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2023 South Point 400: Preview, 5 Best Bets, Longshot Pick

The penultimate stretch of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs begins with the first leg of the Round of 8 with Sunday’s South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The race could determine the first driver to solidify a spot among the final four drivers who will race for the championship in Phoenix on Nov. 5.

William Byron continues to hold the series lead, but by a slim five-point margin over regular-season winner Martin Truex Jr. Truex’s teammate, Denny Hamlin, is another four points behind, with only 27 points separating first from eighth.

The winner of the seventh playoff race has gone on to win the past two championships — Kyle Larson in 2021 and Joey Logano last year. And no driver who has failed to qualify for the playoffs has ever gone on to win the fall race in Las Vegas.

SOUTH POINT 400
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Date: Sunday, Oct. 15, 2:30 p.m. ET
Distance: 400 miles on 1.5-mile oval
Defending champion: Joey Logano
Cup Series leader: William Byron
TV: NBC
Radio: SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

NASCAR CUP SERIES STANDINGS
1. William Bryron
2. Martin Truex Jr. (-5)
3. Denny Hamlin (-9)
4. Kyle Larson (-17)
5. Chris Buescher (-20)
6. Christopher Bell (-25)
7. Tyler Reddick (-25)
8. Ryan Blaney (-27)

5 BEST BETS
Kyle Larson (+400 at BetMGM)
Larson leads the series with 898 laps led and is a three-time winner this year. A previous winner in Las Vegas, Larson owns a career average finish at the track of 10.5. That includes six top-10s in his past seven appearances. He ranks third at the book, having drawn 9.4 percent of the total bets to win on Sunday.

William Byron (+600)
Byron, whose previous career high was two victories in a season, leads the series with six in 2023. That includes winning in Las Vegas in March, and Byron has four top-10s in 11 starts at the track. Byron is tied for third at the book with 9.4 percent of the total money backing him to win No. 7 of 2023 this weekend.

Denny Hamlin (+625)
Hamlin boasts 11 top-10s in 23 starts in Vegas, with a win in 2021 among four top-10s in his past six starts at the track. He has visited Victory Lane three times this season. “I’m looking forward to Vegas,” Hamlin said. “I don’t always practice well there and don’t always qualify well there, but I always race well. That’s my Kansas 2.0. I don’t know what it is about those tracks, but it seems like it takes me a day to get up to speed.”

Tyler Reddick (+725)
Reddick is the book’s second-biggest liability this week as he leads the grid with 20.8 percent of the total bets and 27.8 percent of the money backing him to win. Why? A two-time winner in his first season with 23XI Racing Toyota, Reddick also owns wins at Las Vegas in the NASCAR Xfinity and Craftsman Truck Series. He won a playoff race at Kansas last month and has three top-10s in his past four trips to Vegas.

Martin Truex Jr. (+825)
Truex is the only driver among the remaining eight in the title chase who has multiple victories at Las Vegas. He battled his way into the Round of 8 despite some shaky performances throughout the playoffs thus far (he lacks a top-10 since they began), but he has 14 top-10s in 23 previous starts in Vegas, including in 11 of his past 12 starts.

LONGSHOT PICK
Joey Logano (+2200)
Logano has been eliminated from playoff contention, but he is still the defending champion at this race. He snapped a three-race slump with a fifth-place showing at Charlotte last week, and he earned the pole in Las Vegas in March before spinning on lap on 182 and retiring his car for a 36th-place finish.

–Field Level Media

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