The odds for Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta are influenced heavily by what Kevin Harvick has done at the 1.5-mile oval in Hampton, Ga., throughout his career, especially recently. Our picks for Sunday's race are impacted by the same trends.
Nobody in Sunday's field has led more career laps at Atlanta in the Cup Series than Harvick (1,197 in 29 starts), and the winner of this race in 2018 is tied with Jimmie Johnson for the best career driver rating (100.5) at the track.
Combine those numbers with the fact that Harvick is the NASCAR Cup Series points leader in 2020 with a series-best five top-five finishes and eight top-10s, including one win, and it's easy to see why sportsbooks consider the No. 4 Stewart-Haas racing team the favorite for Sunday's race at Atlanta.
Below are the Vegas odds to win Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series at Atlanta, plus our top three picks of drivers who could end up taking the checkered flag.
NASCAR race odds to win at Atlanta
While Harvick tends to run well at Atlanta, so does Chase Elliott, who will start Sunday's race from the pole based on the results of a random draw for starting positions.
Courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook, below are the complete odds to win Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta, starting with Harvick and Elliott.
Odds to win Atlanta race
Martin Truex Jr.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
John Hunter Nemechek
Kyle Busch comes in with the third best odds to win Sunday's race in part because his Joe Gibbs Racing team is finding the speed it was missing through the first few races of the season. However, based on career driver ratings, he isn't even the best Atlanta racer in his own family.
Below are the top 10 career driver ratings at Atlanta among those in Sunday's field:
Kevin Harvick, 100.5
Jimmie Johnson, 100.5
Matt Kenseth, 97.5
Kurt Busch, 96.9
Brad Keselowski, 96.6
Martin Truex Jr., 95.2
Denny Hamlin, 94.2
Kyle Busch, 92.7
Chase Elliott, 89.2
Joey Logano, 83.2
As noted, Elliott will roll off first Sunday, which is generally helpful at Atlanta. Fourteen of the 113 Cup Series races at Atlanta saw the pole winner take the checkered flag.
For whatever reason, the most proficient starting position in the field at Atlanta is fifth, which has produced more wins (16) than any other starting position. Clint Bowyer has that starting spot for Sunday's race.
Below is the breakdown of wins from varying starting positions in the history of Cup racing at Atlanta.
Outside Top 20
The top 10 starters for Sunday's race at Atlanta are as follows: 1. Chase Elliott, 2. Aric Almirola, 3. Joey Logano, 4. Kyle Busch, 5. Clint Bowyer, 6. Brad Keselowski, 7. Ryan Blaney, 8. Alex Bowman, 9. Kevin Harvick, 10. Denny Hamlin
NASCAR at Atlanta expert picks
1. Jimmie Johnson
Career stats at Atlanta:
Five wins, 14 top fives, 16 top 10s
Average finish of 11.571 (fourth-best)
Average running position of 10.467 (second-best)
Driver rating of 100.5 (tied with Harvick for best)
362 fastest laps run (second-best)
5,131 laps in top 15 (74.7 percent) (second-most)
743 quality passes (third-most)
The driver who has gone 104 Cup Series races without a victory has five career wins at Atlanta, the most of any driver in Sunday's field. More importantly, Hendrick Motorsports has shown adequate speed this season, and Johnson himself has four top-10 finishes.
Given HMS' speed and Johnson's positive vibes at this particular track, his ranking 11th in the odds to win Sunday's race is a solid value.
2. Kurt Busch
Career stats at Atlanta:
Three wins, seven top fives, 14 top 10s
Average finish of 12.850 (fifth-best)
Average running position of 12.802 (eighth-best)
Driver rating of 96.9 (fourth-best)
299 fastest laps run (fourth-best)
4,444 laps in top 15 (67.9 percent) (fifth-most)
764 quality passes (second-most)
Busch loves this track, and given his numbers, we can't blame him. The No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing team has been fast this season, as evidenced by its six top-10 finishes in nine races. Busch will start Sunday's race 12th, plenty high enough for him to contend for his first win of the season.
3. Kevin Harvick
Career stats at Atlanta:
Daniel Suarez +20000
Two wins, eight top fives, 14 top 10s
Average finish of 13.476 (seventh-best)
Average running position of 11.809 (fifth-best)
Driver rating of 100.5 (tied with Johnson for best)
555 fastest laps run (series-best)
4,643 laps in top 15 (67.6 percent) (third-most)
658 quality passes (fifth-most)
We have to go chalk with this last pick, because Harvick and his team are simply too good at Atlanta to leave off the list. (For what it's worth, Brad Keselowski is another great pick at Atlanta, but we're betting against the continuation of his hot streak.)
Harvick's 14 career top-10 finishes at Atlanta include 11 in the last 13 races. He also has led an unmatched 960 laps in the last six Atlanta races alone, including 181 in his 2018 win and 292 of the 325 laps in his 2017 ninth-place run.