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NASCAR betting: There's no clear favorite ahead of Atlanta's redesigned second race

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The second Atlanta race of the season has no clear favorite.

No driver has odds better than +1000 at BetMGM ahead of Sunday’s Quaker State 400 (3 p.m. ET, USA). The race is the second at the reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway, a track remodeled to make the racing look more like it does at Daytona and Talladega than at other 1.5-mile tracks.

The experiment worked as designed in March for the debut race at the redone track. There were 46 lead changes and 11 cautions as 12 drivers failed to finish because of crash damage and there was even a 12-car pileup.

William Byron won that race and he enters as one of the four co-favorites at +1000. Byron was the first of five Chevrolet drivers in the top six positions as the track and NASCAR’s car rules kept the cars close together.

SONOMA, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 12: (L-R) Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, William Byron, driver of the #24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet, Alex Bowman, driver of the #48 Ally/Better Together Chevrolet, and Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, share a laugh at the 1948 Club prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 12, 2022 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Three of Hendrick Motorsports' four drivers are among the top six favorites ahead of Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

It’ll be fascinating to see if cars can stick as close to each other on Sunday as they did a few months ago with all of the development teams have done on their new vehicles. While we’re not expecting a strung-out race thanks to NASCAR and Atlanta’s stated desire for pack racing, it’s not going to be totally surprising if a team or two is able to relatively drive away from the rest of the field because of its car advancements.

It also won’t be surprising if there’s another big pileup or two. That risk is a big reason why there’s no driver with low odds ahead of the race. We saw in March that crashes can happen anywhere in the field.

Here’s a look at what you need to know to bet the race. You can view the full list of odds here.

The favorites

  • Chase Elliott (+1000)

  • Denny Hamlin (+1000)

  • Ryan Blaney (+1000)

  • William Byron (+1000)

  • Kyle Larson (+1200)

  • Ross Chastain (+1200)

Elliott has finished in the top two in each of the last two races and was sixth in March. Blaney and Hamlin have proven to be two of the best at Talladega and Daytona in recent years and we already mentioned that Byron won at Atlanta earlier this year. Larson is near the top of the odds on a weekly basis with Chastain typically close behind. Chastain was second in March.

Good mid-tier value

  • Martin Truex Jr. (+2200)

  • Alex Bowman (+2800)

Truex was eighth in March and we’re convinced he’s going to win a race sometime soon. Bowman was 10th and his odds relative to his Hendrick teammates make him a no-brainer selection if you’re looking to take a flier.

Don’t bet this driver

  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (+2500)

Stenhouse led 22 laps in March but isn’t worth betting at these odds. If he was at +4000 or so then it’s a no-brainer to take a risk on him.

Looking for a long shot?

  • Erik Jones (+3300)

Jones was 14th in March and is inside the top 20 in points. He probably needs to win to make the playoffs given there are already 13 drivers with wins so far this season and Atlanta could be his best chance.