Kevin Harvick arrived at Michigan International Speedway in early June 2020 as a 44-year-old NASCAR betting favorite with nearly 700 career NASCAR Cup Series starts and a loaded résumé – highlighted by three wins, including two in his last two starts, and six more second-place finishes since 2013 – at the 2-mile track.
Tyler Reddick arrived at Michigan International Speedway in early June 2020 as a little-known 24-year-old rookie who did win the Xfinity Series’ race (LTi Printing 250) in Michigan 14 months earlier but had a non-existent Cup Series résumé at the 2-mile track.
All eyes were on Harvick as he sought one-track dominance, an increasing rarity in the Cup Series. And he exceeded the hype with back-to-back wins in the FireKeepers Casino 400 and Consumers Energy 400. Reddick, meanwhile, was largely irrelevant, finishing 18th and 24th.
Two years later, all eyes are on Reddick in the 2022 FireKeepers Casino 400, while oddsmakers expect Harvick to be largely irrelevant.
You couldn't buy this feeling with lotto money. pic.twitter.com/wAQnOR4LS3
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) August 1, 2022
One week after his win in the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard – his second win in five races to become the first Richard Childress Racing driver with a multi-win season since 2013 – Reddick is within earshot of the favorites for the FireKeepers Casino 400.
As of Thursday in NASCAR odds at BetMGM, Reddick has the sixth-best race-winner odds (+1000) and, with Kyle Busch atop the board at +650), his smallest gap behind the favorite all season.
“We just know what we’re capable of, and we did that at Road America,” Reddick said after winning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “And if we change nothing, we keep working really, really hard, we find a way back to Victory Lane.”
Despite a vote of confidence from oddsmakers, the public isn’t pounding Reddick at the sportsbook. He has just 3.7% of race-winner tickets, tied with Austin Dillon for the 11th-most, and a modest 5.1% of tickets, narrowly behind Joey Logano for the sixth-highest share.
If Reddick finds a way back to Victory Lane on Sunday, he’ll do so in his fourth career Cup Series start at the track and become the ninth different active driver to win the event, all of whom trail Harvick and his five career wins.
Harvick is buried in an unfamiliar spot for a Michigan race; although he owns Cup Series-highs in career wins (five), top-5 finishes (15), top-10 finishes (21), and laps led at the track (699), he’s at +1800. Only Chase Elliott and Chase Briscoe have a better average finish, though they have just 12 combined starts to Harvick’s 41.
The public likes Harvick’s chances in start No. 42. His handle share of 12.7% trails only Kyle Larson (15.2%) for the highest this weekend. If that holds, it’d be one of the highest handle shares for any driver with odds of +1500 or greater this season. Only Austin Cindric (+6600) and Brad Keselowski (+10000) are bigger liabilities for BetMGM.
Oddly, Harvick isn’t a popular pick in featured matchup betting, nor is Reddick. Here’s a look at the four featured matchups for the FireKeepers Casino 400:
Joey Logano (-120) vs. Kevin Harvick (-110)
Joey Logano has been just as good as Kevin Harvick at Michigan. He’s done so in fewer races – 25 to Harvick’s 41 – but has similar rates for wins, top-5 finishes, top-10 finishes, and laps led.
Last year’s 33rd-place finish in the FireKeepers Casino 400 was unusual for Logano. In 16 starts from 2013-20, he won three times and had an average finish of 6.6. He had finished worse than 17th only one other time since 2012.
Logano has 80% of the tickets and 95% of the handle to finish ahead of Harvick.
Denny Hamlin (-130) vs. Tyler Reddick (+100)
Hamlin’s “delightfully bizarre” season – as dubbed by Pat DeCola in dropping the two-time Michigan winner (Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 in both 2010 and 2011) to ninth in this week’s NASCAR Power Rankings – continued with a 14th-place finish at the Brickyard.
Hamlin has just 38% of the tickets in his head-to-head with Reddick, but those tickets account for 95% of the handle.
Ryan Blaney (-115) vs. William Byron (-115)
Ryan Blaney is the defending race winner after holding off William Byron last August for his first win in 13 starts at the track, where he had three previous top-5 finishes. He’s routinely been in contention but has struggled to capitalize on good starting positions.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) August 3, 2022
He leads active drivers in average starting position (9.4) but also leads drivers (minimum five starts) in worst average start-to-finish drop-off (-5.8).
It appears the public cares more about last year’s race than the start-to-finish drop-off; Blaney has 94% of the handle (on 67% of the tickets) against Byron.
Daniel Suárez (-125) vs. Bubba Wallace (-105)
Bubba Wallace is having the best stretch of his Cup Series career – three straight top-10s for the first time – and returns to a track where he won in the NASCAR Truck Series. He has, however, struggled for relevancy in Michigan in recent years, posting just one top-10 in eight starts.
While Wallace has a respectable 2.9% race-winner handle share (with +2500 odds), he’s not a popular pick against Daniel Suárez, who owns 74% of the handle (on 60% of the tickets) in featured matchup betting.
You can view updated FireKeepers Casino 400 and more NASCAR betting odds at the BetMGM online sportsbook.