2021 Xfinity 500 Sleeper Picks and Value Bets
Every week, it seems like one to two sleepers threaten to win. Last week, Kevin Harvick ran up for front most of the race and finished third. Tyler Reddick had the lead with under 100 laps to go, but a flat tire ended his hopes of a good finish.
Christopher Bell came through with a top 10 finish.
The penultimate race of the 2021 Cup Series season will take place at Martinsville. The aggressive nature of racing could lead to a few surprise contenders.
Here are my favorite sleepers.
William Byron (+1100)
- Best Bet: Top 10 Finish (-255)
There is just no denying speed in the No. 24 car. If not for Kyle Larson’s dominance, we’d be talking about William Byron as the hottest driver in NASCAR.
Byron has led at least 30 laps in the last three races, and you could argue he had the winning car in four of the last five races.
The only reason his odds aren’t lower is because he is no longer in the playoffs.
This season, the strength of the No. 24 team is 550-horsepower tracks. Martinsville may be a 750-horsepower track, but I still like Byron’s chances.
In his first three Martinsville starts, Byron’s best finish was 20th. Since then, we’ve seen a different driver.
- 2019 (Fall): 2nd
- 2020 (Spring): 8th
- 2020 (Fall): 35th
- 2021 (Spring): 4th (9 laps led)
Last fall, he crashed with 60 laps to go while running just outside the top 10. The poor showing was more of an outlier than anything.
Right now, we can’t discount the speed Byron is bringing every week. His competitors should be grateful that he isn’t alive for the championship because he may have won it.
There is a lot of competition with playoff drivers but if you’re feeling risky, his top-five bet (+130) might not be a bad option.
Kevin Harvick (+2500)
- Best Bet: Top 10 Finish (-130)
Following a rough regular season, I thought there was no way Kevin Harvick would find victory lane this season. However, we’ve seen him compete for wins multiple times in the playoffs. I know the season is almost over, but it wouldn’t shock me if he pulled off a late-season victory.
Harvick’s Martinsville history has been a bit of hit or miss. He has a win and has led over 50 laps five times. Overall, I wouldn’t say Harvick has shown a ton of race-winning speed.
While he hasn’t led a lap at Martinsville since Spring 2016, he has put together consistent finishes.
Check out his numbers from his last eight starts at the track.
- 2 top-five finishes
- 6 top 10 finishes
- 3 average finish
Last fall, Harvick needed one more spot to make the Championship 4. He turned Kyle Busch on the final lap, but Harvick couldn’t get going and fell back to 17th. Without the crash, he would’ve finished 10th.
It’s been a tough season but he is finally showing speed. Outside of his crash at the Charlotte Roval, he has finished top 10 in every playoff race. I expect that streak to continue.
Kurt Busch (+4000)
- Best Bet: Top 10 Finish (-120)
Kurt Busch had a rough start to the season, but a win in the Summer Atlanta race clinched him a spot in the playoffs. With seven top 10s in the final 11 regular-season races, he entered the playoffs with plenty of momentum.
Busch lost some of that momentum with a poor showing in the Round of 16.
I’ll be honest, Busch has a bit of a weird history at Martinsville. In a 25 race stretch from 2006-2018, Busch had one finish better than 11th. That one finish was a victory in 2014.
Since that stretch, he has four top 10 finishes in six races. He also led 23 laps in last fall’s race.
Busch only has two more races with Chip Ganassi Racing. You know he would love to send them out on a high note. Martinsville represents his best opportunity.
Look out for the No. 1 car as a spoiler on Sunday.
Ryan Preece (+25000)
- Best Bet: Top 20 Finish (+140)
I just want to preface this by saying I would not bet on Ryan Preece to win this race. It would take a lot for Preece to be in position to win. Saying that, I do like his chances to score a top 20 finish.
Preece has five starts at Martinsville with JTG-Daugherty Racing. He finished 19th or better in three of his first four at the track.
In the Spring race, Preece showed speed early. He ranked 13th and 10th in total speed in the first two segments. Unfortunately, a big crash with 115 laps to go ended his race.
While we haven’t seen a ton of speed from Preece this season, he has a few solid results on 750-horsepower tracks. Here are a few of his top finishes.
- Dover: 18th
- Darlington: 12th
- Bristol: 17th
It’s no coincidence that two of his better finishes came in playoff races.
Picking drivers like Preece can be risky because they don’t have top 20 speed very often. However, we’ve seen him have success at Martinsville.
Considering the odds, it’s worth a shot.
Where to Bet on the Xfinity 500 in 2021
Just about every playoff driver runs well at Martinsville. With only one playoff driver in the Championship 4, drivers are going to be aggressive as they go for the win.
If those drivers take each other out, that could open the door for a sleeper to pull off a surprise victory. If nothing else, I have confidence in their top 10 and top 20 bets.
As always, the top NASCAR betting sites will give you a wide array of options.