NASCAR betting: Is it wide open ahead of the first Cup race in St. Louis?

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NASCAR’s Cup Series is making its first trip to World Wide Technologies Raceway on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET, FS1) and there’s a familiar face as the favorite for the win.

Yes, Kyle Larson is once again the betting favorite ahead of the race. But Larson is far from an overwhelming favorite. He’s at +750 to win and there are seven other drivers at +1000 or better to get the win.

The track formerly known as Gateway has hosted NASCAR races since 1997 when it first hosted an Xfinity Series race. The Truck Series began racing at the track a year later.

NASCAR hasn’t raced at the track every year since the late 1990s, however. The Xfinity Series departed the track after 2010 and hasn’t returned. It races at Portland this weekend. The Truck Series also didn’t race from 2011-13 at Gateway before returning in 2014 for an annual weekend.

CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 29: Kyle Larson (#5 Hendrick Motorsports HendrickCars.com Chevrolet) leads Ross Chastain (#1 TrackHouse Racing Advent Health Chevrolet)  during the running of the NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 on May 29, 2022, at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC.(Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson is the favorite ahead of Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Gateway. (Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

There are six former Truck Series winners at Gateway in the field for Sunday’s race, though it’s doubtful those wins are going to mean too much. Kevin Harvick won in 2010, Bubba Wallace won in 2014, Cole Custer was the winner in 2015, Christopher Bell won in 2016, Justin Haley won in 2018 and Ross Chastain got a win at Gateway in 2019. Chastain is the only driver among the six who you can consider a favorite to win. He’s at +900.

Here’s what you need to know to bet Sunday’s race. The 1.25-mile track is egg-shaped with different corner radiuses at each end of the track. It’s a similar shape to Darlington, but Darlington has much more banking and the preferred line is near the wall. The two tracks aren’t much alike at all.

All odds are from BetMGM.

The favorites

  • Kyle Larson (+750)

  • Denny Hamlin (+800)

  • Kyle Busch (+800)

  • Martin Truex Jr. (+900)

  • Ross Chastain (+900)

  • William Byron (+900)

Larson continues his run as the weekly favorite and while we’re skeptical of Larson as the favorite, we’re also not sure who we’d have in his spot if he wasn’t the favorite. Hamlin and Busch finished 1-2 in that marathon at Charlotte, while Truex feels on the precipice of a win. Chastain led the most laps at Charlotte and Byron has been fast nearly everywhere this season.

Good mid-tier value

  • Joey Logano (+1600)

  • Alex Bowman (+1800)

Logano’s season has been a roller coaster with more downs than ups but he’s worth a flier here. With the playing field relatively level for everyone entering Sunday, Bowman feels like a sneaky good bet. Especially at these odds.

Don’t bet this driver

  • Aric Almirola (+3300)

We’d probably have Almirola in the next section if he was at +5000 or longer. But at +3300 it’s hard to find value in a driver who has just four top-10 finishes this season.

Looking for a long shot?

  • Brad Keselowski (+6600)

The season has been miserable for Keselowski so far. He has one top-10 finish and that came at Daytona to start the season. There’s been some promise in recent weeks, however, and maybe it all comes together this week. This honor was between Keselowski and Bubba Wallace (+8000) as Wallace continues to have speed but an incomprehensibly bad pit crew.

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