The NASCAR Cup Series will once again be racing in Virginia this weekend, albeit at the opposite end of the state. Richmond Raceway is set to host a spring race for the first time since 2019. The Toyota Owners 400 is slated to be run on Sunday afternoon. A wild short track race at Martinsville last weekend provided plenty of NASCAR betting takeaways and nuggets that can be applied when making NASCAR picks this week.
Read on for a breakdown of the NASCAR odds and best NASCAR betting plays for Sunday’s race at Richmond.
Toyota Owners 400 Race Info
65th Toyota Owners 400
Location: Richmond Raceway — Richmond, VA
Date: Sunday, April 18, 2021
Start Time: 3 p.m. EST
Distance: 300 miles
Stages: Three (Laps 1-80; Laps 81-235; Laps 236-400)
Pole Sitter: Martin Truex Jr.
Defending Champion: Martin Truex Jr. (2019)
Here is the complete Toyota Owners 400 startling lineup!
Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Betting Odds
Sunday’s race at Richmond Raceway marks the third consecutive NASCAR Cup Series race at a short track. Combine the recent data points from preceding races with the historical fact that cream typically rises to the top at Richmond and there is a lot to base a NASCAR betting handicap on this week. Digging into driver and team stats and performance from the past couple of weeks could prove very telling for what we will see on Sunday.
After winning last weekend’s race at Martinsville, Martin Truex Jr. (+400) is certainly a deserving NASCAR betting favorite for the Toyota Owners 400. The driver of the No. 19 car for Joe Gibbs Racing became the first to win two races this season. His win last week was his third in the last four Cup Series races at Martinsville. He can accomplish that same feat with a victory at Richmond on Sunday. Truex has turned himself into arguably the best short track driver in all of NASCAR.
Fellow JGR Drivers Among Favorites
Truex isn’t the only Joe Gibbs Racing driver with a strong track record at Richmond. After yet another strong run that didn’t result in a victory last week, Denny Hamlin (+600) has the second-shortest odds to win the Toyota Owners 400. Hamlin has done just about everything but win so far this season. He has a massive lead in the Cup Series points standings and is among the NASCAR betting favorites for seemingly every race. It’s impossible to count the No. 11 team out.
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Another JGR driver to keep an eye on is Kyle Busch (+900). It’s been a rough start to the 2021 season for the younger Busch brother. In essence, the tough times for the No. 18 team date back to last season. But even after being a part of the massive parking lot wreck at Martinsville, Busch still managed to rally and finish 10th. Like Truex, Busch has a pair of wins in the last five races at Richmond. He has an average finish of 3.6 and has also finished in the top-10 all five times. If there’s a track where this team would be most likely to get right, one would have to bet it’d be a short track.
Can Kevin Harvick Find His Footing?
It has been a miserable first eight races of the 2021 season for the drivers and teams at Stewart-Haas Racing. That surprisingly includes Kevin Harvick (+1100), who won more races than anyone last season. It’s honestly a bit of a culture shock to see betting odds on Harvick that exceed 10-1 in a race not taking place at either a road course or superspeedway. In the last five races at Richmond Raceway, Harvick has averaged a top-five finish with an average driver rating of 114.1. If you believe that version of the No. 4 team will show up on Sunday, it’s hard not to like the value in 11-1 odds to win.
Check out our Richmond Raceway overview for a thorough history and analysis of the D-shaped oval!
Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Betting Picks
Toyota Owners 400 Race Winner: Chase Elliott (+850)
All that Joe Gibbs Racing talk in the breakdown of the NASCAR betting odds above set me up perfectly to nail ya with the Hendrick Motorsports stunner! Don’t get me wrong, any of the three JGR drivers could very easily prove the oddsmakers correct with a win on Sunday. But in terms of betting value, I’ll take the defending Cup Series champion, Chase Elliott.
Team Hendrick has been top-notch throughout the first eight races. When they aren’t getting wins, they are still right there. Elliott finished runner-up last week and has a solid history at Richmond. This includes three top-5 finishes and an average finishing position of 7.8 in the last five races. We also saw him win a short track race at Martinsville last fall to earn his spot in the Championship 4. Add it all up and I like the +850 price on Chase to take the checkered this weekend.
Other Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Betting Picks
Top 10 Finish: William Byron (+110)
No offense to the NASCAR betting oddsmakers but I don’t understand this price at all. In addition to already having a win on the season, William Byron has been running strong every week. On the season, his average finish of 11.8 ranks sixth among Cup drivers. He was fourth last weekend and I like another strong showing out of the No. 24 car on Sunday.
Best Finishing Position Matchup: Austin Dillon (-109) vs. Kurt Busch
Last week was a good one for Richard Childress Racing all the way around. Austin Dillon was running inside the top ten for much of the race and finished a solid 14th. Teammate Tyler Reddick surprised everyone with an 8th-place finish. RCR is finding a groove of late and Dillon has looked strong in several races recently. I love the NASCAR betting value in taking him as a short dog against Kurt Busch.
Best Finish in Group F: Chris Buescher (+275)
This is simply a play based on the listed odds relative to what my eyes have witnessed in the last few races. Outside of his little dust-up with Kyle Busch last week, Chris Buescher has been driving extremely well. Outside of maybe Group F favorite Daniel Suarez (+200), Buescher is easily the hottest driver in the pod. The fact that he is listed at the same +275 price as Michael McDowell and Chase Briscoe just doesn’t add up. So long as he avoids potential retaliation from Busch, Buescher has a great chance to win this four-man horse race.
Team of Race Winner: Joe Gibbs Racing (+160)
At this price, Joe Gibbs Racing is the favorite in terms of race teams this week. It makes sense considering that the two drivers with the shortest odds (Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin) both hail from this garage. Add in Kyle Busch who has the best average finishing position among all drivers over the last five Richmond races and you’ve got three teams more than capable of going to victory lane. I wouldn’t put it past Christopher Bell to surprise us either. Considering my bet is on Chase Elliott, taking JGR on this prop sets up as a nice hedge opportunity.