United Rentals Work United 500: Phoenix Picks, Odds & Race Preview

Joey Logano's seeking another Phoenix win, and enters as a co-favorite this weekend. We break down of the field with our United Rentals Work United 500 odds and betting picks as last year's champ looks to defend his turf.

Last Updated: Mar 12, 2023 8:17 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Joey Logano NASCAR
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Joey Logano comes into the United Rentals Work United 500 as the co-favorite, returning to Hpoenix Raceway, where he won the NASCAR Cup Series Championship last November.

Logano's still among the NASCAR Cup Series odds favorites despite some dismal results the past couple of weeks, and he can get himself back on track at a course where he's won three times.

We preview the field with our United Rentals Work United 500 odds, and bring you a full race analysis with our betting picks.

Odds to win 2023 United Rentals Work United 500

Driver Odds to win
Joey Logano +800
Ryan Blaney +800
Kyle Larson +900
Ross Chastain +900
Kyle Busch +1,000
Christopher Bell +1,000
Denny Hamlin +1,100
Martin Truex Jr. +1,100
William Byron +1,200
Kevin Harvick +1,200
Alex Bowman +1,800
Tyler Reddick +1,800
Chase Briscoe +2,000
Daniel Suarez +3,000
Bubba Wallace +3,000
Brad Keselowski +5,000
Ryan Preece +5,000
Austin Cindric +5,000
Aric Almirola +5,000
Josh Berry +5,000
Erik Jones +5,000

Odds courtesy of DraftKings as of March 8, 2023.

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United Rentals Work United 500 field

Defending Cup Series champ Joey Logano comes in as a co-favorite with Ryan Blaney. Logano's 2023 season has been in decline, finishing second in the Daytona 500 and gradually sliding all the way down to 36th last weekend in Vegas. Logano's a three-time winner at Phoenix, including, obviously, last year's Championship.

Blaney's still seeking his first Phoenix win, but has five straight Top-10 finishes there, three of which in the Top 5. He'll be hungry for a victory after being blanked in points-paying races last season.

Speaking of hungry, Kyle Larson (+900) will be chasing a win after his runner-up in Vegas last weekend. He sits tied as the second choice with Ross Chastain, who came 2-3 in the Phoenix races last year. 

Christopher Bell and Kyle Busch both come in at +1,000, leading a glut of drivers in the 10-1 to 20-1 range, in contrast to previous fields with a more clearly defined Top 10 or so choices.

United Rentals Work United 500 picks and predictions

United Rentals Work United 500 favorites

Joey Logano (+800)

Logano didn’t used to be among those to beat at Phoenix, but over his last seven starts, he has six Top-10 finishes including a win in the spring race in 2020, a third in that year’s playoff race, as well as a runner-up in the 2021 spring race, in which that he led the most laps (143). Last year, he led four laps and finished eighth in the spring race, but returned in the fall to not only win the pole, but lead 187 of 312 laps en route to the win and a championship.

Ryan Blaney (+800)

Kyle Petty just called him out and it couldn’t have happened at a more perfect time. This is arguably one of Blaney’s best tracks and one that he’s now being forced to make a statement on. Blaney, has seven Top-10 finishes in his last eight at Phoenix starts, including a pair of third-place runs in 2019, 10th and sixth in 2020, 10th (35 laps led) and fourth in 2021, and fourth and second respectively last year.

He led 143 laps and won Stage 2 in the spring race a year ago but pit road problems on his final stop kept him from victory lane. Last fall, he led another 109 laps and was runner-up to teammate Joey Logano. 

Denny Hamlin (+1,000)

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has 11 Top-10 finishes in his last 14 starts in the desert, including five Top-5 finishes in his last eight Phoenix starts. At Richmond last season, he was first and fourth, respectively, while also finishing sixth at Loudon. He led 203 laps in the Fall Martinsville race, and if not for his pit crew, a win was likely. While Toyotas struggled at Phoenix last year, if one of them is going to win, it’s Hamlin.

United Rentals Work United 500 sleepers

Kevin Harvick (+1,200)

The “King of the Desert” has been astounding in Phoenix. Since 2012, Harvick has seven wins alone to go along with 11 Top-2 finishes (22 tries). Furthermore, Harvick has finished worse than seventh in just three of those 22 starts too. He was sixth in the spring race but restarted third in the end. He just didn’t have the launch to contend for the win and got eaten alive. He came back to finish fifth last Fall.

Also, Harvick was second and first, respectively, at Richmond last year and finished fifth at Loudon, too.

Now he can attempt to become just the sixth driver to win 10 or more races at a single track with a win this weekend:

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

Harvick hasn’t exactly been like his old self at Phoenix lately. While he does have seven wins to go along with nine Top-2 finishes in his last 22 starts — finishing worse than sixth just three times since 2012 — he hasn’t won since the track was reconfigured. He’s 0-for-8.

This change has been his kryptonite you could say. It’s kind of like saying if Kyle Larson could have gotten to the Championship 4 when the final race was held at Homestead, then just give him the trophy. Well, we all thought that about Harvick when the final round was moved to Phoenix for 2020 and beyond. Harvick was eliminated in the Round of 8 in two of the last three years and in the opening round this one.

Eight of his last nine Phoenix results have seen him finish fifth or worse. 10 of his previous 13 on the old configuration saw him finish fourth or better.

Chase Briscoe (+1,800)

Won this race a year ago after leading 101 laps. He was fourth last fall after leading 11 more laps.

Daniel Suarez (+3,300)

He did pick up a Top-10 in the spring race and was also fifth at Loudon last year. Suarez is just one of two drivers this season to have a Top 10 finish in every race as well.

United Rentals Work United 500 fades

Kyle Larson (+900)

This didn’t used to be one of his better tracks. Now it’s become one. Larson, has three Top-5 finishes in his last six there, including seventh and first, respectively, in 2021, but 34th and ninth last year. However, that spring finish isn’t indicative of how strong his car was because he was seventh and fifth in the first two stages. 

The thing is, while having seven Top-10 finishes in his last eight Phoenix tries, Larson also has just one career win in 17 Phoenix starts in Cup. He’s 0-for-1 in Trucks and 0-for-5 in the Xfinity Series. On like tracks last season, Larson was fifth and 14th at Richmond as well as 14th at Loudon.

Christopher Bell (+1,000)

He was ninth in both Phoenix races in 2021, won Loudon last year, and was sixth and second, respectively, at Richmond a season ago. Bell finished 26th and 10th last season in Phoenix, too, giving him no Top-5 finishes in five Cup starts in the Arizona desert.

William Byron (+1,200)

He has a quiet four Top 10s in his last six starts in Phoenix. The only thing that scares me is that he also has no Top-5 results in 10 Phoenix tries as well. He’s a good fantasy play on Sunday, though.

United Rentals Work United 500 prop pick

He has a quiet four Top 10s in his last six starts in Phoenix. The only thing that scares me is that he also has no Top-5 results in 10 Phoenix tries as well. He’s a good fantasy play on Sunday, though.

Pick: Austin Cindric Top 5 finish (+700 at DraftKings)

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Phoenix Raceway track analysis

Sunday will mark the 54th appearance for the NASCAR Cup Series at Phoenix Raceway. It first started coming to the Arizona desert in the fall of 1988, though the spring race wasn’t added until 2005. Nothing has changed in regard to the track this year, keeping past data very relevant.

Phoenix is the ultimate “team” track in the sense that you have to have a great setup on your car coming to the race. You also have to have a great qualifying effort to give you a good pit stall selection and, in turn, the pit crew has to do their job on pit road to keep you up front. 

That’s why starting position matters so much in Phoenix. 10 of the last 11 Phoenix winners have come from a Top-10 starting spot. In fact, 14 of the last 17 have started in the first five.

Furthermore, we’ve only seen one overtime finish in the last 11 races. The thing is, there’s been a late race caution in each of the last four races, which has set up a late pit stop and short sprint to the finish. The last two spring races saw a 25-lap sprint and three-lap sprint to the finish. The last two championship races were 24 and 33 laps, respectively.    

The thing is, NASCAR made some smaller tweaks to the short-track package between last year and this. Will it make much of a difference? That remains to be known unfortunately, which is why I still look at the Ford camp as the favorite until proven otherwise. It flat-out dominated Phoenix last year. Ford drivers led 89% (558-for-624 laps led) of the laps here in 2022, including 248 of the 312 in the spring race and 310 of the 312 in the fall.

Hendrick Motorsports led 65 of the remaining 66 laps between the two races with the only other driver to lead a lap in Phoenix last year being AJ Allmendinger.

Does this new package and 50 minutes of practice on Friday evening negate that or add to it?

United Rentals Work United 500 trends

  • Seven of the last eight Phoenix races saw the eventual race winner get a Top-5 in the opening stage. Chase Briscoe finished second in Stage 1 back in last year’s spring race while Joey Logano won the opening stage.

  • Furthermore, seven of the last nine race winners had a Top 2 in Stage 2. Briscoe was eighth in March but Logano second in November.

  • Basically, a driver in the Top 5 in Stage 1 and Top 2 in Stage 2 is your winner on Sunday.

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