NASCAR best bets at COTA: Kyle Larson favored? Chase Elliott is back? Let's roll to Austin

I have a dog that’s probably like your dog in one weird way. Every now and then, she just has to get the stink on her.

She does it by rolling in a particular spot on a nearby lawn. Flops over on her back and just writhes away as if she’s beginning to work her way down to Middle Earth.

Her walker — that’d be me — is a refined gentleman of the human race who’d never stoop and squirm to such ridiculous measures. Folks are watching, you know.

Anyway, I say all that to say this: I needed some stink on me. Bad. It was so bad, I actually needed stank, which is a cut above … or below, depending on your angle.

"Who you calling stinky?"
"Who you calling stinky?"

Week after week of bad beats at the NASCAR wagering window had me scrambling and tossing minimal bets at favorites just so I might regain the feel — and yes, smell — of a winner.

Last week at Atlanta, I won some stank, and didn’t even have to get the back of my shirt dirty.

With my (theoretical, of course) C-note, I desperately put a sawbuck on 10 different drivers — five favorites, five longer shots, including Corey LaJoie, who damn near made me richish. Joey Logano did the honors for me, and though, at +1,200 the $10 bet was only worth $120, it still smells like victory.

Joey Logano got a trophy and stopped someone's financial bleeding with his win at Atlanta last weekend.
Joey Logano got a trophy and stopped someone's financial bleeding with his win at Atlanta last weekend.

And now it’s on to Austin, the Circuit of the Americas and our first road-course race of the season. Been waiting on this one since February, because I wager on AJ Allmendinger at EVERY road course, and while he probably won’t win, you can bet your rear differential he’ll be in the mix at the end — barring the unforeseen.

So, all $100 on AJ? Not sure. Let’s go down the payoff pylon and get a feel for things …

NASCAR QNAJeff Gordon upset, Denny Hamlin dug in, Kyle Busch gives a bleep, even Rusty Wallace takes a hit

WHY FINE DENNY?Hamlin was honest. Then he was penalized. What are we teaching our kids?

Kyle Larson +650, Ross The Boss Chastain +800, Kyle Busch +800, Tyler Reddick +900 Chase Elliott +1,000,000

Chase Elliott
Chase Elliott

Reddick won two roadies last year; the Boss is defending champ in Austin. Hate to bet against either. No problem ignoring Larson at this price, however. He’s OK with right-hand turns, but good grief that’s way too low of a payout. Oh, Chase Elliott? He's coming back this week! But it's not what you think, or had hoped. The Peoples Choice will join the Fox broadcast team ... remotely, from his couch. That alone should drive the TV ratings a point higher.

William Byron +1,200, AJ Allmendinger +1,200, Daniel Suarez +1,500, Christopher Bell +1,500, Austin Cindric +1,500, Ryan Blaney +1,800, Alex Bowman +1,800

I liked it better when the betting public was oblivious to how good AJ was on road courses. His odds were much higher last year, probably because he wasn’t a full-time Cupper and therefore not given proper respect.

Joey Logano +2,500, Denny Hamlin +2,500, The Other Chase, Briscoe +2,500, Michael McDowell +3,000, Martin Truex +3,000, Kevin Harvick +3,000, Chris Buescher +3,000, Brad Keselowski +3,000, Jordan Taylor +4,000

Just one of Joey’s 32 career wins came on a road course, which explains his high number here. Sports-car ace Jordan Taylor is getting Chase Elliott’s No. 9 keys this weekend, and he’ll be fun to watch in his Cup debut. He’s been helping set up the Chevy that NASCAR is taking to Le Mans this summer, so he’s not coming in blind.

Ty Gibbs +5,000, Kimi Raikkonen +5,000, Erik (With a K) Jones +5,000, Jimmie Not Jimmy Johnson +5,000, Bubba Wallace +8,000, Austin Dillon +8,000

Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi is one of two former F1 champs classing up the joint this week. This ain’t Chuck Yeager flying a crop-duster, but it’s gotta be quite an adjustment. Oh, by the way, say “Hey” to Jimmie.

Todd Gilliland +10,000, Ryan Preece +10,000, 2-Wide Noah Gragson +10,000, Justin Haley +10,000, Jenson Button +10,000, Aric (With an A) Almirola +10,000, Harrison Burton +20,000

Jenson Button is the other former F1 champ. Like Jordon Taylor, he’s been shaking down the Next Gen Le Mans car — he’s one of the three drivers who’ll share duties in June — so he’ll find the ride somewhat familiar. Hey, you hear that …?

Joe Williams
Joe Williams

Corey LaJoie +50,000, Ty Dillon +100,000, Josh Bilicki +100,000, Conor Daly +100,000, Cody Ware +100,000

… Welcome back to the Longshot Lounge, where this week we’re treated to the baritone brilliance of Joe Williams, whose Georgia roots and Chicago upbringing provide the perfect combo for a man who can flat front a combo. Tip your barkeep and waitress before calling it a night.

Last week at Atlanta

We’ve described the winning aroma delivered by Joey Logano, who had to perform some last-lap heroics to rescue me from that ongoing slide to the Poor Farm. Call it cheating if you want — splitting the $100 10 ways in search of a win at damn near any cost — but with two turns to go, it wasn’t a given, so I ain’t apologizing.

The $20 net gain didn't put a real dent in the season-long losses, so we need to keep our roll a-goin'.

This week at Austin

AJ knows the way to Victory Lane
AJ knows the way to Victory Lane

Let’s just get it over with. I’m putting $50 on AJ Allmendinger because I know he’s the best road-course racer in NASCAR and he’s not afraid to rattle some cages along the way. I'm not crazy about his full-time Cup status this year, because he's less likely to, ahem, do whatever it takes to win.

I’m also not crazy about his lower-than-usual payoff — +1,200 — but a win would bring $600 and that’ll pay the light bill. For now, anyway.

After that, let’s go $25 each on Christopher Bell and Austin Cindric, a pair of road-racing aces who would each pay $375 with a win at +1,500.

The only longer-shots who tempted me were Michael McDowell and Jimmie Johnson. But I can’t quite pull those triggers.

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: NASCAR odds, COTA: Kyle Larson favored; Chase Elliott returns (kinda)