We are just two races away from crowning the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion. Sunday’s Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway marks the final opportunity for drivers to clinch their berth in the Championship 4 and have a shot to win the series championship next weekend in Phoenix. NASCAR fans and bettors alike know full well that anything can happen at “The Half Mile of Mayhem”. Add in the pressures that come along with being the final postseason elimination race to decide the championship contenders and we are sure to see an action-packed race on Sunday. The NASCAR odds and expert NASCAR picks for the race are currently favoring a playoff driver who finds himself in a must-win scenario.
This article contains race info, driver statistics, track information, and the best NASCAR picks to get you set for the Xfinity 500.
Xfinity 500 Race Info
Location: Martinsville Speedway – Ridgeway, VA
Date: Sunday, Nov. 1
Start Time: 3 p.m. EST
Length: 263 miles (500 laps)
Stages: Stage 1: (Laps 1-130); Stage 2: (Laps 131-260); Stage 3: (Laps 261-500)
Pole Sitter: Brad Keselowski
Defending Champion: Martin Truex Jr.
Xfinity 500 NASCAR Odds
Odds Courtesy of MyBookie Sportsbook
Xfinity 500 NASCAR Odds Favorites
The NASCAR odds for the Xfinity 500 peg defending race champion Martin Truex Jr. as the favorite at +325 odds. Truex Jr. is coming off of a runner-up finish at Texas this past week, finishing only behind his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch. While the win was significant for Busch in that it extended his streak to 16 consecutive seasons with at least one Cup Series victory, it also cost Truex Jr. a chance to lock his name into the Championship 4. The No. 19 team will have one final chance to try and secure a win to advance at a track where they have been dominant of late.
Perhaps no one would like to prevent Truex Jr. from winning more than Brad Keselowski, owner of the second-shortest NASCAR odds for the Xfinity 500 at +600. Keselowski has a strong racing history at Martinsville including a third-place finish in the spring race earlier this year. The No. 2 team currently sits fourth in the playoff standings. If he fails to leapfrog over Denny Hamlin or Kevin Harvick in points, a win by another playoff driver like Truex Jr. would knock Keselowski out of the Championship 4. Hamlin also has +600 odds to win the race at MyBookie Sportsbook.
Other Xfinity 500 NASCAR Odds
Joey Logano is the only driver who has clinched his spot in the Championship 4 by virtue of his win at Kansas two weeks ago. Logano led a race-high 254 laps at Martinsville back in the spring, and whether or not a NASCAR bettor sees value in his +750 odds to win Sunday’s race really comes down to whether they think he will push for the win or have his sights set on Phoenix next week. Chase Elliott also has +750 odds this week, although his situation differs greatly from Logano’s in that he needs a win to advance in the playoffs.
Kevin Harvick is all but an early-race disaster from having secured his spot in the Championship 4 as well by way of points. A recent run of poorer finishes and the fact that Martinsville is not typically Harvick’s best track has the season wins leader sitting at +1000 among this week’s NASCAR odds. The remaining two playoff drivers are considered longshots to win Sunday. Both Alex Bowman and Kurt Busch have +2500 odds.
Other notable odds for non-playoff drivers this week include Ryan Blaney (+750), Kyle Busch (+800), and Jimmie Johnson (+3300).
Xfinity 500 Driver Statistics
Refer to the lists below for updated driver statistics from both the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season and previous races at Martinsville Speedway.
NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 8 Points Standings
1. Joey Logano: 4094 (Advanced with win at Kansas)
2. Kevin Harvick: 4137
3. Denny Hamlin: 4122
4. Brad Keselowski: 4120
5. Alex Bowman: 4095
6. Chase Elliott: 4095
7. Martin Truex Jr.: 4084
8. Kurt Busch: 4039
Average Finishing Position in 2020
(Drivers with full time Cup Series status)
1. Kevin Harvick: 7.1
2. Denny Hamlin: 9.4
3. Brad Keselowski: 10.5
4. Martin Truex Jr.: 11.4
5. Chase Elliott: 12.3
6. Joey Logano: 12.4
7. Aric Almirola: 13.5
8. Kurt Busch: 13.7
9. Kyle Busch: 14.1
10. Ryan Blaney: 14.4
Average Finishing Position at Martinsville
(Active drivers with 3+ starts at the track since 2017)
1. Brad Keselowski: 3.86
2. Martin True Jr.: 5.00
3. Kyle Busch: 6.43
4. Joey Logano: 9.43
5. Ryan Blaney: 9.57
6. Kevin Harvick: 9.71
7. Denny Hamlin: 12.00
8. Chase Elliott: 12.71
9. Clint Bowyer: 13.00
10. Ryan Newman: 13.43
Driver Rating in 2020
Driver Rating at Martinsville (Since 2005)
*The Driver Rating formula combines Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps and Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum score per race is 150 points*
Martinsville Speedway Overview
In addition to being coined “The half Mile of Mayhem,” Martinsville Speedway is also commonly referred to as “The Paper Clip” given the shape that the half-mile oval resembles. Well, okay, I guess if you want to get technical, Martinsville is actually 0.526 miles in length, but we’ll refer to it as a half-mile track for simplicity’s sake. Martinsville’s flat corners require drivers to find the right balance of corner entry speed and braking and then maintain it over the course of the 500-lap race. Even though it’s an oval, there are correlations between Martinsville and some of the road courses on the NASCAR circuit, particularly Watkins Glen International.
Martinsville Speedway Betting Trends
When it comes to betting trends and trying to find value amongst the NASCAR odds at Martinsville, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin have performed best at the Virginia track historically with 9 and 5 wins respectively. Drivers with strong track records in recent years include Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, and Ryan Blaney. Despite no wins at “The Paper Clip,” Chase Elliott is a driver who correlates well in terms of great success on road courses like Watkins Glen and solid showings at Martinsville. Track history is the most advantageous handicapping angle for Martinsville.
Xfinity 500 NASCAR Odds and Best NASCAR Picks
Race Winner: Denny Hamlin (+600 at MyBookie Sportsbook)
Picking a winner for the Xfinity 500 is really splitting hairs between several drivers who have run successfully at Martinsville in the past. I’ll opt to go with Denny Hamlin as the value pick of choice. The NASCAR odds put Hamlin even with Brad Keselowski for the second-shortest odds on the board at 6-1. Hamlin owns 5 wins at the half-mile in his career. While none have come in the last few races, he still has put together solid runs every time out.
Hamlin has three top-5 and four top-10 finishes in the last six races at Martinsville Speedway, with the only outliers being a 12th place showing in 2018 and a 24th-place finish in the spring race this year. Interestingly, the 2018 finish was in the spring race as well, meaning Hamlin has finished top-10 in each of the last three fall races at Martinsville. Hamlin is second only to Harvick in wins this year with 7 yet finds himself needing to run well this weekend to ensure a spot in the Championship 4. Look for the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Toyota to be near the front all race long as he tries to hold off an unlikely foe in teammate Martin Truex Jr.
Top 5 Finish: Kyle Busch | +120
Top 10 Finish: Matt DiBenedetto | +160
Best Finishing Position Matchup: Jimmie Johnson (vs. Clint Bowyer) | -115
Team of Race Winner: Joe Gibbs Racing | +135
Top Chevrolet Car: Chase Elliott | +140