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NASCAR All-Star Race betting: Kyle Larson is the favorite and the defending champ

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It’s NASCAR All-Star Race weekend at Texas again.

The track is set to hold its second All-Star Race after a deal that replaced the spring points race at the 1.5-mile track with the exhibition. Texas Motor Speedway got the All-Star Race (8 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1) after the race spent a year at Bristol following a move from longtime home Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2019.

The race’s rules are, as always, complicated. It’s never simple enough for NASCAR to have the fastest car win over the course of 100 straightforward laps. The race is made up of four stages and the first three are 25 laps. The winners of those three stages get the first three starting spots for the final 50-lap stage. There will be a pit stop competition between stages as well and the driver of the team that wins that will start fourth in the final stage.

FORT WORTH, TEXAS - JUNE 13: Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning 
the NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway on June 13, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
FORT WORTH, TEXAS - JUNE 13: Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway on June 13, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

That’s not all, either. If there isn’t a caution between laps 15-25 in the final stage, NASCAR is going to arbitrarily throw a caution to bunch the field and create a restart. NASCAR’s been throwing debris cautions to bunch the field for more restarts for years, so even the most cynical NASCAR fans have to appreciate the transparency ahead of Sunday’s race.

Twenty drivers are already qualified for the All-Star Race and four will qualify via the Open race late Sunday afternoon. The open race consists of three stages over the course of 50 laps and each of the winners of those three stages make the main event. The fourth and final qualifier will be the winner of a fan popularity contest who didn’t win any of the three stages.

Kyle Larson won the 2021 All-Star Race and he enters the race as the favorite. Here’s what you need to know to bet the All-Star Race. All odds are from BetMGM.

The favorites

  • Kyle Larson (+450)

  • Chase Elliott (+650)

  • Kyle Busch (+700)

  • Denny Hamlin (+800)

  • William Byron (+800)

Larson’s a weekly favorite at this point even though he has just one win and is ninth in the standings so far. Each of the five drivers listed above have shown speed at intermediate tracks so far in 2022 and Byron may be the best bet of the bunch. He has two wins in 2022 and was fast at Kansas until a flat left-rear tire while leading ended his chances at a win. The left-rear tire issues that cropped up at Kansas could also pop up at Texas and throw a wrench of even more randomness into the race.

Good mid-tier value

  • Martin Truex Jr. (+1200)

  • Christopher Bell (+2000)

Truex and Bell get the nod here because of Joe Gibbs Racing’s speed at Kansas. Toyota had all six of its cars finish in the top 10 and all four of the JGR cars were in the top six. Texas and Kansas aren’t carbon copies of each other but there’s enough similarity to believe that JGR and Hendrick are the teams to beat again.

Don't bet this driver

  • Daniel Suarez (+5000)

Suarez has some tantalizing odds but he’s also got to make the All-Star Race via the Open. Betting on a driver to qualify through the Open and then win the All-Star Race isn’t a great one.

Looking for a long shot?

  • Bubba Wallace (+15000)

Wallace is automatically in the All-Star Race and had a fast car at Kansas. His finish would have been a lot better if not for a late pit stop snafu. He’s worth a flier at these odds given that speed.