NASCAR Cup Series: Instacart 500 Betting Analysis

Posted by Derrick Harper on March 12, 2021 in

The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series resumes on Sunday, March 14 with the Race at Phoenix, also known as The Instacart 500. The race will be held at the renowned Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona, where Chase Elliott will look to bounce back from a poor finish in Las Vegas, as he looks to take one step closer to winning his second Cup Series title. Let’s take a closer look at the upcoming race so you can bet against their NASCAR odds.

NASCAR Cup Series Race at Phoenix – Instacart 500 Betting Preview

The Race at Phoenix will see 38 drivers complete 312 laps and will have accumulated slightly over 500 kilometers (513) – hence the name Instacart 500. The one-mile-long track is a tri-oval with an asphalt racing surface, which has also adopted the name “the dessert oddball” due to its unusual shape that got introduced with the so-called dogleg.

Its odd shape and design make Phoenix Raceway one of the least-favorite tracks amongst the drivers, who have expressed their complaints regarding the difficulty of passing other drivers. Even with the introduction of progressive banking, the “issue” has yet to be fixed, making it that more important for the drivers to keep up the pace and not fall behind early.

While drivers get ready for one of the toughest races of the season, you can get prepared to bet on this event with this NASCAR betting preview. Check out our top picks and best bets for Sunday’s race.

The Drivers

Chase Elliott – Odds to win: +550 at MyBookie

Chase Elliott is the defending Phoenix race winner and also the defending Cup Series champions, so it should not come off as a shock he enters Sunday’s racer as one of the main favorites to claim the checkered flag. Even though he has won on this track last time out, that does not necessarily guarantee he will do it again, especially with the parity that we’ve seen so far this season.

Unlike how it was in 2020, it seems like the gaps between teams in 2021 are not nearly as large, which is definitely a good sign for all NASCAR fans, but it also makes betting on the favorites far less appealing.

Kevin Harvick – Odds to win: +650 at MyBookie

Kevin Harvick is priced as the second-favorite to win the race, which may seem fair, but Harvick wasn’t great at Phoenix in November when he finished seventh and failed to lead a single lap. We, however, can’t ignore Harvick’s absurdly good top-10 streak ahead of this race, which likely won’t end on Sunday.

The 45-year-old driver has finished inside the top-10 in every Phoenix race since 2013 when he placed 13th, which translates to a string of 15 top-10 finishes across the last eight years. What’s more, Harvick has won six out of those 15 races, which is quite remarkable even though he has not won any of his last five.

Kyle Busch  – Odds: +800 at MyBookie

Like Harvick, Kyle Busch seems to like racing in Phoenix, where he has been consistently competitive over the years. Although Harvick is still the most successful driver at this track (nine wins), Busch is the next-most successful drive here with three.

The gap between nine and three wins is rather big, but we have to note that Busch has accrued five consecutive top-three finishes in Phoenix before last year’s rendition on this track. He is also coming off a third-place finish in Las Vegas, so there is no denying Busch is in great form and more than ready to secure his fourth win in the Valley of the Sun.

Martin Truex Jr.  – Odds to win: +1000 at MyBookie

Some may argue the betting odds offered on Martin Truex Jr are a bit too high and perhaps they are, but in our book, anyone should avoid betting on him for this race. Truex Jr has proven to be a hit-or-miss on this track as he can have very good performances, but also terrible ones and there is no way of telling which version of Truex Jr we will get on Sunday.

There is always a chance he might surprise everyone and prove us wrong. That said, Truex Jr’s average finishing position in Phoenix is 15.87, which is just not good enough for us to risk out money.

Darkhorse Pick

Ryan Preece – Odds to win: +20000

No betting preview is complete without a longshot bet and for this race, we picked Ryan Preece. The 30-year-old driver enters this race 13th in the standings, yet is still priced as high as +20000, which even to a naked eye should come off as a very solid longshot bet.

It’s important to note we wouldn’t bet on this guy to win the race, but instead on a top-10 finish, which should be within the realm of possibilities. Preece might not be the best driver in the field nor has he had a good 2020 season, but he has usually done well on flat tracks – securing 16th at New Hampshire, 18th here at Phoenix, 19th at Martinsville and 20th at Richmond