- Kevin Harvin and Kyle Busch are favored to win the NASCAR Monster Energy Playoffs
- Should Harvick still be favored after his penalty at Texas?
- Is Joey Logano a worthy longshot?
The 2018 NASCAR Monster Energy Playoffs will come to a head this weekend (November 18th) at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Four drivers have qualified for the final four, and whichever of them produces the best result on race day will be crowned the Champion.
For earlier odds, see our last NASCAR article.
2018 NASCAR Monster Energy Playoffs Odds
|Martin Truex Jr||+275|
Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch Showdown?
Although Joey Logano was the first to secure his spot in the finals, most are projecting the race to be a showdown between Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick. The two have dominated the 2018 season, with each scoring eight victories, but don’t count out Truex or Logano.
Truex obviously won this race last year, but that doesn’t make him stand out in this crowd. Ahrvick won in 2013, Kyle Busck won in 2015, and Logano is the only driver without a Homestead win.
Logano’s also one of the the only drivers without a win on an unrestricted 1.5 mile course. Harvick won at Las Vegas, Kansas, and the most recent Texas race. Busch won the only other race of that type, at Texas earlier in the year. That’s probably why the betting market has the two favored, without an earlier race at Homestead all we have to go on is performance in similar conditions. In that respect, Harvick stands alone.
Harvick’s Illegal Spoiler
Harvick also stands alone in that he’s the only driver in this group to have been penalized by NASCAR for illegal modifications. After his Texas win, his car was found to have an illegal spoiler, which would generate a considerable advantage on long, fast courses.
The penalty raises some uncomfortable questions for bettors. Harvick was found with an illegal spoiler on a 1.5 mile, unrestricted track. Had his standout performance at other races of that type been influenced by a similar cheat?
Stewart-Haas racing don’t seem put out by the illegal spoiler, and it’s unclear if it was used earlier in the season. Greg Zipadelli of SHR had the following to say about the penalty: “We work tirelessly across every inch of our race cars to create speed and, unfortunately, NASCAR determined we ventured into an area not accommodated by its rule book…”
That’s not exactly reassuring for Harvick’s bettors!
Playoff Betting Advice
These odds are very flat, and almost veer into pick’em territory. If the race is set to be a Busch/Harvick showdown, I’d take Busch. We don’t know how much Harvick’s performance earlier this season was thanks to illegal aerodynamic advantages, but it’s safe to assume that the effect was considerable.