A drama-filled HighPoint.com 400 with a ton of stops late in the race, gave Denny Hamlin his 50th career Cup Series win. Hamlin and his number 11 car was one of the early favorites to win alongside Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch. He proved oddsmakers right with the dominant win.
For the next race on the NASCAR calendar, the Cook Out 400, Hamlin is third on the oddsboard at +650 behind favorite Martin Truex Jr. (+450) and Kyle Larson (+500).
Cook Out 400 Odds: Richmond Raceway
|Martin Truex Jr.||+450|
Odds as of July 25
Why Is Martin Truex Jr. The Favorite In The Cook Out 400 Odds?
Truex is the hottest driver on the season. With 711 points on the board, the number 19 car sits at the top of the NASCAR standings and is projected to enter the playoffs in the top spot.
In his last 11 races, Truex has averaged a 10.54 finish winning three times and sitting on the podium six times.
In six races since 2020, Truex holds the best average finish at Richmond with a flat 5.0. The Joe Gibbs driver has won once, finished in the top 5 four times and the top 10 five times. He's also consistently at the top of the pack with 13.5% of laps lead in those races. Only Denny Hamlin is better at 22.8%.
With all that, it would have been unimaginable to think of anyone else as the favorite for the Cook Out 400.
NASCAR Cook Out 400: Value Picks
Denny Hamlin (+650)
We've already seen a back-to-back winner this season with William Byron winning the Penzoil 400 Presented by Jiffy Lube on March 5 and the United Rentals Work United 500 on March 12. I'm going to suggest we might see the next back-to-back winner in Denny Hamlin.
The no.11 car has 22.8% of the led laps at Richmond since 2020 and holds an average 6.8 finish. He's won it once and finished in the top 5 four times.
Just like Truex, Hamlin is in incredible form. Over his last 10 races, he holds a 12.2 average finish. That average takes a significant hit from crashes in Charlotte and Sonoma.
While the crash at Sonoma seems to have been his fault, the one in Charlotte was a result of a tangle with Chase Elliott. Take out that Charlotte crash and his average finish tumbles to 9.6.
If he gets to run a clean race here I love Hamlin's odds, and at +650 there's a lot more value than just backing the favorite.
Kyle Busch (+850)
No one has won on this track more than Kyle Bush with six checkered flags. But it's been a while since he's won here. You have to go back to 2018 for Kyle's last win at Richmond.
Bush has averaged a respectable 9.2 finish since 2020 on this track and a solid 12.5 average finish on short tracks. Those numbers don't make him a favorite but they certainly make him an interesting option to push for a seventh career checkered flag.
And while he crashed out at Loudon and finished 21st at Pocono, Bush was on a hell of a run prior to that. In the seven races before Loudon, the no.5 car held an average finish of 5.0.
You have to think the Richard Childress team is eyeing this race to push Bush back in the top 5 of the NASCAR standing with a fourth win on the season.
Chase Elliott (+1600)
I continue to track Chase Elliott's progress as he looks to get into a playoff position after missing a big part of the season because of a broken leg.
After the HighPoint.com 400, Elliott moved up to 21st in the season standings after finishing 10th and picking up 27 points. Which is just below his previous average of 28.6 points per race. That's not ideal for getting into the postseason. At his current pace, Elliott will fall 22 points shot of making the playoffs.
In 14 races at Richmond over his career, Elliott has never won. But he holds a not-so-bad 11.1 average finish on this track in those 14 races.
Now consider his record on short tracks over the last three years. Since 2020, Elliott holds the third-best average finish at 9.4 with a win and seven top 5 finishes. He's also led for the second most laps at 14.6% only Hamlin is better at 18.2%.
I'm not saying he will win, but I can't help but put a unit on him. At +1600 and desperately needing a win, this seems like a great chance for Elliott and a great chance to make some money. Heck, you can get Elliott at +220 to finish in the top five. I'm definitely making that bet.