Last Updated Oct 10, 2022, 1:01 PM

NASCAR Bank of America ROVAL 400 Picks, Predictions

There are only five races left in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season and Sunday’s Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be the final race in the Round of 12 in NASCAR's Playoffs. It’s time for four more drivers to get chopped and eliminated from playoff contention.

The ROVAL is a make-shift road course incorporating the high banks of the 1.5-mile oval with the infield course turning it into a 17-turn 2.28-mile road course. It’s the final of six road races this season.

Here’s the odds order offered by BetMGM sportsbooks and my thoughts on the drivers this week:

BANK OF AMERICA ROVAL 400 PICKS & PREDICTIONS

Chase Elliott 4/1 -  Jeff Gordon is the all-time NASCAR leader with nine road course wins. Tony Stewart is second with eight road course wins. Elliott is third with seven road course wins. Of course, Gordon and Stewart did it with only two road races a season while Elliott has had many more over the last four seasons. He won all seven of those road races in an 11-race stretch from 2018 to 2021. But he hasn’t won one in his last eight starts on them. Larson took over his role late last season winning three times, but the drought this season is the Next Gen car. It erased the edge his team had. So my thought with this drought is wondering why the sportsbooks are offering the same type of odds he had when he winning. No wins, eight straight road races. Because of the low price and not winning on road courses lately, I have to leave him off my betting scheme this week. He notched his fifth win of the season at Talladega last week which advances him into the next round regardless of what he does here.  

 "At Talladega, we really just wanted to have a solid day and try to get as many points as we could,” Elliott said. “Honestly after that second stage, I was super happy with our day. Regardless of what happened from there, I thought we had done a really good job. We had gained some good stage points and that was going to keep us in a position, we had hedged our bet to have a pretty solid points day regardless of how the finish ended up. To have the win on top of that was just icing on the cake. Now we can try to have a good weekend here at the ROVAL. Gives us an opportunity to short those stages and not have to go for stage points and hopefully we have enough pace to fight for the win."

Tyler Reddick 6/1 - This is the guy that deserves to be the favorite based on what he’s done on road courses this season with the Next Gen car. He won at Road America in July for his first career road win and then won at Indy four weeks later. Two wins in five road course races show he’s got the skills and has someone setting up the car perfect for him – proper balance for right and left turns. 

Kyle Larson 8/1 - He won his second race of the season at Watkins Glen in August and he won his first three races on road courses last season when he won 10 races overall. He falls into the category of being a good road racer but also the product of great equipment last season with Hendrick Motorsports. Elliott had the same stuff as well. But the Next Gen car this season took away that built edge Hendrick had each road race. I wonder if he races differently being somewhat safe above the cutoff line?

"I don’t think so – well, maybe a little bit,” Larson said. “You may look at a situation and think risk versus reward and maybe hold back on a move early in the race. Our road course program has been really good and I hope it carries over to this weekend. I’ve been above the cut line several times before here and have had some crazy races and results."

A.J. Allmendinger 10/1 - He just a deal to drive Cup full-time next season for Kaulig Racing so how about celebrating with a win on a road course? He’s the road ace and in NASCAR’s new era of lots of road races to keep up with growing F-1 fan interest in the U.S., I’m surprised a team hasn’t made him full-time in the last two seasons. He has two Cup wins in his career and both came on the roads, the last coming last season at Indy. He also has won the last three Xfinity Series wins on the ROVAL. I’d advise getting a piece of him this week. 

BANK OF AMERICA ROVAL 400 BETTING RESOURCES

Date: Sunday, October 9, 2022
Venue: Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course
Location: Concord, North Carolina
Distance: 252.88 miles
Laps: 109
Network-Time: NBC - 2:00 p.m.
Defending Champion: Kyle Larson

Daniel Suarez 14/1 - He won his first career Cup race at Sonoma in June. He dominated that day leading a race-high 47 laps. He was also fifth at Watkins Glen. He’s sitting seventh in points with not much cushion so he’s got to be careful out there to move to the next round.

William Byron 14/1 - He’s 10th in points and desperate to have a great finish, so maybe that’s what these lewd odds offered on him are about. It’s certainly not about his past on road courses where he has no top-fives in 20 Cup starts on them. Sure, he should have lower odds than Cindric and Blaney. Byron talks about their playoff situation.

"Rudy (crew chief, Fugle) and I have been taking it one week at a time in the playoffs,” Byron said. “We’re not worrying about races past the one that comes up next. I think it’s been working pretty well so far since we have the second-best average finish in the playoffs right now. I think when you start worrying too far in advance, that’s when mistakes happen. We’ve done a good job of showing up, having speed and executing a good race while minimizing any mistakes. Would we like to be in a better position heading into a cutoff race? Yeah, of course. We can’t worry about the what ifs. We just need to go out and do our jobs the best we can." 

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Austin Cindric 16/1 - He starts this race outside of the playoff cut by a tie-breaker Briscoe has over him. He needs a good smart race and I think this is it. I think he can win. This is his canvass. Excelling on road courses is how he was brought to NASCAR and winning Xfinity road races was how he made it to the Cup Series. He won the Daytona 500 as a rookie and just a few months later can advance to the Round of 8 by running well. His worst road course finish this season was 13th at Watkins Glen and his best was runner-up at Indy while also being fifth at Sonoma. This is my favorite bet of the week and will be my top payout if he wins. 

Christopher Bell 16/1 - He notched his first Cup win at the Daytona road course last season and was third at COTA in March. He has six top-10s in 14 Cup starts on road courses. Of all the Toyotas, he’s looked the best on the roads with the Next Gen car.

“Racing at Charlotte is always cool; all the teams’ family members are around and it’s a big event,” Bell said.“The ROVAL has become a staple on the schedule, and I hope we can go there and contend for the win this weekend.” 

Ross Chastain 16/1 - He sits pretty comfortable in third place in the playoffs and can play it safe and advance or go for the win aggressively and still be in good shape. He won the COTA race in March and his teammate won at Sonoma. Two-for-two for Trackhouse Racing to start the road course season. Chastain was also third at Road America. This is a good price, I should go get some.

Ryan Blaney 16/1 - Can you believe we have 19 different drivers winning races in 31 events so far in 2022 and Blaney isn’t one of them? He sits second in points, just two behind the leader. He won the inaugural ROVAL race in 2018 and I believe he has a great shot in his Penske Mustang to do it again.

Denny Hamlin 18/1 - He should be in decent shape sitting fourth in points no matter how he approaches this race, but I’ll guess that it won’t be any better than the previous five road races this season due to the Next Gen car this season-best finish was 14th at Indy. He has one road course win at Watkins Glen and 13 top-fives.

“The ROVAL is always crazy and obviously we need to get our program better on road courses, but we have somewhat of a cushion there to survive the day and make sure we do the things we know how to do and stay out of trouble,” Hamlin said. “We should be fine, but you never know. You could have a winner from the bottom four and everything changes. We’re going to do everything we can to fight to keep our season alive.”

Joey Logano 18/1 - His last road course race was at Watkins Glen and he finished third after leading 15 laps. Before that, he was sixth at the Indy course. Team Penske makes great road racing cars. In 38 Cup starts on the roads, he has one win at Watkins Glen and 10 top-fives.

BANK OF AMERICA ROVAL 400 CONTENDERS

Chase Briscoe 20/1 - He sits eighth in points tied with Cindric but Briscoe wins the tie-breaker. I’ve made a bet on him here I think because of his situation. He can’t afford to try and play safe. I’ve also seen him do extremely well on the road courses in Xfinity Series racing which includes winning the first Xfinity race on the ROVAL. How does he hold onto his current points situation and advance?

“Stay out of trouble,” Briscoe said. “There can be a lot of chaos at the Roval, just like we see at superspeedways and some of the bigger tracks. You can lose a ton of positions on restarts and certain turns. If you miss a turn, it can put you behind. We just need to run a good race and stay out of trouble. We’re not in a terrible position to be able to advance but we also can’t have a bad day. It’s tough to gain points but all it takes is us not getting stage points and one of the guys in the bottom four spots winning to knock us out.”

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Chris Buescher 20/1 - This guy is still beaming with confidence after his dominating Bristol win two weeks ago. A big moment in his career and also a big sign that RFK Racing has found speed. But the thing is, road racing is why he is in NASCAR. That’s his specialty. He was third in this race last season and adjusted well to the next car and was runner-up at Sonoma in June and had top-10s in his last three road course events. Inflation has made $5 not worth what it used to be, but $5 is still $5 at the sportsbook and I recommend him for a small wager just in case he goes all badass mode again. And I love the confidence in his tone.  

“As I’ve said the last few weeks, we feel really good about our chances with every type of track and race remaining on the schedule, and that is surely the case this weekend with our final road course of the year,” Buescher said. “Last year we got really close in this race, and since have made huge strides in figuring out road courses, so we feel good about our Fastenal Ford entering the weekend.”

Kevin Harvick 25/1 - He has the fifth-best average finish (13.8) on road courses among all active drivers. He has two wins and 11 top-fives in 54 road course starts. He spoke out about the Next Gen car problems last week and then NASCAR penalizes the team and suspends his crew chief Rodney Childers for four races and a $100,000 fine for unapproved alterations to help aero dynamics at Talladega. Harvick says he likes the ROVAL.

“The ROVAL’s been really good for us, and the road courses, in general, have been surprisingly good, as long as they’re dry,” Harvick said. “Joey Hand has played a huge part in helping us kind of guide the road-racing program. It’s helped me tremendously. I’ve been a lot better under braking, and a lot of that comes from confidence in the car, and that’s really been my weak point at the high-braking racetracks. The ROVAL’s not really one of those places, it’s more like Sonoma, so it’s been a really good place and I’m looking forward to going back there and continuing that trend.”

BANK OF AMERICA ROVAL 400 BETTING ANALYSIS

Kyle Busch 28/1 - He’s a Las Vegas guy I’ve been rooting for in races before he even signed with any NASCAR team. I feel like I have a vested interest in Kyle’s career. I cheered on both his championships like most do when their city team wins a title. Kyle Busch was a Las Vegas franchise before all the pro teams started calling Vegas home. So with his entire career in my scope, I’ve never him quit and check out. He’s a lame duck driver who had his crew taken away by JGR Racing and given to Hamlin who is still alive in the playoffs. I’ve also never seen him at 28-to-1 odds on a road course where he has four wins and 15 top-fives. The body language says his feelings are hurt and I don’t blame him. It’ll give him fire for next year driving the RCR No. 8 trying to win his first Daytona 500. Anyway, he talks about a lap around the ROVAL. 

“I think the hardest part is just trying to understand the different dynamics between the slow sections in the infield portion of the track versus the high-speed and high-banked portion of the oval track,” Busch said. “You are slipping in every corner, there’s not a corner where you are necessarily feeling really good about it. It’s going to be a technical challenge all the way around yet again this year.”

Martin Truex Jr. 28/1 - He was the King of the roads before Elliott took over. He has four road wins and 13 top-fives, but the Next Gen car took away any edge that JGR had on the roads. All the JGR drivers have struggled for consistency. Thoughts on the ROVAL?

“It’s a very challenging track,” Truex said. “There’s not much runoff and the turns are very tight, so you have to be on your game the whole time. For us, we want to continue improving our road course program. It has been a bit of a struggle this year, so we need to keep moving that forward because everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota have been working very hard to find speed and hopefully we’ll see that this weekend.”

Michael McDowell 28/1 - He’s another one of those drivers that made it to NASCAR due to his road racing skills. It got him noticed because he’s really good at it and he was even good at it when not having the best cars. But the Next Gen car leveled the playing field and he’s been 13th or better in all five road races with a best of third-place at Sonoma. Four top-10s in five road starts is amazing stuff.

“We all feel that the ROVAL is a track where we can race up front and finally get that win,” McDowell said. “It is a tough race and a tough track. A lot of things happen in this race, but I think we’ll be in position to get our Love’s Travel Stop/Delo Ford Mustang in victory lane.”

Brad Keselowski 40/1 - He doesn’t have any Cup wins on road courses but I saw him be runner-up three times at Watkins Glen. He has seven top-fives all time on the roads. No wins this season anywhere but lots of optimism at RFK Racing lately.

“This weekend is yet another opportunity for our team to improve, show what we’ve done since last time on a road course, and capitalize on the speed we’ve had recently,” Keselowski said. “Our company has shown what we can do on road courses this season, so I expect much of the same success with our Castrol Ford this weekend at our home track.”

BANK OF AMERICAN ROVAL 400 LONG SHOTS

Erik Jones 66/1 - In 22 Cup starts on road courses he has three top-fives and nine top-10s. This dude battles so hard each week. He's one of my favorites for it. But I didn’t bet him this week.

Cole Custer 100/1 - In 14 Cup starts on road courses he has two top-10s and an 18.4 average finish. His best this season was ninth at Indy and then was 11th at Watkins Glen where he also led seven laps.

“I’ve always loved the road-course races and I feel like I’ve actually been pretty close to winning a few and I still haven’t won one,” Custer said. “That’s probably the one thing in my career up to now that I really want to try and check off, to have a road-course win. I feel like, every single one I’ve been to, we’ve run pretty solid and I’ve been happy with it. There are so many things that have to go right to win a road-course race with the strategy, and people are running off course and running into you and spinning out. It’s just the races are so crazy that you have to have a lot of things go right, so I definitely want to try and check off that road-course win. That would be huge.”

BANK OF AMERICA ROVAL 400 TOP-5 FINISH PREDICTION

Top-5 Finish Prediction:

1 #2 Austin Cindric (16/1)
2 #10 A.J. Allmendinger (10/1)
3 #12 Ryan Blaney (16/1)
4 #9 Chase Elliott (4/1)
5 #8 Tyler Reddick (6/1)

NASCAR CUP SERIES
WEEKLY PREDICTIONS

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