2020 NASCAR at Michigan Betting Previews

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Firekeepers Casino 400

On Saturday, August 8th, NASCAR returns to the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI, for a weekend double header starting with the FireKeepers Casino 400, which is the the 21st race of the regular season.

On Sunday, August 9th, NASCAR sends the drivers right back out on the track to compete in the Consumers Energy 400, which is the 22nd race of the regular season. This double header ensures that NASCAR will be able to finish their season on time especially the Playoffs.

With just six races until the Playoffs, there’s a lot of bump drafting on the track and in the standings to make it above the cutoff. This weekend’s Michigan races could go a long way in determining which bubble drivers will make it and which ones don’t.

Brad Keselowski won last weekend and jumped back into second place in the points standings. However, Kevin Harvick still leads the field overall. Yet, in Playoff Points, it’s Denny Hamlin sitting in the top spot due to his five wins on the season.

NASCAR betting sites have Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin almost tied at the top of the betting favorites this weekend. They’re closely followed by Team Penske’s trio of drivers in Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney.

Let’s take a closer look at NASCAR’s doubleheader, dive down to the bottom of both races, and see where we can take the checkered flag with our wagers.

Race Profile

The Michigan International Speedway is a typical D-shaped tracked with a lap length of two miles. All four turns have 18 degrees of banking. Furthermore, drivers love this track due to the speeds and wide straightaways.

This weekend’s races break down as follows:

  • Total Miles: 312 miles
  • Total Laps: 156 laps
  • Stage 1: First 40 laps
  • Stage 2: Second 45 laps
  • Final Stage: Remaining 71 laps

The FireKeepers Casino 400 is set to begin at 4 PM ET on August 8th. The Consumers Energy 400 is set to begin at 4:30 PM ET on August 9th. Both races will be televised on NBC Sports.

What to Watch for at Michigan

With all of the excitement heading into this weekend’s doubleheader, the following storylines are worth keeping an eye on at Michigan:

  • How will the double header take a toll on the drivers?
  • Will Ford continue to dominate this weekend?
  • Can Team Penske lead the field in both races?
  • Will Kyle Busch end his winless drought?
  • Which Playoff bubble drivers will succeed this weekend?
  • Will there be any first time winners?

The last time NASCAR ran a double header this season was at Pocono Raceway. Harvick and Hamlin dominated that weekend. The first Pocono race saw Harvick win and Hamlin finish runner up. The second Pocono race saw the two drivers switch positions as Hamlin won.

Can they do it again this weekend?

Previous FireKeepers Casino 400 Winners

The first of two annual Michigan races was run in June 1969 and won by Cale Yarborough two years straight. Yarborough holds the record for six wins in this event. Joey Logano is the reigning champ. The following is a breakdown of the recent winners since 2010:

  • Denny Hamlin in 2010, 2011
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2012
  • Greg Biffle in 2013
  • Jimmie Johnson in 2014
  • Kurt Busch in 2015
  • Joey Logano in 2016, 2019
  • Kyle Larson in 2017
  • Clint Bowyer in 2018

Previous Consumers Energy 400 Winners

The second of two annual Michigan races was first run in August 1969 and won by David Pearson. He would also go on to hold the record for the most wins of this race with five.

Kevin Harvick is the defending champ having won it two years in a row. The following is a list of recent winners since 2010:

  • Kevin Harvick in 2010, 2018, 2019
  • Kyle Busch in 2011
  • Greg Biffle in 2012
  • Joey Logano in 2013
  • Jeff Gordon in 2014
  • Matt Kenseth in 2015
  • Kyle Larson in 2016, 2017

Pearson has the all-time mark for most wins at MIS with nine. Yarborough is second with eight. There are four active drivers, not counting Kyle Larson, with three wins apiece: Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano.

NASCAR Michigan Betting Odds

The following betting odds are courtesy of BetOnline, but for the FireKeepers Casino 400 only. The Consumers Energy 400 betting odds have yet to be released. I would expect them to be out following this race or early Sunday morning at the latest.

  • Kevin Harvick (+450)
  • Denny Hamlin (+600)
  • Joey Logano (+700)
  • Brad Keselowski (+750)
  • Ryan Blaney (+750)
  • Martin Truex Jr (+800)
  • Chase Elliott (+900)
  • Kyle Busch (+1000)
  • Aric Almirola (+1500)
  • Kurt Busch (+2500)
  • Alex Bowman (+3300)
  • Clint Bowyer (+4000)
  • Erik Jones (+4000)
  • Jimmie Johnson (+4000)
  • Matt DiBenedetto (+4000)
  • Christopher Bell(+5000)
  • William Byron (+5000)
  • Matt Kenseth (+6600)
  • Tyler Reddick (+6600)
  • Austin Dillon (+8000)
  • Cole Custer (+8000)
  • Ryan Newman (+10000)
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr (+15000)

Betting Favorites to Win the FireKeepers Casino 400

According to most NASCAR betting sites, the following drivers are considered the odds on favorites to win the FireKeepers Casino 400 on Saturday:

Driver Wins Top 5 Top 10 Avg Start Avg Finish DNF
Kevin Harvick 3 13 19 14.4 11.7 1
Denny Hamlin 2 8 14 12.1 13.8 3
Joey Longano 3 6 15 10.1 12.2 1
Brad Keselowski 0 6 11 13.8 12.0 0
Ryan Blaney 0 2 4 9.1 15.5 0

Kevin Harvick (+450)

  • Top 3 (+125)
  • Top 5 (-135)
  • Top 10 (-455)

Every weekend that Kevin Harvick takes the starting field, he’s a threat to win the race. Last weekend, Harvick finished 5th at New Hampshire and has a strong 81 point lead over 2nd place driver Brad Keselowski. Yet, he’s second in Playoff Points behind Denny Hamlin.

Harvick has finished in the Top 5 for seven straight races this season and leads all drivers with 13 overall. He’s finished in the Top 10 for eight straight races and leads all drivers with 17 overall.

At Michigan, Harvick has been a machine. He’s won two of the last three races at this track and has four Top 7 finishes overall. For his career, Harvick has three wins, is second with 13 Top 5s, and is second with 19 Top 10s. His 11.7 average finish is 3rd best among active drivers.

Since 2013, Harvick has finished in the Top 10 in 11 of 14 races. He’s had 10 Top 5 finishes over that span. Harvick has also led in four straight races at this track. Harvick will be starting 3rd on Saturday. That’s the 5th straight Michigan race that he’s started in the Top 4.

With his strong 2020 season, and a dominating streak at MIS, Harvick is clearly the man to beat this weekend. He will easily finish inside the Top 10 for both races this weekend. Additionally, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was Top 5 for both.

I expect Harvick to be at least Top 3 in one of the two races, if not both. Furthermore, I would pencil in Harvick for a win at Michigan this weekend. The only question is will that win come in the FireKeepers Casino 400 or the Consumers Energy 400.

Denny Hamlin (+600)

  • Top 3 (+150)
  • Top 5 (-110)
  • Top 10 (-375)

As mentioned, Denny Hamlin leads all drivers in wins this season with five. It’s propelled him to the top spot in the Playoff standings, but just third overall in the driver standings. Last weekend, Hamlin finished 2nd overall and led 92 laps. He’s second in Top 5s on the year with 11.

Hamlin went three races in a row (From Indy to Texas) with an average finish of 20th. That was well below his 9.9 season average.

Hamlin was able to snap that subpar skid by producing two Top 2 finishes over the last two races including winning in Kansas two weeks ago. Hamlin has six Top 5s in the last eight NASCAR races.

At Michigan, Hamlin has two career wins and three straight Top 11 finishes. He was 11th and 2nd in last year’s Michigan races and hasn’t won since 2011. His 13.8 average finish is 7th among current drivers.

Despite his dominant 2020 season, I do have some concerns for Hamlin this weekend. I believe he can be a Top 10 car in both races and even a Top 5. However, I’m not sure he will be a Top 3 car this weekend. He hasn’t won at MIS in 18 races.

However, I wouldn’t put anything past Hamlin this season. When I wrote him off in other races this season due to his lack of career success at a specific track, Hamlin went out there and won the race. So, he’s very capable of doing that this weekend.

Yet, I still feel more comfortable with other drivers winning one of the two Michigan races than the #11 car.

Joey Logano (+700)

  • Top 3 (+190)
  • Top 5 (+115)
  • Top 10 (-295)

When I saw that Michigan was the track for this weekend’s racing festivities, I immediately thought of Joey Logano. The #22 car has had a good amount of success at this track since 2013; comparable to Kevin Harvick’s success.

Michigan comes at just the right time for Logano as he hasn’t taken a checkered flag since early March at Phoenix. Furthermore, Logano has just five Top 5s and two stage wins this year. His 14.4 average finish on the season is subpar for the 2018 NASCAR Cup champion.

With that said, Logano is starting to gain some momentum. He’s has two Top 4 finishes in the last three races with a 4th place result at New Hampshire last weekend.

Logano has won three times at Michigan in his career and has the 5th best average finish (12.2) among active drivers. His 15 Top 10s are 3rd best among his peers, but he’s producing a 68.2% Top 10 finish rate which is better than his contemporaries.

Logano won the June Michigan race last year and has three wins since 2013. Over that span, Logano has 12 Top 10s and six Top 5s in 14 MIS races.

Logano dominated in his Michigan win last year and I expect him to crack the Top 10 in both races this weekend. I also expect him to be a Top 5 car and a Top 3 car in at least one of the races. Furthermore, I believe the #22 car has a shot at winning one of the two MIS races this weekend.

Joey Logano will start on the pole for Saturday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 race.

Brad Keselowski (+750)

  • Top 3 (+215)
  • Top 5 (+120)
  • Top 10 (-275)

Last weekend, Brad Keselowski took the checkered flag in the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301, just as I predicted. It felt good to get a race winner prediction right after a Kyle Busch like winless streak.

As mentioned last week, Keselowski has been won of the most impressive drivers since NASCAR returned from hiatus. The win at New Hampshire last Sunday further proves this point. In 16 races since the return, Brad has 13 Top 10s, seven Top 5s and three wins.

On the season, Keselowski now sits 2nd in the driver standings and 3rd in Playoff Points. He leads all drivers with six stage wins, is second with 15 Top 10s, is third with three wins, and second in laps led (628).

Keselowski has five straight Top 9 finishes and two straight Top 2 finishes. He was runner up at Kansas two races ago.

At Michigan, Brad has yet to crack into the win column in 21 tries. He does have the 4th best average finish among active drivers at 12.0, but can’t seem to capture the checkered flag.

Keselowski has nine Top 10s and four Top 5s in the last 12 Michigan races. I like his chances for a Top 5 this weekend and definitely inside the Top 10 for both races. However, a Top 3 might be too much ask for. I also see the #2 car finishing behind Harvick, Logano and possibly Hamlin this weekend.

Ryan Blaney (+750)

  • Top 3 (+275)
  • Top 5 (+150)
  • Top 10 (-230)

Blaney enters the Michigan double header sitting 4th in the driver standings and 6th in Playoff Points. He’s dropped two spots in the driver standings by finishing 20th overall in two straight races.

I’m struggling to see how Blaney is listed this high in the betting odds considering he’s finished 20th or worse in five of the last seven races. Additionally, he has more DNFs (3) than wins (1) and has never won at Michigan in his career.

Blaney is 9th among active drivers with a 15.5 average finish, but only has two Top 5s and four Top 10s in 10 career starts at this track. Last year, he was 9th and 24th overall. Further adding to the bewilderment of online betting sites listing Blaney this high.

I believe Blaney’s ceiling is a Top 10 this weekend. I don’t see a Top 3 or a victory in either Michigan race. He might pull off a Top 5, but there are better betting opportunities than the #12 car. Avoid Blaney during this doubleheader.

The Best FireKeepers Casino 400 Betting Value

The following NASCAR drivers offer betting value for the FireKeepers Casino 400 due to their current betting odds, their past success at the Michigan International Speedway, and their 2020 season so far:

Driver Wins Top 5 Top 10 Avg Start Avg Finish DNF
Martin Truex Jr. 0 8 11 13.8 14.6 1
Chase Elliott 0 3 7 10.9 7.6 0
Kyle Busch 1 7 12 13.0 17.5 3
Kurt Busch 3 7 14 12.5 18.3 8
Clint Bowyer 1 2 12 17.4 18.2 3

Martin Truex Jr (+800)

  • Top 3 (+230)
  • Top 5 (+130)
  • Top 10 (-265)

Truex has had a quiet season just like his teammates Kyle Busch and Erik Jones. However, he does have one win this year which is more than Jones and Busch combined. Truex currently sits 7th in the driver standings and 7th in Playoff Points.

Truex is starting to pick up some momentum on the season as we get closer to the Playoffs. He has five Top 10s in the last seven NASCAR races and three Top 5s in the last four events. Truex finished 3rd at New Hampshire last weekend, which ties his result from Kansas two weeks ago.

Truex takes that momentum into Michigan where he hasn’t won in his career. However, he has raced well at this track over the last three years. In the last six MIS races, Truex has four Top 6 results. In 2019, he finished 3rd and 4th overall.

Over that span, Truex has a 7.8 average finish, which is nearly half of his 14.6 career average finish at Michigan International Speedway.

I don’t see Truex winning this weekend and a Top 3 might be out of his reach. But, I do really like the value as a Top 5 play at +130 odds. He’s finished Top 5 in three of the last five MIS events including both of 2019’s races.

Chase Elliott (+900)

  • Top 3 (+250)
  • Top 5 (+145)
  • Top 10 (-245)

One driver that I like more than Ryan Blaney, and just as much as Brad Keselowski, this weekend is Chase Elliott. He’s a top ten machine at MIS with seven Top 10s in eight career starts. His worst result came last year in the June Michigan race when he finished 20th.

Elliott also has three Top 5 finishes. In fact, all three of those races saw Elliott finish runner up. Chase leads all active drivers with a 7.6 average finish at Michigan International Speedway.

The #9 car currently sits 5th in the driver standings and 5th in Playoff Points. He has the second most stage wins among drivers with five.

This weekend, I believe we can put Elliott down for at least a Top 10 spot in both Michigan races. Furthermore, I like his chances at a Top 5 in at least one race. I’m not ready to say he will be Top 3 or contend for checkered flag though.

Kyle Busch (+1000)

  • Top 3 (+275)
  • Top 5 (+150)
  • Top 10 (-230)

The defending Cup champion is mired in a 20 race winless streak and can’t seem to find a winner’s circle even with GPS. He fell to 10th in the standings after crashing out of the race last weekend and finishing 38th overall.

Even worse, Busch dropped down to 13th in Playoff points. Although not a danger of missing the postseason as of yet, due to a 94 point cushion, a few more DNFs and the #18 car will be in serious trouble.

Busch has just one victory at Michigan and that came in 2011. He also only has 12 Top 10s in 30 starts. A 17.5 average finish doesn’t boost the confidence of him winning at all. However, I do see some value with a Top 5 wager.

Busch has finished in the Top 10 for six straight Michigan races. He’s also finished in the Top 5 in three of the last four Michigan races. Over the last four MIS events, Busch has a 4.5 average finish.

I don’t see Kyle contending for a checkered flag this weekend, but a Top 5 finish has some value based on his recent trends as this track.

Kurt Busch (+2500)

  • Top 3 (+700)
  • Top 5 (+425)
  • Top 10 (+100)

Now we transition from Kyle to his brother Kurt. The Busch brothers have flip flopped in the standings for the fourth straight week as Kurt moved up to 9th with a 17th place result last weekend in New Hampshire. He also sits one spot above Kyle in Playoff Points.

Kurt has three Top 10 finishes in the last four NASCAR races. He also has an 11.4 average finish on the season and 12 Top 10s which all bode well for a solid performance this weekend.

Although Kurt Busch has three wins at this track, with the last victory coming in 2015, you have to be careful with wanting to take the #1 car to win either Michigan race because he also has eight DNFs and an 18.3 average finish.

The good news for Busch this weekend is that he does have 14 Top 10s, which is 4th best among active drivers. Three of the last four MIS races have seen Busch in the Top 10. Two of the last four MIS races have seen Kurt in the Top 3. He was second in the June Michigan race last year.

Forget picking Kurt Busch to win the race, finish in the Top 3 or Top 5, the value is clearly in a Top 10 result. From 2016, Busch has a 9.75 average finish. That’s nearly half of what his career average is at this track.

I like Kurt Busch to quietly score Top 10s this weekend and the +100 payouts make this one of my favorite Michigan bets.

Clint Bowyer (+4000)

  • Top 3 (+1000)
  • Top 5 (+500)
  • Top 10 (+125)

Despite the veteran Clint Bowyer doing relatively nothing over the first 20 races of the season, he still sits 12th in the driver standings and 14th in Playoff points. That means he has plenty to race for over the next six events.

On the season, Bowyer has a 15.2 average finish which is pretty much what he’s done over the last five races. At Michigan, Bowyer could see a slight bump in that season average.

The value with Bowyer this weekend, although slightly risky, is with a Top 10 finish. In 28 starts, Bowyer has 12 Top 10 results. In 2018, he won the June Michigan race, but has crashed out of the last two events at this track.

Bowyer only has one DNF this season and that came 12 races ago. He’s finished every race this year and I expect his #14 Ford to run well this weekend. I like the value with Bowyer scoring a Top 10 result.

In the Pocono doubleheader, Bowyer finished 7th and 8th. Can we see two Top 10s this weekend at Michigan?

The Top Longshot to Win the FireKeepers Casino 400

Matt Kenseth (+6600)

  • Top 3 (+1600)
  • Top 5 (+850)
  • Top 10 (+175)

When looking at longshots, it’s all about the return on investment and any possible value. For this weekend, Matt Kenseth fits the bill nicely. However, like all longshots, there’s both pros and cons with Kenseth.

The bad news is that Kenseth has just one Top 5 and two Top 10s in 16 races this season. He crashed at New Hampshire last weekend and didn’t finish the race. Now, let’s look at the good news. And, there’s a lot of it.

Michigan is a track where Kenseth has excelled at in the past. He has three wins in 38 starts, with the last one coming in 2015.

Furthermore, Kenesth leads all active drivers with 14 Top 5s and 20 Top 10s. He’s second among his peers with an 11.3 average finish. He has just one DNF at this track and that came in 2007.

I don’t see Kenseth winning or being in the Top 5 and Top 3. However, I like his odds for finishing in the Top 10.

Michigan Doubleheader Checkered Flags

My Top 5 drivers for the FireKeepers Casino 400 are Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott. Keep in mind, it’s entirely possible that this is the Top 5 for the Consumers Energy 400 on Sunday as well.

The top drivers that struggle on Saturday could easily turn around and crush it on Sunday. So, keep an eye on what the factors were in why they ended up with their results on Saturday.

As for the winner, I believe Michigan’s doubleheader comes down to Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano. Whichever one doesn’t win Saturday would be my favorite for Sunday.

If I had to choose between the two, Logano wins the FireKeepers Casino 400 and Kevin Harvick wins the Consumers Energy 400.

My Top 5 Drivers

  • Kevin Harvick
  • Joey Logano
  • Denny Hamlin
  • Martin Truex Jr.
  • Chase Elliott

FireKeepers Casino 400 Prop Bets

The following NASCAR prop bets are courtesy of DraftKings:

Car Number of Race Winner

  • Even (-215)
  • Odd (+160)

My favorites to win in Michigan are Joey Logano (#22) and Kevin Harvick (#4). However, the Odd option offers solid betting value at +160. I would hedge bets here and go with the Odd betting option along with Harvick and/or Logano to win the race.

FireKeepers Casino 400 Prop Bets –Odd (+160)

Car Number of Race Winner

  • Over 10.5 (-165)
  • Under 10.5 (+125)

Other than Harvick (#4) and Keselowski (#2), I don’t see any cars under 10.5 that have a legitimate shot at winning Saturday’s race. Logano (#22), Kyle Busch (#18), Martin Truex Jr. (#19) and Denny Hamlin (#11) are all over the mark of 10.5.

For this prop bet, the number of drivers Over 10.5 makes this betting option the safe play despite the odds not being very appealing.

Car Number of Race Winner –Over 10.5 (-165)

Manufacturer of Race Winner

  • Ford (+110)
  • Toyota (+185)
  • Chevrolet (+325)

Despite being listed at +185 odds, Toyota only has five wins at this track and the last one came in 2015. For Chevy, they have 26 wins at MIS with the last ones coming in a sweep of 2017’s races.

However, with Kyle Larson and his three wins at MIS out of the sport, there’s really no top Chevy drivers other than Elliott with any real shot at winning.This race is all about Ford as they’ve won 39 times since 1969. Furthermore, Ford has won four straight MIS races and has four of the Top 5 drivers in the odds on favorites this weekend: Harvick, Logano, Keselowski and Blaney.

This is a no-brainer. Go with Ford to win its 5th straight MIS race and get a great return on your wager.

Manufacturer of Race Winner –Ford (+110)

Team of Race Winner

  • Joe Gibbs Racing (+190)
  • Team Penske (+250)
  • Stewart-Haas Racing (+275)
  • Hendrick Motor Sports (+550)
  • Chip Ganassi Racing (+2000)
  • Any Other Team (+2500)
  • Richard Childress racing (+2800)
  • Roush Fenway Racing (+8000)
  • JTG Daughtery Racing (+12500)

Joe Gibbs Racing has eight wins at this track with the last victory coming in 2015 when Matt Kenseth won. I think they’re overvalued this weekend. Hendrick Motor Sports hasn’t won since 2014, so you can cross them off as well. Chip Ganassi can be ignored since Kyle Larson isn’t driving for them this year.

This race comes down to Team Penske versus Stewart-Haas Racing. SHR has Harvick, but Team Penske has Logano, Keselowski and Blaney. All three drivers are in the Top 5 for odds on favorites to win this Saturday. At +250 odds, I really like the Team Penske option.

Team of Race Winner –Team Penske (+250)

FireKeepers Casino 400 Betting Recap

Betting Value:

  • Chase Elliott (+900)
  • Kyle Busch (+1000)
  • Kurt Busch (+2500)
  • Clint Bowyer (+4000)

Longshot

  • Matt Kenseth (+6600)

Winner

  • Joey Logano (+750)
  • Kevin Harvick (+450)
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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