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BetMGM: All eyes on Elliott for Road America

Chase Elliott is returning to the road-course drawing board this week as he drags a five-race winless drought on the track type into the Kwik Trip 250. 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.

“(We’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.”

ROAD AMERICA: Weekend schedule | Paint schemes | Betting odds

Despite the drought – though, as Elliott noted, he “hasn’t been bad” in road courses since his last win, posting three top-five 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. Elliott is 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 sizable 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, including back-to-back wins at Sonoma Raceway. But he’s winless since and has zero top-three finishes in his last four road-course 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 has 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 has 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.