Chase Elliott is returning to the road-course drawing board this week as he drags a five-race winless drought into the Kwik Trip 250 Presented by JOCKEY. And the NASCAR betting public is predicting Elliott and his Hendrick Motorsports crew will assemble a Next Gen masterpiece at Road America.
Elliott is the defending champion at the 4.048-mile track in Wisconsin, but that win in the first NASCAR Cup Series race at Road America in 65 years is “out the window,” as is his road-course dominance elsewhere over the last several years.
“[W]e’re relearning just like everybody else,” Elliott said on NASCAR’s Twitter Spaces this week, referencing the Next Gen transition. “We hit on a good package with the other car back in 2016 or 2017 and started tweaking on it from there. And it took us a long time to get to where we were really happy and liked things and were really able to extract what we needed to out of the car.”
Despite the drought – though, as Elliott noted, he “hasn’t been bad” in road courses since his last win, posting three top-5 finishes – Elliott is a rare betting favorite to be an overwhelming public favorite.
As of Wednesday, the 26-year-old former Cup Series champion sits atop race-winner odds at +450, well ahead of Kyle Larson (+700), Ross Chastain (+800), and others. He’s also dominating the handle share at BetMGM; he has 23.9% of the handle on just 6.5% of the tickets. If that share holds through the green flag on Sunday, it’d be the highest for a favorite this year.
Elliott is also a sizeable favorite over Martin Truex Jr. in featured matchup betting. Here are the four matchups this weekend at Road America:
Chase Elliott (-190) vs. Martin Truex Jr. (+145)
Tied with A.J. Allmendinger and Denny Hamlin for the fifth-best race-winner odds at +1200, Martin Truex Jr. is also seeking a return to road-course dominance. From late 2018 through mid-2019, he won two of four road races. But he’s winless since and has zero top-3 finishes in his last four starts.
And the public doesn’t like his drought to end on Sunday; with a race-winner handle share of just 1.4%, he’s the least popular pick among the seven drivers with odds of +1200 or better.
Kyle Busch (-125) vs. Christopher Bell (-105)
Kyle Busch is one of only two drivers whose race-winner odds have improved since the market opened Monday morning. The jump – from +1200 to +1000 – comes as the public pounds the defending Henry 180 champion with nearly 15% of the handle.
“I would say both road course events so far this year were not our strong suit,” Busch said of struggles for drivers from Joe Gibbs Racing. “Why we missed it? I don’t know. If I could answer that, we wouldn’t struggle, we wouldn’t have been bad.”
Teammate Christopher Bell contended in the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix but had issues in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 and sits beside every other Toyota driver without a top-10 average running position on road courses this year. However, he did win at Road America (CTECH Manufacturing 180) in the Xfinity Series three years ago.
Chase Briscoe (-400) vs. Ty Dillon (+280)
In his first featured matchup appearance of the season, Ty Dillon is a huge underdog with increasing odds. After opening at +260 against Chase Briscoe, whom he’s finished ahead of in two of the last five road races in which both drivers have started, Dillon has climbed to +280.
Briscoe is the other driver whose odds have jumped since open; he’s moved from +3300 to +2500 as the public hits him with 6.5% of the tickets (for 4.4% of the handle). Only Allmendinger, Busch, and Kyle Larson have a bigger ticket share.
Alex Bowman (-450) vs. Corey Lajoie (+310)
Also making his featured matchups debut, Corey Lajoie is a big dog to Alex Bowman as he seeks road-course contention for the first time in his Cup Series career.
Their featured matchup comes one week after a dust-up – and Bowman’s post-race sarcastic praise for LaJoie – in the Ally 400 that ended Bowman’s day early.
You can view updated Kwik Trip 250 odds and more NASCAR odds at the BetMGM online sportsbook.