t added until 2005. The 2020 season was the first that Phoenix hosted the championship round, and they’ll do so yet again come November. 

We’ve had four different organizations and five different drivers win the spring race in the last five years, which all started with Ryan Newman (Richard Childress Racing) in 2017. Kevin Harvick (Stewart-Haas Racing), Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing) Joey Logano (Team Penske) and Martin Truex JR. (JGR) followed. 

On the season, we’ve had 25 different drivers score a Top 10, with that being the most through three races since 1973. 

Who wins on Sunday?

Well, qualifying on Saturday may give us a glimpse — starting position matters in Phoenix. Eight of the last nine Phoenix winners have come from a Top-10 starting spot. In fact, 12 of the last 15 have started in the first five rows, including six of the last seven from the Top 6.

Ruoff Mortgage 500 key stat

The margin of victory in the season-opening Daytona 500 was .036-seconds. That was the third-closest in the 64-year history of the race. Kyle Larson topped Austin Dillon by just .195-seconds in Fontana. That was the second-closest finish in 31 tries at the Auto Club Speedway. Las week, Alex Bowman beat Larson by .178-seconds for the third-closest finish in 29 races on the 1.5-mile Nevada race track.

We saw close finishes last year in Phoenix. Larson beat Truex Jr. By just .398-seconds last Fall. Hemric beat Cindirc in the Xfinity Series race a day prior last November by .030-seconds. 

With this year’s trends combined with the Phoenix results last November, get the cameras ready. 

Ruoff Mortgage 500 live betting trend to watch

Five of the last six Phoenix races saw the eventual race winner get a Top 5 in the opening stage. Furthermore, six of the last seven race winners had a Top 2 in Stage 2. Basically, a driver in the Top 5 in Stage 1 and a Top 2 in Stage 2 is your winner on Sunday.

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