The NASCAR Cup Series stays out west in the desert this week. After making the roughly five-hour drive south from Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the teams will unload and fire up the engines once more on the one-mile-long Phoenix Raceway. Sunday’s Instacart 500 marks the fifth race of the 2021 NASCAR season. It also marks the first race of the year to be named after its total distance in kilometers instead of miles. After yet another surprise winner in the Sin City last week, bettors were reminded once again that there is money to be made if you play your cards right and scour for winners amongst the NASCAR betting odds.
This article offers a full comprehensive NASCAR betting guide for the Instacart 500 race, including the NASCAR odds, driver statistics, Phoenix Raceway trends, and best NASCAR picks.
Instacart 500 Race Info
17th Instacart 500
Location: Avondale, AZ
Date: Sunday, Mar. 14, 2021
Start Time: 3:30 p.m. EST
Length: 312 miles (500 kilometers)
Stages: Three (Laps 1-75; Laps 76-190; Laps 191-312)
Pole Sitter: Brad Keselowski
Defending Champion: Joey Logano
Check out the complete Instacart 500 startling lineup and race stats!
Instacart 500 NASCAR Betting Odds
Odds Courtesy of MyBookie Sportsbook
Three drivers share the honor of being NASCAR betting co-favorites for the Instacart 500. Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch are all priced at +550 to win Sunday’s race at the time of writing. All three have a strong case to be considered a betting favorite this week. Harvick has the most all-time wins at Phoenix Raceway, including five in the Instacart 500 spring race. Elliott won the last time that the NASCAR Cup Series raced at the track in the fall. In doing so, he won the 2020 Cup Series championship. Finally, Busch has the best average finish of all drivers in the last ten races at Phoenix. 2.9 for an average finish across ten starts is pretty ridiculous!
Aside from the co-favorites, three other drivers have NASCAR betting odds to win the Instacrt 500 shorter than 10-1. Denny Hamlin (+600) heads up this trio which also includes Brad Keselowski (+650), last week’s Las Vegas winner Kyle Larson (+700) and last year’s spring Phoenix winner Joey Logano (+800). Add in Martin Truex Jr. (+1200), Ryan Blaney (+1400) and William Byron (+1600) and there are ten drivers total with odds shorter than 20-1 for Sunday’s race. Hamlin leads all drivers in this “challenger tier” with an average finish of 10.6 in the last ten starts at Phoenix Raceway. He also won the fall race in 2019.
Five additional drivers can be found with odds between 20 and 50-1. Alex Bowman (+2000) heads up this group. Kurt Busch (+2500) has run very well in the first four races this season. He also ranks fifth among active NASCAR Cup Series drivers with a 94.6 driver rating at Phoenix Raceway. Two other names jump out even further down the NASCAR betting list. After securing his first top-10 finish last week driving the #43 car for Richard Petty Motorsports, Erik Jones (+10000) will look to build on that at Phoenix. Finally, 2017 race winner Ryan Newman (+12500) is always a guy to watch when racing at Phoenix.
Phoenix Raceway Overview
After back-to-back weeks running on 1.5-mile ovals, the NASCAR Cup Series drivers will have to contend with a smaller Phoenix Raceway on Sunday. Shaped somewhere between a triangle and an oval, Phoenix presents a unique configuration with the presence of a dogleg. The start/finish line was recently moved from the straightaway to what was formerly known as Turn 2, a change that only adds to the uniqueness of the layout.
Phoenix is very flat overall with banking only ranging from 8-10 degrees. The best NASCAR betting comparison tracks in terms of driving style and car setup are Richmond and New Hampshire.
Our Phoenix Raceway overview article provides additional in-depth analysis on the 1-mile track.
Instacart 500 Driver Statistics
Refer to the lists below for NASCAR betting driver statistics from previous races at Phoenix Raceway.
Average Finishing Position at Phoenix
(Active drivers with 3+ starts at the track)
Note: Data is taken from the ten most recent Phoenix races.
|Rank||Driver||Starts||Best Finish||Average Finish|
|14||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||10||1||19.0|
Driver Rating at Phoenix
|Rank||Driver||Starts||Car Number||Average Driver Rating|
|3||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||7||47||87.2|
Instacart 500 NASCAR Odds and Best NASCAR Picks
Instacart 500 Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr. (+1200 at MyBookie Sportsbook)
For whatever reason, I find myself gravitating towards the Joe Gibbs Racing cars for this week’s Instacart 500. When it comes to winning the race outright, Martin Truex Jr. offers far better NASCAR betting value than teammates Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin. This naturally makes the No. 19 car my pick. Truex’s stats at Phoenix Raceway aren’t quite as stellar as his JGR garage cohorts, but they are impressive nonetheless. It’s worth noting that his average finish of 14.1 in the last ten races is dragged down by two uncharacteristically poor outings. Meanwhile, his career average driver rating of 88.6 ranks eighth among active drivers.
In addition to his Phoenix Raceway-specific stats, recent form suggests that there is NASCAR betting value in Truex’s 12-1 odds. The No. 19 car has secured its two best finishes of the young 2021 season in each of the last two weeks. Truex followed up a third-place showing at Homestead with a sixth-place run last week at Las Vegas. He will start fifth in the Instacart 500 and could find himself in a position to be at or near the front throughout the race. Relative to the other drivers and NASCAR odds prices this week, Truex is my value pick to reach victory lane for the first time since last spring at Martinsville.
Other Instacart 500 NASCAR Betting Picks
The following odds are taken from DraftKings Sportsbook
Top 3 Finish: Kevin Harvick (+180)
Best Finish Group F: Erik Jones (+240)
Top 10 Finish: Kurt Busch (+105)
Top 10 Finish: Ryan Newman (+275)
Best Finishing Position Matchup: Kyle Larson (-109 vs. Joey Logano)
Team of Race Winner: Joe Gibbs Racing (+235)