Picking a winner based on the odds for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway is tricky since the event is now a day race. NASCAR’s schedule changes amid the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the Cup race at Kentucky to Sunday afternoon rather than its traditional Saturday night slot, and track conditions will be different in the heat of the day than they would be in the cool of the night.

Which means the results of past Kentucky races are not as helpful when it comes to predicting how Sunday’s race will play out. Only one of the previous nine NASCAR Cup Series races at the 1.5-mile oval in Sparta, Ky., has been a day race, and that was due to a rain delay in 2014.

The odds for Sunday’s NASCAR race at Kentucky also are interesting because the favorite to win, Kevin Harvick, has never been to victory lane at this particular track, one of two places (the Charlotte ROVAL being the other) where the current Cup Series points leader has not won.

Below are the complete Vegas odds to win Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Kentucky, plus our top three picks of drivers who could end up taking the checkered flag.

NASCAR race odds to win at Kentucky

Though Harvick has not won any of the nine Cup Series races that have been run at Kentucky since 2011, he is the favorite for Sunday’s race because he has been dominant of late. Not only does he lead the points standings by 85 points over second-place Chase Elliott, but after last week’s win at Indianapolis, he is tied with Denny Hamlin for the most wins this year with four. Harvick has held the top spot in the points since March.

And it’s not like Harvick has been bad in his nine starts at Kentucky. He has posted one top five, six top 10s and an average finish of 10.8.

Below are the complete odds to win Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Kentucky, courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.

Driver Odds to win Kentucky race
Kevin Harvick +370
Chase Elliott +550
Denny Hamlin +550
Kyle Busch +700
Brad Keselowski +900
Joey Logano +900
Martin Truex Jr. +900
Ryan Blaney +1200
Alex Bowman +1900
Jimmie Johnson +3100
Kurt Busch +3100
Aric Almirola +3200
William Byron +3200
Erik Jones +3500
Clint Bowyer +4700
Matt Kenseth +5500
Matt DiBenedetto +7000
Tyler Reddick +7000
Justin Allgaier +8000
Christopher Bell +11000
Austin Dillon +15000
Ryan Newman +15000
Brennan Poole +20000
Chris Buescher +20000
Cole Custer +20000
Corey LaJoie +20000
Daniel Suarez +20000
Bubba Wallace +20000
Ty Dillon +20000
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. +20000
Garrett Smithley +20000
JJ Yeley +20000
Joey Gase +20000
John Hunter Nemechek +20000
Michael McDowell +20000
Quin Houff +20000
Ross Chastain +20000
Ryan Preece +20000
Timmy Hill +20000

Of the drivers currently in the top 10 in the NASCAR Cup Series points standings, Kyle Busch (10th in points) has by far the best driver rating at Kentucky. His rating of 125.5 is comfortably north of Brad Keselowski’s 105.5, Martin Truex Jr.’s 102.6 and Harvick’s 102.4.

Below are the top 10 driver ratings at Kentucky Speedway among those in Sunday’s field.

  1. Kyle Busch, 125.5
  2. Brad Keselowski, 105.5
  3. Martin Truex Jr., 102.6
  4. Kevin Harvick, 102.4
  5. Matt Kenseth, 101.7
  6. Erik Jones, 98.3
  7. Kurt Busch, 93.7
  8. Joey Logano, 93.7
  9. Jimmie Johnson, 89.9
  10. Ryan Blaney, 89.8

Busch not only has the best rating going into Sunday’s race, but he also has the benefit of starting on the pole based on Wednesday’s random draw for starting positions.

Three of the nine Kentucky Cup Series races have been won from the pole, including Busch’s 2011 victory when qualifying was canceled by weather. Five of the nine Cup Series races at Kentucky have been won from the front row.

Below is the breakdown of wins from all positions that have produced victors in the history of Cup racing (nine total races) at Kentucky.

Starting position Winning % Wins
1st 33.3 percent 3
2nd 22.2 percent 2
4th 11.1 percent 1
8th 11.1 percent 1
9th 11.1 percent 1
16th 11.1 percent 1

The top 10 starters for Sunday’s race at Kentucky are as follows: 1. Kyle Busch, 2. Joey Logano, 3. Kevin Harvick, 4. Aric Almirola, 5. Alex Bowman, 6. Brad Keselowski, 7. Kurt Busch, 8. Chase Elliott, 9. Martin Truex Jr., 10. Matt DiBenedetto

NASCAR at Kentucky expert picks

1. Kyle Busch

Career stats at Kentucky:

  • Two wins, seven top fives, eight top 10s; one pole
  • Average finish of 4.667, series-best
  • Average Running Position of 4.606, series-best
  • Driver Rating of 125.5, series-best
  • 330 Fastest Laps Run, series-best
  • 2,329 Laps in the Top 15 (96.8%), series-most
  • 282 Quality Passes, fifth-most

Busch being 0-for-16 this season doesn’t scare us from picking the driver who statistically is the best in the series at Kentucky. Joe Gibbs Racing clearly has speed this season, as evidenced by its five wins. Time for the defending Cup Series champion to get on the board for 2020.

2. Kevin Harvick

Career stats at Kentucky:

  • One top five, six top 10s
  • Average finish of 10.778, fifth-best
  • Average Running Position of 8.048, second-best
  • Driver Rating of 102.4, fourth-best
  • 96 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-best
  • 2,135 Laps in the Top 15 (88.8%), second-most
  • 339 Quality Passes, series-most

This is a boring pick, but it’s hard not to go with the favorite for Sunday’s race and the driver who has led an absurd 14.81 percent of the laps he has completed this season. Harvick is on a hot streak and is looking to get his first victory at a track where he tends to run well.

3. Joey Logano

Career stats at Kentucky:

  • Two top fives, six top 10s
  • Average finish of 12.778, eighth-best
  • Average Running Position of 12.332, eighth-best
  • Driver Rating of 93.7, eighth-best
  • 89 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-best
  • 1,599 Laps in the Top 15 (66.5%), seventh-most
  • 258 Quality Passes, seventh-most

Yes, Brad Keselowski is the Team Penske driver who has been the best at Kentucky, notching a series-high three wins at the track over the last nine years. But it’s not like Logano has run poorly. He also has three Xfinity Series wins at Kentucky. The Penske power should be on display yet again Sunday.

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