One of the things that we are seeing across the sports world during the pandemic is that surprises are becoming a little more common that usual. It is admittedly tough for athletes to play and entertain during a time where events can be cancelled at a moment’s notice and when they don’t get to show their stuff in front of a packed crowd. We are seeing teams and individuals rise to the occasion, while others struggle to adapt to the new normal. Perhaps it is some of that which has made the opening 3 weeks of the NASCAR season so unpredictable. If any of you predicted the winners of the first 3 races this season, then you need to be elevated to genius level, as they have all been of the longshot variety. Will we return to normal at the Pennzoil 400 in Las Vegas this weekend, or will it be another surprise? Let’s take a look at a few of the race favorites so you can make your bets against their NASCAR odds.
NASCAR Cup Series: 2021 Pennzoil 400 Odds & Picks
Martin Truex Jr. (+550)
It has been a bit of a rough start to the season for Truex Jr., although he does still find himself in the top 10 in the NASCAR Cup Series standings. That, though, probably has more to do with the strange start to the season than it does with his performances. He has a chance to put things right this weekend, as the Las Vegas Speedway is a track where he has had some real success. Going back to 2015, he has two wins at that track, as well as 4 other top 5 finishes. In fact, he has only finished outside the top 10 once in his last 7 races in Vegas. That is more than enough to have him as a viable contender on Sunday.
Kevin Harvick (+650)
It was a strange season for Harvick in 2020. No driver had more wins than he did, and he led the driver standings for a long time before going cold in the playoffs and missing out on the final four. The feeling was that he might come back with a chip on his shoulder, and while he has yet to win this season, he has been consistently good enough to once again be sitting atop the driver standings after 3 races. He will be in the pole position on Sunday as he looks to build on his 2 career wins at Las Vegas. He hasn’t won there since 2018, but he has a trio of top 10 finishes in the races since.
Chase Elliott (+700)
In 8 races at the Las Vegas Speedway, defending champion Chase Elliott has only managed to crack the top 10 on 3 occasions, which would ordinarily make him a bit of a longshot. Last season, though, was a major breakthrough, which is perhaps putting things rather mildly, so perhaps he is now ready to give it a real shot at this track. He is currently 5th in the driver standings, so a not altogether poor start to the defense of his championship.
Denny Hamlin (+700)
Last season was very much a case of close but no cigar for Hamlin, who made it all the way to the final four before coming up short in the final race of the season. He has come out strong to start 2021, and while he has yet to pick up his first win, he has been consistently among the leaders and is now sitting 2nd in the driver standings. Hamlin has never won at Las Vegas, but he did have a 3rd place finish the last time he raced there.
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