NASCAR betting preview: Chase Elliott is favored to get his first Michigan win

What will Sunday’s race at Michigan look like?

The NASCAR Cup Series makes its only trek to the backyard of Ford and General Motors this weekend (3 p.m. ET, USA) and we’re not totally sure what the racing is going to look like with the new Cup Series car. Michigan has been a fast and smooth track ever since it was repaved a decade ago and passing grooves have been at a premium in the corners.

The racing isn’t going to look like the pack racing that we’ve seen at the redesigned Atlanta this year, but it may also be a little closer together than it has been at other intermediate tracks so far this season. Could that lead to a lot of passing?

Maybe. Drivers have said that the new Cup Series car is just as or even more aerodynamically sensitive than the previous Cup Series car. High speeds and an aerodynamically sensitive car are typically not a good combination for a lot of passing.

Points leader Chase Elliott enters Sunday’s race as the BetMGM favorite to win despite not having any wins at Michigan in his career. He has been a top-10 machine at the track, however. Elliott has made 11 starts in his career at the two-mile oval and has 10 top-10 finishes. He’s the only active driver to have an average finish inside the top 10 at the track.

Here’s what you need to know to make any bets on the winner of the race.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JULY 31: Chase Elliott (#9 Hendrick Motorsports NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet) during the NASCAR Cup Series Verizon 200 at the Brickyard on July 31, 2022 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Chase Elliott's top-two streak broke at Indianapolis but he's the favorite to win Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) (Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The favorites

  • Chase Elliott (+600)

  • Kyle Busch (+600)

  • Kyle Larson (+700)

  • Ross Chastain (+750)

  • Denny Hamlin (+800)

Larson has three wins in 13 starts and has six top fives. He only has one other top-10 finish that wasn’t a top five. It’s boom or bust for him. Busch has one win in 33 Michigan starts and has finished in the top 10 less than half the time. Hamlin has two wins and 16 top 10s in 31 starts, while Chastain finished 35th a year ago because of mechanical problems. That’s been his only Michigan start in decent equipment.

Good mid-tier value

  • Martin Truex Jr. (+1400)

  • Alex Bowman (+2200)

Both Truex and Bowman are winless at Michigan. Truex has 10 top fives and 14 top-10 finishes in 31 starts while Bowman has just two top-10 finishes in 12 starts. We think Bowman is going to somehow break this terrible run he’s been on. He hasn’t finished any better than 10th in his last eight races and has finished outside the top 30 in four of those.

Don't bet this driver

  • Erik Jones (+2800)

Jones and Petty GMS Racing have had fast cars at tracks like Michigan. But his odds are way too low to bet on him to win this weekend. It wouldn’t be an outright stunner if he visited victory lane but it’s also probably not going to happen.

Looking for a long shot?

  • Aric Almirola (+10000)

Almirola hasn’t been a contender for the win at all in 2022 and that’s probably not going to change on Sunday. But he has the same odds to win as Austin Hill, a driver who is making his Cup Series debut. Almirola’s odds are also nearly four times as high as Jones’ despite being a spot ahead of Jones in the points standings.