Yes! Things are getting quite interesting now in the NASCAR playoffs as Brad “Don’t call me Bad Brad anymore” Keselowski has won three in a row!
We enter the second week of the Monster Energy Cup Series playoffs with a night race this Saturday in Richmond, Virginia.
The track has been rather unforgiving in its history. This is especially true in the fall. It could have something to do with the temperature and the heat in Central Virginia continues to rage.
The weather forecast is a high of 83 and a 40% chance of showers throughout the scheduled race time. Drivers will need to beware of those imaginary banana peels that always seem to pop up on these old Virginia tracks.
Keep this in mind when you make your wager this week. A wider betting spread with maybe a few bucks on each driver isn’t a bad idea when you consider the potential for mayhem.
What winning driver bet deserves your hard-earned cash?
While I don’t have a guaranteed winner for you, I did find several drivers that could giggity get it down the track in Richmond Saturday night!
I also want to break down the playoffs and their format really quick for you. It’s not as confusing as some make it out to be.
Once you understand how they work, the races and how the teams choose to play their cards will make more sense to you.
Here are the standings after the first playoff event in Vegas. These 16 drivers all had their point totals reset to 2,000 before last week’s race. I’m not sure why they didn’t just start back at zero, but at least it’s a round number.
Each driver will have their point totals reset after a cutoff race except for bonus points, that is if they make the cut-off. Richmond won’t be a cutoff race. The next race will be though, which will trim the field of drivers down to twelve September 28th down in Charlotte, North Carolina.
One more thing-Each race winner moves on to the next round automatically. That’s why you’ll see Keselowski in front of Truex, Jr.
Monster Energy Cup Series Standings
Odds to Win the Federated Auto Parts 400
- Kyle Busch: +250
- Kevin Harvick: +400
- Martin Truex Jr: +500
- Kyle Larson: +700
- Brad Keselowski: +800
- Denny Hamlin: +800
- Joey Logano: +1000
- Clint Bowyer: +1000
Well, we have 16 drivers in the playoffs for a couple more races. Notice, these odds are just to win Saturday’s night race at Richmond.
Kyle Busch is the heavy favorite at (+250), especially with the other two of the big 3 at (+400) and (+500), respectively. We usually see the three drivers’ odds slightly closer.
Looking at last year’s fall race in Richmond, Kyle did finish better than both Harvick and Truex, although none of them was able to crack the top 8. Heck, two rookies finished ahead of the big 3.
One of those two rookies was Erik Jones who whipped his Toyota into a solid 6th place. Jones is currently sitting at 15th in the standings 20 points outside of that imperative 12th spot.
The man who finished one car ahead of the rookie at last year’s race, Denny Hamlin, will need to outperform at least 4 different drivers over the next two races in order to secure his spot in the round of 12.
He‘s one of the favorites this week at (+800) and for good reason. In Denny’s last 5 races at Richmond, he has 5 top finishes inside the top 6 including one victory.
This is also a virtual hometown race for the Virginia-raised Hamlin.
Alongside Hamlin at (+800) is the elephant in the room, Brad Keselowski. The man has been consistent all year and he gets hot at the right at playoff time. That sounds like the story of a champion.
He definitely can’t be counted out.
Keselowski could make it 4 in a row this weekend. He has a strong recent history at the track ranking 4th among active drivers in finishing position for the last five races.
The man who has led twice as many laps as any other driver in NASCAR’s last 5 stops in Richmond is Martin Truex Jr.
Martin is seriously due for a win, too! It’s been two months since he has seen victory lane. Coming off of a stage win last week in Sin City, Truex is primed to dominate the postseason once again.
- Chase Elliott: +1400
- Aric Almirola: +2200
- Kurt Busch: +2500
- Erik Jones: +2800
- Ryan Blaney: +3300
- Jimmie Johnson: +5000
- Alex Bowman: +10000
- Austin Dillon: +15000
Richmond has been good to Chase Elliott. In his last 5 races here, son of a legend has 2 top tens including one finish inside the top 5. I’m not in love with his value compared to a couple other of the sleepers, though.
Kurt Busch has been consistently good at Richmond, and that might be all it takes on Saturday night when the spoilers, front ends, and debris get to flying everywhere.
Hamlin and Truex are the only drivers that have led more laps at Richmond in the last three years than big brother Kurt Busch.
My other sleeper pick is the old bear, Jimmie Johnson. Currently at 13th position in the points standings, you know the 7-time champion will be fired up to compete this weekend.
He led the way for Hendricks Motorsports last year with an 8th place finish. His reaction time may have slowed a hair due to age, but no other driver on the track can match his experience and accomplishments.
The NASCAR playoffs are underway and after his 3rd straight win, Brad Keselowski will try to do what Jordan couldn’t and make it 4 in a row. Well, Jordan actually won 6 in a row, but who’s counting?
With the world of sports on fire at the current moment, many fans and bettors forget about NASCAR. It’s been an exciting year and the playoffs are shaping up to be intense as the gaps between drivers’ skills are narrowing.
16 drivers are left and after next week’s race, there will only be 12. Drivers on the bubble will need to play the correct hand on Saturday.
Will they need to be more aggressive than ever to compete or will patience prove virtuous?
We will see.
I like the brothers Busch, Truex Jr, Logano, Larson, and Jimmie Johnson in my spread for this week.