Kylelarson Dennyhamlin
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The Action Network: The smart way to bet Larson vs. Hamlin at Texas

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Between the Chase Elliott vs. Kevin Harvick drama and the Next Gen car testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway this week, Kyle Larson’s win at the Roval and massive points advantage in NASCAR’s Round of 8 playoffs seems to be flying under the radar.

With the win, Larson now sits a commanding 42 points above the playoff cutoff line.

To put that in perspective, Denny Hamlin, who currently ranks second in the NASCAR Cup Series playoff standings, is just seven points above the cutoff.

RELATED: Cup Series playoff standings

Interestingly, oddsmakers have put these two drivers against one another in matchup markets for Sunday’s NASCAR Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 (2 p.m. ET, NBC) at Texas Motor Speedway, with Larson at -157 and Hamlin +120 at Barstool Sportsbook.

NASCAR at Texas Betting Pick

Larson is favored in this matchup, which isn’t all that surprising, but these two have been much more evenly matched than the odds imply.

The tire combination that teams will win on Sunday has been used three other times this season: twice at Las Vegas and once at Michigan.

Over those three races, Larson leads all NASCAR Cup Series drivers in driver rating, with the most laps led and most fast laps run as well.

However, Hamlin is right on his heels, ranking second in each of those categories.

In fact, Hamlin has the best average finish over those three races, including a win at Las Vegas in September, the most recent of those events.

In general, I like Larson a bit more than I do Hamlin for Sunday’s race at Texas, but not enough to justify his price in this instance.

At the time of writing, BetMGM is offering Hamlin at +130, the best number I’ve found across the market and one I very much like.

The Bet: Hamlin (+130) over Larson