Can Anyone Stop Kyle Larson? NASCAR At Pocono Doubleheader Preview, Betting Odds, Picks


After Kyle Larson claimed yet another win last Sunday at Nashville Superspeedway, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Pocono Raceway for a doubleheader weekend, with races on Saturday and Sunday creating more betting opportunities.

Saturday’s race is at 3 p.m. EST on NBCSN, while Sunday’s event starts at 3:30 p.m.

Race one is 325 miles long, while race two is 350. Without qualifying, Larson will start from the pole position as determined by NASCAR’s qualifying formula.

For the second race, the field will be partially inverted for the start. Finishing positions 1-20 will invert, meaning the race winner will start 20th on Sunday and the 20th place will start first, while the rest of the field will start where they finished on Saturday.

To bet this weekend’s races, don’t wager on Sunday’s race until Saturday’s wraps up.

Passing at Pocono is tough and the field gets spread out quickly, making it difficult to win from deep in the field. Last season, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin finished top-2 in each of the doubleheader races, winning one apiece.

Here is what you need to know to bet on Saturday’s race, all odds are courtesy of Draftkings Inc DKNG.

Betting favorites

  • Kyle Larson (+225 to win, -275 top-5)
  • Denny Hamlin (+750 to win, -104 top-5)
  • Kyle Busch (+800 to win, +100 top-5)
  • Chase Elliott (+800 to win, +100 top-5)
  • Kevin Harvick (+900 to win, +116 top-5)

Larson enters the race on the hottest of hot streaks. Not only has he won three consecutive races (four if you count the All-Star Race), but he is now just 10 points back of Hamlin for the championship lead. He had three straight runner-up finishes before winning the Coca-Cola 600 and has led 1,426 laps on the season.

Hamlin won the Sunday race of the Pocono doubleheader last season and finished second on Saturday. He has six career wins at Pocono, giving him a great shot to break through for his first victory of the 2021 season.

Both Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott have been running well as of late and have one win apiece this season. Elliott finished third at Nashville before being disqualified for having five loose lugnuts at the end of the race but is up to fourth in points while Busch is sixth.

Harvick is also winless on the season. However, he has 12 top-10 finishes and five in the last seven races. Like Hamlin, he figures to have a strong chance to win his first race of the year.

Mid-range picks

  • Martin Truex Jr. (+1100 to win, +130 top-5)
  • Brad Keselowski (+1400 to win, +155 top-5)

Truex has top-10 finishes in six of the last eight Pocono races and won at the track in 2015 and 2018. He is farther down the betting board with the seventh-best odds to win, but his strong track record at Pocono offers solid value.

Keselowski has 13 top-10 finishes at Pocono in 22 starts, including a win in 2016. Since 2013, he has just one finish worse than 12th in 16 races.

While Keselowski has not performed well as of late (his best finish was 11th in the past six races), Pocono is one of his better tracks.

Longshots to watch

  • Aric Almirola (+6600 to win, +650 top-5)
  • Ross Chastain (+8000 to win, +700 top-5)
  • Austin DIllon +12000 to win, +950 top-5)

Almirola won the pole at Nashville and scored his second top-10 of the year, finishing 4th. He placed in the top-5 in both Pocono races a year ago and has found some speed in his #10 Stewart-Haas Racing machine as of late.

Riding a hot driver, Chastain finished second to Larson at Nashville. Discounting trouble at Charlotte, Chastain has three top-10s in the past four races and is working his way into playoff contention.

As for Dillon, he is 11th in points and is in good shape to reach the playoffs once again. While he has not shown race-winning speed this season, with such long odds it is worth a dart throw.

Remember, he won at Texas last summer seemingly out of nowhere. He is an interesting long shot to look at.

Race picks: How can you bet against Larson right now?

I am not going to, especially with him starting first for Saturday’s race. Joining him in the top-5 will be Hamlin, Harvick, Keselowski and Elliott.

As for Sunday’s race, a lot will depend on the outcome of race one and who starts where. And don't forget to wait to place bets until the action ends on Saturday.

Photo: Kyle Larson, 2018. Zach Catanzareti Photo via Flickr

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