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NASCAR Pick Sheet: Odds, Predictions & Best Bets

NASCAR Odds, Predictions & Best Bets For EchoPark Grand Prix

NASCAR heads to their first road course race this weekend for the third edition of the EchoPark Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA). The two previous races each had a different character. In 2021 a light rain plagued the event and eventually shortened the race. Last year, the race was a slugfest with many drivers choosing to bulldoze through the field without attempting to pass cleanly. 

It remains to be seen what 2023 will look like, but with four different winners in the first five races, it seems likely that the pattern of unique victors we saw last year will repeat. The road courses were not immune from the egalitarian nature of the season; in six races last year, there were five different winners and most of them earned their first or second victory on this track type. 

Ross Chastain, Daniel Suarez, and Tyler Reddick were relatively surprising – Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell less so, but perhaps the biggest shock of the season was that Chase Elliott failed to win a race. He won’t win this week either since he still has another three weeks to go to heal a broken leg from a snowboarding accident. 

Elliott’s replacement is part of another theme for this week. For the moment, road ringers are back with Jordan Taylor in the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Kimi Raikkonen in a third TrackHouse Racing entry, Jenson Button in one of the Rick Ware cars, and Conor Daly making a second start for the Money Team. Toss in Jimmie Johnson for Legacy Motorsports and this is going to be an interesting weekend.

NASCAR Expert Picks For EchoPark Grand Prix

1. AJ Allmendinger ⭐⭐⭐

DraftKings: Outright Win +1200
Consensus Odds*: +1133 | Best Odds: DraftKings, PointsBet, Caesars, FanDuel +1200

This is a good week to think outside of the box. Most of the favored drivers seem to have achieved that status because of the weight of their name or the strength of the team with less regard to their road racing skill than we would prefer. With consensus odds of 11/1 (sixth-best), Allmendinger is a good middle-ground pick because his skill on this track type is unquestioned and Kaulig Racing has been strong on road courses. Allmendinger contended for the COTA win last year and despite running a part time schedule, he scored top-10s in the last four road course races.

2. Chris Buescher ⭐⭐⭐

DraftKings: Outright Win +2500
Consensus Odds*: +2500 | Best Odds: FanDuel +3000

Buescher was almost perfect in regard to road course top-10s. While most of these were outside the top five, he was Suarez’s closest competitor at Sonoma and might have won if he had the track position at the end. Sixth-place results at Road America and the Charlotte Roval confirm his strength. His consistent, high odds of 13th on the consensus chart means there is a decent line for a top-five finish on most books and that makes him relevant.

3. Austin Cindric ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DraftKings: Outright Win +1500
Consensus Odds*: +1383 | Best Odds: MGM +1600

Cindric brought a strong road course record with him from the Xfinity series and had immediate success in Cup. He was in contention for a top-five at COTA and Road America two years ago before he was a full time contender and his ninth-place finish on the Indy Road Course was the first of five consecutive top-10s on this track type. Cindric finished second at Indy last year and eighth at COTA. If he finds the lead, Penske Power is going to help a lot on the long sections of this track were passing is difficult

4. Kyle Larson ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DraftKings: Outright Win +650
Consensus Odds*: +625 | Best Odds: DraftKings, PointsBet, Caesars, FanDuel +6650

If not for his win at Watkins Glen last year, we would not rank Larson this high. He had a great record on road courses in 2021 with three wins and two other results in the top three, but he was uneven at the start of 2021. A third-place at Road America put him back on the radar screen, but trouble in Indy sent him home 35th. When he got the chance to knock his teammate Elliott out of the way at Watkins Glen, he took it and showed just how badly he wanted another road course win.

5. Kevin Harvick ⭐⭐⭐

DraftKings: Outright Win +3000
Consensus Odds*: +2850 | Best Odds: DraftKings FanDuel +5000

Harvick had the best car at Phoenix, which came as no surprise to anyone, but he chose the wrong strategy and could not find his way to Victory Lane. We believe he has a win or two in him in his final full-time season and when they come, it will probably be a bit of a surprise. It will also come on a track where he controls his own destiny. Harvick earned two road course top-fives last year, had another top-10, and finished outside the top 15 only once when he was run over from behind at Indy.

6. Tyler Reddick ⭐⭐⭐

DraftKings: Outright Win +900
Consensus Odds*: +858 | Best Odds: Caesar’s +1000

The traders don’t seem to know what to do with Reddick. His high odds of 10/1 are reasonable, but he is a low at +550 at BetRivers. They know just how strong he is and remember his back-to-back wins at Road America and on the Indy road course. He’s also been consistent with nine top-10s in his last 12 road course races. If your plan is to make several modest bets, Reddick should be one of them.

7. Jordan Taylor ⭐⭐⭐

DraftKings: Outright Win +4000
Consensus Odds*: +3260 | Best Odds: DraftKings, FanDuel +4000

It has been a long time since a road ringer won a NASCAR race. One has to go back to 1973 when Mark Donohue took the checkers at Riverside International Raceway. And quite frankly, Taylor is a longshot to win, but he has the best equipment of the ringers and is driving for the winningest road racing team in the last two seasons. If anyone can get the job done, it’s Taylor. 

8. Michael McDowell ⭐⭐⭐

DraftKings: Outright Win +3000
Consensus Odds*: +2933 | Best Odds: MGM +3300

For years, we consistently made McDowell one of our road course favorite dark horses. Just as we were beginning to look elsewhere for value, he came through with a solid performance at Sonoma that kicked off a four-race streak of top-10s. One of the reasons for his longer odds this week is that he missed the top 10 at COTA last year, but he was not far off the mark with a 13th. 

9. Ross Chastain ⭐⭐⭐

DraftKings: Outright Win +800
Consensus Odds*: +817 | Best Odds: BetRivers +1000

Chastain deserves his notoriety for being a strong road course racer. His aggression serves him well on the twisty tracks because he will drive deeper into the corners than most of his competitors. He is also the victim of this enthusiasm. Last year’s win at COTA is undoubtedly part of the reason for his stingy odds. That was the first of three consecutive top-10s. He might have earned a fourth if not for a penalty for circumventing a corner at Indy. 

10. Kimi Raikkonen ⭐⭐⭐

DraftKings: Outright Win +5000
Consensus Odds*: +4333 | Best Odds: DraftKings, FanDuel +5000

All three of the TrackHouse drivers this week will be in contention for top-10s, but we are highlighting Raikkonen because he has much longer odds than Suarez. Gambling on an outright winner in NASCAR is risky because there is only one of them and 38 losers, so if you’re going to dig deeply in the couch cushions, you may as well make the most of it. Raikkonen steadily improved at Watkins Glen last year in his only other Cup start and we think he will pick up where he left off.

* Consensus odds at the average of five sportsbooks: DraftKings, PointsBet, BetMGM, Caesars, and BetRivers.