NASCAR at Martinsville betting preview: Martin Truex Jr. enters as the favorite

·3 min read

Blu Emu 500

7:30 p.m. ET Saturday, April 10 (Fox Sports 1)

Welcome to the second early-season night race at Martinsville.

The half-mile track hosted a rescheduled Cup Series event on June 10 a year ago as NASCAR tried out midweek races to get its full season complete during the coronavirus pandemic. This season, the first Martinsville race of the year is on a Saturday night.

Martinsville installed lights in 2017 and fall races at the track have recently ended after the sun has set. But the 2020 June race at the track was the Cup Series’ first evening race at Martinsville.

And guess what? The guy who has won two of the last three races that have ended under the lights is the favorite.

Martin Truex Jr. won the 2019 fall race at Martinsville and won the 2020 spring race for his only victory of the season. Those wins make him a +550 favorite on Saturday.

Truex has led over 700 laps in each of the three previous Martinsville races. He was passed for the lead by Chase Elliott in the fall with 44 laps to go and ultimately finished 22nd after he was forced to pit late in the race because of a vibration.

Will Truex make it three of four at Martinsville on Saturday night? Here’s a look at who you should bet on Saturday night. Odds are via BetMGM.

The favorites

Martin Truex Jr., +550

Denny Hamlin, +575

Chase Elliott, +600

Brad Keselowski, +600

Joey Logano, +700

Ryan Blaney, +800

Hamlin has five wins in 30 Martinsville starts and has finished in the top 10 on 21 different occasions, though he was 24th and 11th at Martinsville a year ago. Elliott finished in the top five of both Martinsville races last year and Keselowski hasn’t finished outside the top 10 at Martinsville since the fall of 2015. That’s a run of 10 races and includes two wins. If you’re betting a driver from this group, Keselowski seems like the best choice. He won in the spring of 2017 and the spring of 2019.

Good mid-tier value

Kyle Busch, +1200

Kevin Harvick, +1400

Busch won at Martinsville in the fall of 2017. Harvick won at Martinsville in the spring of 2011. They haven’t been two of the best drivers at the track recently and their most recent highlight was when Harvick tried to spin Busch out on the final lap a season ago in a last-ditch effort to make the playoffs.

That didn’t work. And while neither driver has a clear-cut case for wagering this week, you should take advantage of their relatively high odds when you can. They can win anywhere.

Don’t bet this driver

Kyle Larson, +1200

Martinsville hasn’t been too kind to Larson. He has just one top-five finish in 12 starts at the track. That was a third in 2016. His only other top-10 finish was a ninth-place run in the fall of 2019.

Looking for a longshot?

Matt DiBenedetto, +6600

DiBenedetto finished seventh and 10th at Martinsville in 2020. He’s probably not going to win on Sunday but if the top-10 speed he’s shown at the track recently is for real, he’s by far the best option among the longshots.

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