The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday for some short-track racing at The World’s Fastest Half Mile. Green flag on the 500-mile thriller is scheduled to fly at 2 p.m. ET as drivers look to secure a position in the playoffs.

Last week we correctly predicted that Kyle Busch would take the checkered flag at Texas Motor Speedway. With that said, here are our picks to win as well as in daily fantasy for this weekend’s action. 

Our pick: Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Skittles Toyota, qualifed on the pole for Sundays’ race at Bristol.
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Busch did it for us last week and we have no reason to believe he won’t get the job done again this time around. Rowdy is the active wins leader at Bristol with six trips to Victory Lane and won at the track last summer as well.

In baseball, there are players called streaky hitters, where they get hot and string together a stretch of really strong appearances at the plate. Busch is NASCAR’s version of a streaky hitter and you gotta get behind him while the tires are warm. Last season’s playoff run was a good example of that, when Busch won at New Hampshire, Dover and Martinsville before finishing runner-up to Martin Truex Jr. at Homestead.

Oh yeah, we forgot to mention Busch is starting on the pole as well. At short tracks like Bristol, starting position is critical as its easy to fall behind and go multiple laps down. That’s why we’re going nowhere near Kevin Harvick this week, who is starting last after crashing in practice.

Contenders: Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500 - Qualifying

Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford, walks to his car during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 13, 2018 in Bristol, Tennessee.
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OK so we know what you’re probably thinking: these guys are just picking the top three qualifiers! Well that’s true, but for good reason. While Kyle Busch is the active wins leader at the track, his brother Kurt Busch is right behind him with five checkered flags. With Harvick starting from the rear, Busch has the best shot of any of the Stewart-Haas Racing cars to get something done this weekend. He enters the race seventh in the points and will hope to clinch a spot in the playoffs with a win.

As for Keselowski, he’s no stranger to Victory Lane at The World’s Fastest Half Mile either. Keselowski won back-to-back races at Bristol in the 2011 and 2012 seasons and is in prime starting position to accomplish the feat yet again. He’s yet to clinch his spot in the playoffs, but like Stewart-Haas Racing, Team Penske has also marched out powerful Fords each and every week. We think there’s a strong chance Keselowski can bring Roger Penske his first win and guaranteed spot in the playoffs this weekend.

Wild Card: Alex Bowman

NASCAR: O'Reilly Auto Parts 500

Despite 100 to 1 odds, Alex Bowman will roll off eighth on Sunday
USATSI

Bowman is far from a veteran but we’re sure he’d like to leave his track experience here in the rear-view mirror. In four starts, Bowman has an average finish of 29, however he wasn’t driving for Hendrick Motorsports back then. This time around in the No. 88, Bowman qualified eighth and ran top 10 in practice.

Do we think Bowman is going to win this race outright? Absolutely not. Is he worth throwing a few bucks on at 100 to 1 odds? Absolutely yes. 

Must-play in Daily Fantasy: Denny Hamlin

NASCAR: STP 500-Practice

Hamlin provides great value for DFS players this weekend
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Honorable mention goes to Martin Truex Jr. here but SportsLine talked us out of that one. Despite being one of the Vegas favorites, SportsLine has Truex finishing well out of the top 10. Hamlin on the other hand is a much safer choice. He’s been to Victory Lane once before at Bristol, so we know he has what it takes to win there. 

Hamlin is far from the most expensive option at $9,500 in DraftKings. That’s lower than Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson. The reason Hamlin is a sexy pick however is because of his starting position. The No. 11 is set to roll off at 25th, meaning if he can finish with a top 10 there will be a huge reward for those that played him thanks to place differential. 

Odds to win the 2018 Food City 500

Betting odds for Sunday’s race are provided by VegasInsider.com

  • Kyle Busch 3/1
  • Kevin Harvick 9/2
  • Kyle Larson 6/1
  • Martin Truex Jr. 13/2
  • Brad Keselowski 12/1
  • Denny Hamlin 12/1
  • Erik Jones 12/1
  • Joey Logano 12/1
  • Chase Elliott 15/1
  • Jimmie Johnson 15/1
  • Ryan Blaney 15/1
  • Clint Bowyer 20/1
  • Kurt Busch 20/1
  • Aric Almirola 30/1
  • Jamie McMurray 60/1
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 60/1
  • Daniel Suarez 75/1
  • Ryan Newman 75/1
  • Alex Bowman 100/1
  • Austin Dillon 100/1
  • Paul Menard 100/1
  • Trevor Bayne 100/1

Starting lineup for the Food City 500

  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Kurt Busch
  3. Brad Keselowski
  4. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  5. Ryan Blaney
  6. Kyle Larson
  7. Paul Menard
  8. Alex Bowman
  9. Michael McDowell
  10. Joey Logano
  11. William Byron
  12. Daniel Suarez
  13. Erik Jones
  14. Clint Bowyer
  15. Kasey Kahne
  16. Chase Elliott
  17. Jimmie Johnson
  18. AJ Allmendinger
  19. Aric Almirola
  20. Darrell Wallace Jr.
  21. Austin Dillon
  22. Chris Buescher
  23. David Ragan
  24. Matt DiBenedetto
  25. Denny Hamlin
  26. Martin Truex Jr.
  27. Ross Chastain
  28. Gray Gaulding
  29. Landon Cassill
  30. Ryan Newman
  31. Jamie McMurray
  32. Ty Dillon
  33. Trevor Bayne
  34. Corey LaJoie
  35. DJ Kennington
  36. Reed Sorenson
  37. Harrison Rhodes
  38. Chad Finchum
  39. Kevin Harvick

How to watch the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500

Location: Bristol Motor Speedway
Date: Sunday, April 15
Time: 2 p.m. ET
Length: 500 laps/266.5 miles
Stage 1: Ends on lap 125
Stage 2: Ends on lap 250
Final stage: Scheduled for lap 500
TV: Fox
Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free) 


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