2020 NASCAR Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Betting Preview

| September 16, 2020 6:01 am PDT

The third and final stage of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Season Round of 16 is almost upon us, and I’m trying to figure out just where the summer went. 

We could call this a crazy year for NASCAR. But in truth, it’s just been a crazy year all around, right? We’ve had more thrills, spills, and chills packed into the last few weeks of the world’s premier stock car racing championship than we counted on. But it’s not over yet.

Brad Keselowski’s triumph at Richmond in last weekend’s Federated Auto Parts 400 means he makes the cut into the Round of 12 alongside Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin. This week, the heat is on for the remaining playoffs drivers to book their place in the next stage with a big performance at Bristol.

It’s likely that “Thunder Valley” will leave us with many questions to be answered on Sunday morning. But one I am looking to answer today is perhaps the simplest one – who wins the 2020 Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race?

It might be a simple question, but that doesn’t mean answering it will be straightforward. But feel free to join me as I analyze the odds for the big race this Saturday, September 19, and I’ll get to my pick after that.

2020 Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Odds

The favorite to win the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race with BetOnline is Denny Hamlin (+400).

I can understand why Hamlin is priced at the prime candidate for this race, but I’m not overly keen on his odds. Sure, the 39-year-old has two wins in this event, with his last victory at Bristol coming in 2019’s edition.

His last race at “Thunder Valley” culminated in a 17th place finish at the Supermarket Heroes 500 in May. Overall, he has an average finish of 14.17 from 29 starts on the oval.

In short, the bookies make the Joe Gibbs star the man to beat on account of his win here last year and his form on short tracks. All in all, Hamlin has two wins at Bristol, five at Martinsville, and three at Richmond.

Cup Series favorite Kevin Harvick (+500) is next in line with the oddsmakers.

Harvick is enjoying a monstrously good season and is still in the hunt for a potentially record-breaking campaign. Like Hamlin, Harvick is through to the next round but he does have a chance at becoming the first driver since Jimmie Johnson to post ten wins in a season.

Harvick has two wins at Bristol, with his most recent, in 2016, coming in this race. In terms of short tracks, Harvick is the sixth-best active driver with three career wins at Richmond and one at Martinsville adding to his two right here.

Last weekend’s winner, Brad Keselowski (+550), is the third driver with two feet in the Round of 12. 

Keselowski has three wins at Bristol from 21 starts, including May’s Supermarket Heroes 500 and the 2011 edition of this race. When it comes to short tracks, the man behind the wheel of Team Penske’s No.2 Ford Mustang also has two wins at both Martinsville and Richmond.

Can he carry the momentum of last week’s win at Richmond into this race?

Chase Elliott (+600) might not have impressive track records like some of his peers, but he is among the favorites for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race for a couple of reasons.

First, he won the All-Star Race here in July. Factor in his 5th and 3rd place finishes in the previous two editions of this race, and he’s certainly one to watch. 

Finally, the fifth potential pick to look at is Kyle Busch (+600).

Not only is Busch the best active driver at Bristol with eight wins, but his record on short tracks has also seen him claim six wins at Richmond as well as two at Martinsville.

Busch finished 2nd at the All-Star Race in the summer and will back himself to better his 12 top-fives at Bristol this weekend.

But can Busch win the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race? He sure can, but I think the tire problems the defending Cup Series king has struggled with this year are just scratching at the surface of a bigger problem.

As for the winner? I like the look of Keselowski this Saturday. Here’s why. 

Why Keselowski Wins the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race

I made the slightly unusual choice of adding Keselowski to my list of value bets for Richmond last week, despite being priced at odds of +1000. The whole point of that move was to highlight the fact that there was solid value in betting Keselowski to win the race. And win he did.

The bookies are giving him a bit more respect ahead of the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, of course. You can get odds of +550 for the Team Penske star to take the checkered flag on Saturday, and I don’t see anything wrong with this price at all.

Sure, you need to weigh up the fact that there are drivers around the Michigan man who will be trying to claw their way into the Round of 12. But this is the playoffs, where every race counts. Keselowski is hardly going to pull aside and allow his competitors a shot at moving ahead of him now, is he?

With three wins on this track, it’s safe to say Keselowski knows Bristol. He smashed first place in May but is looking for his first win in this race since 2011. Prior to last week’s win at Richmond, he hadn’t tasted success at “America’s Premier Short Track” since his maiden win in 2014, so maybe that is a good sign?

Keselowski has the momentum of last week’s win behind him. Combine that with his solid record at Bristol, Martinsville, and Richmond, and you have yourself a solid candidate to win on Saturday night.

  • Brad Keselowski

Betting on NASCAR This Weekend?

If you’re looking to wager on the 2020 Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, head over to the best online sportsbooks for more odds and markets.

If you like the look of Keselowski’s odds to win at Bristol this weekend, you can get your money down. Alternatively, you can find a few other markets that might be of interest to you.

Good luck with your bets!

Adam Haynes

Adam is a sports writer and tipster with a strong background in MMA, boxing, and combat sports.

When Adam isn't writing about those, as well as politics, rugby, and Gaelic Games, he can be found working on methods and strategies to beat the bookies.

For his troubles, Adam is a fan of Leinster Rugby, Glasgow Celtic, and trusting the process.

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