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Food City Dirt Race Predictions: NASCAR At Bristol Odds, Picks & Best Bets

David Caraviello for Bookies.com

David Caraviello  | 20 mins

Food City Dirt Race Predictions: NASCAR At Bristol Odds, Picks & Best Bets

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Depending on your point of view, it’s either one of the most anticipated or loathed NASCAR races of the year. The annual dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway is polarizing and unpredictable, and for sports bettors, it stands as one of the more vexing events on the calendar.

With good reason. In the inaugural event two seasons ago, NASCAR’s first big-league dirt race since 1970, the rutted surface chewed up tires, dust-coated windshields, and glare from the afternoon sun made it difficult for drivers to see. 

The event was shifted to a night start for 2022, but several drivers still dealt with dirt caking their grilles, leading NASCAR to deploy an early caution. The dramatic finish—which saw Chase Briscoe sliding up into Tyler Reddick off the final turn, opening the way for Kyle Busch to win—certainly soothed some consternation.

Perhaps drivers are growing accustomed to this gimmick; Kyle Larson, the NASCAR odds favorite for Sunday at +550, struggled to 29th in the inaugural dirt race before improving to fourth last year. Likewise, former dirt ace Christopher Bell improved from 34th to seventh. 

But the 2,000 truckloads of red clay dumped on the half-mile, high-banked oval can still cause unforeseen problems for teams and drivers. And for NASCAR betting, this remains one of the more capricious events of the season.

Food City Dirt Race Odds

Odds via DraftKings and current as of publication. Check out our DraftKings Sportsbook Review

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Food City Dirt Race Betting Tips

Two races on a temporary dirt surface are hardly much to go on, but for what it’s worth Joey Logano leads all active drivers with a 2.0 average finish built on his 2021 victory and a third-place run last year. 

Behind him is Reddick, who’s finished seventh and second on the Bristol dirt, getting spun out when he likely would have won last year. Ryan Blaney (eighth and fifth) and Chase Elliott (10th and eighth) are the only other drivers who have finished top-10 in both events, and Elliott remains out recovering from a broken leg he suffered while snowboarding. 

The top three drivers in opening odds on betting sites—Larson, Reddick and Bell—all have extensive experience on dirt, as do Blaney, Chase Briscoe, Austin and Ty Dillon, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the latter of whom was the runner-up in the inaugural race. 

But the place is finicky; neither Logano nor Busch is known as dirt racers, and they won the first two events. Former sports car racer Michael McDowell snagged a top-10 last season. Daniel Suarez, known better as a road racer, finished fourth in 2021. The list goes on and on, and there appears no rhyme or reason for it, except to indicate that all of NASCAR’s top racers are very good in the essential dirt racing skill of car control.

Another question to puzzle over: do skills carry over from the Bristol concrete to the dirt? Busch, after all, has won nine times on the standard half-mile oval in addition to his victory on the red clay. Logano is a two-time winner on the Bristol concrete. 

Larson, the odds favorite, owns a victory and a 12.3 average finish on the Bristol concrete. Sports bettors will likely take any shred of clarity they can get this weekend—well, at least until the dirt starts flying and it once again gets tough to see.

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Food City Dirt Race Best Bets To Back

Kyle Busch to Win

Odds: +1200 at DraftKings

Back-to-back at Bristol for Busch? Why not, given how unpredictable the Bristol dirt can be. Busch is the absolute master of the track’s concrete surface, and while he needed a break to win last year on the red clay, he was still in the right position at the right time. 

Two years of backing more experienced dirt racers hasn’t paid off in this event, so we’re going with a guy who possesses exceptional talent and fantastic value at the same time. 

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Tyler Reddick Top 3

Odds: +180 at DraftKings

In a choice between Reddick and Larson, we’re going with the driver who offers a tad more value and has been running a bit more consistently well this season. Larson may have won last week at Richmond, but Reddick has been top-five in three of his last four starts. 

And it’s really hard to overlook the 99 laps he led on the Bristol dirt last season before finishing second.

Joey Logano Top 5

Odds: +150 at DraftKings

The reigning series champion has been solid on either Bristol surface, with three wins combined. First and third in two dirt races is downright spectacular for a guy who’s pretty much asphalt through and through. 

On oval tracks this season, Logano has just one finish worse than 11th, along with a victory at Atlanta and a seventh-place result at Richmond last week.

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Food City Dirt Race Time, Date and TV

When: Sunday, 7 p.m. EDT

Where: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway

TV: FOX

About the Author

David Caraviello for Bookies.com
David Caraviello
Veteran sports journalist David Caraviello has covered college football, college basketball, motorsports and golf, covering all three US golf majors, the Daytona 500 and SEC football.