2024 Food City 500 Odds: Favorites and sleepers as Bristol returns to concrete

After three years as a dirt race, who will come out on top in a change in surface?

Another week sees a new points leader in the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series standings. Defending champion Ryan Blaney takes over at the top after another top-five finish in Phoenix.

This week, the grid heads to Bristol for the Food City 500. This event ran as a dirt track race for the last three years but organizers announced a change back to concrete, the same surface used in the playoff race there. Will that affect the outcome? Here’s how the 2024 Food City 500 Odds look.

Gear up for Bristol! Check out the 2024 Food City 500 odds at Point Spreads.

Larson leads trio of favorites

  • Kyle Larson (+450)

Larson followed his win in Las Vegas with a 14th-place result in Phoenix. That finish keeps him at a solid spot in the championship, 10 points back from leader Blaney.

His track record in Bristol is solid. Fifteen career races there on concrete have yielded one win (playoff race in 2021) and 10 top-10 results. Last fall, he went from 36th on the grid to second by the chequered flag, leading 20 laps of the event.

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He’s the second-best driver on the Cup Series grid by average finish in Bristol (12.1). Larson’s always a contender in NASCAR predictions; there’s no reason for that to change this week.

  • Denny Hamlin (+500)

Hamlin earned pole position last week in Phoenix and tied with Tyler Reddick for most laps, but the Joe Gibbs Racing driver could only manage 11th in the race. Bristol’s been a good place for Hamlin historically. He’s won three races on concrete there and earned four pole positions.

That’s twice as many as any other active Cup Series driver. He won the last Cup Series race there during the 2023 playoffs and led 142 laps. He’ll likely be fighting for a win again this weekend.

  • Christopher Bell (+550)

Bell earned his first win of the season last time out in Phoenix. He won Stage Two of the race and led the final 40 laps to secure a spot in the playoffs this season.

This week could be an even better setup for success. He had great results in this event as a dirt race, as his lone regular season win in 2023 came at this event. On the concrete surface for the playoff race, Bell earned pole position, led the most laps, and won Stages One and Two.

He was the best driver over the two Bristol events on the NASCAR schedule last season. Another top result is a near-lock.

Sleepers in Bristol

  • Chris Buescher (+1100)

Buescher had his best showing of the season in Phoenix last week. The RFK Racing driver went from 14th at the start of the race to second by the chequered flag. He could build on that success this week.

Buescher won three of the last five races of the 2023 regular season, which shows he can build momentum quickly. His last win before that trio of victories was the playoff race in Bristol in 2022. He’s finished in the top five in the last two Bristol concrete races. After a strong showing in Phoenix, he could easily build on that with a win this week.

  • Kyle Busch (+1200)

Busch hasn’t enjoyed good performances lately, with 26th in Las Vegas and 22nd in Phoenix. But he is coming to one of his best NASCAR races this weekend in Bristol. Look no further if you’re looking for a strong track record at this week’s venue. Busch’s eight wins in Bristol are just two less than the rest of the Cup Series grid combined.

That last win came at this event in 2019, Busch’s last championship season. He’s struggled more recently with three consecutive finishes at 20th or lower. But he’s won more races here than at any other track in his Cup Series career, and these odds offer a significant payout.

  • Ty Gibbs (+1300)

Like Buescher, Gibbs had his best race of the season last week. He’s improved in each race to start his second Cup Series season: 17th in Daytona, 10th in Atlanta, fifth in Las Vegas, and third in Phoenix.

He has only entered 55 events in the Cup Series but Bristol’s been a bright spot already. He raced from 23rd to 10th in this event last year (albeit on dirt) and finished fifth in the Bristol playoff event.

His junior career featured good finishes in Bristol. His last Xfinity Series race here saw him start from pole position, win Stage One, and lead 89 laps. He won one ARCA Menards Series race there in 2021 and finished second the year before. This bet is banking on Gibbs continuing to improve and, at +1300, offering a significant payout.

  • Chase Elliott (+2000)

No one can match Elliott’s average finish in Bristol on concrete (11.9) over 13 career events there. He’s yet to win in Bristol, though, despite consistently finishing well. So far in 2024, Elliott’s finished no lower than 19th but no higher than 12th.

He won Stage One in Daytona and sits ninth in the Cup Series standings. Last time out in Bristol, he started and finished seventh in the playoff race. He’s worth a shot at these NASCAR odds but may be in better shape for a win next week at a road course.

2024 Food City 500 Odds: Picks for Bristol

Bristol is already a unique track on the NASCAR Cup Series calendar with its two pit road lanes. It’ll also feature a “retro” theme for the weekend with throwback elements to the early 1990s. No matter what, it’ll likely continue its reputation for close-contact racing.

Of the favorites, Hamlin looks like the best choice. He’s the only one who still needs a win to secure a spot in the playoffs, he won the last event in Bristol and notched pole position last week. He could capitalize on that strong showing with a win.

Similarly, his teammate Gibbs looks like the best contender of the sleepers. He’s continuously improving in his second season and comes to a track he’s raced well at in the past.

For NASCAR news, odds analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.


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