This suggest bettors are just as conflicted as the oddsmakers when they look at the statistics of the two drivers. Dating back to 2016 at Richmond, the two have almost identical records in regard to top-fives and -10s on the track. They have been nearly perfect. But a victory in 2016 for Hamlin moved the needle slightly in his favor. Harvick’s last win at Richmond came in 2013.
Harvick has the better recent record this season with four wins in the last five unrestricted oval races and a string of top-fives stretching back to Pocono. Since the odds are so low, it is impossible to spread your money across the two so a choice must be made. The best bet this week might be to avoid both drivers and concentrate on one of the longer shots, but if you need to bet a favorite, a slight edge goes to Harvick.
Chase Elliott is the only other top-10 driver to show any line movement at the PointsBet Sportsbook. Whether it was because enough money flowed in at +900 or because the oddsmakers needed to sweeten the pot is hard to know, but he landed at +1000 on Saturday. One suspects it was the second reason that created the move. Elliott is not particularly strong on this track with only three top-10s in nine starts. Two of these were top-fives and he came close to winning in 2018 with a second to Busch. Last year he finished in the mid-teens twice, however. He should crack the single digits this week, but only barely so.
Christopher Bell showed the biggest movement this week. Opening at +6000, reality set in midweek and his odds dropped to +6600. If you are looking for a Cinderella story, Bell might deserve a modest wager. Richmond is often kind to young drivers and particular ones that came up through the open wheel ranks. Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne both won their first Cup races on this track. Ryan Newman finished second in his first two starts there and won in his fourth attempt. If Bell can get track position in the closing laps, he could add to the mystique of Richmond.
If you have a couple of bucks left over, Newman (+12500) is worth a look as well.