Bristol’s Food City 500 Betting Guide, NASCAR Odds and Race Winner

By in Sports & Betting on

On Sunday, April 7th, NASCAR will be racing in Bristol, Tennessee, for the Food City 500 live from the Bristol Motor Speedway. This race is the first of two trips to the hallowed grounds of Bristol. The second trip to Bristol is the beloved Saturday night race late this year.

The Food City 500 marks the 8th race of the season and things are heating up between Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske. These two teams have won the first 7 races and appear to be the odds on favorites with NASCAR betting sites for this weekend’s race as well.

Race Profile

Nicknamed “Thunder Valley” and “the World’s Fastest Half-Mile,” Bristol Motor Speedway is one of the most revered tracks in all of NASCAR. The first race held at this half-mile track was in 1961 and it immediately became popular with the fans and drivers. Bristol is well known for its steep banking, basic oval shape, and stadium like seating with a capacity to fit over 162,000 people. The Food City 500 race breaks down as follows:

  • Total Miles: 265.5
  • Total Laps: 500
  • Stage 1: First 125 laps
  • Stage 2: Second 125 laps
  • Final Stage: Remaining 250 laps

The Food City 500 begins at 2 PM ET and can be seen on FOX.

What to Watch For at Bristol

In addition to watching some exciting racing at Bristol Motor Speedway, the following storylines are worth keeping an eye at the Food City 500:

  • Can any other racing team upstage JGR and Penske?
  • Will Kevin Harvick get his first win of the season?
  • Will we get a repeat Food City 500 winner?
  • Can Kyle Larson upstage the other favorites and take the checkered flag?

Previous Food City 500 Winners

The first BMS race was in 1961, but it wasn’t until 1963 that NASCAR ran their first spring race in Bristol. Since then, Rusty Wallace set the mark for most wins in this race with 6. Of active drivers, both of the Busch brothers have 4 wins apiece. Jimmie Johnson is the only other active driver with more than one Food City 500 wins. Kyle Busch is the reigning champ for the Spring Bristol race. The following is a list of the previous Food City 500 winners dating back to 2000:

  • Rusty Wallace in 2000 (his 6th and final win)
  • Elliott Sadler in 2001
  • Kurt Busch from 2002 to 2004, 2006
  • Kevin Harvick in 2005
  • Kyle Busch in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2018
  • Jeff Burton in 2008
  • Jimmie Johnson in 2010, 2017
  • Brad Keselowski in 2012
  • Kasey Kahne in 2013
  • Carl Edwards in 2014, 2016
  • Matt Kenseth in 2015

Of the active drivers, only the Busch brothers, Johnson, Harvick, and Keselowski have won a Food City 500 race.

Food City 500 Betting Odds

The following list of NASCAR betting odds for the Food City 500 is courtesy of BetOnline:

  • Kyle Busch +250
  • Brad Keselowski +700
  • Joey Logano +700
  • Kyle Larson +700
  • Kevin Harvick +1200
  • Ryan Blaney +1200
  • Martin Truex Jr. +1500
  • Denny Hamlin +1500
  • Chase Elliott +1500
  • Aric Almirola +1800
  • Kurt Busch +1800
  • Clint Bowyer +1800
  • Erik Jones +1800
  • Jimmie Johnson +2500
  • Ricky Stenhouse +2500
  • Alex Bowman +6000
  • Daniel Suarez +6000
  • Austin Dillon +8000
  • Ryan Newman +10000
  • William Byron +10000
  • Paul Menard +10000

Food City 500 Betting Favorites

The following drivers are the odds on favorites to win at Bristol on Sunday:

Driver Wins Top 5 Top 10 Avg Start Avg Finish DNF
Kyle Busch 7 10 15 14.9 14.3 4
Brad Keselowski 2 4 5 10.2 18.1 0
Joey Logano 2 5 9 8.3 15.6 1
Kyle Larson 0 2 6 14.4 14.8 1
Kevin Harvick 2 12 19 17.1 13.2 3

Kyle Busch (+250)

After 7 races, Kyle still sits in 1st place overall in the driver standings. He has 7 Top 10’s in 7 races and 5 Top 5’s. He also has 2 wins, which were at Phoenix and Fontana. Last weekend, Busch finished 10th at Texas despite leading 66 laps, which were the most of any driver. Busch faded late in the race and wasn’t able to get back to the front. However, Kyle returns to a track this weekend, where he’s been very successful at in the past.

In 27 career starts at BMS, Kyle has won 7 races and 2 of the last 3. He won the 2018 Food City 500 after leading 117 of the 500 laps. Kyle didn’t fare well in the fall race at Bristol when he finished 20th. Despite 15 Top 10’s in 27 races, Kyle has had 4 DNFs in the last 8 BMS races. So, when he’s not winning or finishing in the Top 10, Kyle is crashing out.

This weekend, Kyle will be the driver to beat once again. But, will Thunder Valley be kind to Rowdy on Sunday?

Brad Keselowski (+700)

Keselowski might have two wins on the year, but he’s also had some clunkers as well. In week 4, Brad finished 19th at Phoenix and this was after finishing in the Top 2 for two weeks in a row. After Phoenix, Brad bounced back to get a 3rd at Fontana and to get his second win of the season at Martinsville two weeks ago. Unfortunately, Keselowski had his worse result of the year so far by crossing the finish line in 36th place.

In his 18 career BMS starts, Keselowski has 2 wins, 4 Top 5’s, 5 Top 10’s, and an 18.1 average finish which isn’t bad. Unfortunately for Brad, he’s had a rough time at Bristol over the last 6 races. His best finish during that span was 16th and that was last fall. Keselowski hasn’t cracked the Top 5 since the fall Bristol race of 2014.

As well as Keselowski has been running this year, I just don’t see him beating out other favorites on Sunday. He will be lucky to even crack the Top 10.

Joey Logano (+700)

The 2018 champion comes into this weekend’s race still in 4th place overall. He has 1 win on the year, which was Las Vegas in week 3. Logano’s also had two middle of the pack finishes over the last two weeks: 19th at Martinsville and 17th last weekend at TMS. However, he led a handful of laps in each of those races and now has led laps in 6 of the 7 races this season.

At BMS, Logano has 20 career starts with 2 wins, 5 Top 5’s, and 9 Top 10’s. He also has a solid 15.3 average finish, but has never won the spring race. Logano has had a good deal of success over the last 9 Bristol races. During that span, he has 2 wins, 4 Top 5’s, and 7 Top 10’s. Last year, Logano finished 9th in this race and 4th in the fall.

I believe Joey will contend all race long and finish inside the Top 10. But, until he can win a spring race or even finish higher than 5th, I don’t believe he will beat out Kyle on Sunday.

Kyle Larson (+700)

2019 hasn’t been a great year for Larson as he’s failed to live up to the lofty expectations that we have for this young, talented driver. So far, Larson has only 2 Top 10’s on the year and sits 12th in the driver standings. He does have 1 stage win, which is a playoff point, but he hasn’t really been a threat to win any race outside of Atlanta when he led 142 laps. Last weekend, Larson finished 39th after crashing out of the race. It dropped him from 11th to 12th in the standings.

Fortunately for Larson, he’s going to Bristol where he’s raced well at in his 10 career starts. Larson has 2 Top 5’s, 6 Top 10’s, an average finish of 14.8 and 1 DNF. Larson also has two poles at Bristol including at the 2017 Food City 500. Last year, Larson proved that Bristol wasn’t too tough for him as he finished 2nd in both BMS races. He even led 200 laps here in the spring race last year. Larson has 4 straight Top 9 finishes and an average finish of 4th in the last 2 spring Bristol races.

I believe that this will be the track that Larson gains some momentum at for the season. He will finish at least in the Top 10 and could even contend for a checkered flag late in the race.

Kevin Harvick (+1200)

Despite not having won a race in 2019, Kevin Harvick sits 3rd in the driver standings behind Busch and Hamlin who have both won 2 races this year. Harvick has been consistent with 6 straight Top 10’s since crashing out of the Daytona 500 in week 1. Harvick also has 2 stage wins this year. Last week, Harvick finished 8th at TMS, which was a bit of a disappointment. The #4 team is looking to contend for a checkered flag this Sunday at Bristol. But, will they be able to hang with the other favorites?

Harvick has 36 career starts at Bristol and only 2 wins over that span. The last won came in the fall of 2016. Harvick has won the spring Bristol race one time, but that was in 2005. Kevin has the most Top 5’s among active drivers with 12. He also has an average finish of 13.2 along with 19 Top 10’s. Of the betting favorites, Harvick has the best average finish. Of all active drivers, he has the 4th best average.

Over the last 7 Bristol races, Harvick has finished 10th or better in all of them. He also has 3 Top 3’s during that span including 1 win. I believe Harvick will have a Top 10 car and contend for the checkered flag in the end.

The Best Bristol Betting Value

These drivers offer solid betting value based on their 2019 season, current betting odds and career success at Bristol Motor Speedway:

Driver Wins Top 5 Top 10 Avg Start Avg Finish DNF
Denny Hamlin 1 7 12 14.4 15.3 2
Kurt Busch 6 11 18 16.9 14.7 3
Jimmie Johnson 6 11 18 16.9 14.7 3

Denny Hamlin (+1500)

Hamlin comes into Bristol having already won 2 races on the year and sitting 2nd in the driver standings, just 8 points behind his teammate Kyle Busch. Hamlin has finished inside the Top 11 in all 7 races and also has 4 Top 5’s. He won last weekend in Texas after leading 45 laps. Hamlin has started inside the Top 10 in every race this year and that could be a trend that helps him this weekend at Bristol.

In 26 BMS starts, Hamlin has 1 win, 7 Top 5’s, 12 Top 10’s, a respectable 15.3 average finish and 3 poles. Last year, Hamlin finished 14th in both races. However, he’s already shown that he’s running better in 2019 than in 2018.

I believe Hamlin has betting value based on his modest success at Bristol and his strong run in 2019 so far. He’s also on the top race team this year, which should bode well for Denny on Sunday.

Kurt Busch (+1800)

The elder Busch brother currently sits in 10th place overall with 2 Top 5’s and 5 Top 10’s on the year. He doesn’t have any stage wins this season, but has been very consistent since Daytona as he’s finished 12th or better in every race. Kurt’s fortunes could change this weekend as he’s run well at Bristol in his career.

In 36 starts, Kurt has 6 wins, 11 Top 5’s, 18 Top 10’s, an average finish of 14.7 and won the fall race here last year. Kurt’s had two Top 5’s in the last 3 races and I think he will be flirting with another one this Sunday. With 4 wins in this race, over the early part of his career, Kurt would love to get back into victory circle and capture a highly coveted playoff spot.

Jimmie Johnson (+2500)

Bristol is just one more track where Jimmie Johnson has had a great deal of success at. In 34 starts, JJ has 2 wins, 12 Top 5’s, 20 Top 10’s, an average finish of 13.2 and just 1 DNF. Johnson is tied with Harvick for the most Top 5’s and 4th best average finish among active drivers. However, JJ leads all active drivers with the most Top 10’s. Over the last 9 Bristol races, JJ has finished inside the Top 10 in 7 of those races. He won the spring race here in 2017. Johnson has had 5 straight Top 11 finishes with two solid performances last year: 3rd in the spring and 9th in the fall.

On the season, JJ is 15th in the driver standings. He had his best finish last weekend in Texas when he ended up 5th after starting on the pole. JJ has 3 Top 10’s this year already. He also has 1 Top 5, which is almost as many as last year. His Texas pole was the first pole position since the 2017 Dover race.

I believe that JJ could end up crashing the party on Sunday and pulling off the upset. At the very least he will be in the Top 10 and competing for a Top 5 before it’s all said and done.

The Top Longshot to Win at BMS

Ryan Newman at +10000 is once again my top longshot pick of the week. In 34 career starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Newman has 2 Top 5’s, 18 Top 10’s and a 15.7 average finish. Last year, he finished 10th in the spring race and 12th in the fall race. Over the last 8 BMS races, Newman has an average finish of 11.75 with 5 Top 10 finishes.

On the season, Newman is 20th in the standings. He’s flirted with 4 Top 10’s, but has just fallen on the outside looking in. Last weekend, Newman had his best finish of the season as he finished 11th overall. I like his chances for at least a Top 10 finish. And, at Bristol, anything can happen.

NASCAR Prop Bets: Driver Matchups at BMS

The following NASCAR prop bet requires you to pick the winning driver out of the head-to-head battles at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday, April 7th. These driver matchups and betting odds are courtesy of 5Dimes:

Ryan Blaney (-130) vs Martin Truex Jr. (+100)

Driver Ryan Blaney Martin Truex Jr.
Wins 0 40
Top 5 0 2
Top 10 2 3
Avg Start 9.7 16.3
Avg Finish 21.9 21.1
DNF 1 4
Total Races 7 26

This is a tough matchup to choose, but one that leans toward Ryan Blaney. Truex has just 3 Top 10’s in 26 races while Blaney has 2 in just 7. Neither driver has fared well at this track in a few years, but Blaney did have a 7th last fall. On the season, Blaney is one spot and 13 points behind Truex in the standings. However, Ryan has two stage wins and Martin has just 1. Additionally, Ryan has led 195 laps on the year while Truex has led just 14. They both led last weekend in Texas as Truex tallied 10 laps led and Blaney had 45. Unfortunately, Blaney’s car overheated and he finished 37th while Martin finished 12th. That broke a streak of 3 straight Top 5 finishes.

Half mile tracks have seemed to plague Truex in his career. I don’t see Martin contending for the victory, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Blaney surprises people with a Top 5 car. I’m taking Ryan to win this battle.

Winner: Ryan Blaney (-130)

Erik Jones (-150) vs Jimmie Johnson (+100)

Driver Kurt Busch Ryan Blaney
Wins 0 2
Top 5 2 12
Top 10 2 20
Avg Start 10.5 15.1
Avg Finish 12.5 13.2
DNF 0 1
Total Races 4 34

These two are matched up against each other almost every week. And, JJ has the edge so far this season. However, JJ finished 5th last weekend and Jones finished 4th. At Bristol, Jones has run well in the fall with 2 Top 5’s, but has not done as well in the spring as he’s averaged a 21.5 finish. On the season, Jones is one spot behind JJ in the driver standings, but has 1 more Top 5 than Johnson.

Bristol is a tough track. And, although Jones has done well in 2 of his 4 races here, Johnson has been one of the best active drivers at this track. I can’t ignore the experience advantage in this matchup as JJ has run over 8 times more races at BMS than Jones.

For this bet, I’m taking JJ to win. At +100 odds, Johnson offers great betting value on this bet along with his +2500 odds to win the race.

Winner: Jimmie Johnson (+100)

Kyle Larson (-150) vs Kevin Harvick (+110)

Driver Denny Hamlin Clint Bowyer
Wins 0 2
Top 5 2 12
Top 10 6 19
Avg Start 14.4 17.1
Avg Finish 14.8 13.2
DNF 1 3
Total Races 10 36

This is the toughest matchup to choose. However, other than Kyle Busch, I believe Larson or Harvick will win this race. I’ve already laid out their records at this track in the betting favorites section above. So, I won’t restate it here. I believe whoever has the better car on Sunday will win this matchup.

I really like the betting value with Harvick at +110 odds. I believe that NASCAR betting sites are overlooking Harvick in this race and discount his career body of work. With that said, I’m taking Harvick to pull off the betting upset and win this matchup.

Winner: Kevin Harvick (+110)

Who Takes the Food City 500 Checkered Flag

Bristol is always a tough race to predict. And, that’s largely due to all of the caution flags and wrecks. Teams have to be perfect in the pits and drivers have to be perfect on the track. Typically, it takes an experienced driver to win this race and that’s why I’m taking Kevin Harvick to edge out Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson for the win. Harvick has raced well at BMS over the last few years and he hasn’t cracked the win column in 2019 as of yet. Kyle Busch already has 2 wins. As for Larson, I wouldn’t be surprised if he found a way to win the war of attrition. However, I’m just not as confident in Larson’s running this season as I am with Harvick and Busch.

Joining Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch in the Top 5 will be Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott. I didn’t talk much about Elliott in the article above, but he has a 12.7 average finish in 6 races at BMS. He’s also finished within the Top 7 in 3 of those races. Last fall he led 112 laps and finished 3rd overall. Elliott will also be starting on the pole this Sunday. Rounding out the Top 10 will be Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, and Denny Hamlin.

Hey, if we don’t see Harvick win on Sunday, then maybe we’ll see him jump off a car and get into a fight with another driver like he did with Greg Biffle at Bristol in 2002.

My Top 5 Drivers

  • Kyle Busch
  • Kyle Larson
  • Kevin Harvick
  • Chase Elliott
  • Jimmie Johnson

Food City 500 Betting Recap

Winner:

  • Kevin Harvick (+1200)

Betting Value:

  • Denny Hamlin (+1500)
  • Kurt Busch (+1800)
  • Jimmie Johnson (+2500)

Longshot:

  • Ryan Newman (+10000)

Driver Matchups:

  • Kevin Harvick (+110) over Kyle Larson
  • Jimmie Johnson (+100) over Erik Jones
  • Ryan Blaney (-130) over Martin Truex Jr.
Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...

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