NASCAR Cup Series action returns to Texas this weekend for 68 laps around the Circuit of the Americas near Austin, Texas. Thus, let’s dive into our expert NASCAR picks this week, with a focus on some outright favorites, positional picks and parlays, and best bets for the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix.
Expert NASCAR Picks | EchoPark Texas Grand Prix at COTA
Outright Picks To Win This Week: Kyle Larson, +400
After the lights were drowned out at Atlanta, all eyes began to look towards Texas for NASCAR’s first of six road course races this season. Expectations were that Chase Elliott would headline the betting markets as this week’s favorite as he is the presumed best full-time driver in road course events. A prediction easily foretold as Elliott does lead the outright market at BetMGM with 3/1 odds. However, that narrative took a precipitous fall last year when Kyle Larson showed, given equal equipment as Elliott, that he could wrack up just as many wins — in fact, more with victories at Sonoma, Watkins Glen and the Charlotte Roval.
This isn’t to say that Elliott was bad at road courses in 2021. In the races at venues new to the Cup Series, Elliott won both here last season and the event at Road America while finishing second to Larson at both Sonoma and Watkins Glen. The question is, in those two events that Elliott won, was his level of skill high enough that he was able to beat the field at a track most were unfamiliar with, and now that everyone has seen this course at least once, will Larson be able to defeat his teammate? If all things are equal, bet on the Hendrick driver who firmly established that he is better and doesn’t need the confines of a road race to win.
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With every road race comes a renewed hope that one of these “ringers” can steal away a victory — much like what A.J. Allmendinger was able to accomplish last season in the Indy GP. While hope, and longshot tickets, spring eternal — in order for these outrights to pay off, the races are going to need some levels of attrition that just can’t be normally accounted for. In Allmendinger’s victory, he was able to capitalize on a slew of late cautions, not to mention Chase Briscoe dumping Denny Hamlin and then Briscoe wrecking himself out later on. If the weather were a potential factor, like last year’s Cup race at COTA, then these road ringers would be live but Sunday’s forecast is expected to be sunny with a high of 90 degrees. Outside of tire issues, that are going to kill drivers should they go flat on this long 3.426-mile track, things aren’t looking to out of the ordinary for Sunday at COTA.
Furthermore, the elephant in the room will be performance, which should limit the slew of these drivers. For example, Andy Lally (+75,000) has demonstrated a great road racing skill in his numerous Xfinity Series starts, but just what is his potential in the 78 for Live Fast Racing — a car that has ranked 35th, 36th, 36th, and 34th in green-flag speed rankings since the race at Auto Club Speedway. The same argument can be made for fan-favorite Boris Said (+200,000), driving for Carl Long or Joey Hand (+100,000) in Rick Ware’s No. 15 car. They’re bound to post slower qualifying times, start in the back, and then fight all day to work their way forward.
Needless to say, the payoffs will be amazing should one hit, but the world is stacked against them. All three of Lally, Said, and Hand are +1000 or higher, on DraftKings Sportsbook, just to crack the top 10.
EchoPark Texas Grand Prix Picks and Parlays This Week
The following are an interesting list of best bets offered by BetMGM for this Sunday’s race:
- Alex Bowman, William Byron, Chase Elliott, and Kyle Larson to all finish in the top 10, +230
- Chase Elliott and William Byron to both finish in the top-five, +350
- Kyle Larson to be top Chevrolet and Denny Hamlin to be top Toyota, +1200
- Denny Hamlin +120 over Kyle Busch
- Ryan Blaney – top Ford, +375
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