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O'Reilly Auto Parts 500: NASCAR Preview, Odds, Pick, Predictions, Dark Horses - 3/31/19

Lee Luther Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

We make our first of two scheduled trips to Texas for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500, a lengthy race that debuted in 1997 and is 1.5 miles long. In other words, this is completely opposite of what we had to deal with last week. Speaking of last week, we won our third straight race with Brad Keselowski at +525 odds, and all five of our drivers listed finished seventh or better, which includes having all three of the top drivers. It was a rare race where we didn’t have to sweat out a winner, as we were in the green no matter who touched victory lane. Let’s stay hot.

Here are five drivers to consider throwing on this week’s card. 

Kyle Busch, +265 - Kyle Busch once again won’t bring us the big odds like other drivers will, but he’s a must-play until further notice. Busch is averaging a finish of 2.6 this season and has finished no worse than sixth in each of his last eight races. Busch has won this particular event three times, which is more than any driver in its short history, and he’s finished fifth or better in eight of his last 12 appearances overall at the Texas Motor Speedway. Busch also has wins at this track in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. The price won’t be great, but nobody has ever gone broke making a profit.

Joey Lagano, +575 - The last two times Joey Lagano has finished outside the top-10, he’s won the following race. Add that to the fact Lagano has owned Texas over the years, and you have yourself a strong winning candidate this week. Lagano won this race in 2014 and is averaging a finish of 3.6 in the last six years at this particular race as well. Overall, Lagano has finished seventh or better in 10 of his last 12 appearances at the Texas Motor Speedway. Nothing left to say here.

Jimmie Johnson, +6600 - I’m sick and tired of making a case for Jimmie Johnson when he hasn’t won a race in two years and has had a hard time finishing in the top-10 this season. Still, history suggests giving Johnson another shot, so here goes. Johnson has been the winner of this event two of the last four years and has won the other Texas race five times. Johnson has finished eighth or better in 10 of his last 16 appearances at the Texas Motor Speedway. Johnson has won at least one race in Texas in five of the last seven years. Will the drought finally end? Probably not. But…

Erik Jones, +3500 - Erik Jones is a driver we backed early this season due to the big odds, and while he didn’t produce a victory, there’s value in getting a driver finishing in the top-10 at +1500 or larger odds. We’re going back to Jones this week considering he has three wins at the Texas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and one win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. In his last three appearances here in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Jones is averaging a finish of sixth. Jones clearly enjoys this track and should have a bounce back showing at a favorable price.

Martin Truex Jr., +750 - It’s only a matter of time before Martin Truex Jr. wins a race, as he’s averaging a finish of 5.6 in his last five races and hasn’t gone this deep into a season without a win since 2016. Truex has finished ninth or better in five of his last seven appearances in this particular race and has finished in the top-10 in seven of his last eight appearances at the Texas Motor Speedway overall. The consistent track record at this track and his current form makes Truex a healthy play this week.

Randy Chambers has been with Sports Chat Place since 2014 and covers everything from the NFL to WNBA and tennis. Nobody works harder in this business in terms of content produced and amount of sports covered. Formerly a lead college football writer with Bleacher Report and has had his work featured at Fox Sports, CBS Sports and various other outlets.

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