The second race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs will take place under the lights this weekend at Richmond Raceway. The Federated Auto Parts 400 traces its history all the way back to 1958. That being said, it has been run under several different names and also at a variety of distances. A renovation to the track in 1988 that expanded it from a half-mile to the present-day 0.75-mile oval ultimately allowed the event to stabilize at its current 300-mile, 400-lap distance. If last weekend’s chaotic racing at Darlington is any indication, fans and bettors alike are presumably in for a wild run during these NASCAR Playoffs. When it comes to this week’s NASCAR betting odds and picks, one race team, in particular, is drawing the respect of the market.
The following article offers a breakdown of the NASCAR odds and best NASCAR betting picks for Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway.
Federated Auto Parts 400 Race Info
63rd Federated Auto Parts 400
Date: Saturday, September 11, 2021
Start Time: 7:30 p.m. EST
Track: Richmond Raceway — Richmond, VA
Distance: 300 miles
Stages: Three (Laps 1-80; 81-235; 236-400)
Pole Sitter: Kyle Larson
Defending Champion: Brad Keselowski
Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Betting Odds
The fact that Martin Truex Jr. (+550) is the NASCAR betting favorite to win Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 suggests that oddsmakers weighed track history very heavily this week. When it comes to recent races at Richmond, Truex has been among the best in the business. A fifth-place showing here back in the spring marked the fifth consecutive top-5 for the No. 19 car. However, in the four races before that, Truex had been even more impressive. He successfully strung together four straight top-3 results, including sweeping both races in 2019. With such a solid track history, the only downfall to backing Truex this week is his inconsistency over the second half of this current season.
When it comes to recent races at Richmond Raceway, no team has performed better across the board than Joe Gibbs Racing. In addition to the incredible run of finishes that NASCAR betting favorite Martin Truex Jr. has compiled, fellow JGR veterans Denny Hamlin (+650) and Kyle Busch (+650) have been excellent over the last several seasons. Hamlin leads all Cup Series drivers with a 5.6 average finish over the last ten races at Richmond. One win is adorned by a whopping seven top-5 finishes. Meanwhile, Busch has an average finish of 6.2, two wins, two runner-ups and seven consecutive top-10 showings over the last ten races.
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In addition to the veteran JGR trio, youngster Christopher Bell (+1500) cannot be counted out when handicapping the Federated Auto Parts 400. Although he only has two Cup starts at Richmond, Bell finished fourth here back in the spring. He was also runner-up at New Hampshire this summer, perhaps the track most comparable to Richmond in terms of layout and car setup. The NASCAR betting odds have Bell priced longer than his three teammates, but the difference is not as great as some might have anticipated.
Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Betting Picks
Federated Auto Parts 400 Race Winner: Christopher Bell (+1500)
Gee, could I have teased my NASCAR betting value pick to win Saturday’s race outright any better in the section above? At 15-1 odds, Christopher Bell is worth a stab among this week’s NASCAR picks. His fourth-place finish at Richmond in the spring coupled with a runner-up result at the comparable New Hampshire Motor Speedway is proof that Bell’s team has found something when running this package. The No. 20 team has also been running better of late after a bit of a midseason swoon. With some helpful insights from his veteran Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, don’t be shocked if Bell scores his second win of the season this weekend.
Other Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Betting Picks
Top 3 Finish: Denny Hamlin (+200)
It’s still crazy to fathom that last weekend’s Southern 500 victory was the first of the year for Denny Hamlin. If not for a late-race caution and the restart of a lifetime by Alex Bowman, the No. 11 car almost certainly would have won at Richmond this spring. Perhaps finally capturing that elusive first win last week will spur Hamlin and his team forward to more victory burnouts during the NASCAR Playoffs. In addition to riding a wave of momentum into the Federated Auto Parts 400, Hamlin has a tremendous history and stats at Richmond Raceway, specifically. He has an average finish of 5.6 over the last 10 at Richmond, tops among all NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Half of those results have in fact been top-3 finishes, including two of the last three. That sort of consistency makes a 2-1 bet on another Hamlin top-3 an excellent option.
Richard Childress Racing to Have More Cars Finish Top 10 Than Chip Ganassi Racing: No (+115)
Both Richard Childress Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing are two-car teams. Each team also has one of their two drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. While RCR’s Tyler Reddick and Austin Dillon have been the more consistent duo over the course of the full season, they have not been on par with the CGR Camaros over the last few months. Both Kurt Busch and Ross Chastain scored top-10 finishes at Darlington a week ago. For RCR, only Dillon was able to nab the final top-10 spot.
One other key factor to note for this NASCAR betting prediction is that the Federated Auto Parts 400 will be run under the lights at night. Busch has stated on numerous occasions this season that the Ganassi cars really seem to run better at night when the track surface is cooler and racing speeds tend to increase. This was evident as recently as last week at Darlington. Not only did Busch himself fly through the field after a late-race setback to finish sixth, but Chastain steadily made his way to the front as day turned to night. And while Busch’s Atlanta win earlier this year technically came during a daytime race, heavy cloud cover on that day undoubtedly kept the track surface a bit cooler than it otherwise would have been. Don’t hesitate to grab plus-money value on Chip Ganassi Racing in this team matchup.
Top 10 Finish: Austin Dillon (+135)
After dogging Richard Childress Racing above, we switch to pumping up their non-playoff driver to cash a plus-money bet for a top-10. The No. 3 team rebounded from just missing out on a playoff berth by scoring a top-10 in last week’s Southern 500. After struggling mightily at Richmond Raceway early on in his NASCAR Cup Series career, Dillon has managed to turn his fortunes around in recent starts. His last five outings at the 0.75-mile track have yielded four top-10 finishes, with three of those seeing him place sixth or better. This includes the spring race here earlier this year. Despite Chevrolet not possessing the same advantage with this setup as they have at other tracks, Dillon has been consistently fast. The implied probability of +135 odds makes this a worthwhile NASCAR betting pick at the price.
Race Matchup: Michael McDowell (+135) vs. Chris Buescher
After crashing out of the Southern 500 early last week, Michael McDowell finds himself 20 points below the cutline to advance out of the Round of 16. While he was a major NASCAR betting underdog coming into the playoffs, that doesn’t mean bettors should expect the No. 34 team to mail it in just yet. McDowell must throw down a quality finish at Richmond if he is to have any hope of advancing on points. That motivation and pressure could be a blessing or a curse. With lopsided odds in this head-to-head matchup against non-playoff driver Chris Buescher, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be optimistic for McDowell to rebound this week.
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