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NASCAR Picks: NASCAR Cup Series EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at COTA Best Bets, Odds to Consider on DraftKings Sportsbook

Pearce Dietrich gives his top NASCAR bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for the NASCAR Cup Series EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas, which starts on March 26 at 3:30 p.m. ET.

NASCAR changes the rules package at the road courses every year. The DFS NASCAR winning lineups never look the same. This season is no different. The rules package changed (less downforce) and the rules changed (no more stage break cautions). This should be an exciting weekend across the three DFS NASCAR racing series.

As always, trust the spreadsheet but also trust your eyes. Here are the best bets for the NASCAR Cup Series EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas, which gets underway Sunday, March 26 at 3:30 p.m. ET.

For DraftKings Sportsbook NASCAR Picks from the lower series, follow @Race4thePrize on Twitter.

Place your NASCAR bets on DraftKings Sportsbook and bet online by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.

Race Winner — EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix

Kyle Larson +650

Speed matters. No one can argue that Kyle Larson isn’t the best wheel man in the sport. His talent was understood before he was a full-time Cup driver. Talent alone is not enough in NASCAR. A driver needs a car. Sometimes he had the car, or enough of one, early in his career at Chip Ganassi Racing. He won some races and was a DFS NASCAR star occasionally but not often. Since joining Hendrick Motorsports, and having a great car every race, it’s been a different story. This season is a whole new chapter.

Some DFS NASCAR players will mistakenly dismiss the traditional oval races that have begun the season. COTA is a road course. It’s entirely differently, or at least they will believe. While that is true, the days of enormous differences in driver skill and team setups between road courses and ovals have all but vanished in the modern circuit with road races frequenting the calendar. Teams and drivers that have speed at the ovals, also have speed at the crooked courses.

The 2023 season opened with a super-speedway race and the most recent race was at a super speedway, but in between were two traditional tracks and the unveiling of the low-downforce Gen 7 package at Phoenix. In those three races, Larson had the fastest car. His average lap time was the best at Las Vegas and Phoenix. He would have been the fastest at Fontana if not for a wiring issue early in the race. Larson returned to the track after the mechanical failure, and on the last run of the race, was the fastest car on the track.

If that’s not enough to state the case for Larson, then look at the 2021 road course data. In 2022, NASCAR switched the package and added downforce to the road courses and Larson’s results were underwhelming. In 2021, the Cup Series raced a low-downforce package similar to this season’s package. Kyle Larson was the highest rated driver at the road courses in 2021.

Michael McDowell +3000

This is a long shot. The new rules could help or hurt McDowell. It is unclear how the races will play out. In terms of road racing, McDowell has the chops. And last season he had the car. Even with a course cutting penalty at COTA last season that weighs down his stats, he was a top-5 driver at the road courses. Stop and think about that. Across six road course races, McDowell for little Front Row Motorsports was a top-5 road course racer in 2022. Surely, they can improve. Surely, the team sees the same data and has invested resources into their road course program. McDowell is a lot closer than the odds indicate.

Check back later this week for additional NASCAR matchup bets and prop bets as they become available on DraftKings Sportsbook.

Race Winner — EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix

Austin Cindric +1500

The tables have turned. The rules have changed. There will be no more stage flipping. Drivers can’t cruise around on the lead lap and then leap forward by pitting before the end of the stage. They’ve got to race. The drivers that can road race and can push it are at a great advantage with NASCAR’s return to a more pure and traditional format of racing.

Who is a better road racer than Cindric? He grew up on this. He annihilated his competition in the Xfinity Series despite dealing with stage racing rules that favored part-timers. He didn’t win a road course race in his rookie season, but he had a top-5 driver rating in the six road course races. These odds are way too long. Cindric should be a favorite.

Chase Briscoe +2500

It wasn’t a great year at the road courses for Briscoe in 2022. He was a top-20 driver but not a top-10 driver. He was a top-10 driver at the road courses in his rookie season in 2021 (low-downforce package). In the Xfinity Series (low-downforce package), he was better than a top-10 driver — he was a routine winner at the road courses. The SHR Fords weren’t the best team in the new low-downforce package at Phoenix, but they were close. Briscoe can road race, and if he has a competitive car, he can win this race. These odds are way too long in a race filled with unknowns.

Place your NASCAR bets on DraftKings Sportsbook and bet online by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.

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All betting odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.