On Sunday, September 27th, NASCAR returns to Las Vegas for the second time this year as Round 2 of the Playoffs begins with the South Point 400.
12 drivers remain in the Playoffs as four were eliminated after Bristol last weekend. The defending NASCAR Cup champion Kyle Busch currently sits below the cutoff line and in need of a strong performance this weekend.
Kevin Harvick continues to dominate the field with two wins during the first round of the Playoffs. It’s no surprise that he’s the consensus choice as the betting favorite for the South Point 400 at all NASCAR betting sites. Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Chase Elliott round out the Top 5 favorites.
Let’s take a closer look at this weekend’s Las Vegas race to see if anyone can stop Kevin Harvick and his dominant 2020 season.
The Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a tri-oval track with an asphalt surface and a lap length of 1.5 miles. The four turns feature banking up to 20 degrees. This speedway can see excessive speeds and blends some of NASCAR’s best racing attributes like drafting.
The following is a breakdown of this Sunday’s South Point 400:
Total Miles: 400.5 miles
Total Laps: 267
Stage 1: First 80 laps
Stage 2: Second 80 laps
Final Stage: Final 107 laps
The South Point 400 is set to begin at 7PM ET and will air live on NBCSN.
What to Watch for at Las Vegas
With all of the racing excitement heading into the second round of the Playoffs, the following storylines are worth keeping an eye on this Sunday:
Can Harvick win his third Playoff race?
Will a Busch brother win at their home track?
Can Team Penske get a big win on Sunday?
Will any drivers move above the cutoff line?
Can a non-Playoff driver win this weekend?
2020 NASCAR Playoff Standings
The current playoff standings heading into the second round:
According to most NASCAR betting sites, the following drivers are considered the odds on favorites to win the South Point 400 from Las Vegas:
Martin Truex Jr
Kevin Harvick (+350)
Top 3 (+125)
Top 5 (-139)
Top 10 (-480)
Harvick’s dominant 2020 season continued as he won at Bristol last weekend. That gives him two wins in the Playoffs so far and five victories in the last nine overall races. Currently, Harvick has nine wins on the year, which is the most wins that he’s ever tallied in any single season over his illustrious career.
Harvick comes to Vegas where he’s won twice at and boasts of a 50% Top 10 finishing rate. Over the last eight races at this track, Harvick has two wins, four Top 5s and six Top 10s. He’s also led laps in all, but one of those events.
Making things worse for the field this Sunday is the fact that Harvick will start on the pole again. You can expect the #4 car to be in the hunt for the checkered flag by time we get down to the final laps. I expect Harvick to be a Top 10, Top 5 and Top 3 car this weekend.
Martin Truex Jr (+550)
Top 3 (+140)
Top 5 (-134)
Top 10 (-435)
As Round 2 begins, Truex has some work to do in order to improve his chances of moving on to the next round. He’s just 11 points above the cutoff line and can’t afford a bad race on Sunday.
Fortunately for Truex, Vegas is a track where he’s had some success at in his career. The 2017 NASCAR champion has won two of the last six races at this track in addition to four Top 5s and five Top 10s. His 11.4 average finish is 5th best among active drivers.
Truex will need a strong run this Sunday as he struggled in the 1st round of the Playoffs. The #19 car finished 22nd at Darlington, 2nd at Richmond, and 24th at Bristol last weekend.
I see Truex being a Top 10 and a Top 5 car on Sunday, but I’m not sure if he will contend for a Top 3 spot or the checkered flag by time it’s all said and done.
Denny Hamlin (+650)
Top 3 (+220)
Top 5 (+105)
Top 10 (-305)
The only driver to hang with Harvick in 2020 was Denny Hamlin, but he was left in the dust during the first round of the Playoffs. Hamlin scored a 15.3 average finish in the opening round and wasn’t a threat to win any of the first three postseason races.
Now, the #11 car heads to Las Vegas where he’s never won at before. Furthermore, he only has two Top 5s and seven Top 10s in 17 starts. Although his 14.0 average finish is 10th best among active drivers, Hamlin hasn’t cracked the Top 5 since the spring of 2015.
I believe Hamlin will slide into the Top 10, but I believe his ceiling will be a Top 7 finish. He should be avoided this weekend as there are other drivers with more potential and better value.
Chase Elliott (+700)
Top 3 (+250)
Top 5 (+125)
Top 10 (-265)
Like Hamlin, Chase Elliott has also never won at this track. In fact, he’s crashed out of this race in three of his seven career starts. That’s more DNFs than his two Top 5s and just as many as his three Top 10s. Elliott finished 26th in the spring Vegas race this year.
Chase has bounced back in the Playoffs with a 7th last weekend at Bristol and a 5th at Richmond two weeks ago. He opened the postseason with a 20th place result at Darlington despite starting on the pole.
Because of his success over the last two weeks, I see the #9 car cracking the Top 10, but I don’t think he will outperform the Fords and Toyotas this weekend. His ceiling is a Top 10 finish, which he’s done twice in the last three races at this track.
Also like Hamlin, I believe Elliott should be avoided this weekend.
Joey Logano (+700)
Top 3 (+185)
Top 5 (-112)
Top 10 (-335)
Like he’s done the last few years, Logano has quietly put together a strong opening round of the Playoffs. He scored two 3rd place finishes and an 11th at Bristol last weekend. That’s a 5.7 average finish over the last three weeks.
Not only does Logano have momentum heading into Vegas on Sunday, but he’s also had a lot of success at this track.
In 14 career starts, Logano has two wins, six Top 5s, 10 Top 10s, and an 8.0 average finish which is the best among all drivers.
In the last nine Vegas races, Logano has finished in the Top 10 for all of them including five Top 5s. Furthermore, the #22 car has won two of the last three Vegas races including this year’s event.
I believe Logano will be a Top 10, Top 5 and Top 3 car on Sunday. He will be one of the drivers to challenge Harvick all race long.
The Best South Point 400 Betting Value
The following NASCAR drivers offer betting value for the South Point 400 due to their current betting odds, their past success at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and their 2020 season so far:
Brad Keselowski (+750)
Top 3 (+175)
Top 5 (-118)
Top 10 (-375)
Keselowski’s brilliant opening round of the Playoffs came to a screeching halt as he finished 34th at Bristol last weekend. The #2 car won at Richmond two weeks ago and jumped up to second in the Playoff standings behind Harvick.
Keselowski will be looking to bounce back from the disappointing Bristol performance by finishing strong at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where he’s had success at over the last seven years.
During that span, Keselowski has won three races and scored seven Top 5s and 10 Top 7s. His 11.3 average finish is 4th best among active drivers. As mentioned above, Keselowski won the inaugural South Point 400 in 2018.
Keselowski has finished in the Top 3 for three of the last four races at Vegas. He was 7th in this year’s spring Vegas event.
I see the #2 car finishing in the Top 10, Top 5, and the Top 3. I also believe he can join his teammate Joey Logano in fighting Kevin Harvick for the checkered flag.
Keselowski offers value on his moneyline to win the race, his Top 3 odds and his Top 5 odds. He’s a better wager than Hamlin and Elliott.
Kyle Busch (+800)
Top 3 (+250)
Top 5 (+125)
Top 10 (-265)
For most of the 2020 season, I swore to never pick Kyle Busch to win a race until he actually won a race. Well, I went back on that oath last weekend as I picked Busch to win the Bass Pro Shops Night Race. He almost pulled it off too. Busch finished 2nd behind Harvick despite being one of the best cars all night long.
For Busch, he turned up the heat in the opening round of the Playoffs as he was facing a potential elimination from the postseason. Busch finished 7th, 6th, and 2nd over the first three Playoff races and now comes to his home track of Las Vegas where he always wants to win at.
In 18 starts, Busch has one win, seven Top 5s, nine Top 10s, and a 12.8 average finish which is 8th best among active drivers. He has two Top 5s and three Top 10s in the last five Vegas races.
I believe Busch’s value is with his Top 5 odds. Over the last three races, Busch has a 5.0 average finish. I can see the #18 car cracking the Top 5 this weekend, but falling short of a Top 3 result.
The Top Longshot to Win the South Point 400
Austin Dillon (+5000)
Top 3 (+900)
Top 5 (+500)
Top 10 (+115)
Austin Dillon has been the biggest surprise of the postseason so far. The #3 car has raced hard over the last three weeks as he posted a 2nd at Darlington, a 4th at Richmond and a 12th at Bristol. He currently sits 8th in the Playoff standings and needs to continue his strong run in order to avoid a possible elimination.
Dillon is clearly a longshot to win the race. I also think he’s a longshot to finish in the Top 5. However, I really like his value for a Top 10 result.
Dillon finished 4th at the Vegas race this year and 12th in this event last year. That’s an 8.0 average finish in the last 2 Vegas races. He’s never crashed out at this track and his 14.7 average finish is just outside the Top 10 for active drivers. I’m picking the #3 car to crack the Top 10 on Sunday.
Avoid These Playoff Drivers at Las Vegas
The following Playoff drivers should be avoided in the South Point 400 race this Sunday:
Alex Bowman (+2800) – In seven starts at Vegas, Bowman has just one Top 10 which is tied with how many DNFs he’s scored in his career at this track. Bowman could crack the Top 15, but he’s not worthy of a wager.
Aric Almirola (+2500) – Almirola has just three Top 10s in 14 starts at this track, which is the same number of DNFs that he has. His average finish is 22.1, which is the 2nd worst among Playoff drivers.
Clint Bowyer (+5000) – Bowyer has been a value play for me in two of the three 1st Round Playoff races. Unfortunately, I have to jump off the #14 car this weekend. In 17 starts, he has just one Top 5 and four Top 10s. Yet, he hasn’t cracked the Top 10 in eight years.
Kurt Busch (+2800) – Like Bowyer, Busch has also been a regular value play for me in the postseason. Unfortunately, his home track hasn’t been too kind to him over his career. In 21 starts, he has just two Top 5s and five Top 10s. In fact, he hasn’t finished this race five times in his career. His 22.5 average finish is the worst among Playoff drivers. He finished 25th in this year’s spring race and crashed out of the South Point 400 in 2019.
South Point 400 Checkered Flag
My Top 5 drivers for the South Point 400 are Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch.
Of these five talented drivers, I believe the race winner will come from Logano, Keselowski or Harvick. Busch has yet to win a race this year and Truex has just one. I’m not as confident in these Joe Gibbs Racing teammates as I am in the two Team Penske teammates and Kevin Harvick.
The easy thing to do would be to bet on Harvick every weekend. He’s won nine of the 29 races this season and has finished in the Top 5 for 19 of them. So, if you want to take the easy way out then go with Harvick. For me, I’m going with one of the Team Penske drivers.
Since Logano won the first Vegas race earlier this season, I’m taking Keselowski to win this one. However, it really could go either way. Both of these drivers have been very strong at Vegas over the last few years. It’s really a coin flip between the two.
The following NASCAR prop bets are courtesy of DraftKings:
Car Number of Race Winner
Of my Top 5 drivers, four of them drive cars with even numbers. Only Truex is an odd numbered car. Since I have the winner coming from Harvick (#4), Logano (#22) and Keselowski (#2), it’s a no-brainer to pick the Even option for this prop bet.
South Point 400 Prop Bets –Even (-200)
Car Number of Race Winner
Over 11.5 (-125)
Under 11.5 (-108)
Two of my Top 3 drivers (Harvick and Keselowski) are Under 11.5. Although more of my Top 5 drivers are Over 11.5, I am taking the Under. Harvick and Keselowski are two of the strongest contenders to win this race. Plus, I am taking Keselowski to edge out Logano and Harvick for the checkered flag on Sunday.
Car Number of Race Winner –Under 11.5 (-108)
Manufacturer of Race Winner
I would really like to hedge my bet above by taking Toyota in this one, but the three clear favorites this weekend all drive Ford cars: Logano, Keselowski and Harvick. At -106 odds, this option provides solid betting value.
Manufacturer of Race Winner –Ford (-106)
Team of Race Winner
Joe Gibbs Racing (+185)
Team Penske (+325)
Stewart-Haas Racing (+350)
Hendrick Motor Sports (+500)
Any Other Team (+2000)
Richard Childress racing (+2200)
Chip Ganassi Racing (+2500)
Roush Fenway Racing (+8000)
JTG Daughtery Racing (+8000)
At +325 odds, how can you not go with Team Penske? Logano and Keselowski are two of my Top 3 drivers this weekend. Furthermore, they’ve won four of the last seven races at this track.
Additionally, their Team Penske teammate Ryan Blaney has three Top 5s and five Top 10s at this track along with a 10.0 average finish which is the second best among active drivers.
Harvick and his Stewart-Haas Racing odds of +350 is appealing as well. But, this weekend’s race should come down to a Team Penske win.
Team of Race Winner –Team Penske (+325)
South Point 400 Betting Recap
Brad Keselowski (+750)
Kyle Busch (+800)
Austin Dillon (+5000)
Brad Keselowski (+750)
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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