Last Updated Nov 04, 2022, 7:39 AM
NASCAR Xfinity 500 Picks, Predictions, Odds
Sports Betting Expert
We’ve come to the end of the road, almost.
Just two races remain on the season, and Sunday’s Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway’s flat half-mile paperclip layout will be the final race of the Round of 8 in the playoffs. Four drivers will get chopped from the playoffs after the race and four drivers will comprise of the Championship 4 and race for the season championship next week at Phoenix Raceway.
Here’s a look at what I’m thinking this week using the odds order from BetMGM sportsbooks.
XFINITY 500 BETTING RESOURCES
Date: Sunday, October 30, 2022
Venue: Martinsville Speedway
Location: Ridgeway, Virginia
Distance: 263 miles
Network-Time: NBC - 2:00 p.m.
Defending Champion: Alex Bowman
XFINITY 500 PICKS & PREDICTIONS
Chase Elliott (6/1) - He deserves to be the favorite because Hendrick Motorsports has this track figured out, he kicked it strong in the April race with the NextGen car leading 185 laps but finishing 10th. He’s got a championship at stake and he sits third in points. He has to race smart and points race here, I think. Sure he’ll have a car that can win, but the bigger picture is at play here. In 14 Cup starts at Martinsville he has a win, five top-fives, and 903 laps led.
Denny Hamlin (7/1) - He’s the active leader with five Martinsville wins and 1,987 laps led. He has 16 top-fives in 33 career Cup starts. No one is better than him at Martinsville because he’s a Virginian and has been racing at the track forever. But he still needs the car and the NextGen car has not been able to meet his requirement standards. He started 25th in the spring race and finished 28th. He’s fifth in points and needs help to make the Championship 4, or he could just win. He’s got a plan.
“It’s going to be a fight. It’s definitely not going to be easy,’ Hamlin said. “I expect that passing is going to be very difficult, so track position is going to be super important. We’ve got to go in there Saturday and qualify up front and have good short run speed in addition to the long run speed. That has hurt us pretty bad the last couple of weeks but knowing how difficult it’s going to be to pass, I think we’ll put a little more emphasis on that and hopefully be able to get some stage points to give ourselves a chance to advance.”
Ryan Blaney (8/1) - There were 19 different drivers with wins this season and Blaney wasn’t one of them. But he’s still alive in the playoffs. He can still be the 2022 champ with a great run here where he’s been great since coming to Team Penske. All six of his top-fives in Martinsville have come in the nine races since 2018 when he signed with Penske. He should have at least one win there by now, like last spring when he won the first two stages, led 157 laps, and then finished 11th. He was fourth in the spring race this season. I’m on board for a win this week. Punt somebody Ryan, be tough, go big! Search for better odds.
William Byron (8/1) - He sits fourth in points and with a nice day he can stay above the cutline. But Hamlin is only 5-points behind him. I think he can win again. He won in the spring and led a race-high 212 laps, but he was strong there before the NextGen car as well. His last win was at Martinsville. Let’s see if they can dust off all those notes from April and see if they can get themselves into the Championship 4 at Phoenix.
Joey Logano (9/1) - He’s leading the playoffs. He’s going for his second title. It’s right there and Phoenix is a great track for him. But so is Martinsville with a win and nine top-fives in 27 starts. He’s led 1,098 laps. The problem I have this week is that he may not go for the win, or make a move to irritate someone who can retaliate at Phoenix, and at Martinsville, you have to ruffle some feathers to win. It’s hard to pass. Play it safe, go for the win next week.
Martin Truex Jr. (9/1) - From 2017 to 2021, no one was better at Martinsville than Truex. Three wins, seven top-fives, and lots of laps led. NextGen car enters 2022 and goodbye to a strong edge. It’s been like that for Toyota drivers collectively at curtain tracks. No one that follows NASCAR is running to bet this at BetMGM because of the new car and also because he hasn’t won a race in 2022. He missed the playoffs. This price is definitely malpractice by the robots making the odds. He was 22nd in the spring race.
“Hopefully it’s a better race for us than the first time there,” Truex said. “We were off a little compared to how we’ve been there the past handful of years with the old car. I felt like we got it going pretty good in the race, so if we can just unload a little closer and be able to qualify better, that would help a lot. I feel like we’ve learned a lot as a company since that first race and our teammates tested there a while back, so I think we’ll certainly be better, but it’s going to be really tough to pass like we saw in the spring. Qualifying and pit road are both going to be very important; not that they aren’t always, but this week more so than normal.”
Kyle Larson (12/1) - He needs room to do his thing, lots of room. Martinsville and superspeedways aren’t his thing because everyone is so close and bunched together. In 15 Cup starts at Martinsville, he has two top-fives and 112 laps led for a 20th-place average finish. He’s a definite pass for me here.
Christopher Bell (14/1) - He doesn’t have anything special in five Cup starts at Martinsville, but I do see some similarities in this half-mile flat paperclip as the 1-mile flat paperclip at New Hampshire that he won at in July. He’s seventh in the playoffs with his only way in by winning. So you got that going for you with a bet on him.
“The spring race at Martinsville was very unique, because it was very hard to pass,” Bell said. “We qualified well and ran inside the top-10 until we had a pit road penalty bury us and we weren’t able to recover. We showed potential there and I think JGR as a whole has improved on their short track program. I’ve got all the faith in the world that we are going to bring another Camry capable of winning, and I have to go out there and see what we can do.”
Kyle Busch (14/1) - What better way to close out his career with JGR then getting a win. The two-time Cup champ deserved better than the shove JGR gave him but he’s still grinding. He was seventh in the spring race which is a poor Martinsville finish by his high standards he set for himself. He has 17 top-fives in 34 Cup starts at Martinsville with 1,429 laps led. Only two wins, but his past shows he’s always there. I expect him to be the top Toyota on Sunday.
Ross Chastain (14/1) - He’s only 5-points behind the leader in the playoffs. He can play it cool here and cruise into Phoenix with a chance at winning it all. He was fifth in the spring race. I think he’ll play it safe here and not go all-out for the win. He’s got better business plans like winning a title. He leads all drivers with 13 top-fives this season. NASCAR Cup Champion, Chastain. I could see it. He’s certainly earned it.
Kevin Harvick (16/1) - He’s a short track guy, drove on short tracks growing up, and got noticed on them to pave his way into NASCAR, but has just one win in 42 Cup starts and only five top-fives. He talks about making contact with other cars at Martinsville.
“You can pretty much tell if it’s on purpose or not on purpose,” Harvick said. “You just have to be mentally prepared to know that there is going to be contact as you go through that race. You just have to try and stay as calm as possible. But, usually, if it’s the same guy that keeps having contact, then you know you have to do something different.”
Tyler Reddick (25/1) - The guy has three wins on the season and he’s 25-to-1 when several winless drivers have ridiculously low odds? This is a copy odds shot from Caesars or Caesars copied BetMGM. Whatever the case may be Reddick’s odds are stupid so I bet it purely out of spite. I also bet it because his teammate was killing it late in the spring race.
Brad Keselowski (28/1) - He’s a two-time winner at Martinville with 12 top-fives in 25 Cup starts there. He’s led 891 laps. He’s always someone to take notice of here, but all the good stats were with Team Penske. RFK racing is finding its way and also finding speed.
“I feel good about where we’re at headed into the weekend,” Keselowski said. “We had a really great test here a few weeks back, and both our cars unloaded with speed in the spring in what felt like a long time ago compared to how far we’ve come in the summer months. Sunday is yet another great opportunity for our team and we’re excited to get it going in the Kohler Generators Mustang.”
Aric Almirola (33/1) - The low odds should be an indicator that he likes the track. But his only top-five was a fourth-place when driving for Petty in 2012. He was eighth in the pring race, sixth last fall and seventh in the fall of 2020.
“With the last two races being Martinsville and Phoenix, I think we have a really good opportunity to close out the year strong,” Almirola said. “We had a good car at Martinsville and Phoenix earlier this year and I think we have learned a lot, especially at the shorter tracks. I couldn’t ask for two better tracks to try and finish strong at. We’re still hunting that win, but shooting for the top-five in both races is very realistic.”
Bubba Wallace (33/1) - I’m still a little annoyed by his rage at Las Vegas that cost him a suspension last week. Maybe the time-out cooled him off. He was 16th in the April race. But in 2013 and 2014 he won the Truck Series race at Martinsville.
Chase Briscoe (33/1) - He’s in last place in the Round of 8 and he needs a win to advance for a run at the championship at Phoenix next week. The great news is that he lasted this long in the playoffs. It was an impressive run. The reason you might bet on him to win is that he has to win and he’ll do all he can to get it. He was ninth in the April race. He explains the chaos of Martinville.
“Well, to make some of those moves guys typically want to make on a short track, whether that’s giving a little bump to mess up another driver, or even just going for the dive bomb, you have to have the opportunity. You need to be able to get right on their bumper. You can’t do that at a lot of these places, but at Martinsville you have to slow down so much for the corner. You can just drive in deeper and get right to their bumper or, if you can get to their inside or outside, you can take away the space they need to make that turn. If you want to get to a guy and move him up out of the groove, you’re going to get the chance to do it. You just hope you’re not the guy that someone is trying to move because it’s impossible to get away from and sometimes impossible to come back from.”
XFINITY 500 LONG SHOTS
Austin Dillon (40/1) - This is a live long shot to consider because he had one of the best cars down the stretch in the April race finishing a career-best third. It was his third top-five at Martinsville.
Chris Buescher (40/1) - He was 15th in the April race and has a 19th-place average finish in 14 Cup starts. He’s sneaky fast these days.
“Martinsville is another track where the tables have turned a bit for us lately, in a good way, so we’re ready to get back up there,” Buescher said. “Both of our RFK cars had speed there this spring, and we both had great qualifying runs inside the top-10. Finishing strong is what we’re going for this season, and this is another great chance to do so in a really cool scheme recognizing Matt Kenseth and our longtime partner Fifth Third Bank.”
Daniel Suarez (40/1) - In 11 Cup starts at Martinsville he’s averaged a 23rd-place finish with two top-10s as his best. He’s a definite pass for me.
A.J. Allmendinger (50/1) - He’s a two-time runner-up at Martinsville and has seven top-10s over his 22 Cup starts at Martinsville. His road racing skills help him here with entry and exit of turns. He’s looked very competitive with the NextGen car. He’s someone to keep an eye on in Saturday’s practice.
“I love racing at Martinsville,” Allmendinger said. “It’s one of my favorite oval tracks. It’s so much fun and physically demanding with how small it is. This cup program has made so many gains lately, I’m really excited to get back in our No. 16 Camaro ZL1 with Pardon My Cheesesteak on board this week.”
Austin Cindric (50/1) - I always say to only bet him on road courses or superspeedway races, but I could give a pass for Martinsville too because Team Penske makes great cars for this track. He was 11th in his first Cup start there in April and his teammates both finished top-four.
Noah Gragson (66/1) - This was a must-bet for me because I have a short track racer that has won at Martinsville in Xfinity (2020) and Trucks (2017) which would be nice by itself. But I also get the bonus of getting him to drive a Hendrick car, an organization that has more wins at Martinsville than any other. His teammate, William Byron, led a race-high 212 laps while winning the spring race in the NextGen car. Then I get the added bonus that this No. 48 team won this race last fall. Different car this season, but they just won. They know how to win here. Gragson knows how to win here. Hendrick knows how to win here. He’s a Vegas kid so I’m a bit biased but I still made the bet.
Ty Gibbs (100/1) - Toyota hasn’t been good collectively on these types of tracks, or rather anything not a 1.5-or 2-mile track. I like the idea .of getting 100-to-1 in his first Martinsville Cup race, I just don’t think Toyota has advanced anything with the NextGen car
Erik Jones (100/1) - In 11 Cup starts at Martinsville, he’s averaged a 19.5 finish but finished 13th in the April race. There was a time a couple of decades ago when I bet Petty cars at Martinsville and won with Bobby Hamilton and John Andretti. A long time ago, that is, when getting practice results by phone call wasn’t unusual.
Cole Custer (100/1) - He’s usually priced much higher, but drops down here for some reason. I think he’s a lame-duck driver and doesn’t know it yet. In five Cup starts at Martinsville he’s averaged a 20th-place finish. I don’t think I could bet him at 500-to-1.
XFINITY 500 TOP-5 FINISH PREDICTION
Top-5 Finish Prediction:
1 #12 Ryan Blaney (8/1)
2 #24 William Byron (8/1)
3 #22 Joey Logano (9/1)
4 #18 Kyle Busch (14/1)
5 #11 Denny Hamlin (7/1)
NASCAR CUP SERIES