For the first time in NASCAR’s postseason history, a non-playoff driver won a playoff race. Erik Jones took the Cook Out Southern 500 last week for his first win of the year, the third of his career and the second at Darlington Raceway.
With 40 points from a fourth-place finish last weekend, Joey Logano sits at the top of the playoff leaderboard with 2,065 points. Denny Hamlin, who made a late-season push for the playoffs thanks to back-to-back wins in Michigan and Richmond, now sits third in points with 2,057.
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Hollywood Casino 400 Odds: Kansas Playoff Race
|Martin Truex Jr.||+800|
Odds as of September 8 at Sportsbook
Hollywood Casino 400: Who Are The Favorites?
Denny Hamlin (+600)
Since February 2019, Denny Hamlin is the only driver to win twice at Kansas, though the last of those two wins was back in July 2020. So it’s kind of been awhile for Hamlin. But, in seven races on the intermediate track, Hamlin has those two wins, four top-fives and four top-10s.
We know that past success is a factor when it comes to trying to handicap future success. Of course, anything can happen in NASCAR, but we see drivers repeat success on specific tracks. Take Eric Jones’ win last weekend. He hadn’t won all year before taking a race on a track he’d previously won at.
Qualification might change the odds here, but it shouldn’t change how you view Hamlin as a favorite. In his two wins at Kansas, he started 10th and 23rd. He doesn’t need pole position to win, though I’m sure it would certainly help.
Kyle Busch (+600)
Busch has not typically done well on this track. His 11.6 average finish ranks 10th since February 2019. Sure, he’s one of six drivers to win here in that time, but when he isn’t winning, he’s far back.
I suppose consistency is worth something here. In his last five races at Kansas, Busch has finished qualifying outside of the top 10 once and finished outside of the top 10 twice. One of those finishes outside the top 10 was in July 2020 when he finished 11th.
Again, he has not finished that well on average, but when you zoom in a bit, Busch has been consistent. At +600, his odds might be a tad high, at least in my opinion.
Hollywood Casino 400: Best Bet
Kyle Larson (+750)
In terms of average finish at Kansas, Kyle Larson is sixth with an 8.8 over five races. He won here back in October 2021 and finished second in May 2022. Unlike Hamlin, Larson’s success is more recent.
Larson has also led more laps than anyone else (since February 2019) with 351 laps led. Hamlin is next at 275. Since joining Hendrick Motorsports, Larson has typically done very well here. Of his last four tries at Kansas, he’s qualified third, first, 32nd and fifth while finishing second, first, 19th and 14th.
In terms of recent success on this specific racetrack, Larson is the right pick. Then you have to consider that when it comes to driving intermediate tracks, he has the second-best average finish (10.4), has led the most laps (1,718) and is second in wins with five – all since February 2019.
At +750, a $100 winning bet on Kyle Larson to continue his strong performance at Kansas and on intermediate tracks would net you a $750 profit.
While we’re on Kyle Larson, you should probably know that he holds the second-best odds to win the NASCAR Cup championship with odds at +650.