Hollywood Casino 400 Betting Preview, Predictions and Eliminations

by Rick Rockwell
on October 19, 2018
13

Minute Read

On Sunday, October 21st, NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series will be live in Kansas for the Hollywood Casino 400. This is the 2nd annual race at the Kansas Speedway and it’s the final race for Round 2 of the NASCAR playoffs. At the end of the Hollywood 400, four drivers will be eliminated and the final 8 drivers will move on to Round 3.

For those looking to jump straight into the betting action for for the Hollywood Casino 400, here are the top sites we recommend:

Race Profile

The Kansas Speedway is a 1.5 mile, tri-oval track that was completed in 2001. This weekend’s Hollywood Casino 400 breaks down as follows:

  • Total Laps: 267
  • Stage 1: First 80 laps
  • Stage 2: Second 80 laps
  • Final Stage: Remaining 107 laps

NBC will broadcast this race live, beginning at 2:30 PM ET.

Coming into Kansas

The pressure is on for most of the playoff drivers especially Keselowski, Blaney, Larson and Bowman who are below the cut-off line. Only the top 8 drivers in the playoff standings will advance. Two of those eight have already clinched a spot in the 3rd round by winning the first two races of Round 2. Those drivers are Chase Elliott and Aric Almirola.

Almirola won last weekend in Talledega as he held off Clint Bowyer for the victory. Almirola led only one lap – the final lap. But, it’s the only one that really counts. Chase Elliott won two weeks ago, which was fortunate for him because he finished 31st at Talladega. Kevin Harvick is basically a lock to move on as well, due to his points.

Speaking of Harvick, he won the spring race in Kansas and is the favorite to win this Sunday. Other drivers like Truex, Logano, Bowyer and the Busch brothers are looking to remain on the right side of the cutoff line this weekend.

NASCAR Playoffs Standings

The following playoff standings are according to points. Elliott and Almirola have already advanced to the next round.

  1. Kevin Harvick (3128 pts)
  2. Kyle Busch (3111 pts)
  3. Joey Logano (3104 pts)
  4. Kurt Busch (3095 pts)
  5. Aric Almirola already advanced (3087 pts)
  6. Clint Bowyer (3086 pts)
  7. Martin Truex Jr. (3083 pts)
  8. Chase Elliott already advanced (3066)

Cutoff Line for Next Round

  1. Brad Keselowski (3065 pts)
  2. Ryan Blaney (3061 pts)
  3. Kyle Larson (3047 pts)
  4. Alex Bowman (3015 pts)

What to Watch for at Kansas

The following storylines are worth watching for at Kansas this Sunday:

  • Will a playoff driver win the race?
  • Can Harvick sweep at Kansas in 2018?
  • Will Truex Jr. win this fall race for the 2nd straight year?
  • Which drivers will be eliminated from the playoffs?
  • Will a non-playoff driver win this Sunday?

Previous Hollywood Casino 400 Winners

The first Kansas race was run in 2001 and won by Jeff Gordon. Gordon would also go on to win in 2002 as well. The following is a list of the previous Hollywood Casino 400 winners:

  • 2001 – Jeff Gordon
  • 2002 – Jeff Gordon
  • 2003 – Ryan Newman
  • 2004 – Joe Nemechek
  • 2005 – Mark Martin
  • 2006 – Tony Stewart
  • 2007 – Greg Biffle
  • 2008 – Jimmie Johnson
  • 2009 – Tony Stewart
  • 2010 – Greg Biffle
  • 2011 – Jimmie Johnson
  • 2012 – Matt Kenseth
  • 2013 – Kevin Harvick
  • 2014 – Joey Logano
  • 2015 – Joey Logano
  • 2016 – Kevin Harvick
  • 2017 – Martin Truex Jr.

Hollywood Casino 400 Betting Odds

The following betting odds are courtesy of 5Dimes:

  • Kevin Harvick +260
  • Kyle Larson +375
  • Martin Truex Jr  +475
  • Brad Keselowski +880
  • Kyle Busch +880
  • Ryan Blaney +1100
  • Joey Logano +1650
  • Chase Elliott +1950
  • Clint Bowyer +2200
  • Kurt Busch +2200
  • Erik Jones +2750
  • Aric Almirola +3300
  • Denny Hamlin +4500
  • Jimmie Johnson +4500
  • Austin Dillon +9000
  • Alex Bowman +9000
  • Daniel Suarez +9000
  • Paul Menard +11000
  • Jamie McMurray +22000
  • Ryan Newman +22000
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr +33000
  • William Byron +33000
  • Chris Buescher +110000
  • Trevor Bayne +110000
  • AJ Allmendinger +110000
  • Regan Smith +220000
  • Michael McDowell +220000
  • Darrell Wallace Jr +220000
  • Ty Dillon +220000

Hollywood Casino 400 Betting Favorites

The following drivers are the odds on favorites according to most online betting sites:

Kevin Harvick (+260)

As mentioned above, Harvick won the spring race at Kansas and has 3 career wins total. In his 25 races at this track, Harvick also has 8 Top 5’s, 14 Top 10’s, has led 675 laps, and an average finish of 9.6 which is the best among all active drivers. Kevin has 5 straight Top 8 finishes at Kansas including two wins.

Last week at Talladega, Harvick was running near the front, but had some troubles late in the race and finished 38th. It broke his streak of three straight Top 9 finishes.

On the year, Harvick has 7 wins. However, he hasn’t won since Michigan which was 9 races ago. During that span, he’s finished within the top ten in 6 of the next 8 races. Harvick only needs to finish 26th or better to move on to the next round of the playoffs.

Will Harvick be able to sweep the Kansas races?

Kyle Larson (+375)

Right now, Larson sits 11th in the playoff standings. He needs a lot of help in addition to a strong run at Kansas Speedway in order to advance to the 3rd round. Larson has been hit or miss at Kansas over the last few years. In the spring, he finished 4th overall. However, last year in this race, he finished 39th. In his 9 career starts, Larson has 2 Top 5’s, 3 Top 10’s, 2 DNFs and an average finish of 19.1.

I actually find it quite surprising that Larson has these high of odds considering his erratic performances at Kansas. Last weekend, Larson finished 11th at Talladega. It was a slight improvement from his 12th place finish at Dover just two weeks ago.

For the season, Larson has an average finish of 12.6 with 16 Top Ten’s. Unfortunately, a Top 10 finish this weekend might not be enough for Larson to advance to the next round.

Martin Truex Jr. (+475)

Truex Jr. is the reigning Hollywood Casino 400 winner and NASCAR champ. He currently sits in the 8th spot, 18 points ahead of 9th place. Truex has run really well at this track over the last 4 years and I expect him to continue this trend especially with a playoff spot on the line.

In the last 8 Kansas races, Truex has finished 15th or better in all 8 races. Furthermore, he’s won 2 of those races and also finished 2nd in the spring race this year. For his career, Truex has 2 wins, 7 Top 5’s, 8 Top 10’s, an average finish of 14.4, and he has led 726 laps.

Truex has 4 wins on the year, but he hasn’t won in 13 races. His last win came in Kentucky back on July 14th, which was 3 months ago. In the playoffs, Truex has two third place finishes and then 3 finishes from 14th to 23rd. Although this isn’t a bad result, Truex is going to need a Top 5 finish to cement his chances of moving on to Round 3. Currently, Martin needs at least 38 points to clinch and nobody below the cutoff line to win.

Brad Keselowski (+880)

Brad is currently 9th in the playoff standings, 18 points back of Truex Jr. He’ll need a big race on Sunday to move on to the next round. He will also need a little bit of help from drivers ahead of him in the standings. In 17 career starts at Kansas, Keselowski has 1 win, 3 Top 5’s, and 8 Top 10’s. He also has an average finish of 13.2, which is the third best average finish among active drivers.

Keselowski finished 14th here in the spring, but needs to get into at least the Top 5 for a realistic shot at moving on. His dire position is in large part due to a 27th place finish last weekend at Talladega and a 31st place finish in Charlotte just 3 races ago.

It’s rather surprising to see Keselowski on the verge of elimination considering he entered the playoffs on a hot streak having won the final 2 regular season races and then the first playoff race, which was in Las Vegas.

Kyle Busch (+880)

As long as Kyle Busch finishes the race on Sunday, he’ll advance to the next round. And, even if he crashes out, he still has the possibility of advancing due to his number of points.

In 21 career starts at Kansas, Kyle has 1 win, 5 Top 5’s, 9 Top 10’s, 327 laps led, and an average finish of 17th. Busch has finished 10th in the last two Kansas races. However, prior to those, Kyle had a streak of 5 straight Top 5 finishes including a win in the 2016 spring race at Kansas.

After the first two races of the playoffs, Busch was sitting on top of the standings and moving on to the 2nd round. Unfortunately, he crashed at Charlotte, finished 9th at Dover despite winning the pole, and finished 26th last weekend at Talladega.

Kyle is lucky that he built up enough playoff points during the regular season, otherwise he could be facing a possible elimination. As it stands right now, I expect Kyle to get another Top 10 at Kansas and cruise into Round 3 of the playoffs. Busch needs 28 points to clinch a spot in the next round, and only 10 points if nobody below the cutoff line wins the race.

The Best Hollywood Casino Betting Value

The following drivers offer excellent betting value based on their betting odds and career stats at this track:

Joey Logano (+1650)

I have to say that I love these odds for Joey Logano. I believe this is fantastic betting value due to Joey’s success at Kansas and his overall performance in the postseason so far.

In 18 career starts at Kansas Speedway, Logano has 2 wins, 7 Top 5’s, and 7 Top 10’s, with an average finish of 18.1, and an average start of 10.1. Logano finished 3 in the spring race this year. In his last 10 Kansas races, Logano has 7 Top 5 finishes including two victories.

In the playoffs, Logano has 3 Top 5 finishes including a 5th place last weekend in Talladega and a 3rd place at Dover two weeks ago. Furthermore, Logano’s worst finish was 14th in Richmond.

Like Kyle Busch, Logano should be able to cruise into Round 3 as long as he earns at least 35 points. He’s 39 points above the cutoff line and only needs 17 points if nobody below the cutoff wins on Sunday. With an average playoff finish of 7.2, I expect Logano to crack the Top 5 at Kansas on Sunday and compete for the checkered flag.

Jimmie Johnson (+4500)

Kansas Speedway is one of the tracks that Jimmie Johnson has mastered. In his 24 career starts, JJ has 3 wins (tied for the most), 9 Top 5’s (the 2nd most all-time), 17 Top 10’s (the most all-time) and the second best average finish among active drivers at 10th.

JJ hasn’t cracked the Top 5 since the 2016 fall race. However, in his last 7 Kansas races, he does have 3 Top 4 finishes including a victory.

JJ has been great at this racetrack. Although he’s been eliminated from the playoffs, Johnson is still competing and looking for his first win of the year. I believe JJ is one of the only non-playoff drivers other than Denny Hamlin with an outside shot at winning this weekend.

The Longshot to Win at Kansas

Alex Bowman at +9000 odds is the best option available in regards to picking a Hollywood Casino 400 longshot. Currently, Bowman is 12th in the playoff standings and needs a win at Kansas to move on to the next round. Due to these circumstances, Bowman makes for a great darkhorse pick this weekend. With that in mind, Bowman has to run his best race ever at this track on Sunday.

NASCAR Hollywood Casino 400 Prop Bet: Driver Matchups

The following NASCAR prop bet requires you to pick which driver will finish with the best result in each group.

Group Matchup 1

  • Kyle Busch +195
  • Ryan Blaney +220
  • Joey Logano +310
  • Chase Elliott +355

I’ve already detailed both Kyle Busch and Joey Logano, so let’s look at Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney before I share my pick. Blaney has an average finish of 13.9 at Kansas and that’s due to 3 Top 5’s and 4 Top 10’s in 7 career races. However, Blaney did finish 37th in the Spring race here. I do believe he will finish right around 10th, but I don’t see him finishing higher than Busch or Logano.

Elliott already has a win in this playoff round and has automatically advanced to the next round. So, there’s no pressure on Chase to finish higher than others. With that in mind, I don’t see him beating out Kyle or Logano who both need solid runs to move on to the next round. Out of those two, I’m going with Logano. I think he’s raced consistently better than Kyle in the postseason so far and he seems to have an edge at Kansas overall.

Group Matchup 2

  • Clint Bowyer +235
  • Kurt Busch +235
  • Erik Jones +275
  • Aric Almirola +295

Out of these 4 drivers, we can eliminate Erik Jones right off the bat. Jones is not in playoff contention and he has an average finish of 26th at Kansas. The same argument I made for Elliott above, can be applied to Almirola who won last weekend at Talladega. Not only does he have no pressure to win this weekend, he’s never cracked the Top 5 at Kansas.

Bowyer and Busch are neck and neck when it comes to average finishes at KS. Clint has an average finish of 16.8 and Busch at 16. However, Busch has had more success at KS over the last 7 races than Bowyer has. During that span, Kurt has 5 Top 8 finishes including a runner-up last year in this race. Bowyer only has 1 Top 10 during that span. I believe Kurt has the advantage this weekend and should flirt with a Top 5 finish on Sunday.

Hollywood Casino 400 Checkered Flag

With eliminations on the line, every lap will be filled with tension and anxiety. That’s what makes for compelling TV and exciting racing. I believe that Harvick, Truex, Logano, Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin will finish in the Top 5 this Sunday. Joining them in the Top 10 should be Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, and Kyle Larson.

Unfortunately, I believe Larson and Blaney won’t move on to the next round based on being too far behind in points. I also see Keselowski and Bowman being eliminated as well, which is a bit of a surprise considering how well Keselowski was running at the start of the playoffs.

Out of the Top 5 candidates, Hamlin will most likely get edged out by a playoff driver. However, I don’t see Kurt Busch coming away with the checkered flag this weekend and I believe that Logano will fall short as well. That leaves Harvick and Truex Jr. battling it out for the checkered flag. It’s a toss-up as to which driver will win, but I think Truex is due for the victory especially since he will be the more desperate driver of the two.

Truex should’ve won at Charlotte, but Johnson wrecked him in the final turns of the race. The reigning Cup champ will be a force on Sunday and I believe he will edge out Harvick, Logano and Hamlin for the victory.

My Top 5 Drivers

The following drivers are my picks to finish in the Top 5 at Kansas on Sunday. This list is in no particular order:

  • Kevin Harvick
  • Martin Truex Jr.
  • Joey Logano
  • Kurt Busch
  • Denny Hamlin

Hollywood Casino 400 Betting Recap

Winner: Martin Truex Jr. (+475)

Betting Value: Joey Logano (+1650) and Jimmie Johnson (+4500)

Longshot: Alex Bowman (+9000)

Driver Matchups:

  • Group 1: Joey Logano (+310)
  • Group 2: Kurt Busch (+235)

Kansas Speedway Fun Facts

The following fun facts for the Kansas Speedway are compiled via multiple NASCAR resources:

  • The First race was run in 2001 and win via Jeff Gordon
  • Three drivers are tied for the most wins (3) at Kansas: Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick.
  • Jeff Gordon has the most Top 5 finishes with 11.
  • Jimmie Johnson has the most Top 10’s at Kansas with 17.
  • Kevin Harvick has won the most poles with 4. Harvick is also the last driver to win at Kansas after starting on the pole.
  • In total, 6 drivers have won at Kansas from the pole.
  • A driver within the Top 5 starting positions has won this race 48% of the time (12 out of 25).
  • A driver starting within the Top 10, has won this race 60% of the time (15 out of 25).
  • Chevrolet has the most manufacturer wins with 11.
  • Hendrick Motorsports has the most owner victories with 6.
  • Kurt Busch holds the dubious honor of racing 25 times at this track without a win.
  • Jamie McMurray has 23 career starts without cracking the Top 5.
  • The most lead changes for a Kansas race was 26 back in 2009.
  • The most caution flags in a race was 15. It happened twice: 2013 and 2017.
  • Rusty Wallace has the best average finish of all-time at 8.2. Harvick leads all active drivers with a 9.6 average finish.
  • In 2011, NASCAR began running two races a year at Kansas Speedway.
  • Martin Truex Jr. is the only driver to sweep both Kansas races in a year. He did this in 2017.
  • Kevin Harvick has raced the most laps at Kansas with 6,514.
  • Matt Kenseth holds the mark for the most laps led at 774. Truex Jr. is second with 726 laps led, which leads all active drivers.
  • Joey Logano has the best average start at 10.1.
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