NASCAR at Chicago: Vegas odds, fantasy advice, prediction, sleepers, drivers to watch
After 26 regular-season races, the playoff field is set with 16 drivers vying for the series championship. The 10-race, four-round playoff is designed to create a Final Four-like showdown for the season finale Nov. 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
While Jimmie Johnson will be going for his eighth NASCAR Cup Series championship, Martin Truex Jr. is actually the odds-on favorite to win it all. The points leader has a 20-point head-start thanks to four race wins and 18 stage wins – seven more than the next-closest driver (Kyle Busch).
Truex leads all drivers in average running position (7.7), driver rating (114.3), fastest laps run (976, 16%) and laps led (1,646, 22.3%) this season and begins his title hunt at a track he won at last season — Chicagoland Speedway.
The 1.5-mile track located south of Chicago is the first of five intermediate tracks in the playoffs and resembles Atlanta Motor Speedway the most due to its tire wear. Auto Club Speedway and Homestead are a close second. Drivers which have fared well at these tracks should do well Sunday.
Race-favorite Truex seems like an obvious driver to win Sunday but we like Brad Keselowski. The No. 2 Team Penske driver owns the best average finish at Chicago the past four races (5.2), finished second earlier this season at Auto Club, and won at Atlanta.
What are the Las Vegas odds for the first NASCAR playoff race at Chicago?
Here are the race odds according to Westgate Sportsbook:
Martin Truex Jr. 7/2
Kyle Busch 7/2
Kyle Larson 5/1
Denny Hamlin 8/1
Kevin Harvick 8/1
Brad Keselowski 10/1
Matt Kenseth 10/1
Jimmie Johnson 15/1
Erik Jones 18/1
Chase Elliott 20/1
Ryan Blaney 25/1
Joey Logano 30/1
Kurt Busch 35/1
Jamie McMurray 35/1
Clint Bowyer 40/1
Ryan Newman 100/1
Austin Dillon 100/1
Kasey Kahne 100/1
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 100/1
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 100/1
Paul Menard 100/1
Trevor Bayne 300/1
Ty Dillon 300/1
Aric Almirola 500/1
Chris Buescher 500/1
AJ Allmendinger 500/1
Michael McDowell 1000/1
Danica Patrick 1000/1
Field (all others) 500/1
Who are the sleepers to win the Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicago?
Tough to call Chase Elliott a sleeper but he still hasn't won a Cup Series race and is listed at 20/1 to do so at Chicago, where he's finished third in his only start at the track. Elliott led 75 laps last season at Chicago and finished fifth at Atlanta and 10th at Auto Club, tracks similar to Chicago.
Erik Jones has a 5.67 average finish over his past six races and three top-seven finishes at the previous three 1.5-mile tracks this season. Kevin Harvick told reporters this week Jones has some of the fastest equipment in the whole sport but rookie mistakes have cost him. If Jones can put it all together at Chicago, look out.
Which drivers are best for fantasy NASCAR at at Chicago?
From last year's race at Homestead to this summer's race at Kentucky, Kyle Larson has a 2.7 average finish at 1.5-mile tracks if you throw out the Coca-Cola 600. Six races, 2.7 average finish. He's a fantasy lock for us Sunday.
To get Truex and Larson in your DraftKings lineup, you'll have to pick a cheap driver like Michael McDowell, Aric Almirola, or Matt DiBenedetto. Our favorite of the three is McDowell.
Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick are notorious for their dominance at 1.5-mile tracks over the years but Ryan Blaney, who led laps at Texas and Kansas and was fourth last year at Chicago may surprise.