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Consumers Energy 400: NASCAR Preview, Odds, Pick, Predictions, Dark Horses - 8/12/18

Consumers Energy 400: Sunday, August 12, 2018 at 2:30 pm (Michigan International Speedway)

The Line: -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: NBCSN

We make our second and final trip to Michigan for the Consumers Energy 400, a race that debuted in 1969 and has been one of the faster events over the years. The last two years have produced an average speed of 156.8 MPH. Our winning streak came to an end last week, but we did include the drivers who finished second and third, so we’ve been pretty dialed in over the last five weeks. Let’s get back to victory lane.

Here are five drivers to consider throwing on this week’s card. (Odds weren’t released when this article was posted)  

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Consumers Energy 400: NASCAR Preview, Odds, Pick, Predictions, Dark Horses - 8/12/18

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Larson - We’ve given Kyle Larson a chance a few times recently, but he’s still looking for his first victory of the season. One would think if it’s going to happen, it will be this week. Larson is the two-time defending champion at this event and has won three of the last four races at the Michigan International Speedway overall. In his last five appearances at this track, Larson has an average finish of 6.8. There’s no way you put together a card this week and leave Larson off.

Kyle Busch - Kyle Busch won this event in 2011 and has countless other top-10 finishes at the Michigan International Speedway. But the real reason to play Busch doesn’t change. He’s been the best and most consistent driver this season by a mile. Busch has finished fifth or better in nine of his last 10 races and has finished no worse than fourth in his last four races. Busch has a top-10 finish in 18 of his last 21 races. Do I really need to break this thing down any further? If you’re looking to make money betting NASCAR, you put something on Busch every week.

Chase Elliott - I had a hunch that Chase Elliott was going to win his first race soon, and it just so happened on the one week I didn’t list him. Figures. Anyway, don’t be surprised if Elliott builds on his first career victory, as he’s finished ninth or better in all five of his appearances at the Michigan International Speedway, which includes three runner-ups. Elliott has an average finish of 4.6 at this track in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The 22-year-old has to love where he’s at right now.

Paul Menard - If you’re looking for a dark horse this week, it’s probably going to be Paul Menard. Yes, Menard has has just one victory in his career and it was more than seven years ago, but he has finished eighth or better in six of his last 12 appearances at the Michigan International Speedway. Menard finished fifth in the earlier appearance this year in Michigan. This has been one of Menard’s most successful tracks over the years. 

Clint Bowyer - Clint Bowyer has been putting together some solid performances this season and could easily have more than two wins. As for this week, Bowyer not only won the first race this season in Michigan, but he has top-10 finishes in 10 of his last 15 appearances at this track overall. Bowyer is somebody you’re probably going to get at a good price with some of the bigger names ahead of him. Given his history and how he performed here back in June, I’ll take my chances.

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